April 30, 2012

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey: Review

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cheerful weather for the wedding coverI still don’t know what to make of Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey. I think I’m going to have to read it again. Not a big deal, since it’s such a short book.

The story’s plot all occurs on the day of Dolly’s wedding to an older man. It was a short engagement. Dolly’s mom, Mrs Thatchman, is running around getting all the last minute odds and ends together and preparing for guests. Dolly herself doesn’t seem all that happy about her big day. Most of the day she’s hiding up in her room. Guests trickle in, including Joseph an old admirer of Dolly’s. He seems to be getting up the nerve to do something, but if he will remains to be seen.

There’s a disconnect between Dolly and her mother. Mrs Thatcham flits around telling everyone what a beautiful day it is when it’s a miserable cold March day. She speaks to everyone like she’s a character in a play. Dolly is so unhappy, she’s getting plastered with a bottle of rum in her room. She’s not exactly the blushing bride. 

The reason I couldn’t get fully into Cheerful Weather was because I couldn’t figure out the tone of the story. Is it a comedy? A tragedy? There are certain scenes that point to both: the brothers arguing over socks, comedy; Dolly’s gloomy moping, tragedy. It wasn’t until the end that I sort of figured out what was going on and that’s after a character drops a big old bombshell. Even then I didn’t know if this character was telling the truth or just trying to get a rise out of everyone. I did end up enjoying the writing even if I wasn’t 100% happy with the plot.

What I came away with from this story is how people spite themselves by not saying what is on their minds.

Ratings:

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April 29, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Are You Seriesous?

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Civic library, Newcastle, 18/9/1957, Hood collection

On Friday I linked to this WSJ article about Hilary Martel and her Wolf Hall series. She tells the author that you don’t need to read Wolf Hall before reading the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies. Hmm… I don’t know…

I have a love/hate relationship with series. I have a few favorites but I hate jumping into to one in the middle. I have a book on my nightstand, probably for a year now, that I thought was a standalone but turns out it’s part of a series. I keep thinking I’ll read the first one before I pick it up but I’m loathe to do it. Do I really want to start a new series? I still haven’t got past Book 2 of the Patrick O’Brien series even though I want to read more. There are 21!

That raises the question: how many books should be in a series? Is there a point when there are just too many? Can a series drag on forever? What if the author dies before the series ends? One of my favorites is the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I started reading this one back in 1992. Sweet Baby J, it’s not finished yet and we’re up to Book 7. Some were better than others. The plot is getting diluted by a cast of thousands at this point. Should she have stuck a fork in it a couple of books ago? I dunno. I will keep reading like the addict I am. For me, it’s easier to get hooked on a series if I pick the books up as the author writes them. The idea of starting a seven book series from the beginning is daunting, no matter how good it might be.

The recent trend is the trilogy. Are the books planned to be a trilogy? Is one big book broken into three? I find that the second in a trilogy is mostly filler. Would one book have done just fine in these cases? And there’s something to be said for leaving people wanting more. Sometimes I want to be left imagining what happens to the characters after the book ends.

So are you pro-series?


In reading news, I’m still reading Tender Is the Night with my book club, as well as In Morocco by Edith Wharton for my Genteel Ladies project. They’re both challenging books. I also started Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier for another project I was asked to contribute to.

In the mail this week, I was sent Gold by Chris Cleave and Alys, Always by Harriet Lane.

That was it for me this week. How was your reading week?

April 26, 2012

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen: Review

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garden spells coverClaire is a successful caterer with special talents. All the members of her family had special talents; it’s part of the magic of her family’s house. In the backyard is a apple tree with fruit that gives the recipient a glimpse of the biggest event of that person’s life whether it’s good or bad.

