Friday, December 28, 2018

Back to the Classics 2018 Wrap Up Post

I actually got the Back to the Classics challenge done this year! Last year I just missed it so I was excited to complete the challenge this year. I'm also really looking forward to completing it next year!   Be sure to check out the 2019 challenge over at Books and Chocolate HERE.
But back to 2018!
Here's what I was able to complete this year!
1. A 19th century classic - The Way we Live Now by Anthony Trollope
2. A 20th century classic - The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
3. A classic by a woman author- The Mill on the Floss by George Elliot
4. A classic in translation- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
5. A classic with a color in the title- The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
6. A classic by an author that's new to you- The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
7. Re-read a favorite classic- Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
I'm halfway through Kim which would have counted towards the one word title category but I ran out of time to complete it. Oh well! I did get seven books read in which counted towards one entry in the prize drawing.  It was a fun year of reading and I really enjoyed the books I did get read. War and Peace was obviously my biggest challenge and I actually really enjoyed it. Just So Stories was the easiest and shortest and it was nice to enjoy it again. Overall I loved all of the books I read and was pleasantly surprised by many of them.
I can't wait for a new year of experiencing the classics!
P.S. I can be contacted via my Goodreads account.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Let's Talk about The Paradise

I love period dramas. I grew up on them and I am excited to raise our little Hobbit on them. However, not all period dramas are created equal. Recently I finished watching the first season of the period drama show The Paradise (2012-2013). I enjoyed it for the most part but it really drove me crazy for much of it.
Here's the synopsis from PBS to give you an idea about the show if you haven't watched it.
Denise Lovett may look the part of a country bumpkin when she arrives penniless and in search of work at the doors of The Paradise, Britain’s glamorous first department store. But before long, intoxicated by the potential of the modern world, she will turn her ambitious and inspired eye to the store’s ladieswear department, meanwhile catching the eye of the shop’s dashing and reckless owner, John Moray, a grieving widower with a secret.
Spoilers following.
Historically the show is pretty cool. The contrast between the big fancy department store and the little individual shops that had been the normal for so long was fascinating. It was definitely an era of change. The protagonist, Denise, is enterprising and clever with a vision for the future, much like Moray, the owner of The Paradise, where she works. It's no wonder they are attracted to each other. Moray however has been paying court to Lady Katherine Glendenning, who is quite infatuated with him. Moray however, is unsure if he's ready for a commitment since the death of his wife.
So let me talk about the characters here. Moray annoyed me a lot of the show. I'll admit he's quite attractive and not to mention he's charismatic. It's no wonder everyone loves him. However, he CANNOT make up his mind about Katherine! He goes back and forth, which was really unfair to her and honestly to himself as well. This brings me to Katherine. I did not love her but what he put her through still was not fair. I feel like the show made her more and more unlikable so you could forgive Moray for leaving her at the altar. Sorry, that does not make it ok. They both put each other through a lot of crap and it was annoying. Now Denise definitely tried to stick to the higher ground through all of this but still failed, though not as epically as the other two.
In the end, when Moray runs away from his wedding into Denise arms and kisses her I was happy they ended up together but I felt like it was so bittersweet. Like yay you're together but at what cost? Same for you Katherine! You're plan is you get Moray even though you know he is not in love with you?! Really?! The whole love triangle just drove me crazy.
What drove me the most crazy is that I read the synopsis for the first episode of the second season and Moray and Denise are NOT together at the beginning of it! It makes me not want to watch it since this season ended on a good note. I'll just have to go through a whole other season of drama as they try to get together. This season was bad enough!
Past all of that though the story was fascinating and as I said above the whole world it focuses on is intriguing. The characters are fun and there's many little side plots going on that keep you watching. There were lots of great other characters I haven't even gotten around to mentioning! One of the more interesting charters I found was Katherine's father. If you're a fan of period dramas you'll also see many familiar faces such as David Bamber, (Pride and Prejudice 1995) Matthew McNulty (who plays the only level headed one in the show) (Lark Rise to Candleford), Sarah Lancashire (Lark Rise to Candleford), Ruby Bentall (Lark Rise to Candleford), Arthur Darvill (Little Dorrit, Dr. Who) and Olivia Hallinan (Lark Rise to Candleford). There's probably more familiar names I'm missing.
Interestingly enough the show is based off of a book by Emile Zola. I haven't been in love with what I've read of his books so far but I might be interested in this one.
If you've seen it what did you think? Is it worth it for me to watch the next season or should I leave well enough alone?

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Book Review- The Lost World

For the Classics Club I read The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Synopsis from Goodreads: It's London, 1907. Journalist Edward Malone, rejected by the woman he loves because he is too prosaic, decides to go in search of adventure and fame to prove himself worthy of her. Soon after, he meets Professor George Challenger, a scientist who claims to have discovered a 'lost world' populated by pterodactyls and other prehistoric monsters.
Think Jules Verne or Jurassic Park (which actually has a sequel with this same name) and you've got the gist of The Lost World. Edward Malone takes off on an adventure to impress the love of his life after she rejects him and labels him too boring. With Professor Challenger, a man as full of himself as Doyle's other character Sherlock Holmes, he travels to South America and there discovers the 'lost world'. There are predatory natives, dinosaurs and other horrors and dangers awaiting them. The Lost World is a fun adventure story with plenty of action and surprise to keep you turning the pages. I liked all of the characters, though Professor Challenger definitely got on my nerves quite a bit. I felt bad for Edward Malone in the end that the girl he set out to impress had married someone else by the time he came back. Honestly though, she wasn't that great if she was going to send him off on crazy quests just to impress her. Sot it worked out better for him in the end.
Overall The Lost World is a fun adventure story and I'd recommend it to fans of Jules Verne or Jurassic Park.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Book Review-Invisible Man

