Tag Archives: classics

The November Wrap-Up

monthly-wrap-up

December already–how did that happen? This year needs to slow the heck down as I am so not ready for it to be Christmas yet. Do you hear me, 2014? Brake!

November was a nice month. I enjoyed participating in Nonfiction November and starting my volunteering job at the local library. We discovered some local parks and walking trails and I even managed to get my husband to try a yoga class (score!)

I’m trying to remember that while I want to feel settled and integrated here in our new home, I don’t want it to be at the price of becoming too busy. Thus my hope is that December will be a bit slower than November–although looking at our calendar shows this will be a challenge.

On the reading front, I got off to a slow start but caught up some towards the end of the month. In November, I read:

Fog Island Mountains by Michelle Bailat-Jones

Beyond Reach by Karin Slaughter

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I also read parts of two other books, both non-fiction for Nonfiction November, but I didn’t get a chance to finish them so they don’t count towards my monthly total. The first is a slow-going memoir that I am only reading a little of before bed each night, and the other is an interesting (so far) history book that I had to return to the library. Hopefully I’ll be able to check it out again soon.

My favorite book of the month was probably Beyond Reach, mainly because it’s the last book in the Grant County series and Slaughter really outdoes herself with the finale. Even though I knew what was going to happen because I’ve read her later books, it was still shocking and touching. So sad. I was a bit disappointed in Landline because I’ve loved everything else that Rowell has written, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

I’ve got two books to read for review this month and I’m planning to take part in an edX course about Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (my standard holiday re-read), so that should be fun. I’ve also got quite a few books out from the library which I’ll highlight in next week’s Library Loot post. Needless to say, now that I spend even more time at the library, my TBR list only continues to grow. 🙂

I hope everyone who celebrated this past week had a lovely Thanksgiving and I’m wishing you all a peaceful month as we wind down this year. Happy reading in December!

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The Classics Spin (yet again!)

classics_club_buttonThe Classics Club has come up with a fun way to get us motivated and reading our classic books–the Classics Spin! The rules are:

  • Go to your blog.
  • Pick twenty books that you’ve got left to read from your Classics Club List. Confession: I’m constantly updating my list so I usually cheat on this part and just pick what I want.
  • Try to challenge yourself: list five you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, rereads, ancients — whatever you choose.)
  • Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog by next Monday (that’s tomorrow!).
  • Monday morning, we’ll announce a number from 1-20. Go to the list of twenty books you posted, and select the book that corresponds to the number we announce.
  • The challenge is to read that book by January 5th, even if it’s an icky one you dread reading!

So here goes. In honor of this month being Non-Fiction November I’ve decided to include a special non-fiction section. I’m also putting five works of Victorian Lit (The Classic Club’s November theme) and five books with a holiday/winter theme for December. The last section will be books that have been recommended to me but that I haven’t found time to read yet.

Classic Non-Fiction

  1. A Vindiction of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft
  2. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  3. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
  4. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  5. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

Victorian Lit

  1. (6.)  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  2. (7.) Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  3. (8.)  Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  4. (9.)  David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  5. (10.)  The Professor by Charlotte Brontë

Holiday/Winter-Themed Lit

  1. (11.) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  2. (12.) The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories by O. Henry
  3. (13.) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  4. (14.) If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
  5. (15.) The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (too recent to technically be called a classic, but I’m including it anyway because it’s based on an old folk tale)

Classic Recommendations

  1. (16.) The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  2. (17.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  3. (18.) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  4. (19.) Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
  5. (20.) Far From the Maddening Cry by Thomas Hardy

Good luck to everyone who’s “spinning” this time around. Hopefully we’ll get our lucky number!

Classics Club: October Meme

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Even though I’ve been a very bad Classics Club member lately, I am going to try to get back in the game with the monthly meme question.

Let’s talk about classic poetry! Have you got a favorite classic poem? Do you read poetry? Why or why not? // You could also feature a poet or a book of poetry, rather than a poem.

I do love poetry, but it has taken me a long time to find the kind of poetry I most enjoy. Some of my favorite poets include Billy Collins, Naomi Shihab Nye (who I saw give a reading in college but didn’t fully appreciate at the time, unfortunately), Carol Ann Duffy and Mary Oliver, to name a few. I’m not sure they really count as “classic” poets, though, as they are mostly modern ones.

There are two classics poets that I read in school and who really stuck with me, however. The first is Sappho, whose ancient Greek poetry reads like something a modern day woman could have written. I had to read an entire book of her poetry in college and I flew through it in one night, totally enchanted.