The tree imparts a bit of magic beyond its fruit. The plants Claire uses in her recipes come from the ground beneath the tree and depending on what she adds her customers can have any emotion she wishes for them: bliss or sadness. There’s no casserole that can help Claire though. She lives alone and refuses to let anyone into her life. When she gets a new neighbour with a twinkle in his eye and her long lost sister and niece show up, Claire has to figure out if she can make room for them in her heart.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen is the kind of story that whisked me away, as cliché as that sounds. There were things that if they’d been in any other story I’d find it hard to swallow. A magic apple tree that throws apples at people? Yeah, sounds bizarre, but it works. Family issues, including the sisters’ abandonment by their mother add strife to the plot. Then there’s sister Sydney’s past, the recent past with her abusive ex and the past with her old friends at home. It’s enough to keep things interesting. The motives of some of the characters made me think, “Hmm, seriously?” but it wasn’t enough to keep me from reading. The magical aspects, like the tree and Evanelle, were quirky not hokey, even for a skeptical gal like me.

Garden Spells was a fun little story for a Saturday afternoon. I breezed through it quickly.

Ratings:

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April 24, 2012

Train Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell & Sarah Bowen Shea: Review

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train like a mother coverWhen I first read Run Like a Mother, I was new to running and found that book a bit intimidating. I didn’t know anything about running and the biggest goal I set for myself was just finishing a 5K. Since then I ran two 5Ks, but mostly I run for my own personal non-competitive reasons. Something changed this year though. Suddenly, I want to run more races, even if I have to do them on my own. I’m even…gulp…thinking of running a 10K after reading Train Like a Mother.

Train Like a Mother is written by the dynamic duo that wrote Run Like a Mother, Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea. These women are life-long runners, Bad Ass Mother Runners in fact (Sarah just ran the Boston Marathon). I’m a late bloomer when it comes to running so I need all the help I can get. Dimity and Sarah are extremely encouraging. They want you to be a Mother Runner too.

In Train Like a Mother, the ladies provide training schedules for every kind of race from a 5K to a marathon, created by ultra-runner Christine Hinton. Not only this, but you have two choices, do you want to “own it” or “finish it.” To Own It, the schedule helps you accomplish your personal best while Finish It gets you over the finish line. The ladies tell you how you should be eating during training (hint: not munching on your kids’ fishy crackers) and what exercise besides running you should be doing to get yourself into fighting shape. There’s even advice for what to do when the unexpected happens: an injury or *gasp* pregnancy.

Train Like a Mother is such fun to read. It’s like having coffee with two funny, yet knowledgeable girlfriends. They added amusing little asides and advice from themselves and other Mother Runners. The book is geared towards women (obviously) but the running schedules can be used by anyone. Guys might want to advert their eyes from some of the lady bits talk. Winking smile Check out their website or listen to their podcast, Another Mother Runner (I listen and really enjoy it).

Bottom line: Great advice and fun to read!

My thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing for the review copy.

April 23, 2012

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (audiobook): Review

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anna and the french kiss coverOh-la-la! In Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Anna is exiled to Paris by her Nicholas Sparks-esque writer father, for some reason. She doesn’t want to be there since it’s her last year of high school, she just kissed the boy she’s been crushing on, and she doesn’t like doing anything her father wants her to do. Fortunately, at the boarding school she quickly makes friends and joins a small clique which includes Etienne St Clair, or St Clair as he’s known. He’s dreamy with his British accent and French name.

Anna falls for this guy even though she’s got a guy on the back burner at home and St Clair has a long term (for high school) girl friend. Does he like her back? Will he dump the old ball and chain for her? Will someone please exile me to Paris?

Okay, so it was important to keep in mind that these are young people and they’re like toddlers learning to walk when it comes to relationships. They have to fall down a bunch of times before they get it right. So, when Anna and St Clair take turns being A-holes, I had to remember that they are young. Every time I wanted to kick one of them, I remembered all the dumb, dumb things I did as a teen and felt my patience return.

I would have been all over this as a teen, just like I was with Shakespeare and Legs, and even now I thought it was charming and sweet. Yes, St Clair is a bit too good to be true but that’s what romance is for. Anna thinks everything he does is wonderful and uses “beautiful” as an adjective for him a million times. I’d have to be made of stone though to fault her. She’s one smitten kitten. Ah, amour de jeunesse!