For the Classics Club I read Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man.
Synopsis from Goodreads: First published in 1952 and immediately hailed as a masterpiece, Invisible Man is one of those rare novels that have changed the shape of American literature. For not only does Ralph Ellison's nightmare journey across the racial divide tell unparalleled truths about the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators, it gives us an entirely new model of what a novel can be. As he journeys from the Deep South to the streets and basements of Harlem, from a horrifying "battle royal" where black men are reduced to fighting animals, to a Communist rally where they are elevated to the status of trophies, Ralph Ellison's nameless protagonist ushers readers into a parallel universe that throws our own into harsh and even hilarious relief. Suspenseful and sardonic, narrated in a voice that takes in the symphonic range of the American language, black and white, Invisible Man is one of the most audacious and dazzling novels of our century.
I knew nothing about this book before reading it and I don't even remember why I added it to my Classics Club back in the day. I am glad I did though. I didn't love it by any means but it was very interesting and you can't help but learn from it and appreciate the cultural significance it has.
Occasionally I was frustrated by the protagonist's (never named) seeming naivety. I do think he got wiser as the story went on. It was unspeakably hard for him though as he was demeaned and brainwashed. I came away from the story feeling sad. It was a very real and truly depressing story.
I would recommend it though as I feel like I learned a lot from it. It does have some language and some innuendos and obviously some degrading comments about African-Americans, which are in context of the story.
If you've read it let me know what you think.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

You, Me and a Cup of Tea

It's been a long time since I've done a post about tea... which is ironic as my blog title has much to do with tea. When I first put this blog together I had no idea really what it would be about. The main concept in my head though was I would write about books, movies, tea, whatever really and you could enjoy a cup of tea while reading my blog. Thus.... You, Me and a Cup of Tea. So if you aren't enjoying a cup of tea while reading my blog you'v ruined it's message! 😉
The cold of the fall and winter months always put me in the mood for a good hot cup of tea. Like myself, my husband has an obsession for buying tea. We have a big basket full of boxes of tea sitting by our Keurig. Honestly, we buy more than we drink. In the winter though we catch up a bit as our tea drinking and tea buying come to a middle.
Recently my church had a English Breakfast for the women's Christmas party. During it we had a book exchange. Everyone brought a wrapped book and we opened them and stole them white elephant gift style. It was tons of fun. As we opened each book the lady who had given it would explain why she had given that particular book. It was wonderful learning why the ladies brought that book and why it was special to them. There was such wide variety of books, which was delightful.
I ended up stealing my book because it was about tea so I couldn't resist! The book I got is called If Teacups Could Talk by Emilie Barnes (with gorgeous paintings by Sandy Lynham Clough). I'm only partway through it so far but I'm loving the cozy atmosphere of it as it talks about the long tradition of taking the time to sit down and drink a cup of tea just by yourself, with a friend or at a party. It's definitely getting me in the mood for drinking lots of tea.
One of my friends got a book (that I almost stole from them!) called I'd Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel. The title immediately intrigued me and made me want to read it. So I borrowed it from her and could not put it down! I binged it in one afternoon! It's a delightful little book written by a book lover for book lovers. I'm apparently very out of the loop but apparently Anne Bogel is a pretty big name in the blogging world. She blogs at Modern Mrs Darcy and also has a podcast What Should I Read Next. Check them out and check this book out! It's given me a renewed fervor for reading and is a new favorite.
One thing that Bogel talks about in her book is how books find us at just the right times in life and I think her book found me at just the right time. I've been in a reading slump for a few months now and her book has invigorated me love of reading and reminded me why I love it so much. I can't wait to dive back in to the reading world.
So right now I'm looking forward to diving back into the reading world with a cup of tea in one hand and a good book in the other.

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Friday, November 9, 2018

Book Review- War and Peace

For the Classics Club I read Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace.
Synopsis from Goodreads: War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrew Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men. As Napoleon’s army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature.
How do you even begin to review a novel like War and Peace?!?! One of the longest books in literature and widely considered one of the most daunting, it seems like no easy task to "just put down a few thoughts". There's so much going on in the story so many different little plot points. There's a handful of main characters that the story focuses on and you come to love, pity and sometimes hate them. My personal favorites were Pierre and Natasha. There were no perfect characters. Everyone had flaws.  Each character was so human. War and Peace is a story about life. It covers, war, family, love and death. This book covers years and the characters grow up and mature in front of your eyes. The backdrop is the napoleonic wars, which overshadow the book. Sometimes Tolstoy took a break from the story to just talk about the war.... something I often found tedious but I probably overreacted to it because I just wanted to find out what happened to the characters.
I really don't know what else to say about it that hasn't already been said. I found it beautifully compelling and it definitely makes me want to read more Russian literature.
I'd also like to give a plug for the app Serial App. It has lots of books on it (mostly classics I think) and it gives you a "serial" of a book every day. It helps with reading really long books like War and Peace.
I'd really like to a film version of this now to see how it translates to screen. I'm thinking of checking out the Audrey Hepburn version and the Lily James version. Any recommendations?
Overall I'm so glad I finally read War and Peace. I would definitely recommend it if you're interested in Russian literature!

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Little Life, A Little Hobbit

It's been a looooong time since I've posted. I don't feel like I've had a lot to say and I've been busy/lazy so I haven't been very active in the blogosphere. I haven't been reading too much either, except for to our precious little Hobbit. With that in mind, this post will mostly be about life and baby.
On our family vacation to North Carolina this summer.
I've found that even though I'm working only one day a week since having our little Hobbit I am busier then I ever was. Part of that is definitely just having a baby it part of it is also that I find myself with all of this free time I never had before and I keep trying to fill it up with all the things I've wanted to do and haven't been able to and I go a little overboard. I'm able to get together with my friends a little bit more, be involved in a women's bible study and I take our Hobbit to baby story time at the library. I'm not the best time manager in my life though so that's probably a big part of my issues. Oftentimes I feel overwhelmed and I've discovered a messy kitchen is often the cause and a clean kitchen can make me feel less overwhelmed. Getting places takes longer and is so much more involved with a baby. I have to budget so much more time than I ever did before. Every moment with our little Hobbit is worth it though.

