WWW Wednesday #12

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Participating bloggers answer 3 simple questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What are you going to read next?

Currently Reading

  • Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell – been on hold for a while though
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (audio)
  • The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Recently Finished: Reviews coming soon soon soon I promise!

  • Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
  • Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
  • The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
  • The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Planning to Read Next

  • The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (my first book that I got from Blogging For Books)
  • Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Apprentice by Maggie Anton
  • Demelza by Winston Graham
  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman
  • Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy by Nora Roberts (something a little witchy for October)

Have you read any of my selections? Would you like to share your own reading progress this week? Please comment below 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesday #14: If you like Gillian Flynn, you might like…

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, participating bloggers create a list corresponding to a particular theme. This week our goal is to link up bloggers and readers with some perhaps less well-known books that they might enjoy if they are already fans of a particular author or book. My post is coming kind of late on Tuesday due to some unforeseen circumstances and it was a bit hard for me to get creative with this one but I will do my best! I decided to explore the realm of “dark and twisty” books that fans of Gillian Flynn’s work might enjoy. Some of the books that came to me are more obvious connections than others (though I am not including The Girl on the Train as I feel that everyone already compares those) but in my personal opinion I feel that each of these has at least one similar element to either/all of Dark PlacesSharp Objects or of course Gone Girl:

  1. Before I Go To Sleep, S.J. Watson (2011)
  2. The Girl with All the Gifts, M.R. Carey (2014)
  3. Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane (2003)
  4. Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk (1996)
  5. The Fever, Megan Abbott (2014)
  6. Where They Found Her, Kimberly McCreight (2015)
  7. The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty (2013)
  8. The Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
  9. The Millennium Series, Stieg Larsson (2005-)
  10. The Cuckoo’s Calling, J.K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith (2013)

What are your thoughts on dark books/thrillers? What connections did you make in your TTT? Feel free to share below. I also have a TON of book reviews planned for the next couple of days!

Book Review: “Ross Poldark” by Winston Graham (4.5/5)

Originally published 1945. 393 pages in my 2015 paperback edition.

Originally published 1945. 393 pages in my 2015 paperback edition.

I wanted to start exploring the Poldark series based on the growing popularity of the adaptation on BBC. This is the first book in a 12-book series by Winston Graham about the Poldark family. I haven’t watched any of the show yet because I wanted to see if I would enjoy the book first, but now I think I will definitely start watching!

Ross Poldark is the story of Ross Poldark (naturally), who returns home to Cornwall after fighting in the American Revolution. His family is fairly prominent around the area, though they are not the wealthiest or most powerful, just generally respected for the most part. Before he left for the war Ross was engaged to Elizabeth and he was so excited to come home and be with her again. However, when Ross gets home he finds out that not only has his father Joshua passed away in his absence but that Elizabeth figured him to have died in the war (it’s not like he could have sent her a Facebook message) and became engaged to his cousin Francis instead. Even after seeing that Ross has returned home, injured but alive and safe, Francis and Elizabeth go ahead with their wedding and Ross has to both heal his broken heart and make out a living for himself and straighten out his father’s home and land basically on his own (not spoilers — this is all at the very start of the book).

I first couldn’t help thinking of Ross like Ross from Friends. He was clearly so heartbroken over Elizabeth and everything that was going on, but tried his best to put on a good show for the family…

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Even though it was apparent that he actually felt like this…

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Ross has a couple of servants around the house, Jud and Prudie, who do a lot more drinking than helping out but he generously keeps them around, if only more for companionship after his father’s death and his own emotional trauma, and they eventually shape up and really get to helping him run things again. He also is very kind to the impoverished miners in the area, and rescues a young girl Demelza from her abusive father. More about that in the next books… I think that what Graham was trying to demonstrate in Ross’s character is that his generosity and kindness despite having relatively little himself and feeling so down helped him turn everything around and be well rewarded by the end of the book.