There is lots of dramaz, with sobbing in bathroom stalls, and best friends breaking apart, betrayals, and even cancer to ramp it up even more. Then there is Paris! Can I be Anna just to spend a year in Paris? And the girl doesn’t even appreciate it at first. I know, I know… last year in high school and all that. I would probably pout about that too. And can I just say, wouldn’t Anna, the big movie buff, have used, I don’t know, the Internet to find out about the film culture of Paris? Was she so focused on being stubborn about leaving home she wasn’t even curious about that? That was a bit of a stretch for me.

Anna’s return home and the realization that life has gone on without her felt realistic. Anna cannot help but to have changed herself as well. The brief time away from home causes unexpected consequences. It’s a bittersweet scene.

A couple of things that bothered me about the story though: A) Meredith. She’s only a part of the plot when convenient. I didn’t find that she was a fleshed out character. Sure, we all want to be an Anna but usually we’re a Meredith, am I right? B) Lack of adult supervision. The teens, most not yet 18, are left to their own devices with boys and girls hopping out of each other’s rooms all night long. Is this standard practice? Seems a bit too convenient for the plot.

Anna and the French Kiss is not without its problems but Perkins writes a solid story. I believed the emotions of the characters and the pacing is just right. It’s a bright, fun read, not too deep but lovely. There is a few swears, talk of sex, and drinking, if you need to know.

About the Audio: Kim Mai Guest narrates Anna and the French Kiss. She has a very young sounding voice, in fact she’s done quite a bit of voice work for video games and cartoons. She’s a good fit for Anna.

Ratings:

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April 22, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: After the Readathon

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I kinda disappeared there, huh? Well, I completed my Read-a-thon around 1 am, but I made sure I finished my book this morning. All things considered, I did rather well for my relaxed Read-a-thoning. I read 2 full books: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding and Garden Spells, plus half an audiobook. I call it a success! I had some fun with the mini-challenges too.

Now for the End of Event Meme!

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? None were actually, I know my limits. 
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Garden Spells definitely kept my interest.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Personally, it was my relaxed approach to it. 
  5. How many books did you read? 2 and a half
  6. What were the names of the books you read? Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, Garden Spells and The Black Tower
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? Probably Garden Spells
  8. Which did you enjoy least? I liked them all. 
  9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? As long as I can swing it, I will be a Reader again.
Those were my not so interesting answers. Big thanks to the Read-a-thon organizers for another fun event!

In non-Readathon news, I added two more books under my reading belt. I finished Train Like a Mother and the audio version of Anna and the French Kiss

Trish is hosting a pinteresting challenge (see what I did there?) Pin It and Do It. I'm signing up! I plan on doing the Pinterested Level, which means I'll do 4-7 things that I've pinned on Pinterest. This should be fun! 

Pin It and Do It Challenge Button

So, that's it for now. I'm going to relax with some Downton Abbey.

April 21, 2012

Time for Read-a-thon! Update #4

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Group portrait of three women wearing glasses

You don't want to know what these 3 will do if you don't join the Readathon.
It's scary. Join us!



I saw that photo this morning and just had to use it somehow.

Psst.  I’ll probably update this post as the day progresses.

The Read-a-thon is here! I’ll be starting late since I have to be somewhere this morning but I wanted to get this up before I left. Hopefully I will be back soon so I can play too. I don’t want to make those ladies up there angry.

1)Where are you reading from today? Beautiful Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Specifically my couch.2)Three random facts about me… 1. I can’t go anywhere without my watch, 2. I do not like looking at other people’s naked feet, 3. I am getting over a cold.3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? I have seven books, including an audiobook and a graphic novel.4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? No goals. No plans. That’s the way I roll.5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time? Don’t worry about the number of books or pages you read. You will not be graded.


Good luck!

Updates below the fold…

April 19, 2012

Readathoning.

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Readathon Book Pile

I swear I do this every Read-a-thon. Every time I don’t sign up until the last moment because I think I’ll be too busy to read all day. And then I say “Screw it!” and sign up anyway. Instead of a 24 Hour Read-a-thon, I make it a “I’m reading as much as I want or can today, damn it!” -athon. So that’s what it is. Winking smile No expectations. Here’a a list of books I’ll be involved in for the day.
  • The Ballad of Peckham Rye by Muriel Spark
  • Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier
  • Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey
  • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
  • On audio: The Black Tower by Louis Bayard (not shown)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (graphic novel)
We’ll see how this goes. I have an early morning appointment so there’s an hour taken out right there. I have the audio for chores and other stuff I might be doing, that’s always a good idea. Not sure about the graphic novel because I haven’t read the book yet. I might rethink that one…

I have to plan some snacks too!

