What ten books would you bring with you if stranded on a dessert island?
The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume I by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - I love Sherlock Holmes! This gigantic book would certainly tide me over for quite awhile!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling - If I can't bring all my Harry Potter books, then I'd bring this one. Once again, because it's huge, and second, it's probably my favorite.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - I've had this one awhile, but have been too busy to start reading it...I'm doubting I'm going to be too busy on this deserted island.
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon - Since I'm kind of a wimp, I'm also thinking that I may die on this island. If that's the case, I can't die without knowing what happens in the third book of the Outlander series. Bonus: It's ginormous.
The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George - I'm trying to narrow my list down to only one Tudor book, and this is my pick. It's awesome.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - I simply can't imagine being anywhere for a long period of time without this book. It's very special to me.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - another series I've been meaning to get around to. I have a nice big volume with all the books in one. No cheating here!
The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitzer - I got bored trying to read this book the first time around....and since I'll have nothing else to do, why not? Plus, I love the Beatles.
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley - Another must-read epic.
Helen of Troy by Margaret George - I'll be alone and jealous that Helen of Troy is cooler than me.
I'm pretty sure that all of these books are at least 800 pages. I'll be busy for awhile.
Why I Read It: I spent 99 whole cents on it, I had to read it
OK. This genre (as I call it, Chick-Lit Fluff) is not my favorite. I only gave it a chance because it takes place in London and I am a total Anglophile.
Ahem. I'm pretty sure I wanted to kill Rebecca Bloomwood by the second chapter. It was an interesting story, but my God, she is so vapid and annoying. If I ever met her in person, I'd punch her in the face.
Her shopping problem was hilarious and frustrating at the same time. I kept wanting to scream "YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. GET HELP, YOU FREAK!" Still, I'm only guessing that she spent a lot of money, all the pounds, quids, and pences confused the hell out of me. Sounds like Harry Potter money.
Alright, alright, I sound like a bitter old lady. This was an semi-enjoyable read, it kept me engaged and interested long enough, but not interested enough to make me want to read the followup books.
Notice how these reviews are getting shorter and shorter? I promise this isn't normal.
Title: Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford (too long to put in header!)
Author: Julia Fox
Published: Ballantine Books, 2007
Where I Got It: St. Johns County Public Library, a.k.a my second home
Why I Read It: I was on a Tudors fix
Not much is known about Jane Boleyn...which makes for a pretty sucky book.
Jane Boleyn was no saint, yet this biography portrays her to be one. She has no flaws! She was happily married to George Boleyn, was a close confidant of Anne Boleyn, she never provided evidence that led to the death of her husband or sister-in-law, including saying they were having an affair, she was innocent in the Katherine Howard-Thomas Culpepper scandal, and before her death, she never went mad! What an angel! There are too many assumptions, which in my opinion, don't fly in a biography. I would recommend this book if you are totally new to Tudor history, it has a good background on Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. I don't recommend this book if you want to learn anything about Jane Boleyn.
When fifteen year-old Michael Berg becomes sick on his way home from school one day, he is rescued by Hanna, a much older woman who cleans him up and escorts him home. When he later goes back to thank her, they begin a hasty and secret love affair. A large majority of their time spent together is simply Michael reading aloud to Hanna, literally acting as “the reader.” About six months into their affair, she simply disappears. It isn’t until several years later when Michael, now in college, finds Hanna again, in court being accused of Nazi war crimes against Jewish people.
In order to properly read and understand this book, you need to look past the fact that a thirty-six year-old woman is getting it on with her fifteen year-old boy toy. I could write an entirely separate review on the Freudism of this relationship. It is actually an unimportant part of the story, no matter how hard it is to ignore (hence the ‘icky sex’ tag).
It wasn’t until their sixth or seventh day together that Michael finally asks the woman her name. This is our first hint of how secretive Hanna is (or how dumb Michael is). She is also very moody, kicking Michael out when he says that school is pointless and hitting him when he goes to the store without telling her. Just as easily as she loses her temper, she becomes her normal passionate self. When Hanna picks up and moves away without telling Michael, he is consumed with sadness and regret. His body yearns for hers and she is all he thinks of until he learns to let go. Her memory does not follow him anymore and he can move on with his life.
