Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Friday, December 23, 2011

Year-End Wrap Up Post: Best Of Lists, Challenges & Holiday Break

Please excuse the extra-long post but this is an exciting time of year and there's a lot to be shared about this first year (and a half) of book blogging!  I sure hope everyone else's year was as good for reading as mine was.  In a word: Wow!  In just 1 1/2 years of book blogging, the number of books I read (compared to last year, from what I can remember) has increased more than three-fold, and the quality of books read has been incredible, thanks to recommendations from book bloggers and from sucking it up and digging into some classics I would not likely have thought to try.


Books Read:  56 (40 fiction, 16 nonfiction)
*For a complete list of books read in 2011, see Books Read by Year.
Pages Read:  21 097
Average Page Count:  366 (probably skewed due to the two 1000+ page whoppers in the list)
Shortest Book:  The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway (93 pages)
Longest Book:  The Stand- Stephen King (1141 pages)

*Note:  These are only for books that were reviewed in 2011:
A+ Books: 11
A Books:  26 (Very lucky)
B Books:  9
C Books:  4
D Books:  0 (Whew!)
DNFs:  4

Most Read Authors:  Stephen King (8), J.K. Rowling (7), John Irving (2)
Series Read:  Harry Potter (7), 1 each of Kinsey Millhone, Dark Tower, Hitchhikers, Chronicles of Narnia
New (to me) Authors:  Ian McEwan, Alexandre Dumas, Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, Khaled Hosseini, David Sedaris, Jeffrey Eugenides, Elie Wiesel, Ernest Hemingway, Daphne du Maurier, Bill Bryson, Frank McCourt, Michael Chabon


Most Surprising (in a good way)
Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
Going in, I thought this book would have aged terribly.  It definitely hasn't.  An amazing book.

Most Suspenseful
The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas
Every chapter ended on a cliffhanger!

The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams
Caution: Having a drink while reading this book risks having it spurt out your nose :D

Various stories from Night Shift and Full Dark, No Stars, both by Stephen King
In short: rats, dead bodies coming to life, finding out your husband is a killer, slimy spiders, killer military toys, walking a 5-inch ledge on a skyscraper's top floor, quit smoking at the expense of your sanity, and mowing the lawn (yup, even that one's scary).

A Short Guide to Nearly Everything- Bill Bryson
The science class everyone should have been in.

Sense & Sensibility- Jane Austen
This story has stayed with me since I read it.  Beautiful, romantic, funny, what's not to love?

Alice in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll
I saw the Disney movie countless times as a kid but never read the book.  It was a sweet and
funny read.


*Note:  It was impossible to narrow each category down to a single choice.  Forgive the cop-out :)

Favourite Characters:  Col. Brandon (Sense & Sensibility), Noirtier de Villefort (The Count of Monte Cristo), Prof. Snape (Harry Potter series, especially in The Deathly Hallows), Mick Kelly (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter), Hassan (The Kite Runner), Dill (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Favourite Villains:  Zaphrod Beeblebrox (Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy), Annie Wilkes (Misery), Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix), Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray), Mrs. Danvers (Rebecca)

Favourite Series:  Harry Potter, of course!  I had a fantastic time reading the whole series (the last 4 books for the first time).

Favourite Quotations: 
"For you, a thousand times over" - Hassan, The Kite Runner
"To your sister I wish all imaginable happiness; to Willoughby that he may endeavour to deserve her" - Col. Brandon, Sense and Sensibility
"Curiouser and curiouser" - Alice, Alice in Wonderland
"Come back to me" - Celia, Atonement
"'Forty-two,'" said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm." - The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy


*Note:  These may include books written before (often long before) 2011.

10)  Bag of Bones- Stephen King
9)  The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams
8)  Night- Elie Wiesel
7)  The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini
6)  The Boy in the Striped Pajamas- John Boyne
5)  To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee (this was a re-read but I can't exclude it from the list)
4)  Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
3)  The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas
2)  Sense & Sensibility- Jane Austen
...*drumroll please*...
1)  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- J.K. Rowling


Always pack a towel--it will become very useful (The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy)
Don't trust a cat with green eyes (Pet Sematary)
Teach recipes in English class (Teacher Man)
A dead dog and a tuba will fit snugly but perfectly in the trunk of a car (Wonder Boys)
*Note:  I sure hope I never have to apply this lesson in my life.
Trust the memory of an elephant (Water For Elephants)
Watch your step lest you tumble down a rabbit hole...then again, go ahead (Alice in Wonderland)

*Special thanks to the hosts:  Sarah, Beth, Katy, Book Vixen & Carolyn :)

This is my first time participating in challenges and I managed to finish all 5 I signed up for.  I found by taking it easy with the number I signed up for (and believe me, it was hard to resist signing up for many, many more!), I could manage them and not feel like every book I read had to apply to one of them.  That right mix of flexibility and structure was just what I needed.