If you want to read all day, here’s how: sign up for Dewey’s Read-a-thon starting April 20th! Check your local times.

April 16, 2012

Bedbugs by Ben H Winters: Review

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bedbugs by ben h wintersPrepare for the heebie-geebies! It’s about to get creepy up in here.

Susan talks her husband Alex into renting a bigger apartment in Brooklyn: two floors all to themselves and the rent is cheap. It seems too good to be true and if you’ve ever seen a horror movie in your life you know there is a reason for this. Even Susan and Alex laugh and say, “Maybe the house is haunted!” Har-de-har-har!

Susan, Alex, and little Emma move in and almost right away there’s some weird business. There’s a funky smell, strange noises, and one night Susan is bit by a bedbug. She freaks out about this, who can blame her, and gets an exterminator in. However, no bedbugs. Not a sign of the things. But Susan keeps getting bit and she’s seen them. The problem is she is the only one who has.

Bedbugs by Ben H Winters is creepy on so many levels. First, the bedbugs. Dear Lord, I’m with Susan on the bedbugs thing. My husband travels and after I hear that he’s got to wherever safely I ask, “Did you check the bed?” If I had to deal with bedbugs, I would lose my mind. We once had a flea issue with our pets and I threatened to move out (they were biting me, not my husband, just like Susan). I was overly dramatic for sure but fleas are so gross! Plus, they carry the Plague, you know. I now keep on top of flea prevention. So bedbugs…yeah.

Bedbugs reminded me of The Shining, because the reader can’t figure out if the protagonist is suffering a mental breakdown or if something supernatural is happening. There’s plenty of evidence that Susan is losing it. She’s got anxiety up the wazoo. She’s left her job as a lawyer to work on her art. Her husband’s small business is their only income and she’s just made him move them into a more expensive house. She feels guilty about this. She’s also taking a lot of Ambien every night. Watching her mentally unravel is an uncomfortable experience. Until near the end, I couldn’t make up my mind, were the bedbugs there or in her mind?

One thing I loved about Bedbugs was how the women are the focus of the story. The women have the strongest presence. As much as I liked Alex, he’s more in the long suffering spouse role, much like Shelley Duval’s character in The Shining. Bedbugs is going to be a movie. I hope they don’t do the Hollywood thing and make Susan a man.



Bedbugs is a creepy, fun read. It taps into our modern neuroses. I had a few issues with some of the things at the end of the story but these were minor. I also wonder if Bedbugs will stand the test of time. Bedbugs are a hot button issue right now but will that continue? Also there are a lot of modern technological references that might sound dated in a few years. So read it now!

Ratings:
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April 12, 2012

On My List: Favorite Audiobook Narrations

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on my list

Since I started listening to audiobooks back in 2009, I’ve reviewed 49 and I’m on my 50th! I can’t believe it. I am a convert. Even just this year alone I’ve read 7.

I’ve found that a good narrator can enhance a listening experience. The reader’s cadence, their accent, their tone, their acting ability, even small things like clicking or breathing, can make or break a listener’s experience. I’ve been annoyed at times, but I have to say most of my listens have been great experiences. I do have some favorites out of the ones I’ve listened to so far.

This is my list of favorite audiobook readings…so far.

carmillaCarmilla: A Vampyre Tale by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu Narrated by Megan Follows. Follows does a wonderful job with the narration. She has a melodic voice, very vampirey.

Bossypants by Tina Fey Narrated by Tina Fey. What better way to experience the hilarity of this comedienne’s memoirs than in her own voice.

The Dark Worlds of H.P. Lovecraft Narrated by Wayne June. Spine-tingly good narration!

All About Jeeves by P.G Wodehouse Narrated by Edward Duke. Bertie’s stuttering and crazy laugh, as well as Jeeves’s dignity, were reproduced with great effect by Duke.

