Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

I'm part of the college students geared reading group on Good Reads and some of the members of the group have started a book review blog. This is a meme they've started and I hope to participate when I'm able to!

  Top Ten Books I'd Want On A Desert Island!

  1. Water For Elephants by Gruen :: This is a rather recent read but I seriously love it. It's one of those that I cannot wait to read again. 
  2. Flowers for Algernon by Keyes :: This book never ceases to amaze me (and make me cry). 
  3. The Thirteenth Tale by Setterfield :: Again, I only read this book for the first time earlier this year but I immediately fell in love with it. It's one that I feel I need to put myself back into and get a good feel of the story and see what all I've missed.
  4. The Lady and the Unicorn by Chevalier :: I've come to the conclusion that Chevalier is my favorite author. She is the only writer whose work I've read completely (her newest one is my upcoming book club pick and I'm incredibly excited to read it even though her last book didn't really impress me as much as I would like). There's just something about her writing style that sinks me in. This was my first book of hers and it's always remained my favorite.
  5. Alice I Have Been by Benjamin :: I need at least one book I've yet to read on here, I think.
  6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas :: This has been my favorite book since high school, though I've only read the abridged. I'm hoping to tackle the unabridged some time this year.
  7. Shadow of the Wind by Zafon :: Again, another book I've only discovered this year but it's another that I really want to read again and feel out completely.
  8. The Birth of Venus by Dunant :: A book I read in high school and loved. I'm really big on stories that have something to do with art and/or artists.
  9. The Crimson Petal and the White by Faber :: It took me forever to finally sit down and tackle this book. But it was a wonderful experience and I would love to read it again some time.
  10. The Entire Harry Potter Series by Rowling :: Cheating? Oh, darn. Then I'd randomly pick either the Half-Blood Prince or The Deathly Hallows

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This is a book that one is led to believe is solely about a project taken on by the author, Julie Powell. But once the novel begins, the reader is taken on a ride a whole lot farther than he or she probably wants to go.

Julie is about to turn 30 and feeling like she hasn't accomplished much -- if anything -- in her life. And so she sets up this project: In one year's time, she is going to complete the 524 recipes written out by Julia Child in her first cookbook, Mastering The Art of French Cooking. What was originally started out as a blog became a book which then became a movie. 

I had no interest in reading the book or viewing this movie until earlier this year. The movie kept coming up in conversations with friends and teachers and when I learned it was to be a future book club read, I went ahead and watched the movie via Netflix when I had nothing better to do.

The movie was better. And the only reason this truly bothers me is because this book had such great potential!

The parts that were strictly Project related were great. I devoured those parts, loving to read about the recipe as Julia has written while also reading about the recipe as Julie perceived and performed it. The mishaps, the challenges, the wins, the losses. All of that was wonderfully interesting.

The other parts, though, those I could have dealt without. The parts about her family, the parts about her job, the parts about her friends: the one deciding whether or not it was okay to have an affair, the one deciding whether or not she wanted a divorce, the friend who took for-effin'-ever to pick up a couch.

Seriously: Did not care for and still do not care for. Maybe these parts helped in being able to know who was who later when friends started to come over to eat closer to the end of the project. This is the only reason I can account for telling us their lives. I felt as if I were peaking in on things I had no part of.

Aside from those parts, I found this book enjoyable. Some days her writing style irked me, and I honestly have no idea if this is related to her actual writing style or my mood for that day. And reading the book really added an aspect to the movie for me and made me like it more.

I want to give this book 2 stars but I give it the extra one for the chapter about the lobster (my favorite chapter, hands down) and the last couple of chapters. They really saved the book in my eyes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I loved this book, though I didn't think I would. The writing is captivating and intriguing, leaving me to wonder about the characters even when the book was not in hand.

If I were a history buff, I would hate this, I totally see that. I went to Wikipedia and read through the historical inaccuracies and there are quite a few and all a big deal to the story. But I wasn't reading this book to learn about history. I realize that most historical fiction books take a small detail and just go with it. Yes, they do research but most authors will strictly stay away from the books whose findings would go against the story they would want to write.

As I said, I wasn't researching history: I was interested in the story Gregory concocted.

I could have used 50 more pages, though. I see why it ended the way it did and I actually enjoyed that. At the same time, though, I was interested in (fictional) Mary's story. I wanted to read more about her life after this last event. I wanted to read about them going back to their home, children in tow, and how their life was. I found (fictional) Mary to be a wonderful character and fell in love with her without even realizing it.

Overall, inaccuracies aside, I found this book to be interesting, captivating and kinda trashy all in one. The characters sprang up from the pages for me, vivid in my mind. It's the day after I completed the novel and I still see them every now and then. It was an addicting story and I'm happy to have read it. 

Whether or not I'll read any of her other books, though, I cannot decide. I did find one of her other books at a used bookstore that I'm planning on going back to today. I have a handful of books from school I'd like to get rid of and they give store credit when books are brought in. I'm sure I'll come home a few more books richer and will hopefully have a place for said books.

And we're back on the air!

School is out* and I am ready to jump back on the wagon, finally! I've restarted my 101 in 1001 challenge with a brand new list. This list features some reading goals, one of them being to review every book I read while doing this challenge. I'm not allowed to start another book until the review is written. This is pretty much the only way I can get this done.

I finished my first book for this challenge and have already written the review on my Good Reads account. I'm about to copy/paste plus maybe add a few things here. I'm just happy to say that this challenge...it is back on!

I still have quite a few books I have not reviewed. I have every intention of writing at least a couple of sentences on each of those books with a rating. I think I'm in the right mentality now to do this, plus I won't allow myself to read more until I get this caught up. I'll be on campus all day tomorrow; I plan on doing it there.

I'm hoping this journey will start going well. I need to prove to myself that I can stick to something and see it through....

*It's not really out for me. I am taking an online physics class that takes up more time than I would like but that is beside the point