Our little Hobbit is now six months. She amazes me everyday and I still have trouble sometimes believing she's mine. She's crawling, sitting up and pulling up. I'm scared but excited to see what she does next. She's very determined and stubborn. Right now we are learning "no" as she tries to get in to everything. Since our theme for her nursery (and obviously her nickname) was "Hobbit" we were given a lot of items that went with that theme. I've loved using them for photo props for her monthly pictures. 

One of the hardest parts of being a new mom has been figuring out breastfeeding. It's certainly not as simple as seasoned moms make it look but what I've learned fro those seasoned moms was it was not easy for them when they started out and sometimes even now it's not easy. I'm so blessed though that we are six months strong with our journey. 
I love watching TV shows while nursing. I have sped through Gilmore Girls (so many thoughts about this show... not sure if I wasted my time or not) and Agents of Shield, caught up with Call the Midwife, have one season of Daredevil down and right now I'm watching Brooklyn 99. It's been fun to watch shows that I had never gotten around to yet. Then Brian and I watch shows together too. We honestly watch too many shows at the same time. We recently finished our rewatch of The Office. We're watching Arrested Development, Seinfield, Frasier and Star Trek: Next Generation (this is all Brian's idea... I am not a Trekkie but he is). All of those are shows that Brian has already watched but it's my first time watching them. We also recently finished White Collar, which was a first time watch for both of us. 
We have made it to the movies a couple times sine having our little Hobbit. The first time we did Avengers: Infinity War and dinner and Brian's parents watched her. The next time we did the drive in, which was fun as ti was a first for both of us. Since it was the drive in we were able to take her. That worked out really well except we were out super late! At the drive in we got to Watch Incredibles 2 and Ant Man and the Wasp. 

We had a Reformation Day party this past weekend, which seems appropriate to mention since today is Reformation Day. We've never had so many people in our house before!  It was crazy but tons of fun. It was a beautiful time of unity as we had people from four different local churches represented. Now we just need to get around to watching the Luther movie! 

On a final note. I just want to give a huge shout out to my husband. He has been my rock in this journey through motherhood. He's so incredibly patient and sweet and I don't know how I would do it without him. As my luck would have it, Abby seems to be infatuated with him. How could she help it though? He's amazing!

So what's going in y'all's lives?

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018


At some point reality has to set in and I think it's finally set in for me. Back in 2014 I set up my Classics Club list and made a goal to finish my list of books by January 2019. Due to some lazy reading, pregnancy and baby I've fallen behind enough so that I just am not going to make that goal. 2020 is a nice even number though right? So my new goal for my Classics Club is January 2020. I've realized recently that I have gotten so bogged down in my Classics Club list that I haven't been taking the time to enjoy some lighter reads. Just last week I sat down and re-read The Blue Castle for my book club and it was such a wonderful reading experience. I think I need to have more reading times like that. If I read one chunky classic after another of course I'm not going to want to read as much. I need breaks. I still love my classics and I always will but just reading classics isn't healthy. I want to enjoy reading again.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Book Review- Just So Stories

For the Back to the Classics Challenge I re-read Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Kipling's own drawings, with their long, funny captions, illustrate his hilarious explanations of How the Camel Got His Hump, How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin, How the Armadillo Happened, and other animal How's. He began inventing these stories in his American wife's hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont, to amuse his eldest daughter--and they have served ever since as a source of laughter for children everywhere.
I read this one for book club but I was so excited to read it as I hadn't read it since I was a kid and the version I read was a kid's version so I was excited to get the "real" version. Just So Stories is full of fun little stories about how different animals got their different characteristics... for example how the elephant got its trunk, which was one of my favorite stories. It also had a story about how the written language came about. The stories are fun and witty. The pictures are great and their captions are even better! It was great to revisit this collection of short stories. It had been a long time since I'd read any Kipling (since Jungle Book year and years ago) but it's prompted me to start Kim, which I'm enjoying so far. I look forward to reading more of his books.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

It's Monday! Lazy Reading

I haven't put out an It's Monday post in quite a while now! Honestly I've barely been reading recently.  I was doing a lot of reading while nursing but of late I've been watching Netflix instead. I'm throughly ashamed of myself! I really need to get back in a groove as I still have over twenty books left on my Classics Club list and only until January to read them. I know it won't be the end of the world if I finish them after my deadline but I'd really like to.
So here's what's been up in my reading world in the last few weeks.

Finished in the last few weeks

  • The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
  • The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (audiobook) 
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (book club pick)

Currently Reading 

  • Kim by Rudyard Kipling (audiobook)
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky 
  • Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • God Is by Mark Jones 
I need to finish some of these before I start anything new I think. I do have a Classics Club spin coming up I'll be participating in that I'll start something new for but that should be it for right now.

And to wrap up here's a few pictures of my little time stealer.

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Classics Club Spin July 2018

Another Classics Club Spin which I desperately need to compete in because I'm falling dreadfully behind in my list. Cause I'm lazy I just took the books from my last list, took out what I've started/finished since and then replaced those. So it's pretty much the same with just a few subtractions and additions. And that last sentence sounded very mathematical. Dear me!
Anyways be sure to check out the challenge HERE. It's always lots of fun. If you aren't yet a part of the Classics Club what are you even doing? Join now! They've recently been doing some revamping and are still in the process so it's going to be even bigger and better! What better time to join in the fun!?
  1. Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane by P.L. Travers
  2. Mary Poppins and the House Next Door by P.L. Travers
  3. The 39 Steps by John Buchan 
  4. Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson 
  5. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  6. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
  7. Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  8. Cyarno de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
  9. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
  10. Beau Geste by P.C. Wren
  11. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  12. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson 
  13. The Red and the Black by Stendhal 
  14. The Epic of Gilgamesh 
  15. Richard III by William Shakespeare 
  16. Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring
  17. Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare
  18. They Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charle Dickens 
  19. The Tempest by William Shakespeare 
  20. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare 
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Monday, June 11, 2018

It's Monday! I Baptize Thee a Hobbit!