The Hound of Death by Agatha Christie Narrated by Sir Christopher Lee. Once he was Count Dracula, then a string of baddies. I would have him follow me around and narrate my life if I wasn’t afraid he’d scare small children.

I've Got Your NumberI’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella Narrated by Jayne Entwistle. I wasn’t in love with Jayne Entwistle as Flavia De Luce, but she won me over as Poppy Wyatt. So funny!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving Narrated by LibriVox volunteer Chip. I guest reviewed this one for Jenn’s Bookshelves Fright Fest. I had to give a shout out to Chip for his excellent narration of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I even contacted him through the LibriVox site just to let him know how much I enjoyed it! And I never, ever do that!

It appears that the narrations I enjoy the most are either horror or comedy. It does require a certain skill to make someone laugh or quake in fear. When a reader can do that well, you remember them! At least I do anyway.

So, I’ve heard that Simon Vance does a good job with narration, are there other names I should know? Have you listened to a particularly good audiobook lately?

April 10, 2012

This Old Thing: Lucy Maud Montgomery

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I haven’t done a This Old Thing post since June! I figure it’s time for another one.

LM Montgomery Books

I pulled a few Lucy Maud Montgomery books off the shelf for today’s post. These ones don’t feature Anne Shirley though childhood and growing up are the main concern. I bought two of these books at the used bookstore just after they received a haul of Montgomery books. I don’t think they were even read; they’re in excellent shape. Kilmeny I bought at a thrift store.

Magic for Marigold. Obviously this one features episodes in the young life of a girl named Marigold.

The Story Girl. The players in this story have made their way to television in The Road to Avonlea series. The story is told from the point of view of Beverly King.

Kilmeny of the Orchard. This is the story of schoolteacher Eric Marshall and his ladylove, Kilmeny.

I doubt that any of these will be as good as Anne of Green Gables or The Blue Castle, but a bad Montgomery is better than a good deal of other books.

Have you read any of these?

April 8, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts Are Hopped Up On Sugar

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bunnies

Easter Greetings! I put on my Easter bonnet (not really) today for much feasting. I had two dinners to attend, one I put on myself. It was nice though a little hectic, especially since the Girl picked up a virus.

I didn’t finish one book this week. This is getting a bit ridiculous. I’m nearly done The Left Hand of Darkness, though I don’t really know what’s going on. Seems like a lot of stuff leading up to a Shackleton Expedition. I’m also reading Tender is the Night for Book Club. I tried to listen to Ready Player One but it’s not for me.

I did watch the movie version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Wow, violent! I’m not sure what to make of it. I really liked the Salander chick, even if she scares me. Christopher Plummer is always good. Craig is a much better Bond.

I’m not sure which Friday night show I like more, Grimm or Fringe. Both are in a battle for weirdness. Fringe’s theme song should be Everybody Hurts because every week someone is broken hearted. This week it was Lincoln Lee. I much prefer Agent Lincoln Lee to Captain Lincoln Lee. If you didn’t see it, I won’t spoil it for you. Looks like he’s lined up to fall for Fauxlivia/Kim Possible. He’s too good for her. Why doesn’t Astrid ever get a love interest?

I caught the second half of the first episode of Season 2 of Downton Abbey because my DVR messed up. So I have no idea why Mr Bates left. Anyone want to enlighten me?

I’m afraid my week wasn’t very bookish. Oh well, what can I do.

April 5, 2012

The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig

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The Post Office Girl CoverWhen I started reading The Post Office Girl, there was something about it I didn’t know. It’s possibly incomplete. Possibly, because it was never published before Zweig’s death. In fact, it was found among his belongings when his apartment was cleared out. The posthumous book is becoming a pet peeve of mine, not quite as bad as abridgements, but an annoyance. I always wonder if this was exactly what the author had intended.

The Post Office Girl was published 40 years after Zweig committed suicide. I was unaware of this as I read it. When upon reading the afterward I discovered this, it made sense. It ends as if Zweig planned to go back to it some other day when he was feeling better about the world. He didn’t. He killed himself in 1942 because he couldn’t stand to live in a world of such ugliness.