In many ways, it’s really hard to believe that this book is over 70 years old and that it details life in Cornwall in the late 1700s. Graham’s writing provides a lot of insight into character, family relationships, romance, gender roles, class politics, small-town gossip, criminal justice… SO many topics that really transcend time and remain so modern and relevant. Some of the vernacular is dated but for the most part I found this to be an easy read for its age with a pleasant flow and good pacing. The book is separated into a few different books that each span a slightly different time period. We really come full circle with Ross after his return home and get set up well for the following books even though the ending is satisfying and not a cliffhanger. I greatly enjoyed Ross Poldark and rate it 4.5 stars. The next book is Demelza and I’m looking forward to it!

Andy Weir Reddit AMA

Hi guys,

I don’t know if anyone happened to notice that I didn’t do a WWW Wednesday today. It would be exactly the same as last week‘s so I just decided not to repeat it, plus I was away for most of the day for the Jewish holiday today and just got back a little while ago.

I still wanted to make a quick post to let anyone interested know that today on Reddit, Andy Weir, the author of The Martian, did an “ask me anything” post where he answered many questions from Reddit users. I read through the first page and thought that in some of his answers he provided some interesting insights into his writing process and the book in general, so if anyone is a fan and wants to look at that, you can check it out here.

Top Ten Tuesday #13: Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, participating bloggers create a list corresponding to a particular theme. This week we are listing the top ten books on our fall to-be-read lists. These aren’t really in any particular order, my TBR list is SOOOOO long (for real, it’s 4 digits now) but I went through my Goodreads to-read shelf and selected some of the books I think I’ll read sooner rather than later and that are particularly calling out to me for fall 🙂

  1. Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor: This book is scheduled for release on October 20. I am a big fan of the very weird podcast and I hope the book lives up to the hype.

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  2. The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff: This book is scheduled for release on October 27. I love books about witches and I think that as nonfiction this is going to really be a well-researched and thorough story.

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  3. Bird Box by Josh Malerman: This is supposed to be very scary. I love my thrillers during the fall season!

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  4. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: I think that fall is the perfect time for some awesome fairy tale retellings, especially ones I’ve wanted to read for a while… don’t you think so? The fourth book Winter will be released November 10.

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  5. Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson: Fall is great for fantasy in general in my opinion. Okay if you’re noticing a pattern fall is definitely my favorite season and I can probably connect every type of book to fall in some way. But I did buy the box set of this trilogy recently and I can’t wait to get started with it!

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  6. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas: I have heard such mixed reviews and I really want to see for myself if I will enjoy these books.

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  7. MaddAddam trilogy by Margaret Atwood: I haven’t read anything by Margaret Atwood other than The Handmaid’s Tale, but I have always wanted to.

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  8. Storm Front by Jim Butcher: This is the first book in a series that has been around for a while. I’ve heard GREAT things from my friends who have kept up with the series. It was also on a list from Book Riot of enjoyable books to read after Harry Potter 🙂

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  9. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee: Despite all of the controversy surrounding this book and several people telling me that it’s not worth it, the curiosity is getting the better of me and I am going to read it.

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  10. Armada by Ernest Cline: I don’t think that this could live up to Ready Player One for me but I’m going to check it out within the next few months.

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Do you have thoughts on these? What books can you not wait to read this fall? Please share your comments below 🙂

WWW Wednesday #11

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Participating bloggers answer 3 simple questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What are you going to read next?

Currently Reading

  • Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell – been on hold for a while though
  • Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
  • Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

Recently Finished

  • The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor
  • Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman – though I’m going to wait and review this together with Fragile Things for one review of both short story collections

Planning to Read Next

  • The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (audio)
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (audio)
  • Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Apprentice by Maggie Anton
  • The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
  • The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

As always please comment below with your thoughts on my selections and links to your own WWW lists! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday #12: Ten Fictional Marriages and Weddings

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, participating bloggers create a list corresponding to a particular theme. This week is a freebie – we can choose our own topic for the list. Today I am celebrating because my husband and I have been married for exactly six months! Because of our half-anniversary on this Top Ten Tuesday I’m going to list ten of my favorite books that feature weddings, marriages, and/or love stories in general in some capacity (but certainly not all with happy endings, that would be boring).

