Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Teaser...

teaser tuesday
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I just finished this this morning, so I've decided it counts:

She would look back and marvel that she could have woken that day with no idea of what lay ahead of her. That she could start the day as a - oh, as a child! - and end it in his arms, his hands clumsily stroking her hair, their slick bodies clinging to each other, exhilarated, exhausted.

I Remember You, Harriet Evans, page 269

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT
with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Bonus Book: I Remember You

i remember you

So, this book wouldn't count for my little challenge, since I went out and bought it. I KNOW! I needed a book though. We were going to a wedding and I was getting my hair cut before we left and I needed a dress. So I went to get the dress before my appointment. And it was quick and easy and I had an hour to kill and nothing but my wallet, my phone and a pack of gum in my purse.

ANYWAY.

Brit Chick Lit. Seems fitting seeing as I wrote about chick lit being my guilty pleasure books for the 30 day challenge today!

The not having a book with me excuse actually worked out quite well as we were away on holiday for three days and this was the perfect book to read on the ferry and in the morning before Alex woke up - what can I say, my body is used to my usual pattern and wanted me to be up at 6:30 even though we were on VACATION. Alex, he didn't have that problem.

Can I just say that I love how there is a section of this book that is rewritten pretty much word for word? On purpose. And it confused me, because I was sure I hadn't succumbed to my sometimes bad habit of reading ahead to see what happens later because the suspense is killing me now...and I hadn't, it was just there twice.

So, basically (no spoilers here, the back of the book has more details) Tess moves back to the town she grew up in because her life fell apart. The only person (her age) she knows is her childhood friend Adam. And then she becomes an old lady (figuratively) and figures out who is she and turns herself young again. Ha! That's horrible Shannon, it sounds like it's some kind of magic book. It's not. It's a fairly close to some kind of reality that's not my own kind of book.

Ignore me. And if you like the occasional chick lit book, I recommend this one. It's not overly cheesy or unbelievable or gooey-lovey-dovey. It was a good weekend read!

And yes, I will be reading more Harriet Evans as my busy painting and parenting schedule allows.

Day 21: What is a book you read as a guilty pleasure

Ummm...I don't have too much to say here. Marian Keyes and other Brit chick-lit type books (I know Marian Keyes is Irish).

They're fast reads. They don't demand too much from me. They're entertaining. They don't usually talk about poop, puke or boogers. The library has an endless supply.

When you have a toddler, sometimes those are the qualities you need in a book so that you don't go crazy.

What about you? What do you read as a guilty pleasure?

PS Also (okay, not a book, but likely fiction, and it's reading and reading counts, right?) gossip magazines in the grocery store line up. Some of those celebrities are busy - getting married, getting divorces, renewing their vows, getting along just fine, fighting like cats and dogs. All at the same time. Each truthful, honest report in a different magazine.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 20: What book would you recommend to an ignorant/racist/closed minded person

I'm not sure I would...

But if I did, I think I would choose Five Smooth Stones. I read it so long ago, I don't remember much in terms of details, but I remember loving it and being outraged by it at the same time. The book itself didn't outrage me, but the way people were treated certainly did. It was an eye-opener and really reminded me that we are lucky to live in the times we do. It may not be perfect and we still have a way to go with a lot of things, but it's better than it was.

Recommending a book to someone who is ignorant (in hopes that it enlightens them somehow) might be okay - it may just be that they need to be educated or have only heard on perspective on an issue - but someone racist or close-minded might miss the message anyway because they've already made up their minds.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 19: What book changed your mind on a particular subject (non-fiction)

Okay.

So I get to talk about non-fiction.

There's no book here.

I have a strange relationship with non-fiction. I like it. I read it. I just can't pick it myself.

All of my non-fiction reading in the past few years has been either given to me or recommended to me or it's been me wanting more information about a subject that I've recently read about. After reading The Kitchen Boy, I was obsessed with finding out more about Nicholas, Alexandra and their family. After reading Suite Fran├žaise I needed to read more about World War II and the holocaust and France.

So I don't have a book that changed my mind. I usually approach non-fiction because someone recommends it (and usually I don't know much about the topic or haven't read much about it) or because I'm interested in learning more.

Does that sort of but not really answer the question???

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 18: What book do you love but is out of print

This is a book from my childhood - Skate Like the Wind.

It was a Canadian book about a figure skater who goes to Nationals. There's some cutesy romance (she runs into an old friend who also skates and by the end they two of them are having pillow fights and he's holding her hand) and some evil skater-mom parts.

