Fall Reading – 2019

Fall is almost here! I will be continuing to read for my Reading the Classics Challenge and my 2019 Focus on Authors Challenge. Titles are mostly based on giveaways and book club picks. What are y’all reading this fall? Any reads you are most looking forward to? Here is my list:

Book Club Reads

  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danieleweski
  • The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

NetGalley Reads

  • Manhunters by Steve Murphy & Javier F. Pena
  • Christmas in Vermont by Anita Hughes
  • One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski
  • A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell
  • The Sacrament by Olaf Olafsson
  • One Day in December by Josie Silver
  • Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose

Bookish First

  • The Trouble with Christmas by Amy Andrews

Readalongs

  • Dune by Frank Herbert

2019 Focus on Authors

  • The Body by Stephen King
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  • The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
  • We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Other

  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand- audiobook
  • The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich – audiobook
  • The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein – audiobook
  • The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott – audiobook
  • The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone – audiobook
  • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport – audiobook
  • The End of Procrastination by Petr Ludwig – audiobook
  • American Predator by Maureen Callahan – audiobook
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – audiobook
  • His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet – audiobook
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson – audiobook
  • Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham – audiobook
  • Force of Nature by Jane Harper – book
  • Love Big by Rozella Haydee White – book


HAPPY FALL!!!!

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Book Club Review: The Power

the-power-naomi-aldermanTitle: The Power
Author: Naomi Alderman
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 27, 2016
Pages: 341
Format Read: ebook/audiobook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: Amazon & Library Libby app
Date finished reading: July 9, 2019

Goodreads Description: In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.

My Review: This is a great book that led to an interesting book club discussion. The book club I’m in liked this book but did not love it. The women in the group admitted that we all made the assumption that once women became more powerful than men due to their supernatural powers, we believed the world would be a nicer, kinder place and were a bit disappointed that that was not the case in this story. However, this led to a great discussion related to human nature. Everyone seemed to have a different favorite character, so this book did not lack great characters.

However, not everyone in the group enjoyed the fact that this was a book within a book. I thought it was a unique format, but it was discussed that all it was was a ploy to emphasize points that were already clear in the story – that it did not add to the storyline. Also, I want to stress that there is a huge trigger warning for graphic violence and sexual abuse. That is always something that I find difficult to read about.

Overall, it was a great book club choice!

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

Book Club Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

 

WWW Wednesdays – June 12, 2019

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I’ve spent the last week trying to complete some books for readalongs and an IRL book club that I just attended. However, I am very much looking forward to diving into some Agatha Christie books, as she is my June Focus on Authors selection. I’ve been an Agatha Christie fan, since I was a kid.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

HP Litsy Buddy Read: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
IRL Book Club: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

I left book club on Monday evening and immediately started watching the Good Omens series on Amazon Prime. I’m really enjoying it so far!

Reading Next

Have you read Agatha Christie? If so, what is your favorite Agatha Christie? Feel free to comment below and leave me a link to your WWW post if you have one.

HAPPY READING!!!

WWW Wednesdays – May 15, 2019

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I managed to make some progress on my Spring Reading List and just started started my Kurt Vonnegut reads (see A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). Wishing I had more time to read this week, but I am having house renovations done, and family coming to visit, so it is busy busy busy. However, I’m still trying to put some effort into participating in Bout of Books 25. Are you doing this?

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

NetGalley ARC: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson – ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
Parkland by Dave Cullen – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
IRL Book Club: In the Woods by Tana French – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*I’m a bit behind on reviews, but if there is a review, you can click on the title. I enjoyed the books over the last week.*

Reading Next

What are y’all reading now? Please post your WWW links below in the comments if I haven’t already visited them.

HAPPY READING!!!

WWW Wednesdays – May 8, 2019

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What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I’m back after a little R&R getaway! I managed to read at the beach a bit to make some progress on my Spring Reading List and complete my April Margaret Atwood reads (see A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). I’ve started my Kurt Vonnegut reads now.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Focus on Authors: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood – audiobook/book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ¾
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
IRL Great Books Book Club: The Moon & the Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham – ebook = ♦ ♦
Made to Stick by Chip Heath – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ¾
Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*Click on the title of the book for my full review. Will have a review of Made to Stick up soon.*

Reading Next

Have you ever read anything by Kurt Vonnegut? Which Vonnegut would you recommend? What are y’all reading now? Please post your WWW links below in the comments if I haven’t already visited them.

HAPPY READING!!!