  1. The Princess Bride, William Goldman
  2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  3. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare
  4. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
  5. A Storm of Swords, George R.R. Martin
  6. Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  7. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  8. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
  9. The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
  10. The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory
Bonus wedding picture :)

Bonus wedding picture 🙂

Today more than ever I want to see all of your TTT lists since they will all be unique! Please share in the comments!! 🙂

Book Review: “The Complete Stories” by Flannery O’Connor

“The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.” (from “The Displaced Person”)

Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1971. 579 pages.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1971. 579 pages.

I am still in the middle of my little short story reading surge. I have been working on *this* volume of short stories for almost as long as my blog has been in existence, but it has taken me quite a long time to get through. This isn’t just because it’s a much longer collection of stories than the other ones I’ve been exploring but also because the stories here are heavy and the writing is far more complex and literary than more contemporary works, so I read them slower in order to better analyze everything that’s here.

I first bought this book because of the cover on the edition I’ve pictured above. It’s so pretty and features a peacock since O’Connor raised them, which I thought was very interesting. I’ve always been interested in reading her works since I had to read her arguably most famous story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” for school. This particular collection contains each story found in her previous short story volumes as well as twelve additional ones that had been published elsewhere during her short lifetime.

All of the stories in this book are written in O’Connor’s typical Southern Gothic style, a variety of American fiction that I always enjoy for some reason despite living in an area so far removed from the South. Recurring themes include the main character often having a very racist, gender-biased, and/or generally prejudicial worldview and having this come back to get them in the end, as well as examining the socioeconomic disparities between different groups of people in the mid-century South. O’Connor was also extremely religious and her Catholicism is also quite prevalent in terms of many characters having religious experiences and finding their faith growing stronger (but I would not call this Christian fiction by any means). O’Connor’s writing is extremely blunt and often very very violent. I had some trouble adjusting to the more dated and regional language use in earlier stories but for the most part I really liked the writing style, in that each story had a moral and that for the most part characters tended to get what was coming to them.

Some of my favorite stories of the 31 were “The Crop,” “A Late Encounter with the Enemy,” “A Circle in the Fire,” “Good Country People,” “The Enduring Chill,” and “The Lame Shall Enter First.” It probably wouldn’t be too hard to find these and many of the other stories online if you are interested! I am giving The Complete Stories 4 stars and I would also like to explore O’Connor’s two full length novels in the future.

WWW Wednesday #10

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Participating bloggers answer 3 simple questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What are you going to read next?

Currently Reading

  • Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell (potentially will need to re-read my progress so far, it’s been a little while)
  • The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor (so close to finishing)
  • Ross Poldark by Winston Graham
  • Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

Recently Finished

Planning to Read Next

  • Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
  • The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (audio)
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (audio)
  • Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Apprentice by Maggie Anton
  • The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
  • The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Thoughts on my list? Want to share your own reading progress? Please comment below!

Top Ten Tuesday #11: Ten Finished Series *I* Haven’t Finished Yet

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, participating bloggers create a list corresponding to a particular theme. This week, we’re listing ten series that the authors have completed but we ourselves have yet to finish reading. It actually wasn’t super easy for me to come up with a list of series that are for sure completed, since I feel like a lot of authors will say they are done and then just keep going :p I feel like they are easier to find in high/epic fantasy including some older works. Here’s my list:

  1. The Dark Tower (Stephen King) dark-tower-books
  2. The Mortal Instruments (Cassandra Clare) f7fcb1ad67514eb409a1112a871127d2
  3. Discworld (Terry Pratchett) ffEqa9w
  4. Percy Jackson & The Olympians (Rick Riordan) d55bef02990935163f95cc11b9558254
  5. Sookie Stackhouse (Charlaine Harris) Harris-SookieStackhouse-Blog
  6. Grisha Trilogy (Leigh Bardugo) Grisha-trilogy-1024x521
  7. Farseer Trilogy (Robin Hobb) Farseer trilogy
  8. Sherlock Holmes (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) fade7babe0458796565b788446591fd6
  9. Riyria Revelations (Michael J. Sullivan) Riyria Trilogy
  10. Mistborn (Brandon Sanderson) mistborn-covers

Have you completed any of these series? Do you have any other good recommendations for me? Share your TTT in the comments! 🙂