These past couple weeks I've been reading a lot and I'm almost caught up to be on track with my Goodreads goal to complete 50 books this year! The year is not over yet and there's many more books  to be read! I can't wait! I'd left a lot of my scary Classics Club books until the end but I'm actually enjoying a lot of them!
Our little Hobbit was baptized this past Sunday. It was a beautiful covenant celebration with the church and family. As a classic procrastinator I finished her baptism gown and cardigan the night before her baptism!

Our little Hobbit in her baptism gown.

Currently Reading

  • The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield
  • Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky 
  • The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (audiobook) 
  • God Is by Mark Jones

Finished Recently 

  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison 

Coming Soon

  • Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare 
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (book club pick!)
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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Book Review- The Portrait of a Lady

For the Classics Club I read Henry James novel The Portrait of a Lady.
Synopsis from Goodreads: When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American, is brought to Europe by her wealthy Aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. She then finds herself irresistibly drawn to Gilbert Osmond, who, beneath his veneer of charm and cultivation, is cruelty itself. A story of intense poignancy, Isabel's tale of love and betrayal still resonates with modern audiences.
I didn't know anything about The Portrait of a Lady before I read it so had no idea what to expect. I ended up enjoying it though hand I hope to read more of Henry James in the future. I'm surprised I did enjoy it though as it did not have a happy ending and most of the characters left a lot to be desired.
You are immediately drawn to the protagonist, Isabel. She is kindhearted and independent. Her cousin  Ralph convince his father to leave her the majority of his fortune on his death. This causes her independent spirit to have independent means. Unfortunately she is taken in by the conniving Gilbert Osmond who she marries. What ensues is a miserable marriage, which becomes more and more miserable as the story unfolds. Before attaining the fortune Isabel turned down two offers of marriage. I wasn't terribly fond of Caspar Goodwood, Isabel's American suitor. He's horribly pushy and annoying. I did like Lord Warburton, Isabel's English suitor, for the most part but he had some issues as well. Overall though my favorite suitor was not even really her suitor... her cousin Ralph. You know he loves her, though the story is not quite clear if he loves her as a cousin or as a lover. His selflessness truly makes him the best character in the story.
The most despicable character in the story is clearly Gilbert Osmond. He's narcissistic, controlling and cruel. He takes this out the most on Isabel but he also is horrible to his sweet and submissive daughter Pansy. I hated him and while I'll never be a fan of divorce I was begging Isabel to leave him.
There's even more interesting characters in the story that I don't have the time to cover. Henry James truly created a fascinating story especially in his characters but also in his plot that will surprise you as it unfolds.
Even though there isn't a happy ending I would definitely recommend this book.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

It's Monday! Road Trip with a Baby

Over Memorial Day weekend we went up to Minnesota to introduce our little Hobbit to family. It was a great trip but quite the experience with a baby. You've never road tripped until you've road tripped with a baby. It takes ten times longer! Thankfully she does travel pretty well and mostly sleeps in between feedings. It did give me a little more time to read though as thankfully she does sleep well in the car. Thank goodness I'm having the time to read because the Classics Club deadline is approaching faster then I'd like!

Currently Reading

  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
  • The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (audiobook)
  • God Is by Mark Jones

Recently Finished

  • Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling (book club pick)
  • The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  • Intensity by Dean Koontz
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (FINALLY!!!!)

Coming Soon

  • Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare
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Friday, June 1, 2018

20 Books of Summer 2018

I participated in the 20 Books of Summer challenge back in 2015 and somehow have missed participating in it again up until now! It's hosted by 746 Books and is just a fun way to set a goal of reading 20 books for the summer.
So here's my list of 20 books I'd like to complete this summer. Most of these are from my Classics Club list that I need to finish up but there's also some other books mixed in there so I don't get bored. Not that classics are boring but I just need some variety.
  1. Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare
  2. Richard III by William Shakespeare 
  3. Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson 
  4. Moby Dick by Herman Melville 
  5. The 39 Steps by John Buchan 
  6. The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  7. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky 
  8. The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  9. Cyarno de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
  10. East of Eden by John Steinbeck 
  11. Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes 
  12. Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  13. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
  14. At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
  15. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
  16. Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer WOrth
  17. Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth
  18. The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum 
  19. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  20. The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs  
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Friday, May 25, 2018

Book Review- The White Company

For the Classics Club I read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The White Company.
Synopsis from Goodreads: "Now order the ranks, and fling wide the banners, for our souls are God's and our bodies the king's, and our swords for Saint George and for England!" With that rousing proclamation, twelve hundred knights ride into battle, accompanied by the stalwart archers known as the White Company. Fueled by their appetite for glory, this motley crew of freebooters stands united in their unswerving devotion to the company commander, Sir Nigel Loring. Short, bald, and extremely nearsighted, Sir Nigel's unprepossessing appearance belies his warrior's heart and his chivalrous nature. The rollicking adventures of his company during the Hundred Years War center around Sir Nigel's loyal squire, Alleyne Edricson. Raised in the sheltered confines of a monastery, young Alleyne comes of age amid the rough-and-tumble of armed conflict and the bewildering ways of courtly love.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is of course most famously known for creating the iconic Sherlock Holmes. However, he also wrote other novels including the historical novel The White Company.
The protagonist Alleyne, is a young man who grew up in a monastery but now has taken to the world. He joins up with the noble knight Sir Nigel and becomes his squire, while simultaneously falling in love with Sir Nigel's feisty daughter. Sir Nigel takes a group of men, entitled the White Company, out into battle and Alleyne joins them. What ensues is a series of adventures that keeps you entertained throughout.
If you enjoy good swashbuckler you'll find The White Company right up your alley. There's noble knights, fair maidens, sword fights, jousting and everything else in-between. It kind of makes me think of Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, Waverly The Scarlet Pimpernel and those sorts of books. There's almost an aspect of King Arthur in it too in how they go questing. Overall fun and would recommend!