I read 26 books for 4 challenges with specific categories, and of course, all books counted towards the Outdo Yourself challenge.  For a complete list of books read for these challenges, visit my Challenges Checklist.

Back to the Classics
Wow, this was a very successful challenge!  After a couple of false starts on original book choices, I settled in and was not disappointed by any on this list.  I've already signed up for the encore challenge in 2012.
Favourite Book:  How do you choose between the A+s in this list?!

What's in a Name 4
A unique challenge that made me think outside the box to fit the title to the category.  I've already signed up for What's in a Name 5. 
Favourite Book:  A tough choice but I'd have to go with Fahrenheit 451.  It was very ahead
of its time and is important for everyone to read about the scary potential of losing the power and impact of the written word.

1st in a Series (level: Series Lover, 6 books)
This got me to read the entire Harry Potter series and get a jumpstart on The Chronicles of Narnia.  How could I lose? 
Favourite Book:  Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone, an infectious start to a wonderful

Stephen King (level: 6 books, plus 2 more)
Being a huge SK fan since I was a teenager, this was impossible to resist.  I read mostly older books of his with just one new one (I'll get to 11/22/63 next year).
Favourite Book:  Definitely Bag of Bones.  It was unlike any other Stephen King book I've read, surprised me in so many ways and not since The Mist have I read an SK book that stays with me long after reading it.

Outdo Yourself  (level:  I'm on Fire, 16+ more books)
I actually read 36 more books than last year!  My numbers from last year aren't exact, but from memory, I counted 17 books, and this year I read 53.  Yowzah! :D

I'm looking forward to seeing how you all did this year and your reading plans for 2012.  Have a wonderful holiday, enjoy yourself, and keep safe and warm, if you get any snow...remember snow?  It's that white fluff that usually falls sometime in December.  Yeah, I'm starting to forget what it looks like, too, and I live in Canada :D

I will be taking a break from book blogging to relax and enjoy the holidays from now until January 9th.  I may pop on occasionally but won't be doing reviews or memes until then.  I'll return with a book loot post should Santa leave any books under the tree ;)

All the best for a happy holiday and New Year!

The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History- John Ortved

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  2009
Pages:  332
ISBN:  9781553657965
Genre:  Nonfiction, TV history/criticism

Started:  Dec. 9, 2011
Finished:  Dec. 13, 2011 (4 days)

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  I'm a Simpsons aficionado and love the cultural history books on the show.

Summary:  A compilation of interviews and author commentary on the development of The Simpsons and its behind-the-scenes dramas.


John Ortved obviously has a passion for The Simpsons and for clarifying misguided lore of its ludicrous media coverage, both before and during the advent of the Internet. Ortved provides an "oral" history of sorts by cleverly editing quotations from prior magazine, TV and radio bits with the three wise men of the show's creation: Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon, and snippets from his own interviews, mostly with staff readers likely won't recognize by name, let alone place in the show's history, and very few heavyweights.  With that impression, you should know that this book is definitely not for casual viewers or readers.

Some chapters were worthwhile and would have been even better if they had been expanded to supercede the more gossipy, less focussed chapters with he said/she said speculations that start becoming redundant.  The chapters most worthwhile were on the writers, the guest voices, and the process of writing funny gags and clever or touching stories with the right dash of cultural reference and satirical irony. 

Conan O'Brien provides hilarious anecdotes of his time (post-Saturday Night Live, pre-late night talk shows) as a Simpsons writer--he is responsible, along with writer George Meyer, for the funniest episodes in the show's history, and Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane graciously acknowledges the Simpsons' influence on his show's success.  Ortved also breaks mythological barriers surrounding stories of Groening being the sole creator and mastermind behind the show--his legendary Midas touch is not without the influence of producers Brooks and Simon, both of whom had prior success jumpstarting Taxi and The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Conflicts over money and shareholder rights leave you feeling like not all is well in Springfield when everyone's hands dive into the money pit for their fair share of the show's success and the bottom tier of animators, colourists, and other contributors receive less adequate compensation than network executives.

