03 August 2012

TBR: Classics Challenge

I love classic literature (mostly of the English/French variety), but I often push it aside to read something new and popular (and, let's face it, dystopian and/or mystery-ish). New books are always going to be hitting the shelves, though, so if I keep waiting until I read everything contemporary, I'll never get back to my old favorites. So I've challenged myself to read more classics in 2013 (yep, thinking ahead already). This challenge is in addition to another challenge I've set for myself, which I'll discuss in a separate post. For now, here are the classics I hope to read sooner rather than later:

Classics Challenge! 2013
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes (A.C. Doyle) (This will be a continuation of what I've already started. I have 2 of the novels left and I think 3 story collections.)
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (Howard Pyle)
  • A Passage to India (E.M. Forster)
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel (Baroness Emmuska Orczy)
  • The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
  • Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
  • Vanity Fair (William Makepeace Thackeray)
  • Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte)
  • All of Jane Austen's novels (Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Lady Susan, Love & Freindship [sic])
Hm, I wonder if I could apply for a grant that will just let me read?

02 July 2012

Timeless (Gail Carriger)

Timeless is the fifth and final book in the Parasol Protectorate series, and I loved it. It sends our fearless heroine and her family to Egypt in order to meet with the world's oldest vampire. Of course, hijinks ensue. If you haven't been introduced to this series yet, it contains the following elements: Victorian London, steampunk, international intrigue, vampires, werewolves, and a healthy dose of wit and whimsy. Timeless, along with the first two (Soulless and Changeless) are my favorites in the series.

Gail Carriger is also working on a young adult series that takes place in the same world, as well as a series based on the heroine's daughter. I'm very excited for both of these to hit bookshelves posthaste. 

Now off to have a cuppa...

28 June 2012

Insurgent (Veronica Roth)

I finally got around to reading Insurgent, the second in the Divergent trilogy, which came out in May. I loved it. I love that the main character is flawed and that her decisions aren't - and can't be - black and white. I don't want to say anymore out of fear of spoiling people, but suffice it to say: if you enjoy dystopian fiction and fast-paced plots, you should get your hands on this trilogy now. 

(The third is yet-to-be-published, but I think it will be worth the wait.)

30 May 2012

Never Tell (Alafair Burke)

Never Tell is a crime novel I picked up at our sales meeting, and I could not put it down. It's part of the author's Ellie Hatcher series, and I look forward to reading her others. It was like reading a Law & Order episode, and that is high praise coming from me. I've never read a straight-up crime novel before; I tend to prefer cozy mysteries. But this novel (about a young socialite who apparently committed suicide, but whose parents demand was murdered) was full of twists and turns and kept me reading way past my bedtime. My fear with reading crime has always been gore or graphic violence, but Burke does a really nice job of showing just enough without crossing into gruesomeness, which I personally dislike.

So yeah, I'm excited this was my introduction to crime novels and I look forward to reading more.

The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)

I hadn't read any John Green before FioS, but had always heard amazing things about his writing. This book lived up to his reputation, and it absolutely wrecked me. It's about a teen girl battling cancer and her relationship with a fellow cancer survivor. It's incredibly poignant and beautiful and damn if it didn't make me appreciate all the small (and large) blessings I have in my life.

It was a very triggering story for me, as my dad is battling cancer right now. I sobbed the entire way to book club. I sobbed after book club. I was wreck the entire day I finished this book. But I wouldn't trade that catharsis for anything. It's almost too personal to write about here, but Green expresses some truths about life and death that  really resonated for me.

I'm looking forward to reading his other work, and I can't recommend The Fault in Our Stars enough. Even if you think you don't like YA, trust me: you will like this book.

In other news, I haven't gotten much reading done, but I'm hoping to get into Insurgent this weekend. Also, I impulse-purchased The Secret Circle trilogy for my Kindle. My special man friend and I were watching the show, and I couldn't remember much from reading the series, oh, 20 years ago. But I remember loving it, so I bought the books to re-read. So cheesy, so fun.

19 April 2012

A Correction and The Selection

A correction to my last post: George R. R. Martin’s epic series is called A Song of Ice and Fire, and the first book is Game of Thrones. A Song of Ice and Fire sounds more like a Johnny Weir skate show, but I digress.

I read The Selection by Kiera Cass, yet another entry into the YA dystopia trilogy market. A young girl is picked by lottery to compete for the prince’s heart, and the competition is filmed and played for the nation. It’s definitely more for romance readers; there are only a few hints as to what makes the society dystopic, and they weren’t explored enough to hold my interest. I recommend Selection for teens who love romance mixed with reality TV. I prefer my dystopias grittier with much higher stakes.

11 April 2012

The First 10 Pages of Game of Thrones

Yeah. So I read the first ten pages of the first Game of Thrones book. I can’t even remember what it’s called. Dance of Songs? Throne of Fire*? Fire with Ice**? Like I said before, I am really not into high fantasy. So while I can appreciate the huge fanbase this series has, it’s just not my cup of tea. Maybe I should watch the show and then I’d be interested in the books. It happened with Lord of the Rings; it could happen here.

*Other uses for Throne of Fire: “Have you heard my new metal band, Throne of Fire?” “Those tacos were so good, but man, I’m gonna be sitting on the throne of fire tonight!”

**Also the name of Ice-T’s new reality show where he fires people a la George Clooney in Up in the Air.