I discovered this book around the time of the Calgary Olympics. I was ten. I wanted to be a figure skater and go to the Olympics even thought I knew I had two left feet and didn't know left from right and had never taken lessons and was probably getting too old to make it to the Olympics.

Can you believe that. At ten! Too old. I'm not sure where that came from, but maybe that year there were lots of female skaters who were in their teens?

I used to take this book out of the library over and over and over again. I looked for it everywhere, but I think it was out of print even before I started reading it. I've been looking for it again, thinking maybe one day a little girl at my house will be interested in figure skating!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 17: What book turned movie do you dislike

Also easy. The Devil Wears Prada.

The movie missed the boat on so many things. Andrea's (Andy in the movie) relationships with Lily, Alex (Nate in the movie) and her family are never really developed in the movie and they are central to Andrea's development and story in the book. Lily is almost a non-character and the Nate character rubbed me the wrong way because I felt like he was a different character completely from the one in the book.

The way she blows Miranda off in Paris is done well in the movie, but could have been better if it had followed the book. In the book, Andrea kills her relationship with Alex in her pursuit of something she later realizes she doesn't want. In the movie, there is a glimmer of hope in her relationship with Nate - even though I felt like Andrea and Alex were better suited to each other than Andy and Nate. I also don't remember Andrea sleeping with Christian in the book (I might be wrong - let me know), but Andy did in the movie...changes dynamics a bit, I would think.

Anyway, as a stand-alone movie, I think The Devil Wears Prada was very well done. I love Meryl Streep as Miranda. Even though she made my tummy turn because she reminded me of a former diva boss. But, as an adaptation of a book, I was very disappointed!

What do you think?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 16: What is your favourite book turned into a movie

EASY! Finally. I didn't have to think about this one at all!

Dr. Zhivago.

I love it. I love the book. I love the movie. I love the haunting Lara's Song and I hear it in my head when I read the book.

I saw the movie first. I think I was maybe 13 or 14. My then-single aunt took me and my cousin home to my grandma's with her after Christmas dinner. A big new event, spending Christmas night away from home. Not sure why I thought it was such a big deal, Christmas was over. Anyway, to get back on topic, she took us home with her specifically to show us her favourite movie, Dr. Zhivago.

I loved it even then. The three of us opened out the pull out couch, an ugly, scratchy brown, uncomfortable thing, got lots of afghans and quilts and stayed up very late, glued to the screen. Then my aunt wore her Lara hat for the rest of the holidays and wished she was Lara.

Years later I picked up the novel in a bookstore on my way to the airport for a long flight home (at Christmas...). I didn't get to it, because I had two books with me and while I made decent progress on the other book, I slept most of the way to make up for the lack of sleep the previous two days.

When I finally read it, I was amazed that I enjoyed it sooooooo much. I don't often enjoy reading books after seeing the movie - the other way around isn't so bad. I just feel like they did an excellent job of adapting it and keeping the tone and atmosphere the book creates. And Omar Sharif and Julie Christie are perfect in their roles.

So good.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 15: What is your favourite book dealing with foreign culture

I had a really hard time with this question. I don't know why, there isn't really a reason for it...I finally decided on Edward Rutherfurd's London. Mostly because I love London. Love it. And I loved this book that took me from the beginning of time (well, not really but Julius Caesar is kind of the beginning of time!) to the more modern London that I know and love. Maybe this question should be what is your favourite epic...because I think I maybe loved James Michener's Hawaii almost as much.

Is it cheating that both books are about foreign cultures, but I've lived both places and would be glad to spend the rest of my days shuttling around between here and those two???

While both are obviously novels, I loved how they felt so real and described things so different from my world. Come of that foreign culture is foreign because it's a different place, but some of it is different because it's a different time. They did things differently during the plague in London that they do here in Vancouver or than they do now in London.

And do you know why (according to Michener, I have no idea if it's actually true) why women weren't allowed to eat bananas?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ever heard of Teaser Tuesdays?

No? Me either until today.

I discovered them on Should Be Reading via Must Read Faster.

Here's the drill:

teaser tuesday
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I need a new book, but I am kind of reading this one. So, my teaser is:

But then came autumn and the equinoctial gales began to blow, stripping the trees of their leaves as if they were disgraced. The lake turned grey and sullen and the swells weren't gentle anymore: they heaved ominously, and tattered rags of spray blew off their tops.

The Other Side of the Bridge, Mary Lawson, page 95

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT
with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Day 14: What book should be on a required reading list for high school or college?