The classic poet who taught me to really appreciate poetry, though, is William Carlos Williams. I can remember reading the following poem one day and all of a sudden I just GOT it. I understood what imagery really was and why it was such a big deal. Williams made me realize that poetry doesn’t have to be complicated and indecipherable and full of $10 vocabulary words to be meaningful and beautiful.

“This is just to say”

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Head over to The Classics Club to see what other members are talking about…

Readalongs and Readathons

Hello, all! I think it says something about my current state of mind that when I feel like blogging at the moment, it’s mostly just to chat. I don’t have anything particularly profound to say about books or the state of the world or anything other than my own naval. So be it–I may need to keep my focus inward for the next little while, and that feels okay.

I’m getting ready to participate in a couple of reading/blogging events that I thought I should mention. Besides Paris in July which is going on right now (I haven’t posted anything yet, but that should change this week), I’ve decided to participate in the Estella Society’s readalong of East of Eden by John Steinbeck, which officially starts on the 21st.  The only Steinbeck I’ve read is The Red Pony, which scarred me for life at the tender age of 12. Hopefully I’m mature enough to handle this one (ahem).

EastofEdenReadalong-1024x1024

Finally, I’m going to join in the High Summer Readathon from July 21st – 27th, as I will actually be home from work that week and should have some time to read. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to read for it, but probably a combination of my reading for the other two events and some fun, spur-of-the-moment stuff.

high summer rat

But enough about me. How are you? 🙂 Are you enjoying your summer? Doing anything new and exciting? Reading anything so fabulous that you just have to tell the world all about it?

Literary Blog Hop Giveaway

literarybloghopBonjour and welcome to Too Fond! It’s here–the weekend of the Literary Blog Hop! This will be my fourth time taking part in this Hop.

The Literary Blog Hop is hosted by Leeswammes. Between June 21st (that’s today!) and June 25th, you can hop to almost 40 different book blogs, all offering one or more giveaways of books or bookish items. All books will be literary (non)fiction or something close to that. Follow the links at the bottom of this post to find the other participating blogs.

My Giveaway:

For my giveaway, I’m offering a choice of one of my favorite books of the year (so far) from The Book Depository. Your choices include:

  1. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
  2. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  3. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  4. The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein

To enter, please read the rules and then leave a comment.

The Rules:

  1. Anyone can enter. You do not need to have a blog.
  2. You need a post-office recognized address anywhere in the world that The Book Depository delivers.
  3. You do not have to be a follower or become a follower, although if you like my blog I hope you will! Check out my follower buttons over on the right.
  4. Enter by leaving a comment with your email address and the book you would choose if you win the giveaway (you can always change your mind later).
  5. You can enter the giveaway until Wednesday, June 25th. I will close the giveaway at 11:59 p.m. on the 25th and will no longer accept entries posted after that time.
  6. Note that double or invalid entries will be removed.
  7. I will notify the winner by email. The winner will need to answer my email within 3 days, or I’ll announce a new winner.
  8. I will order the book of your choice from The Book Depository and have it sent to the address you provide.
  9. That’s it! Good luck and thanks for playing.

Linky List:

  1. Leeswammes
  2. The Misfortune of Knowing
  3. Bibliosue
  4. Too Fond
  5. Under a Gray Sky
  6. Read Her Like an Open Book (US)
  7. My Devotional Thoughts
  8. WildmooBooks
  9. Guiltless Reading
  10. Fourth Street Review
  11. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  12. Word by Word
  13. Words And Peace (US)
  14. Ciska’s Book Chest
  15. Falling Letters
  16. Roof Beam Reader
  17. Readerbuzz
  18. The Relentless Reader (US)
  19. Mom’s Small Victories (US)
  20. Daily Mayo (US)
  1. The Emerald City Book Review (US)
  2. A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
  3. Lost Generation Reader
  4. Booklover Book Reviews
  5. Bay State Reader’s Advisory
  6. River City Reading (US)
  7. Books Speak Volumes
  8. Words for Worms
  9. Wensend
  10. Bibliophile’s Retreat
  11. Readers’ Oasis
  12. The Book Musings
  13. My Book Retreat (N. Am.)
  14. Books on the Table (US)

April Wrap-Up and May Reads

8679306970_18d7faeb91_mHow is it already the end of April? Big sigh. As you may have noticed by the relative radio silence, it’s been another busy month in Too Fond land. Or rather, in non-Too Fond land, aka the rest of my life. Anyway, I only managed to finish two books this month, but since I enjoyed them both I will consider it a successful month nonetheless.