When Michael next sees Hanna, he is in law school and observing a courtroom seminar dealing with Nazi war crimes. One of the defendants of interest is Hanna. Michael learns that Hanna was a concentration camp guard and how she inadvertently had a hand in the death of dozens of Jewish women. We don’t get a lot of emotional reaction from Michael, we get it through the viewpoint of the sole Jewish survivor. You would think that Hanna’s past as a Nazi guard in Auschwitz would be her most disgraceful secret, but to her, it’s not. The secret that she finds more shameful and refuses to reveal is keeping her from defending herself. The price she pays is immense.
I’m not revealing the verdict of the trial or what happens to Hanna or Michael; you can find that out for yourself. The Reader is a book full of secrets, love, guilt, and their consequences. It is written in memoir form, which makes me feel as if we lose the in-the-action feel. I am glad I read it, but I don’t think I’ll ever read it again.
Back in October, I pulled this book at random off a shelf at the library, and boy, am I glad I did. It is the story of a woman, Carolyn Jessop, born into a polygamist community in Utah. She became the fourth wife of a man more than thirty years her senior when she was eighteen. (Over the course of his life, her husband had more than a hundred children by fifteen different wives.) Her husband mistreated all of his wives, to the point of slavery and extreme domestic violence, but these women still strived for his affection, even though they knew they didn't love him. They also challenged each other and did not stick together. Life was miserable for Carolyn in this religion; FDLS women have absolutely no rights and freedom. The part that scares me the most is the fact that this is happening in modern day...not five hundred years ago like it sounds like it would. She went on to become one of the few women who ever challenged her husband and religion, and the first to successfully leave the community with all of her children. This book is full of encouragement and knowledge for those like me who were completely ignorant about FLDS and polygamy. For once in my life I was actually glad that I was born a baptist. In looking for a picture of the cover for my blog, I found that the book is going to be made into a movie, starring none other than...Katherine Heigl. Seriously? I mean, seriously?!
4 stars, only because the writing was a little choppy.
The Babysitter’s Club series by Ann M. Martin – hands down, this is my favorite. I got my first BSC book in second grade (I won it in a math contest…speaking of, Stacy McGill was probably the coolest thing ever) and my love affair lasted well into 8th grade. I think once I was older than the girls I was reading about, I became too cool for the series. I, of course, attempted to start my own club, but failed, probably due to only having one member….me.
The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder - I think I love this series so much because I read them with my mom. I also read the accompanying series about Laura’s daughter, Rose, and her mother, Caroline. I think it’s safe to say that these books sparked my interest in history. If I didn’t read historical books today, what would I read?!
Socks by Beverly Cleary – I read tons and tons of Beverly Cleary books growing up, but this one sticks out most in my mind. At the time, I had a cat that looked just like Socks who had the same problem of dealing with a baby in the house (me!). I’ll admit, I still pull this one off my shelf and read it some afternoons.
Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar – Definitely a very weird series BUT SO FREAKIN ENTERTAINING. The characters and situations still stick out in my mind. I reread them recently and some of the puns and jokes Louis Sachar came up with are really witty! I don’t think I got them the first time around.
Santa Paws by Nicolas Edwards – A dog who saves the town? A bitchy cat side-kick? A dorky family? Yes please!
Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements – These classrooms just seemed so much cooler and dramatic than mine. I was kind of jealous. I loved Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You as well.
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson - My first exposure to Treasure Island was the Muppet Treasure Island movie (I was in love with Jim Hawkins). A few years later, my family and I went to Las Vegas and stayed in the Treasure Island hotel. My dad told me there was a book by the same name, which I immediately wanted to read. I fell in love (again) with it and wore the poor book out.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – I think this is a no-brainer. I read this book tons of times. Every time I go to Magic Kingdom, I insist on taking the raft to Tom Sawyer Island just to run across the barrel bridge.
Help! I’m Trapped in Obedience School by Todd Strasser – A book about a boy that switches bodies with his dog (and later sister, teacher, the President, etc) was perfect for my geeky 10-year-old self. Picturing a boy running around like a dog slobbering everywhere made this one of my favorites.
Superfudge by Judy Blume – Another series I devoured. Not sure why I really liked it though, I thought Fudge was really gross. Maybe as an only child I was jealous that I didn’t have a younger brother named Farley Drexel Hatcher and a sister named Tootsie.
How about an honorable mention for the Animorphs? Their covers were the bomb.
I am now off to rumage in the attic to find half of these books for a re-read!