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Book Review- The Grand Sophy

It's been my goal to read one of Georgette Heyer's books for a few years now and with reading The Grand Sophy I finally have completed that goal!
Synopsis from Goodreads: Resourceful, adventurous and utterly indefatigable, Sophy is hardly the mild-mannered girl that the Rivenhalls expect when they agree to take her in. Kind-hearted Aunt Lizzy is shocked; stern Cousin Charles and his humorless fiancée Eugenia are disapproving.With her inimitable mixture of exuberance and grace Sophy soon sets about endearing herself to her family, but finds herself increasingly drawn to her cousin. Can she really be falling in love with him, and he with her? And what of his betrothal to Eugenia?
I've often heard Georgette Heyer compared to Jane Austen... which I can understand.... though Georgette Heyer is like the not as talented cousin of Jane Austen. Many of the same aspects are there: interesting characters, wit, romance and an interesting plot. Jane Austen just does it better... I would also say there's a certain amount of depth to her books.... a knowledge of people that she infuses in to her books... that is lacking in Heyer's novels. However, Heyer's books... at least so far as I can tell from The Grand Sophy... are still quite enjoyable.... though I would say rather a guilty pleasure. However, it's probably not fair to compare the two authors. They are both good in their own right.
So... how did I feel about The Grand Sophy? I loved it! More then I though I would. In fact I felt guilty for how much I enjoyed it. It wasn't great literature but it was just fun! I loved Sophy herself and I see myself a bit in her. Sophy is unconventional, she's fun but she still somehow keep her head on straight (for the most part). Everyone can't help but love her even when they're frustrated with her! She was maddening at times and often she left me questioning her ideas but she always came out on top. The other characters were great as well. Cousin Charles really grows on you as the story progresses and you can totally see where THAT is going. Eugenia is dreadfully dull... she kind of makes me think of Mary Bennet. Augustus Fawnhope is a riot! He's a poet in the true Wodehouse sense. Lord Charlebury is such a good egg. I like him a lot. How dare he succumb to mumps while courting Cecelia though?
This was such a fun and outlandish book and I'd recommend it all around. I can't wait to read more Georgette Heyer!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Book Review- The Way We Live Now

For the Classics Club I read Anthony Trollope's novel The Way We Live Now.
Synopsis from Goodreads: At first savagely reviewed, The Way We Live Now (1875) has since emerged as Trollope's masterpiece and the most admired of his works. When Trollope returned to England from the colonies in 1872 he was horrified by the immorality and dishonesty he found. In a fever of indignation he sat down to write The Way We Live Now, his longest novel. Nothing escaped the satirist's whip: politics, finance, the aristocracy, the literary world, gambling, sex, and much else. In this world of bribes and vendettas, swindling and suicide, in which heiresses are won like gambling stakes, Trollope's characters embody all the vices: Lady Carbury, a 43-year-old coquette, 'false from head to foot'; her son Felix, with the 'instincts of a horse, not approaching the higher sympathies of a dog'; and Melmotte, the colossal figure who dominates the book, a 'horrid, big, rich scoundrel ... a bloated swindler ... a vile city ruffian'.
I've enjoyed each of Trollope's novels I've read and The Way We Live Now was no exception. It was my most recent Classics Club spin pick. I was trying to finish it before our Hobbit was born and got half way through, which wasn't too bad considering it's length. However, thanks to the free ebook I still got it finished it up in time after she was born. It's much easier to read an ebook on my phone then to hold an actual book while also balancing a baby.
The characters really drive the story, as the synopsis suggests. The story begins by introducing Lady Carbury who is one of the central focuses of the book. She is not the most likable character, is hypocritical and conniving but I think by the end of the story she's one of the few characters who's improved... though not by a lot. Her son Felix is an absolute scoundrel in every way and he utterly disgusts you throughout the book. His mother indulges him to an annoying amount while often slighting her daughter Hetta, who is actually a virtuous woman. Their cousin Roger Carbury is a virtuous man who tries to help their family but also is in love with Hetta, who has refused his advances. I really want to like Roger and most of the time I do but I feel he bears grudges and has too deep of anger towards Paul Montague, the man Hetta actually likes. I understand he's upset since of course he's in love with Hetta himself and of course Paul breaks his promise but I feel like Roger should have accepted that Hetta did not want to marry him. Paul Montague, the man that Hetta loves and who loves her, does not please me either though. Before he met Hetta he was affianced to an American widow with a shadowed past. He ends up ending their engagement due to her questionable past before meeting Hetta. However, after becoming romantically interested in Hetta the widow, Mrs Hurtle comes to England to try to win him back. Paul is absolutely terrible about ending it with her. He visits her to tell her he will not go back to her but still ends up kissing her and this happens over and over again. He hates her and wants to end it with her but he keeps going back to her! Dude stop it! I just feel like Hetta deserved better then him. Most of the book I was rooting for her to end up marrying Roger honestly. Mrs. Hurtle herself is quite a woman with quite a past. She's not my favorite but she is interesting and I think she improves throughout the story.
Then of course there is the overshadowing character of Melmotte, a man known for his power and health with a shadowed past and a reputation for being a swindler. Everyone is enamored with him though and forget the probability of him being a con as they're caught up in his wealth and power. His daughter Marie is sought by every young lord as it is assumed she will get a hefty dowry on her marriage. Marie is weak willed and naive but becomes a stronger character as the story progresses. She is sought after by Felix Carbury for her wealth and she returns her advances, thinking he loves her and falling for him. Felix proves himself as despicable as ever though and it takes a long time for Marie to realize her error.
There's many other little side plots that flow through the story and much intrigue. I was so caught up in the story I just had to keep reading to find out what would happen to each character so even though it was long it went pretty fast. It makes me think a little of a Charles Dickens novel and a little of a Jane Austen novel so if you enjoy those two authors you'll probably like it.
I'm hoping to watch the 2007 miniseries in the near future. Have you seen it? Did you enjoy it?