It’s all relative, right?

In April, I finished:

The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I’ve been working by way though The Quick by Lauren Owen, which I’ll be reviewing on the blog in early May. This book has thrown me for a loop because I was expecting it to be one thing and it is most definitely another. It started off great and all of a sudden BAM! What the heck was that? I had to regroup before continuing to read, so it is taking me longer than I expected to finish it.

Brona is hosting a Wharton reading event during the month of May, so this may just be my chance to tackle one of the Wharton novels I have on my Classics Club list. I’m thinking Ethan Frome as it’s quite short. Can one properly read Ethan Frome in the springtime? Hmm. Other than that, I’m going to try to keep the month open to catch up on review books, including the follow-up novel by Hemmings which is out this month, The Possibilities.

How was your reading month? I hope everyone has some good books lined up for May. And did I mention that I leave for London tomorrow? Guess I’d better start packing. Photos soon!

Books I Should Have Read: The Nonfiction Edition

It’s time for another round of Books I Should Have Read! This time, I’ll highlight some nonfiction books that I’ve had on my TBR pile but not (yet) gotten around to reading.

These three all came out over the past year and are all works of nonfiction.

paris-to-the-pyranees1. Paris to the Pyrenees by David Downee

Description:

Part adventure story, part cultural history the author of Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light explores the phenomenon of pilgrimage along the age-old Way of Saint James in France.

Driven by curiosity, wanderlust, and health crises David Downie and his wife set out from Paris to walk across France to the Pyrenees. Starting on the Rue Saint-Jacques then trekking 750 miles south to Roncesvalles, Spain, their eccentric route takes 72 days on Roman roads and pilgrimage paths—a 1,100-year-old network of trails leading to the sanctuary of Saint James the Greater. It is best known as El Camino de Santiago de Compostela—“The Way” for short. The object of any pilgrimage is an inward journey manifested in a long, reflective walk. For Downie, the inward journey met the outer one: a combination of self-discovery and physical regeneration. More than 200,000 pilgrims take the highly commercialized Spanish route annually, but few cross France. Downie had a goal: to go from Paris to the Pyrenees on age-old trails, making the pilgrimage in his own maverick way.

My 2 cents: 

This book seemed like it would be perfect for me–France, hiking, etc.–and I actually started it but just couldn’t get into it, The narrator put me off a bit and the beginning that I read just wasn’t compelling enough to make me keep reading. However, I’d be interested to hear from someone else who read it in its entirety to hear what you thought.

life-in-middlemarch2. My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

Description: A New Yorker writer revisits the seminal book of her youth–Middlemarch–and fashions a singular, involving story of how a passionate attachment to a great work of literature can shape our lives and help us to read our own histories.

Rebecca Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot’s Middlemarch, regarded by many as the greatest English novel. After gaining admission to Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs, then marriage and family, Mead read and reread Middlemarch. The novel, which Virginia Woolf famously described as “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people,” offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not.

My 2 cents:

I started this book and, while interesting, it’s pretty slow going. The author has a very literary style (lots of big words!) which make it a book to be savored rather than rushed, but I’m not sure that I have the patience to finish it right now. What I have read of it is good, though, and I definitely think fans of Middlemarch will appreciate this behind-the-scenes look at Eliot’s novel as well as Mead’s personal response to it.

paris-letters3. Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod

Description:  A love story in the vein of Almost French and Lunch in Paris, Paris Letters is a joyful romp through the City of Light, and an inspiring look at what can happen when we dare to create the life we want.

“How much money does it take to change your life?”

Unfulfilled at her job and unsuccessful in the dating department, Janice MacLeod doodled this question at her desk. Then she decided to make it a challenge. Over the next few months, with a little math and a lot of determination, she saved up enough to buy two years of freedom in Europe.

But she had only been in Paris for a few days when she met a handsome butcher (with a striking resemblance to Daniel Craig)—and never went home again.

My 2 cents:

I can’t say much about this one because I haven’t even cracked the (figurative) cover yet. I think it’s one of those books that I just need to be in the mood to read. I have a love/hate relationship with expat memoirs because while they sometimes have me nodding my head in agreement, they more often cause me to want to bang my head against the wall at the “romanticizing” of the expat experience. Hopefully I’ll find the time to read this one in the near future.