Challenging January

I am reading…. at least I think I am reading but I’m not making that much progress and it’s making me crazy.  I have two books going.

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GETTING THINGS DONE and THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL one on audiobook and one on my kindle.  They are both going great and I’m enjoying both very much but for some reason I feel like nothing is happening and I’m not getting ahead in the reading.

GETTING THINGS DONE – I think where I’m setting myself back in this one is that I’m constantly backing it up and re-reading passages because I want to make sure I understand. There are so many interesting and worthy nuggets of information on how to get things done without all the stress that I want to make sure I get every last bit of them.  What happens, then is, I keep setting myself back.  I should have been done with this book at least a week ago.  As it turns out…. I’m not even half way done.

THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL  – This is my first Anne Brontë book and I’m so glad I chose this one.  The writing is … well as expected from one of the Brontë sisters.  There is a lot of description of the surroundings but she is really amazing at making the reader feel as if we are a part of a painting.  I can feel the coldness of the stone and the warmth of the fire in each of the rooms.  There is a description of a party where I was even able to see myself sitting with the family and enjoying a cup of tea.  So, it is not the book that is making me feel like no progress is being made when reading this novel.  Perhaps in this regard it’s the medium which I chose to read it.  For some reason I am always slower when reading on my kindle.  Add the fact that Anne Brontë doesn’t really speak in today’s English and there are quite a few things I have to make sure I understand before moving on….. Well.  I’m at 20% and feeling anxiety.

By the look of things right now it does not look like I’m going to have a review of either of these books done this week.  I was hoping I could.  This weekend I was not able to read for that long.  If you follow me on Instagram I was desperately trying to get my house undecorated (mission accomplished) by the time I sat down it was almost time to fall asleep.  I read for one hour, at the most, and was able to bring my Brontë reading to 20% (I know……) and then …. well…. the week starts and my schedule is not really my own.

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I didn’t want to let today go by without putting up a post and it has been a while since I’ve posted a review.  I want you to know that I am working towards getting a review up as soon as possible but it will be later than I wanted.

I hope you are all having a great January.  Stay tuned for a review ….. hmmmm shall we say next week?

XoXo

Ana

Good Book Bad Book

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett– a story of two families.

I have to admit that I am really sad about this book.  Perhaps I am not in the right frame of mind to read.  Sometimes you encounter books that are very well written and have a beautiful story to tell but happen to have falling into the hands of the wrong reader.
unknown A book can only have a voice through the eyes of the reader but if the reader is not prepared to hear the story the book has to tell, it doesn’t matter how well it is written and how beautiful the words on paper may be, the story will never be told properly.

This is how I’m feeling about Commonwealth.  This is my first novel by Ann Patchett and even though I am not enjoying this book I can see and feel that it is a very well written work.  Throughout the book (the very little I have read) I am able to live thought the drama that the families are going through and at no point do I feel that Ann Patchett is talking at me.  The author makes every effort to guide the reader through the intricacies of the story which takes place through 50 years of a family.  Throughout I can feel the confusion, the pain and the fullness of each of their lives.  As I said, the writing is beautiful.

for the reasons above, I feel that I owe the book and the author another opportunity.  I am not, at the moment, able to finish reading this book.  However, I am not going to DNF it nor am I going to do any sort of further commentary on it.  I am going to put it down and give myself a few months and then come back to it.  I am a firm believer that there are some books as some people, deserve a few chances.

Sometimes the reader is not ready for the story.

Onwards and forward with other stories…… There are so many to be told.

 

XoXo

Ana

Book Review – The Sellout by Paul Beatty

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The Sellout by Paul Beatty

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Yep… two stars. I think that’s being generous. I thought about the prospect of giving it just one star but I know the author must have really put some effort into at least finishing the book so that deserves something.

I couldn’t help but feel as if the author was talking down to me the entire time. I understand satire and comedy but I do not like to be put down. It’s obvious the color of my skin and perhaps I am not able to understand what it’s like to be a different color, heck I can’t even understand what it’s like be a different sex. I didn’t think this book was funny, as a matter of fact I felt it was racist and in a dangerous way. It felt argumentative and it felt like it was generalizing the way everyone felt about each other. How blacks feel about whites and how whites feel about blacks.

Lastly, I will be the first one to admit that I do not have a large vocabulary. First English is not my first language and second …. well I just don’t have a large vocabulary so I couldn’t help but feel stupid while when I so often I had to stop reading to look up some of the words used. I get it…. the author is highly educated but does it have to be so much in my face? If the reader cannot understand what the author is trying to say, then in my mind it’s a bad book.