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Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Monday! Reading with a Baby

This is my first post baby It's Monday post! I'm slowly but surely trying to get into a routine and I'm hoping blogging is going to find a small part in it. As I've mentioned in a previous post I'm still managing to get some reading in here and there. I did Bout of Books last week and by "did" I mean I tried to make double the effort to read but I didn't complete any of my goals (close though!) and I didn't participate in any of the online activity. It's the thought that counts though right?
I'm pretty much solely doing ebooks or audiobooks at this point as I can balance those and the demands of a newborn fairly well.
And speaking of a newborn... here's a couple photos cause I can't resist!

And in less adorable news, here's  what's going on in my reading world right now.

Currently Reading 

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy- Almost done!!!! 
  • The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  • The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison 
  • God Is by Mark Jones

Recently Finished (since the last "It's Monday" post)

  • The Mill on the Floss by George Elliot
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
  • The Mortification of Sin by John Owen 
  • The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
  • Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare 
  • The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (my first of her books and certainly not my last!)

Coming Soon (just a rough idea) 

  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville 
  • Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare 
  • Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling (book club pick) 
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Book Review- Measure for Measure

For the Classics Club I read William Shakespeare's play Measure for Measure.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Measure for Measure is among the most passionately discussed of Shakespeare’s plays. In it, a duke temporarily removes himself from governing his city-state, deputizing a member of his administration, Angelo, to enforce the laws more rigorously. Angelo chooses as his first victim Claudio, condemning him to death because he impregnated Juliet before their marriage.Claudio’s sister Isabella, who is entering a convent, pleads for her brother’s life. Angelo attempts to extort sex from her, but Isabella preserves her chastity. The duke, in disguise, eavesdrops as she tells her brother about Angelo’s behavior, then offers to ally himself with her against Angelo.
Measure for Measure was one of Shakespeare's plays that I really was not familiar with before reading. That always makes for a more difficult reading experience for me with Shakespeare's plays. I always like to have a preliminary idea of what his plays are about before I read them as it's just easier to follow them then. I did read a synopsis beforehand because of that, which did help. This was definitely an interesting play and I'm glad I got the chance to be introduced to another of Shakespeare's plays. The play is basically about hypocrisy and morals.
Claudio is supposed to be moral and cleaning up the city but is really just an immoral hypocrite. The Duke is a moral person with a good heart who tries to help everyone.... though I'm not sure he necessarily goes about it the best way. Isabella is the only truly moral one in my opinion, sticking to her virtues despite an impossible situation. With how messed up of a situation this play portrays it surprisingly has a happily ever after ending.
 There's a lot to discuss in this play and I think it would be a very interesting book to read in a group setting and discuss. I'm definitely wanting to watch it now. Have you read it or seen the play live? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Bout of Books May 2018

Bout of BooksI'm crazy and I want to compete in Bout of Books with a newborn. Send me mental help ASAP!!!! Honestly though I'm not sure I could read any less than I normally do with Bout of Books. I have a proud history of scarcely reading during Bout of Books... normally I forget it's happening. However, I've actually been reading more probably since our little Hobbit was born as I really have little else to do while I'm breastfeeding her then read.
Anyways.... here's the link for this Bout of Books. Be sure to check it out if you're interested in participating. It's always fun... even if you're a terrible participant like me.
My goals for this Bout of Books are...
  1. Finish War and Peace.... I'm very close to being done! What better time to finish it up! 
  2. Read or finish one other book. I'm currently also reading The Invisible Man (audiobook), The Portrait of a Lady and God Is and then of course there is always the off chance I'll start something else before the Bout gets started! 
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Monday, May 7, 2018

Our Hobbit

Brian and I are so excited to announce that our little Hobbit has been born! It took days of labors, a lot of tears and even more prayers but she's here! It's been crazy adapting and I'm sure it will just get crazier. Thankfully Brian is there to keep me (mostly) sane. I've had little time to do anything besides feed her and change her diapers so it's taken me awhile to sit down with my computer and get this announcement out. Hopefully I can keep up more with blogging in the future but for now I think it's going to be kind of sparse. There are some book reviews I'll need to put out but it may be awhile. I've been keeping up with my reading almost better than before though since while I'm breastfeeding her there's not much else to do besides read. Hopefully that keeps up as I still need to get my Classics Club list finished up before next January.
And of course here's a few photos!
Brian reading to her as you can never start to early.

I still managed to make it to a book sale because not even having a baby is an excuse to miss a book sale!

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Book Review- The Mill on the Floss