I had a hard time with this question and ultimately, I have no answer.

Anything I came up with, like To Kill a Mockingbird was something I had read (or should have read) when I was in high school or university. (I say should have read because I switched schools in grade eleven and it seems, in retrospect, that a lot of the high school cannon was reversed between the curricula of the two schools. Books like The Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies were read after I left one school and before I got to the other. Some books, I read twice, because the opposite was true [Hamlet was one of those - I think I read it four consecutive years or something silly like that]. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit I still haven't gotten around to reading The Catcher in the Rye or Lord of the Flies. Maybe they will show up in my challenge to myself!)

The only book that I can think of that maybe should be on a required list is The Little Prince. It's just such a good little book...and I read it so long ago that I can't really discuss it properly.

What book do you think should be required reading?

Monday, August 23, 2010

I want one...

the ultimate bookcaseThis thing of beauty was featured on Apartment Therapy. If I had one, I don't think I'd even come out again! Do you think it has a bathroom hidden somewhere in there? I love it!

Day 13: What was your favourite childhood book?

This was even harder than the first question. I decided one picture book and one chapter book. But of course, I couldn't choose between two picture books, so it's two picture books and one chapter book.

1 and 2. Winter Wedding, Robert Welber and Maisie Middleton, Nina Sowter

Theses were two of my absolute favourites as a child.

I renamed myself to include Maisie Middleton in my name when I was about 3 years old. This book was about Maisie who got up before it was time to get up and got herself (and her animals dressed) and cleaned up. Then she woke up her daddy who made her a burnt breakfast and fell asleep on the stairs. So she made her own breakfast of cakes and jello and all kinds of good things. It's British and I think maybe it's out of print.

I don't remember a whole lot about Winter Wedding except that we took it out of the library a lot when I was little and then one of my sisters gave it to me for Christmas. They were babies. Like maybe 8 months old. And I was surprised they knew what to pick for me. But I was happy! And I loved it. It was my favourite story - a little boy and little girl build a fort at daycare/preschool and get married and in the spring a plant grows. There was more to it than that, but I can't remember it off the top of my head. I think this one might be out of print as well!

I still have both of them in a safe place for J when she's old enough to read them.

3. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

This was the very first book I read so much that it fell apart. And being me, I still have it. I never got another copy, I just taped it back together. I remember being outraged at how Mary was treated when her parents died. I still love how this angry, unsociable, spoiled little girl becomes self-assured and good company!

What were your favourite books when you were a kid? I've left off a bunch like anything Roald Dahl and The Story Girl (Lucy Maud Montgomery).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 12: What book was so emotionally draining you couldn't complete it or had to set it aside for a bit?

Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!









As much as this book is one of my top books, it's hard to read. but before I get to that, one of the reasons this book is one of my favourites is because it's written in a circle. It ends where it started. I discovered that by accident as it was a book I'd taken with me to Australia, hoping that because it was thick and I was going to be busy it would last me a good chunk of my nine weeks there. Yeah. No such luck. I had it finished by the second week. And at that point I'd even spent ten days at a friend's house and read books she owned instead of my own to make Fall on Your Knees last longer.

When I finished it, I flipped it back to the beginning to check something and for some reason started reading from page one again. Yup. Big circle.

So, it was hard to read the first time, but I found it harder to read the second and third times because of the way it is written. Some of the incest scenes are so well written that what's actually happening in them isn't necessarily apparent until details are revealed later on. But knowing the plot, well, they're not hidden any longer when you re-read the book.

What book drained you emotionally?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 11: Name the book that made you fall in love with reading

There isn't one.

Reading has always been a big part of my life - I don't remember not reading. My parents introduced books to us when we were just tiny babies, so our love of reading isn't tied to any particular book, just to reading.

We started looking at books with J when she was just weeks old. Now one of her favourite things to do is read. She's already trying to get us to read her more before she goes to bed. If we tell her she can have two stories before bed, she usually comes back with two - in each hand!

Is there a book that made you fall in love with reading?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 10: What is the first novel you remember reading?

Easy! Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. I don't think it was actually the very first (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator probably happened first), but it was early on! I took it out of the school library and I think I was in kindergarten. It was one of the first "chapter books" I read with my mom. I loved it. I still remember how they used raisin filled with something as bait. I think I need to reread it (or maybe I should wait three years and read it with my five year old).

I can't remember the first novel I read on my own...probably something not very exciting or maybe something "old fashioned" (meaning: belonged to my mom or my aunts or uncle) from my grandma's book cases.