Ortved references my favourite book on The Simpsons, Chris Turner's exhaustive but fantastic Planet Simpsons, which is more in-depth on the show's significance in pop culture, seasonal trends, individual episodes, quotations, and even gag descriptions, most of the above being fan favourites, and characters ranging from the recognizable Simpsons clan to the more anonymous Comic Book Guy, Bumblebee Man and Squeaky-Voiced Teen.  However, long-time fans of The Simpsons will probably be as powerless to resist this book as Homer is to a sprinkle-covered donut.

Rank:  (B)- Good, Maybe Read It

It- Stephen King

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1980
Pages:  1090
ISBN:  9780451169518
Genre:  Horror

Started:  Nov. 13, 2011
Finished:  Nov. 30, 2011 (18 days)

Where Found: Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  Was recommended from several book bloggers

Summary:  A group of 7 childhood friends come together again as adults in their haunted hometown of Derry, Maine to ward off a shapeshifting demon who has terrorized and killed over generations and was thought to have been vanguished but has returned after remaining silent for 25 years.


I was surprised to find that this novel is nearly as long as Stephen King's most massive undertakings, The Stand and Under the Dome yet in relatively the same number of pages, he weaves a story more focused on the gang of seven and less varied than the other massive doorstop novels with casts of characters bigger than a Kennedy family reunion.

Without the undertones of supernatural phenomena, It reads like a serial killer novel, but definitely not a typical one.  The seven childhood friends all grow up to have successful jobs but each have a troubling personal problem that has lingered with them for most of their lives, from stuttering to psychosomatic disorder, to sexual abuse, and in a terrifying cycle, all are bound to relive the hauntings of their childhood at the hands of an otherworldly creature they thought they had vanquished.

Stan and Mike were my favourite characters: both awkward, shy, introverted outsiders to the gang of seven, yet vital to the story's progression, and the only two of the gang to have the strongest memories of their childhood encounters with It. 

The ending comes off like a fairy tale (a bit dopey but it made me smile) and you come away thinking that things are bound to cycle back around again.  It is a worthwhile read with an exciting and layered story.  At least one character should remind you of someone you know from childhood--King has a penchant for writing diverse child characters so accurately.  It didn't wow me as much as my follow-up read, Bag of Bones, but was a solid investment.

Rank:  (A)- Very Enjoyable, Highly Recommend

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bag of Bones- Stephen King

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1998 (original version; I read the 10th anniversary edition)
Pages:  548
ISBN:  9781439106211
Genre:  Mystery/Horror

Started:  Dec. 1, 2011
Finished:  Dec. 9, 2011 (9 days)

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  It's no secret that I love Stephen King books.  This one was recommended by Two Bibliomaniacs.  Thanks :)

Summary:  A writer whose wife died suddenly 4 years ago returns to their summer retreat, Sara Laughs, where he encounters supernatural phenomena coinciding with the custodial struggle of a young mother with a precocious 3-year-old against the wealthy psychotic father of her dead husband.


If Daphne du Maurier and Ray Bradbury had a child who wrote a book, would your first guess to his/her identity be Stephen King?  Me neither.

King enters vaguely familiar territory without veering too far from his background in horror fiction with the shocking backstory that is slowly unveiled as writer Mike Noonan (in a thinly disguised likeness of the author) tries to resolve a three-fold mystery: the bizarre nature of his wife's sudden, tragic death; the cause and source of eerie ghost-like behaviour in the house: a bell that rings on its own, refrigerator letter magnets that spell cryptic messages, thumping that responds to yes/no questions, and deathly screams he recognizes as those of his wife's, and the crotchety multi-millionnaire along with his skeletal crone of a constant companion seeking to ruin his widowed daughter-in-law through any means necessary to fight custody of his 3-year-old granddaughter who quickly forms a significant bond with Mike.  Whew...