For the Classics Club I read George Elliot's novel The Mill on the Floss.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Brought up at Dorlcote Mill, Maggie Tulliver worships her brother Tom and is desperate to win the approval of her parents, but her passionate, wayward nature and her fierce intelligence bring her into constant conflict with her family. As she reaches adulthood, the clash between their expectations and her desires is painfully played out as she finds herself torn between her relationships with three very different men: her proud and stubborn brother, a close friend who is also the son of her family's worst enemy, and a charismatic but dangerous suitor. With its poignant portrayal of sibling relationships, The Mill on the Floss is considered George Eliot's most autobiographical novel; it is also one of her most powerful and moving.
I think I'm getting a better appreciation for George Elliot with each book of her's I read. I don't love her and I doubt I ever will, but I do find her books thought-provoking and beautifully written. I actually listened to Mill on the Floss via audiobook which I really enjoyed and of course made for a slightly different reading experience.
Maggie, the main character of the story, is absolutely intriguing and her arc drives the story. Her different roles as a daughter, sister, friend and lover push and pull her in all directions as she tires to navigate life and it's trials. She's a relatable character, making poor decisions as she strives to make the right ones. She yearns for love and acceptance. Her goal is to please everybody.  I didn't totally like Maggie and oftentimes I was like "what did you just do!" However I couldn't help but pity her.
The other characters in the story were intriguing as well. Her mother and all of her mother's family were the typical hypocritical English snobberies and fops (not quite gentry but proud enough to be) that irked and amused you to no end. Her father was an intriguing blend of passionate outburst and endearing love. In the end he ends up a rather bitter and pathetic man. But again you kind of pity him. One of the most interesting relationships in the story is between Maggie and her brother Tom. You watch Tom develop through the story. He goes through many of the same trials Maggie does but his personality dictates very different reactions, which cause him to grow up a harder person who sees the world as very black and white.
Then there's the contrast between Maggie's two suitors. Phillip Wakem is the deformed son of Maggie's father's rival. Maggie loves him first as a child for his kindness to her brother Tom and then later forms a forbidden attachment to him partially out of pity and partially out of true love. Phillip loves her deeply and is also a good friend to her advising her and supporting her through her life. He's not very good at being self-encouraging though and let's his deformity depress and control him. He thinks very little of himself. He does work to better himself in his studies and is quite artistically talented. Overall I like Phillip but he basically begs Maggie to love and marry him, guilting her into the attachment in some ways. Maggie really does like him but as their fathers are rivals she sees the attachment as impossible but Phillip is unwilling to accept that answer.
Maggie's other suitor is Stephen Guest, who you are introduced to as the suitor of Maggie's cousin and good friend Lucy. Stephen and Lucy are basically engaged when Maggie comes on the scene. Almost as soon as Stephen is introduced to Maggie though he is enraptured by her and looks to be noticed by her often, something that Lucy is oblivious to but Maggie picks up. Maggie doesn't know what to think at first but as time goes on becomes seduced by Stephen's wit, charm and physical attractiveness. She denies these feelings though as she considers herself promised to Phillip and Stephen is basically engaged to Lucy. Stephen continues to push the limits of their friendship though until he gets her to admit that she has feelings for him. I don't want to give away how that concludes but let me just say that I find Stephen to be deplorable. He's manipulative and pathetic, thinking only of himself over and over again. While I do not find Maggie's character to be spotless in what happens she does really strive to do the right thing and tells Stephen no over and over again but Stephen keeps pushing her and trying to seduce her. I really loathe him. Enough of him though! Understand I hate him!
One more character I'll mention before I close this review is Bob Jakin, a childhood friend of Tom's who returns when he is older and helps the family over and over again out of the sweetness of his heart. He's kind of an adorable character and you can't help but love him. He's compassionate and generous but also brings a sense of comic relief to the book. He's easily the best character in the book.
There's so many other interesting characters and so much else you could say about this book but I couldn't possibly cover it all. I didn't love this book but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm sure I'll revisit it again sometime in the future and glean even more from it.

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Book Review- The Pickwick Papers

For the Classics Club I read Charles Dickens' first novel The Pickwick Papers.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Few first novels have created as much popular excitement as The Pickwick Papers–-a comic masterpiece that catapulted its 24-year-old author to immediate fame. Readers were captivated by the adventures of the poet Snodgrass, the lover Tupman, the sportsman Winkle &, above all, by that quintessentially English Quixote, Mr Pickwick, & his cockney Sancho Panza, Sam Weller. From the hallowed turf of Dingley Dell Cricket Club to the unholy fracas of the Eatanswill election, via the Fleet debtor’s prison, characters & incidents sprang to life from Dickens’s pen, to form an enduringly popular work of ebullient humour & literary invention.
A couple years ago there was a challenge I tried to participate in that consisted of reading The Pickwick Papers as they were originally published in serial form. I did not get very far before I gave up... something I very rarely have ever done. Maybe it was the pace of reading it or it just wasn't time. However, recently I decided to pick it up again and thankfully I was not only able to finish it but I enjoyed it. It's a quirky book and definitely not for everyone. It starts out slow and it needs warming up to. Like most of Dickens' novels, the characters drive the story and they are each an oddity. It took me a while to warm up to them because they're so ridiculous but you come to love them all. The style of the story is different as well as it kind of meanders with the characters moving about and having "adventures" as the travel about. It's just a laid back story.
What I enjoyed most about The Pickwick Papers though was the humor hidden in the writing... that delightful British humor. Some of it quite reminded me of P.G. Wodehouse, who's of course one of my favorite comedic authors. I had to read some of the quotes aloud to my husband as they were just so funny! I've read a lot of Dickens' novels (almost all of them now!) and I feel like it might be the funniest of them all but since it's such a rambling read it takes more commitment then probably most are willing to put in to a book. It's just not a normal Dickens novel. Granted it was his first though and you can tell that in how it was written. The writing, while more humorous in my opinion, wasn't as good. He finessed his work with time.
All that to say, I enjoyed it a lot, it's slow to get in to, but it's worth it, but definitely not for everybody.
Here's a few of my favorite quotes from it, though I know there were many other good ones hidden in the pages that I've missed.
“The gout is a complaint as arises from too much ease and comfort. If ever you're attacked with the gout, sir, jist you marry a widder as has got a good loud woice, with a decent notion of usin' it, and you'll never have the gout agin.... I can warrant it to drive away any illness as is caused by too much jollity.”

“She dotes on poetry, sir. She adores it; I may say that her whole soul and mind are wound up, and entwined with it. She has produced some delightful pieces, herself, sir. You may have met with her 'Ode to an Expiring Frog,' sir.”

“Can I view thee panting, lying
On thy stomach, without sighing;
Can I unmoved see thee dying
On a log
Expiring frog!”

“Hush. Don't ask any questions. It's always best on these occasions to do what the mob do."
"But suppose there are two mobs?" suggested Mr. Snodgrass.
"Shout with the largest," replied Mr. Pickwick.
Volumes could not have said more.”

“There are very few moments in a man's existence when he experiences so much ludicrous distress, or meets with so little charitable commiseration, as when he is in pursuit of his own hat.”

“Mr. Pickwick gazed through his spectacles for an instant on the advancing mass, and then fairly turned his back and -- we will not say fled; firstly because it is an ignoble term, and, secondly, because Mr. Pickwick's figure was by no means adapted for that mode of retreat...”

“Mr Pickwick awoke the next morning, there was not a symptom of rheumatism about him; which proves, as Mr Bob Sawyer very justly observed, that there is nothing like hot punch in such cases; and that if ever hot punch did fail to act as a preventive, it was merely because the patient fell in to the vulgar error of not taking enough of it.”