The first novel my mom and I read together that I actually read out loud from was The Story Girl by L. M. Montgomery. That's one of my favourites of hers.

What was your first novel?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 9: Name a book you've read more than once

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.

This is a book I've read a few times now. It's soooooo good. And it has twists. And every time I read it, I see things I missed or I'd forgotten.

My book club even read this book. And my dad. And he liked it.

I haven't read it for a while, so I'm not sure what to say about it and I don't want to spoil it if you haven't read it...

Have you read Middlesex? What did you think?

Maybe I'll add it to my list for next year's challenge!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 8: What unpopular book do you think should be a best seller?

Huh?

Again...strange question. And I don't have an answer to it.

I think bestsellers have some strange pull to them or their authors. If you look at the bestseller list it tends to be either wonderfully written books with authors who may or may not be established and recognizable OR they are books by authors who are well known and may or may not be good writers.

Not everything I read falls into either of these categories. I read random books. I sometimes choose books by their covers (sometimes that works, sometimes it's horrible). Sometimes I choose books because they're on some newspaper's top ten list or because the Chapters website suggests something. Sometimes I read something that has been given to me as a gift or that a friend has lent to me with high praise.

I kind of feel like being a best seller doesn't make a book a good book nor does it mean that book is not good, it just means that it's summertime and 83,298,392 people bought the newest (name your favourite mass produced pocket paperback writer here) book to read at the beach or the cottage or in the hammock in the backyard.

Silly question.

What do you think?!?!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 7 : What is a book you found hard to read?

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!








There are so many ways this could be interpreted. But I chose to it to mean difficult in terms of subject, not writing style.

When I was in second year, I had to read Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison for one of my classes. It was hard. There is abuse. There is rape. I can't remember it entirely, but I do remember it taking a long time to read and that I had to put it down and come back to it on more than one occasion. It drove me nuts that the mother of the little girl (Bone) allowed her to be hurt is so many ways.

I don't have much to say on this - partly because it was so hard to read and partly because I read it so long ago I can't remember the details. It's in my bookcase at home, but I'm not sure that I will ever reread it.

Oh, and they made a movie of it - I haven't seen it though.

Have you read this book? What is the book you have found hardest to read?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bonus Book: The Constant Princess

I've read a few Philippa Gregory books and quite enjoyed them. I started The Constant Princess when we were on holiday in July and then picked up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Constant Princess was forgotten. Until I got a notice from the library on Saturday reminding me that it is due back on Wednesday and I've used up all my renewals on it.

the constant princessugh...must stop being lazy and delete the old photos on my memory cards so I can use my camera and not my phone for these pictures

So, I looked and it and figured I could read it four nights - I was halfway through it after all. Heck, technically I had five nights because as long as it was in the return box before the library opened on Thursday, they consider it being returned on Wednesday.

I finished all but about 25 pages of it on Saturday. And the rest of it before breakfast yesterday.

And I was disappointed. It wasn't that good. And I kept reading because I was hoping it would get better.

I enjoyed it up until Arthur dies. Then it just annoyed me. And that's when The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo made her appearance (it's also when I started getting sprinkled by the beach some other reader took the book to).

So, when I picked it up again, I thought it might be better, maybe a little vacation from it would help. But no.

It still annoyed me.

Part of it was the way King Henry, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella all treated Catalina while she awaited her fate after the death of Arthur (which is essentially based on fact and was not out of the ordinary for the time) and the various voices used to tell the story. I'm not entirely convinced by the alternating narration and found it hard to read. Catalina's (later Katherine's) thoughts seemed overly whiny to me.

While this wasn't my favourite Philippa Gregory novel, I would definitely read more of her books - historical fiction is one of my favourite genres.

Day 6: Which book made you cry?

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!







Umm...again with the weird phrasing...since more than one book has made me cry. I mentioned one such book in my first post for this challenge.

But the all time winner for most tears and most heart wrenching and most gut-turning-make-me-want-throw-up cry is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenenger. (Until I read this book, it was a book that I read when I was a kid about a girl whose dad dies from cancer and her struggle from the time of diagnosis until the year after he died. I cried a lot. I can't remember what it was called though.)

I have read this book a few times and even though I know what's going to happen, I still sob when I reach the part where Henry dies. I get all teary now when they mention the deer dying for the first time and it's just foreshadowing. But I know that Henry is going to die in a few hundred pages and I cry. And then when he does die. UGH.

The last time I read this book, I actually had to put it down and come back later. Because I was crying too much to see the words.