All I have to say. I’ll just add that I’m not really sure how this book won the Man Booker Prize but perhaps race had a part to play.

Thanks for reading this rant….. I hate that it sounds that way.

View all my reviews

My November TBR

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Yep, it’s already October 31st and it’s time to figure out what I think I want to read in the month of November.  As the weather gets colder I tend to want to stay inside more and hopefully spend my time reading.

Unfortunately, I am still getting through A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.  It’s a great book and I love his writing but for some reason I am having a hard time making it through the book.

I’m half way through it and on vacation the next couple of days so I’m hoping to be done before I have to get back to work.

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I just picked up The Sellout by Paul Beatty, at the library and I have to return it on November 11th, I will most likely pick it up next.

If you haven’t heard, The Sellout is a satirical.  It takes place on the outskirts of Los Angeles and our protagonist is a black male who is raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist who is killed in a police shootout.  His hometown has been literally wiped off the map due to all the chaos with poverty, unemployment and crime.  Now his father has been killed by the police.  Our protagonist wants to right all kinds of wrongs as much so he decides to reinstate slavery and segregation in the high school.  His actions land him in front of the Supreme Court.  This book sounded really good to me.  It’s a mixture of the new, the old and the political :).

I have been waiting for this book to be available at the library and there is no way in hell I’m not going to read it.  I can’t wait to start.

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The next book on the list The Wonder by Emma Donoghue.  This was my October pick from the Book of the Month Subscription Box.  I’m so far behind on my reading.  It sounded interesting.  Emma Donoghue is not an author I have read before so I’m looking forward to learning about her.

Lib, our protagonist is a nurse with a simple.  She is to take care of a girl who has refused to eat for four months.  Lib expected to find out that the girl was a fraud and was looking forward to expose both the girl and the town where the girl lived for taking advantage of the situation.  This is a psychological thriller about good and evil and about relationships between people from different cultures and worlds.

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So these are the books I am challenging myself to get through.  I have one more on my Kindle but if I don’t get to that one I won’t feel too bad.

What’s on your TBR this month?

My Own Words – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

My Own WordsMy Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I will admit that I was not expecting to really like this book. Let’s just say that the only thing which that the Justice and I see eye to eye (no pun intended) is that women are as good as men and sometimes better. I am a huge fan of the Justice’s work towards women’s rights and equality. I was very interested in learning how she keeps an open mind in the Court when her views are obviously ….. well…. her views.

I was happy to see that instead of an autobiography like so many others which I wind up finding boring, this one was set up as a collections of Justice Ginsburg’s writings, thoughts and decisions as well as in some cases, at least one, a speech written by her husband. I found it very heartwarming when she interjected her own opinion and thoughts in the midst of reading his speech.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it. It just goes to show you that you don’t have to politically agree with the person you’re reading about to enjoy and even like the person.

Ana

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February Reading Wrap-Up

February is over and what a crazy end of the month it turned out to be.  Between things at work getting busier and Dakota acting up and my diet…. well, let’s just say…. it hasn’t been pretty.

I managed to read a few books this month towards my goal for 2016 as well as my 12-12-12 Book Challenge.

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I read this book more because of my interest in the person and not so much her life as a designer.  I was interested to see what type of woman Chanel was and what inspired her to be who she was.  See my review here

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A while ago I gave this book a try but at that time, perhaps I was not ready to read it, I couldn’t finish it and it wound up on my “Did not Finish” list.  This year as you know I am doing a reading challenge — see here— So I picked it up again…. turns out this time around I was ready to hear how much of an introvert I really am.  I loved this book this time around.  See my review here.

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Big Magic was one of those books that lived on my “want to read” shelf for so long I almost gave up on it.  I’m glad I didn’t.  See my review here

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Career of Evil brought me back to my once loved thrillers which I used to read all the time.  I will be writing a review of the book so I won’t say too much here but, although my most favorite book this month, I am glad I picked it up.

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Brooklyn is the story of an Irish immigrant in the United States sometime after the war.  This is a story that will take you through all different types of emotions and pulls at your heart.  Being an immigrant myself there were aspects of it that I related with and others that I didn’t and am glad I didn’t.  I will also be writing a review of this book so this is enough for now.  Let’s just say that this is a good contender for one of my favorites of 2016.

It’s time to think about the list of books to read in March….. Stay tuned for that list which should be posted tomorrow.

What will you be reading?

XoXo

Ana

Best Children’s Books

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I’ve enjoyed and loved reading since I was a child .  My most fond memories are of my father and I sitting in the living room reading The Little Prince.  That book is still my favorite book of all time.