“Company, you see - company is - is - it's a very different thing from solitude - an't it?”
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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Life, Cleaning, Cooking and Reading (or the lack thereof)

It's been almost a month since I posted on the blog and I figure I'd better get at least one more blog post in before I pop this baby out so here's a little update on my life.
Most of my time right now is occupied in setting up the nursery and cleaning the house in preparation for our little Hobbit's arrival. The nursery is basically done.... just one more thing to hang up. I can't wait to share pictures! It's so perfectly Tolkien themed... I love it! I have freezer meals stashed away ready to go for those days when I have no time for anything but keeping the baby alive (I hear there will be a plethora of those). Everything is really pretty much ready to go yet I still feel so unprepared. The reality that it could be any day or a couple more weeks is nerve-wracking! So much about pregnancy and childbirth seems so up in the air it's hard to plan. We do the best we can though I suppose.
My reading life is suffering greatly as well. I'm trying to finish up The Pickwick Papers as I need to get going on The Way We Live Now for the Classics Club spin. I'm supposed to have it finished by the end of April for the challenge and I know I'll be quite busy in April so I'd like to at least get started on it. I'm still plugging away slowly but surely at War and Peace and I'm actually enjoying it more than I would have thought. I'm listening to the audiobook of The Mill on the Floss, which is quite long, but since I listen to it when doing dishes, cooking and cleaning I'm actually going through it fairly fast. Then of course I'm still inching my way through Mortification of Sin and God Is. Those non-fiction books always take longer. I am enjoying everything I'm reading but all of it is pretty heavy reading (The Pickwick Papers is a little lighter than the rest) so it's slower. I might need to give myself a break with something lighter here in not too long. Of course with having a baby soon I'm wondering how that is going to affect my reading life. One of my friends who just had a baby recently said that she's able to read while she nurses/pumps so I'm hopeful I'll still have some time. I know my priority will be my baby though and I'm grateful for that. The books will always be there but she won't be a baby for forever. I need to treasure every moment and I can't wait to!
So what's going on in y'all's lives?

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Classics Club Spin- March 2018

Time for another Classics Club spin! The last one got me to read Adam Bede by George Elliot, which I'm sure I would have drug out getting around to reading for the longest time if it hadn't been selected so I'm hoping this spin does the same. Check out THIS POST over at the Classics Club bog to see the rules and of course if you aren't a member of the Classics Club yet what are you even doing?!?!?!?! I have to read the book spun by April 30th which is well after my due date so I'm hoping to get it done before our little Hobbit is born.
So here's my list of books for the spin!
  1. Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane by P.L. Travers
  2. The 39 Steps by John Buchan 
  3. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope 
  4. Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson 
  5. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  6. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
  7. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevesky 
  8. The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  9. Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  10. Cyarno de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand
  11. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
  12. Beau Geste by P.C. Wren
  13. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  14. Kim by Rudyard Kipling 
  15. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson 
  16. The Red and the Black by Stendhal 
  17. The Epic of Gilgamesh 
  18. Richard III by William Shakespeare 
  19. Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes 
  20. Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring
Can't wait to see what number gets spun on March 9th! 

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Top Ten Books I Could Re-read Forever

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is the Top Ten Books I Could Re-Read Forever. This isn't even a hypothetical list. These are the books I"m pretty sure I've re-read the most and I'm pretty sure I'll just keep re-reading them... forever.

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- I've lost track of how many times I've read my favorite book. 
  2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien- Again I've lost track of how many times I've re-read this classic. I know it's probably been less than some as it's longer but I've still read it many times.
  3. Coronation of Glory by Deborah Meroff- Something about this book and the story of Lady Jane Grey really appeals to me and I've revisited this book many times. 
  4. Leave it to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse- My favorite of P.G. Wodehouse's novels and one I've re-read and, now that I have an audiobook of it, re-listenend to a lot. 
  5. This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti- I've re-read these two books countless times. Are they the greatest books? Not really. Do I still love them? Yup! 
  6. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling- No explanation needed here.
  7. The Redwall series by Brian Jacques- I haven't re-read these in awhile but I did a ton as a kid and my heart longs to revisit the series. 
  8. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis- I've read this the most of the Chronicles of Narnia series for good reason... it's the best! 
  9. Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery- Read and re-read over and over gain. One can't get enough of this spunky ginger! 
  10. The Wizard of Oz series by L. Frank Baum- Again I haven't re-read these in a while, except the first book for book club last year, but I re-read this series so many times as a kid and I really want to re-read them again. 

This post just makes me want to go back and re-read a few of my favorites!
What about you? What are the books you could re-read forever?

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Monday, February 26, 2018

It's Monday! Of Checklists and a Tolkien Party

As my due date approaches I've been making checklists and trying to actually complete them. I did get the Christmas tree down finally last week. I've been buying more books at used book sales and Goodwill so adding to my workload. I'm just clever that way. I have a pretty good stash of freezer meals already though!
We had our first baby shower recently, that some dear friends put on for us and specifically made Tolkien themed. It was AMAZING!!! We had hobbit themed snacks and decorations. There was even a "No admittance except on party business" sign on their door! It was a Tolkien nerd's dream! And while not everyone gave us Tolkien themed gifts several did and we came away with some Tolkien art, a little hobbit dress and a quilted wall hanging of Bag End! Here are a few pictures of the marvelous event!

I'm afraid no other baby shower will ever match up! It was a dream come true!

Anyways on to reading! I've finished up a couple books recently and I'm working on some more. I'm feeling behind already but I'm trying not to let it stress me out and just enjoy the reading I do get done.

Finished Recently

  • Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey
  • Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon 
  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by LaLeche League
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (re-read)

Currently Reading

  • The Mill on the Floss by George Elliot (audiobook)
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (eBook)
  • The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens 
  • The Mortification of Sin by John Owen (eBook)
  • God Is by Mark Jones

Coming Soon

  • Nothing planned right now. 

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