It takes time for the ball to get rolling and even then the writing is so absorbing that you don't tire of it at all, but in no time, it all comes barreling down the hill.  Like a typically clever mystery, your suspicions are many, but your accuracies are few.  When du Maurier rests and Bradbury reigns over King's brilliant duality of style, the mystery once a tough coconut to crack gets to the centre core and the result is certainly sweet...and a tad bitter.

No Stephen King fan should ignore this book and any dissuaders of his should take notice: I've never been more confident in reviewing a Stephen king book (and I've reviewed 16 of them), and neither should you in reading it.

Rank:  (A+)- One of His Best, Must-Read

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday- Holiday Book Wish List

A weekly meme hosted @ The Broke and the Bookish.

I haven't participated in this meme in some time but this week's topic is irresistible :)

1)  11/22/63- Stephen King
His latest is getting lots of great reviews.  Time travel, alternative history...juicy.

2)  Seriously...I'm Kidding- Ellen DeGeneres
If it's anything like Ellen's show, this should be a cozy barrel of laughs :)

3)  Are You There, God?  It's Me, Margaret- Judy Blume
A children's classic I've never read.  I've got to see what all the fuss is about.

4)  Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck
I've never read anything by John Steinbeck and I'm determined to get a move on.

5)  Karlology- Karl Pilkington
I love The Ricky Gervais Show and Karl's naive, all-too-serious quips are priceless.

6)  Sense & Sensibility- Jane Austen
Sad fact:  I have a copy of this book already (and it's a good, pocket-sized edition) but I have cover envy.  I love the Penguin classics hardcover edition.  And I have the same type of edition of Emma, Lady Chatterley's Lover, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and a similar one of Pride & Prejudice.  And it's preeeetttyyy...

7)  Last Night in Twisted River- John Irving
I've read 3 Irving books and can't get enough.  It's been some time since I've read something of his and have had all good things about his latest.

8)  Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland- Gerald Clarke
This biography is supposedly being adapted into a biopic with Anne Hathaway.  I love the TV-movie with Judy Davis and Garland's life with all its ups and downs was fascinating.

9)  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings- Maya Angelou
A classic I've been meaning to read for some time.

10)  Contact- Carl Sagan
I need more science fiction (or maybe it should be called science almost-fact, given the accuracies of so many classic books in this genre).  The movie was quite underrated, probably because of silly controversy over the subject matter.

Hope Santa is good to you.  If you've been naughty, you'll get the most boring, long-winded, stream-of-consciousness book with unrelatable characters, no discernible plot, no quotation marks to indicate dialogue, and will be full of typos.  Or Twilight.  Whichever is worse :)  (No offense to visitors who like Twilight--it was the easiest title to poke fun at).

Monday, December 19, 2011

Some Favourite Holiday Movies

Die Hard
You might be scratching your head over this one, but it is set during Xmas and while it's the most unconventional holiday movie on my watch list, it's a great way to start the season off with a bang.  Yipee-kay-yay...

Edward Scissorhands
While not primarily an Xmas movie, the scene of carving the ice angel is the most beautiful holiday image that comes to mind.

A sweet holiday-ish movie about an unusual bond that makes you feel very warm in the harsh winter season.

The Family Stone
A more recent addition to my holiday movie viewings.  A touching and hilarious family ensemble movie with the tanglings of holiday preparations, feuds and personality clashes.  Fun!

Meet Me in St. Louis
The source of the beautiful song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."  Its pastel colours, musical numbers, and the wicked charm of Margaret O'Brien are irresistible.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Ageless, timeless, Dr. Seussiness :)

It's a Wonderful Life
What other movie helps you appreciate the little things in life?  Harry's toast near the end always gets me reaching for the tissues.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
This has been part of an Xmas Eve tradition for the last 15 years or so in my family.  Hilarity is guaranteed to ensue :D

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.

This will be my last Monday meme check-in until after the holidays.  I'll get a year-end post up on Friday.  Can you believe...less than a week until Xmas?

Read This Week:  (1)
The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History- John Ortved
A decent critical history of my favourite TV series.  Review coming soon.

Currently Reading:  (3)
Emma- Jane Austen
I'm about halfway through.  It's a fun romp, though I still love Sense & Sensibility best and liked Pride & Prejudice better.