Book Club Review: The Moon and Sixpence

9781604595659Title: The Moon and Sixpence
Author: William Somerset Maugham
Genre: Classic Literature, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Aegypan
Publication Date: 1919
Pages: 192
Format Read: ebook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: Amazon kindle
Date finished reading: April 30, 2019

Goodreads Description: Based on the life of Paul Gauguin, The Moon and Sixpence is W. Somerset Maugham’s ode to the powerful forces behind creative genius.

Charles Strickland is a staid banker, a man of wealth and privilege. He is also a man possessed of an unquenchable desire to create art. As Strickland pursues his artistic vision, he leaves London for Paris and Tahiti, and in his quest makes sacrifices that leaves the lives of those closest to him in tatters. Through Maugham’s sympathetic eye Strickland’s tortured and cruel soul becomes a symbol of the blessing and the curse of transcendent artistic genius, and the cost in humans lives it sometimes demands.

My Review: This book was picked for my IRL Great Books book club. Even though the Goodreads description says that this book is based on the life of Paul Gauguin, it is loosely based on his life – more like Paul Gauguin inspired the idea of The Moon and Sixpence.

This meetup was another good example of why I feel book clubs are valuable. I did not enjoy this book at all, but the book club still had an amazing discussion regarding it. The discussion often centered around the main themes we believed the book possessed:

  • What is art & what makes a work successful? What makes art art? It is discussed in the book that sometimes it just takes one critic to praise the work for it to be successful.
  • What drives an artist?
  • A great artist does not necessarily mean that he/she is a great person. There was a lot of discussion about beauty vs. goodness, as many of us did not find Strickland (the main character) or even the narrator redeemable characters.

I could not really see passed the fact that I disliked the main character, Strickland. At one point Strickland is talking to the narrator and says this about his wife: “My dear fellow, I only hope you’ll be able to make her see it. But women are very unintelligent.” Other times, there would be lines that were less insulting that made me laugh a bit, so I think there are many lines and interactions throughout the book that are supposed to be humorous.

The most interesting conversation during book club was how much the author may have put of himself in this story. In The Moon and Sixpence, the main character, Strickland, leaves his family, his source of income and his position in English society to move to Paris to pursue art. He didn’t care about anyone but himself and his art. We wondered if the narrator, who is fascinated by Strickland, was experiencing some self-hate and jealous of Strickland. That he may have been struggling with societal restraints just as the author was.

After this book club meeting, I do believe there is more depth to this book than I originally gave it credit for. However, I just could not see passed the horrible characters. I did not feel like there were any characters in the story to really like. I will admit that I am a bit more fascinated by William Somerset Maugham’s life than his literary works.

My Rating: ♦ ♦

Book Club Review: A Cold Day for Murder

murderTitle: A Cold Day for Murder
Author: Dana Stabenow
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 1, 1992
Pages: 208 pages
Format Read: Book
Standalone or series: Book One of A Kate Shugak Mystery series
Where I got the book: Library
Date finished reading: April 9, 2019

Goodreads Description: Kate Shugak returns to her roots in the far Alaskan north, after leaving the Anchorage D.A.’s office. Her deductive powers are definitely needed when a ranger disappears. Looking for clues among the Aleutian pipeliners, she begins to realize the fine line between lies and loyalties–between justice served and cold murder.

My Review: Since Agatha Christie is the mystery writer that made me fall in love with this genre, I tend to compare all mysteries to hers. In my opinion, it has been hard to find a mystery writer who can set a scene and describe/develop characters, while still moving the plot along in a thrilling way like Agatha Christie can. I can definitely argue that Dana Stabenow did set the scene and included some thrilling moments, especially toward the end. I thoroughly enjoyed her descriptions of the Alaskan scenery/terrain and the cultural/tribal topics that were addressed. However, character development left something to be desired. It is hard to lend support to the main character, Kate Shugak, when you feel like you’ve come in during the middle of her story. I just found the introduction to the main character abrupt and confusing. Maybe a prologue of some kind would have been useful. I also never bothered to try to guess who was behind the disappearance of the two men, because I never felt like I knew enough about any of the characters to offer a guess. My favorite character in the book was Kate’s dog, Mutt. He seemed to have more of a personality than the rest of the characters. I did try to take into consideration that this was her first published mystery book, but I expected more since it won the Edgar Award. This was a quick read and entertaining/thrilling at moments, but it was an overall miss in my opinion. It definitely didn’t interest me enough to continue reading the rest of the series.

It should be noted, that other members of my book club enjoyed this novel and some of the characters much more than I did, as you can see by the overall club rating below.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦

Book Club Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ¼