For some reason children’s books allow me to dream much happier dreams than the “adult” books I read now.  There is a freedom that comes from knowing that good always tumps evil, the mean godmother is going to die and the prince is always going to find the princess.  There are dreams to be dreamed when I sit and read children’s literature.

I took a Children’s Literature class in College and for the first time read “The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe.” That book became my second most favorite book.  The Little Prince is always going to be a favorite.

So….. what are my top 5 most favorite children’s books of all time?

  1.  The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  2. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  3. Charlotte’s Webb by E.B. White
  4. Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  5. Little Women by Louise May Alcott

I hope you enjoy them.

What are your favorite children’s books?

 

 

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Book Review – Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Garter

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Phew!!! finally done.  Took me a while to read this book but I am glad I stuck with it to the end.  I will admit that I thought about giving up but…. glad I didn’t.

This was my first book by Gortner so I was not sure what to expect.  The book is well researched and the writing is strong.  I will say that he had his work cut out for him considering the complicated subject he picked.  Coco Chanel was not a wall flower and writing about her had to be a difficult task.  Gortner did not seem to shy away from the difficult aspects of Chanel’s personality and, in fact, provided the reader with an opportunity to make up her mind as to whether or not Chanel is a likable personality.

The story of Chanel is more than a story of a famous designer.  In fact, as far as I am concerned, this is the story of a woman who did not want to be restricted by the labels society wanted to impose on her.  Coco Chanel did not, at least not at first, set out to be the best fashion designer of her time.  Her main goal was to be the best Chanel she cold possibly be and at times that mean not being liked very much.

Although her achievements were all her own and won on her own terms without regard for others.  She was far from a selfish person.  There was a Gortner, was able to let her softness shine through even through the worst moments.

Something that struck me all through the book was that it was not until much later in the book that she felt she was anything special.  Her designs were an extension of her personality…. No frills.  Clothes, to Chanel, were not meant to be a costume.  They were made to be worn and to accentuate when necessary but not to make one feel like a prisoner.  The designs of Chanel are so far removed from what the House of Chanel is currently putting out.  I’m certain that Chanel herself is turning over in her grave right now.

Her success as a fashion designer is in complete contrast with her not so successful love life.  Her personal life is quite sad, actually.   Although I’m not sure she always felt that way.  Being in love and following the traditional role for a woman of her time would have impeded her from becoming Chanel.

I think Gortner did a great job at providing the reader with historical context and still to making the book so description to the point of turning it boring.

I would recommend this book to a lover of historical fiction, not so much to someone who wants to read the book only for the subject and the fact that she is a fashion icon.  That reader will not gain that type of insight from this book.  If you want to know about Chanel, the woman, I would say read the book.  If you want to know about Chanel the designer, I will tell you there are other books you might enjoy more.

RATING:  **** (started slow hence the 4 stars)

FAVORITE QUOTE FROM THE BOOK

“Better to be remarked upon than to be ignored”

My Reading Challenge

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I love books.  I love the smell of books, the feel of books and … ok, the look of books on my iPad.  I admit, I’m odd, I like the way the shelves look with all the books I’ve read.  Each one is a trip into a completely different world.  The problem is that…. the worlds are not that different.

As a child, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on.  Thanks to my father who was an avid reader just like me.  We had all types of choices… politics, history, fantasy, romance (I didn’t like those then and don’t like them now)….. But the fact is that I was not picky about what I read.  As I got older I developed a taste for non-fiction and it’s rare the book that I pick up that is fiction.  I tend to read mostly history, biographies, business related books, financial… etc.  Then are the self-help books, how hasn’t read those?

I think it’s time to expand my horizons.  I am close to finishing Mademoiselle Chanel and was going through Goodreads looking for my next book to have it waiting on my bookshelf when I came across this 12 Books, 12 Months, 12 Different Categories, challenge and I thought this would be perfect for me.  I know I don’t have 12 months anymore but …. who cares.  Even if I only do 11 months 11 books, 11 different categories; at least it’s more variety than I’m used to.

I will keep you posted on my progress and in the meantime, if you want to take the challenge with me, here are the categories.  Let’s get started.

-A book published this year
-A book you can finish in a day
-A book you’ve been meaning to read
-A book recommended by local librarian or bookseller
-A book you should have read in school
-A book chosen fr you by someone you know (spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF)
-A book published before you were born
-A book that was banned at some point
-A book you previously abandoned
-A book you own but have never read
-A book that intimidates you
-A book you’ve already read at least once

Let me know how you do.

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