U2 by U2- U2 (Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.)
My Life- Bill Clinton

Reviews This Week:  (3)
I got caught up a bit on backlog reviews:
The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas (A+)
The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway (A)
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter- Carson McCullers (A)

Two more coming this week:  It and Bag of Bones, both by Stephen King.

Next to Read:
This depends on when I finish Emma.  If I finish it after Jan. 1, I can start a challenge book and I think I'll begin with Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  If I happen to finish it before Jan. 1, I'll probably try reading a chunk from my U2 and Bill Clinton books.  Yikes, they're collecting dust!  It's not that I don't enjoy them, but sometimes I just need a break from nonfiction and find escape in a novel.

Have a great reading week :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter- Carson McCullers

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1940
Pages:  359
ISBN:  9780618526413
Genre:  Modern Classics

Started:  Oct. 29, 2011
Finished:  Nov. 13, 2011  (16 days)

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  On my TBR list

Summary:  Set in the small-town American South during the Depression, a lonely deaf-mute man named John Singer stays at a boarding house where his encounters with a whip-smart tomboy, a sickly black physician and his estranged children, a widowed restaurant owner and a drunken intellect lead to unforeseen changes influenced by his penchant for listening.


Like Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, childhood and coming-of-age in the Depression-era American South is fently rendered in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter through 12-year-old Mick Kelly, an awkward, lanky young girl who you simply ache for as she seeks the Keatsian truth and beauty of the world while stuck in a poor, small town with troubles of its own.

If Mick is the mind of this novel, John Singer is the heart.  A lonely deaf mute separated from his only friend by circumstance, he becomes the go-to listener of the town, unintentionally and even sometimes regretfully as his own problems are never brought to bear (not that anyone offers the same comfort he provides in return) as no one seems to know how to listen to him or, sadly, even tries to.

I saw the movie before reading the book and although it was touching, very well acted by Alan Arkin and Sondra Locke, the book has layers of character development, both painful and wonderful, not seen in the movie.  On the other hand, the relationship between Mick and John Singer is given a strength and depth in the movie that fails to launch in the book.  Their friendship via her love of music and her determination for him to experience it in his own way is a determining factor in the movie's development but is mostly left undescribed and imagined in the book. 

I would recommend the movie as a companion to the book.  I'm not sure how I would have taken the movie if I had read the book first but I'm glad I came away from both feeling fulfilled by its story and its harsh, emotional edge.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Old Man & the Sea- Ernest Hemingway

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1952
Pages:  93
ISBN:  0684830493
Genre:  Modern Classics

Started:  Oct. 28, 2011
Finished:  Oct. 28, 2011 (>1 day)

Where Found:  Book Depot
Why Read:  On my TBR list
Read For:  Back to the Classics challenge (8/8)

Summary:  A poor, frail fisherman in the Cuban Gulf seeks one last big catch in a solo expedition without his young companion.


Apparently this book, even at a slim 93 pages (in my Scribner Classics hardcover edition with gorgeous illustrations) has bored many readers to tears and turned them off other Ernest Hemingway books, because it's...get this...about a fish.  Well, yes, it is, but you don't really believe that even a heavyweight like Hemingway could draw much depth from just a fish, do you?

I read it in one sitting, which is unusual for me, but was part of a rare literary experience--that a book I didn't expect to like because of so many others' misgivings turned out to be a bright although tiny gem of a book.

Hemingway contrasts age, infirmity, and desire through the unusual friendship between the old fisherman and the young boy--one having the wisdom of life experience, the other with the energy, fearlessness, and youthful exuberance to rekindle feelings of optimism and love in his old friend.  And the fish is not merely a fish, but represents the essence of the fisherman's passion.  But this is the obvious connection that is as clear as a fairy tale moral.  What is tougher to grasp is why the fisherman insists on striving for the seemingly impossible: catching a super-sized fish without his young friend.

**Minor spoiler**
Why doesn't he simply let the fish go?  My impression is that he can only do what he has always loved and risk everything to accomplish this feat, or he would die miserably, wondering what could have been.  It's not an easy concept for anyone to understand but if you can at least sympathize with his plight for strength to succeed in what every caper movie I've seen would call "one last score" before retiring for good.