The first time I read it, I stayed up into the wee hours to finish it. Alex was working nights and I finished it just before he got home. I couldn't turn the light off I was so upset, so when he came home I was in bed, asleep, with the light on and I had a soaking wet pillow and puffy eyes and cheeks. He woke me up to see what was wrong - fearing the worst about some unknown friend or family member - and of course before I could tell him it was just a book, I started crying.

Seriously, this book is at the top of my list for all time favourites. And it will make you cry. My sister, who never cries at books, cried. A lot.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 5: What non-fiction book did you actually enjoy?

Okay, so I hate this question. What does it mean? That as a reader I'm not supposed to enjoy non-fiction? And this riled me up so much it took me a VERY LONG TIME to come up with a non-fiction book I "actually" enjoyed.

But first. Non-fiction is a broad that pretty much means anything that's not fiction. I checked out a few definitions and decided to go with Wikipedia's definition...after ready the section on major types of non-fiction, I finally decided on a book.

It was hard. And there were a few others, but some I've already mentioned on this blog and others I'll be mentioning later on in this challenge.

The book I decided on was Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.

Even though this a cookbook, I actually read it. From cover to cover. Now, I didn't read every word, but I did read it. It has a longer introduction than most cookbooks and it talks about Jamie Oliver's project and his goals with this cookbook, in particular his challenge to teach some of the recipes to someone else. It also has numerous anecdotes throughout from people who have participated in his programs. And it has recipes.

Recipes that made my tummy grumble even though I read it one evening after dinner. So I wasn't actually hungry. Mmmmm...

While we haven't cooked anything from here yet (just waiting for it to cool off a bit so we can use the oven again), I'm very excited to use this book. J and I gave it to Alex for his birthday because come September and a change in routine for all of us, Alex will be doing a lot of the cooking. The first section, 20 minute meals, was the real selling point! We'll see how it goes!

Have you ever read a cookbook? Have you made anything out of this particular cookbook? What work(s) of non-fiction did you "actually" enjoy?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 4: What book reminds you of home?

Umm...yeah. This is a hard question. I have a bunch of definitions of home. Home is a number of places, some that I no longer reside at and some that I no longer have any kind of connection to.

And the home I decided on was one of those no connection places.

We lived in the same house until I was fifteen and the books that remind me of that house are the Little House books. I remember waking up before everyone else and reading in bed until my dad kicked me out to go to school. And then I'd read at the table (if I could get away with it) and in my desk at school and as soon as I got home from school. I was like that with lots of books, but I remember reading the Little House books in particular. It was winter and it was still dark and cold when I woke up, but it was worth it! Years later I reread The Long Winter for a class and it was dark and winter then too and I remember feeling the blizzard and having to be wrapped in a quilt the whole time.

Reading was a big part of growing up for me - my parents, sisters and many of my friends were also voracious readers. Because I read growing up, I still read now, so picking one single book to represent home was not an easy tasks.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 3: A book that completely surprised you (good or bad)

That would have to be Harry Potter.

Yes.

Harry Potter.

And it surprised me in a good way. A very good way.

When book four came out, I was living in London, on my way back to Canada. I caught all the hype. And I couldn't figure out what was supposed to be so great about this silly book that had been in the news for ages.

And then, well, then I was at my aunt and uncle's after I came home. I'd been to a wedding the night before and when I got up, everyone was out on a bike ride or something. I wasn't sure what to do with myself until they came home, so I picked up this silly Harry Potter book and thought I'd check out the first chapter. I didn't think I'd read much further than that.

Um. Yeah. I think I'd read the first three books by the time I went to bed the next night.

And when books seven came out in 2007, guess who went to the big launch party at VanDusen garden...yup...me...

What book(s) surprised you? Were you as surprised as I was about Harry Potter?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 2: What is your least favourite book?

Ugh. Hard question.

I'm going to go with Moby Dick (Herman Melville) because I didn't enjoy reading it at all and I never actually finished it. Which means a lot because I like to punish myself by forcing myself to read books until the last page even if I'm not really enjoying them. I can't remember a lot about it other than those were painful classes and painful times trying to read the book. I felt like it was dry and endless.

I know I wasn't a huge fan of Life Before Man (Margaret Atwood) or Vanity Fair (William Makepeace Thackeray) or Middlemarch (George Eliot), but I can't think of anything else at the moment - I'm sure there have been a number of books I haven't enjoyed, but maybe I've just suppressed the memories very very well! I also think that certain books might not be very good at certain times in our life, but we may enjoy them at another time.