Christine is the Post Office Girl of the title. She’s working a hand to mouth existence and lives with her sick mother in a sad apartment. Before the Great War, Christine’s family was well off. After the war, her brother and father were dead and her mother too sick to work. Christine only has her job because of a family connection. She hasn’t had any happiness since she was a teen, before the war began. At twenty-eight, she doesn’t imagine things will change…

Then she gets an invitation to stay at a fancy hotel with her aunt Claire and her husband for a couple of weeks vacation. At first, she’s afraid to go. What will these people think of her? Once she gets there, she has the Pretty Woman treatment paid for by her aunt. Suddenly, she’s a hot commodity and everyone wants to be near her. Lost in this whirlwind, she has no idea what a vipers’ nest she’s stumbled into. As quick as this dream began, it ends in abrupt confusion. It’s back to the old post office for Christine.

It was this first half of The Post Office Girl that I enjoyed the most. It reminded me of Summer by Edith Wharton. Both girls are bored and unhappy, yet how unhappy isn’t clear to them until something happens. Christine would have continued to live her life and not given a thought to the what-might-haves. As the reader, I was caught up in her glee and naivety as she flitted through the hotel ballroom night after night, even though I knew it was all going to end. Christine knows intellectually that it must end, but becomes bitter when it does. It was at this point that I couldn’t decide whether or not to feel sorry for her or kick her in the butt. She’s resentful that she doesn’t have the life of the rich and frivolous and that others do. She’s like a five year old stomping her feet and declaring, “It’s not fair!” It isn’t fair. The war took away her youth but it took away the youth and lives of thousands.

One of her contemporaries is Ferdinand, a soldier with more problems than Christine. At least she has a job. He had dreams of becoming an architect before the war, but poverty and years as a POW destroyed them. Now he works odd jobs with no hope of a future. Of course I sympathized with Ferdinand, he has it much worse than Christine. However, at this point in the story, I felt Christine disappear from the story as Ferdinand just talks at her about how the government screwed him over. She even says, “I’m just a woman.” She claims she can’t make decisions on her own. Or is it just Christine handing her fate over to someone else.

The book ends abruptly and it’s up to the reader to decide how their story ends. Can the reader cheer for them? Will it turn out alright or will they end up dead by the next chapter? What is a good ending in this situation? Zwieg leaves us with many questions.

I also wondered if this book was a warning. The economic situation in Austria after the war created Christine and Ferdinand. Neither are political. They’re just looking out for Number 1. Zweig, Jewish and run out of his country by Nazis, knew exactly what that situation wrought. He puts faces on the people who would eventually follow a madman. Is it a warning to the future to make sure this doesn’t happen again? If he had lived to see World War II end, would he have published it? We’ll never know. He escaped the Nazis to end his life on his own terms.

So, it’s not a happy story, but it’s an interesting one. It’s one that will stick with you. The writing in the first half of the story is tight. I loved the present tense, third person. Christine becomes a full-fledged human being; we know her thoughts as soon as she has them. You can see her sparkle in her borrowed clothes. The tiny details are Wharton-like. As the story descends further into gloom, Christine loses her distinctness. Ferdinand’s long speeches take over.

Ratings:

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April 3, 2012

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence: Review

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Soooo, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Lots of loins and bowels and other words. The sexy times were…meh. Back in the day everybody was all, “My eyes! My eyes!” but now, not so shocking.

Connie, aka Lady Chatterley, is married to this aristocrat, Clifford, who was injured in the Great War. He’s now confined to a wheelchair and his equipment doesn’t work. Not that that really matters much to him. He’d rather talk philosophy than hold hands and whisper sweet nothings. Connie gets sickly from lack of sex (like you do) so she has an affair with a writer but he doesn’t satisfy her needs. Then she meets Mellors, her husband’s gamekeeper.

I don’t think Lawrence and I will ever get along. I’ve read two of his books and both were All About Lawrence and his issues. Sons and Lovers is about his Mom issues and Lady Chatterley’s Lover is about his Sex issues. I disliked everyone in this book with the exception of Hilda, Connie’s sister. Hilda doesn’t take any BS from Mellors or Clifford. She’s one no nonsense lady. Connie is such a wet noodle that I can barely conjure any emotion for her other than apathy. It’s weird to me that Lawrence chose her point of view to tell the story.