As much as many others have struggled to stay patient with this story and not feel bogged down by the irony of its heft for such a slim volume of work, complaints about the book seem hyperbolized to me.  For someone who has never fished and has no interest or skill in it, the story spoke to me through its treatment of powerful, familiar themes and metaphors of life and death that are simple, straightforward, but not as obvious as they seem on the surface.  Hemingway stays away from the repetition and monotony that makes some literary fiction seem to scream "This is the point!  Get it?" on every page.  The beauty of the story is in its subtlety that reads like a fable.  I encourage you to set aside what you've heard about it and read it for yourself.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1844
Pages:  396
ISBN:  9780140373530
Genre:  Classics

Started:  Oct. 23, 2011
Finished:  Oct. 28, 2011 (6 days)

Where Found:  Book Depot
Why Read:  On my TBR list

Summary:  Years after being wrongfully imprisoned, Edmond Dantes seeks the truth behind his arrest, justice served to those who wronged him, riches for the friends who stood by him, and to reunite with his beloved Mercedes.


Quite simply, I loved this book.  Though introduced in my favourite movie, The Shawshank Redemption, as being "about a prison break," it was about so much more with beautifully interwoven themes of revenge, the longevity of love and friendship, loyalty, and the fact that there is no statute of limitations on seeking justice.  The characters were richly developed and all played a significant part in the story.  Unexpected changes came with nearly every chapter after the initial conflict begins.  Each chapter ends on a cliffhanger, owing to the fact that the book was originally printed in serial form, the earliest form of the suspense thriller, but is much smarter than the average book in this more contemporary genre.

Along with the books of Jane Austen, this is the perfect introduction to classic literature for young adults. I pictured myself reading and teaching this book to middle or high school students, and just maybe one of them might say, "Oh, this is what they're trying to say? Why can't Shakespeare and all those other old writers write it that way?"

If you're reluctant to read classics or if you love them, you can't do much better than this.  It's a ride without brakes.

Please note:  I didn't realize this was an abridged edition until I started the book, and as much as I loved it, I'm wondering if anyone knows what was edited or changed?  It did seem like some language was modernized and I've read that the page conut is pared down, but I sure hope the original story wasn't mangled in the process!  Otherwise, what edition would you recommend?

P.S.  I'm envious of this Barnes & Noble cover.  Aren't their leather-bound books gorgeous?

Rank:  (A+)- Amazing, Must Read!

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.

Our neighbourhood's hydro is being shut down for a few hours, so I have to get this up quickly :D   Can you believe, less than 2 weeks until Xmas?  I've nearly finished my shopping.  Next up: baking.  And I'm playing the newest Legend of Zelda game, Skyward Swod, on the Wii--incredible animation with lots of fun bits from older games.  Ah, nostalgia :D

Read This Week:  (1)
Bag of Bones- Stephen King--Wow, this was a change of pace for SK and I really enjoyed it!  A mini-series with Pierce Brosnan aired last night on A&E (Part 2 is on tonight) but I didn't really get into it.

Currently Reading:  (3)
The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History- John Ortved--Almost finished.  It's interesting...most of the time.  It's not for everyone and certainly not casual reading, but it was worthwhile for me.

These two are on the back burner for now:
U2 by U2- U2 (Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.)
My Life- Bill Clinton

I'm behind by 5 now.  Writing reviews seemed like a chore but by putting them off so long, I get back in the mood to write them.  I'll fire some off this week.  Titles to look for:
The Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas (A+)
The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway (A)
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter- Carson McCullers (A)
It- Stephen King (A)
Bag of Bones- Stephen King (A+)

Next to Read:
Emma by Jane Austen.  I'm in an Austen mood for the pre-holidays :)

Have a great week of reading :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November Wrap-Up & Year-to-Date

*It's beginning to look a lot know*

Read This Month:  (2)
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter- Carson McCullers
It- Stephen King (just finished it last night...almost 1100 pages, whew!)

Currently Reading:  (3)
Bag of Bones- Stephen King--starting this today; I must be on a King fix!
U2 by U2- U2 (Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.)--set aside for now; will return to it
My Life- Bill Clinton--will eventually return to

Reviews This Month:  (2)
An Exaltation of Larks- James Lipton (A)
The Stand- Stephen King (A)

Other Bookish Things:
I made plans for these 2012 challenges:
Mixing It Up
What's in a Name 5
New Authors
Outdo Yourself
Back to the Classics

Year-to-Date:  (51)  (actually 53, but some reviews are backlogged...again)