I read The Sound and The Fury (William Faulkner) in grade eleven and hated it. I had to read Light in August when I was in university and while I was dreading reading another Faulkner, I really enjoyed it. I went back and reread The Sound and The Fury and discovered it was quite good, I just probably wasn't mature enough for it at age 16. So all four books mentioned in here might get a different reception if I were to read them today!

Did you enjoy any of the books I didn't like? Did you also dislike them? Is your memory better than mine and you remember why you liked or disliked them? What are your least favourite books?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest

Yesterday I could barely keep my eyes open.

And I blame it all on this book!

the girl who kicked the hornet's nest

On Monday, while Alex was doing some stuff in the kitchen and I was waiting for him to finish so I could do the dishes, I decided I'd take some me time (instead of, you know, doing some laundry or something else productive) and read. I was about half way into this book and I'd been taking it slow - a few chapters here, a few chapters there.

Well.

HA!

I'm not going to spoil it for you, but at the end of the book there is a trial. And it takes up a good part of the last 100 pages (yes, I do read ridiculously fast when I'm not being interrupted).

So I just started the trial and Alex simultaneously finished in the kitchen. Off I trundled to do the dishes. And then go to bed. Except. Well. This book had my attention. More than either of the previous books. And I NEEDED to know what happened. And I needed to know NOW. So I stayed up way past my bed time reading. And I finished the book. And then I didn't sleep very well at all because my mind was racing and trying to figure out where Stieg Larsson was going with this series before he died.

Verdict: READ THESE BOOKS. But do it when you have lots of time and can read all night if you have to.

I don't want to say too much because I know not everyone has read them...if you have read them, are there any characters that you wonder about? There are a few names that have been strategically dropped and I wonder what would have happened in the subsequent books. There is one female in particular who I think would likely have figured very prominently in the later part of the series.

So, if you've read these, leave your thoughts and comments in the comment section. I'd love to hear what you thought about any or all of these books!

If you haven't read these and would like to, assume that entering the comment section means you're opening yourself up to spoilers!

Day 1: What is your favourite book?

This was a very hard question. I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it some more.

And still couldn't come up with only one book. But I looked at the other questions and I tried not to duplicate anything if I could help it.

So. Two of my favourite books, in order of how I discovered them.

1. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

I don't know when I got this book - but it's in tatters. I love it.

It also made me very mad in some parts (and still makes me mad, although not as mad).

I hated Amy (now I just dislike her and think she's a bit spoiled and petty), but I still have a hard time with the Laurie-Amy marriage. For a long time I didn't understand why Alcott decided that Jo and Laurie should not be together, but now, I get it. And I understand why Amy needed Laurie so she could leave Europe and come home but I look at their marriage as one that might be a bit strained. Laurie married Amy so he could be a part of the March family even if he couldn't have Jo (who I think he is still hopelessly in love with). Amy was constantly trying to show Jo up (burning her first novel, taking her place with Aunt March) and I feel like Amy marrying Laurie was just another one of those incidents.

I loved gentle, sweet, kind Beth. I still cry and cry and cry whenever I read those pages where she dies. And I know what's going to happen. It's not a secret. But I cry.

I haven't read this for a while but I think I should go back and reread it just so I can remember all of the other reasons why I love it!

2. The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

I got this for my 17th birthday. I took it with me to a family reunion and one afternoon I retreated to the front seat of the van for a rest (we were camping in tents). I didn't come out except to eat. I loved this book. It was written so poetically and beautifully and the story was gripping too.

I took this book back to boarding school with me and it actually made it onto our curriculum for grade twelve.

I have two copies of it, I love it that much. I have one that has scribbles in it from four or five people who read it pretty much simultaneously and one "good" copy. The messy copy has bath warped pages and travelled Europe, Australia and New Zealand with me. It's one of those books I would insist on packing I was ever told I had a limited number of books I could move with me.

What is/are your favourite book(s)? Have you read either of my two favourites? What did you think?

Monday, August 9, 2010

A different kind of challenge

So, when I started this blog, I thought it might get me to write a little more often...maybe...but, well, life is busy.

Then I found a 30 day book challenge. There are 30 questions relating to reading and books. I'm going to post them one day at a time and I'd like to invite you to comment on any/all/none of them...

In order to give myself a bit of time to think and get ready, I'm going to start publishing them on Wednesday, August 11. There will be 30. Join in at any time!

And, because the challenge is about books, it might give some of us (all of us?) ideas for books we might be interested in reading.