I hated Mellors. His attitude toward women is offensive. After reading both Lawrence’s Apropos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Doris Lessing’s introduction, I came away with the belief that Lawrence wanted to be Mellors and had a similar views of women. No independence for women being a big one. Those darn modern women with their jazz. Lawrence seems to have spiritual connection and sexual connection between men and women confused. He and Mellors have bizarre expectations in that area. Lessing says he had little knowledge of the mechanics of the female anatomy, which she says was common for the guys of the time, and beyond, in her experience. (Though, they might not have known the parts of the vehicle, they knew how to drive it. Lawrence was angry that it needed gas.)

I can see why the upper classes wouldn’t have liked Lady Chatterley’s Lover and why they put up a stink over it. Clifford is impotent, which seems to be the Biggest Deal in Lady Chatterley’s Lover’s world. He doesn’t have much use for relations even before his injury. I would have had more sympathy for him if he appeared to have loved Connie at all. And there is some really weird stuff at the end with Clifford, like My Strange Obsession weird. So the upper class guy doesn’t come off very positively. It’s a bigger deal for Connie to have an affair with Mellors than someone of her own class, even within the confines of the story. Can’t have the servants thinking they can seduce the Lady of the House and getting above themselves.

Despite hating everyone, the writing is as good as you would expect. A book like this doesn’t last because of stinky writing. Yes, the “love” scenes are ridiculous and there is copious use of the F-word but there are some memorable moments.

I don’t know. I’m torn. Lady Chatterley’s Lover has so much fodder for discussion but Mellors…I hate that guy.

Ratings? I can't even rate this one.

April 2, 2012

Challenge Roundup for March

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Challenge Roundup Button

I totally forgot about my monthly Challenge Roundup. I’ve become a sloooooow reader. Either that or the books I’m choosing to read are more challenging.

The 5th Canadian Books Challenge. Just one more added to the pile read. That one was Red Means Run by Brad Smith. This puts me at 8/13, just 5 more to go.

The Gender in SFF Challenge: Another challenge where I just read one book: Herland by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman. That’s 2, plus I’m reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin.

The Audiobooks Challenge: Two more books added to this list, just like last month: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice.

I added another challenge this month, Once Upon a Time Challenge, which I haven’t read anything for yet. I will soon.

My Genteel Ladies in Foreign Lands have taken a tea break. I’ll have to get them and their trunks on a steamer.

April 1, 2012

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Bloggiesta

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bloggiesta finish

While I accomplished a lot on the first day of the blogging fiesta, Saturday wasn’t as successful. I kind of knew that would happen. It’s harder to concentrate when the family is underfoot. I’m still hoping to get some reviewing done, as well as some odds and ends. Hoping, but not counting on it.

Anyway, I enjoy Bloggiesta because not only do I do all the things I have been putting off but because it’s like a flash blogging course. This time around, I learned more about SEO from April and learned how to use Windows Live Writer from Jacinda. I learn a little something every time.

Check out my Bloggiesta list and see what I accomplished. I'm pleased with what I managed to do.

  • Update Review Archive

  • Delete or rewrite saved Drafts

  • Update About Me page

  • Clean up sidebars Added an email subscription icon- the envelope, it’s so cute!

  • Clean out email accounts (and answer neglected emails.)

  • Reinstall Ligit Widget for monetization

  • Make sure to update Blogher advertising network info is up to date

  • Make sure Google Analytics is working correctly

  • Save blog

  • Do a few Bloggiesta challenges (Jacinda, April, Joy, Penelope). See update post for those challenges.

  • Clean up Google Reader

  • Write a review

  • Added: Changed Template

  • Added: Create Text Templates in WLW for blog features



      Futurama brain-slug
    It’s also April Fool’s Day but I do not have the brain power to fool anyone today.

    In bookish news, I finished The Post Office Girl and started The Left Hand of Darkness. The only new book that came into the house was Train Like a Mother, another running book from Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea. Looking forward to using their advice.

    So that’s it for me! Did you work on your blog, or read any great books this weekend?


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