Sunday, January 25, 2015

Checkpoint 1: #TBR2015RBR

2015TBRbuttonMy Progress: 
Books Read: 0/12 Books Reviewed: 0/12

Hello all, well, we are almost at the end of January already (already?!) and it's well past the official check-in date for the RBR TBR pile challenge (it was the 15th, in case you were wondering).

Unfortunately, I don't actually have much to check-in with. My progress has been, well, to be honest, minimal. I have sort-of semi-started reading Emma (meaning, I haven't gotten very far - at all). I've been so distracted by new shiny books to read that I've put off (again) the ones that are already sitting on my sagging shelves. I got a new ereader  for Christmas (my old one crapped out on me) and I just HAD to try it. I'd forgotten how amazingly convenient a Kobo is to have during my long commute (and so, so LIGHT - goodbye sore shoulders!).

Here I am checking-in anyways, however, because I am so amazed that so many people have been able to get such a great head start on plowing through their TBR piles. I am really impressed by them all (and also loving finding all these great new blogs to follow). And also inspired. Or should I say re-inspired? Either way, it has definitely re-ignited the fire that made me want to join this challenge in the first place (and yes, the multiple piles of books cluttering every available flat surface of my home and blocking all emergency exists IS a fire hazard, but I'm not very worried). I'm hoping to get Emma read this week and have a review up by the 31st, but I don't want to put too much pressure on myself (that will only ensure it doesn't get done!).

Question of the Month: Which book on your 2015 list has been on your shelf the longest?  
I have to say that, without question,  the book on my list that has been on my shelf the longest is Little Women, the copy I have on my shelf has been in my possession for no less than 17 years! (The bookmark stuck in the front cover dated 1998 confirms this) I'm actually a little ashamed, maybe after Emma, Little Women should be the first one I get to!

If you're like me and you haven't made much of a dent in your list either, don't worry, you're NOT alone! (And this isn't really meant to be a competition anyway, is it?... Seriously, is it? I didn't think it was, but I hear there are going to be prizes, so I could be wrong) Let's stay connected and we can cheer each other on. It's only the beginning of the year, right? We've all got a long way to go.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Review: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-FiveSlaughterhouse-Five

by Kurt Vonnegut
This book was selected as my first ever spin pick for the Classics Club. "Wasn't the deadline to post a review for your spin pick January 5th?", you might ask. Why yes, yes it was. But lateness does seem to be my trademark (feel free to ask my old high school teachers - I'm sure they'll agree). I like to think it counts for something that I did have the book read by the 5th, considering it was the holidays, I didn't think I'd end up with any time for reading at all, but luckily, my commute made finishing this one possible. And I'd thankful to Metrolinx for their Go trains, because I LOVED this book.

While it's not overly complicated, I'm still not sure how exactly to sum this book up. So here's the super-short, super-condensed, super-simple version:  Slaughterhouse-Five is the story of Billy Pilgrim, a private in  WW2 who becomes a prisoner of war and survives the bombing of Dresden. Billy Pilgrim gets "unstuck" in time and is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. The book follows Billy Pilgrim throughout his life as he jumps back and forth between different time periods, including the time he spent in the war and on Tralfamadore.

This was my first Vonnegut and I was a little skeptical at first, I didn't think I would enjoy it after reading the first few pages because it seemed really absurd - almost too absurd. Normally I love the weird and wacky but something about the opening pages of this book really put me off. I'm so glad that this was my spin pick because it made me force myself to give this book a chance. After the first chapter I was hooked. I especially loved it when the Tralfamadorians explained to Pilgrim that time isn't linear, that in fact, it's really just a big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey... oh, wait. Wrong alien. It wasn't what I expected from an anti-war novel, because all I've ever heard of it was that it was satire and "darkly humorous". And it was those things, but it was also incredibly beautiful and poignant. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads, but now I'm thinking it should have been a five.

This book is almost impossible to review, so please enjoy these quotes from Slaughterhouse-Five, all of which I am sure you've already heard:

Slaughterhouse-FiveI have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone.

All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist.

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

Everything is nothing, with a twist.

All this happened, more or less.

So it goes.

 


 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Persuasion Read-along? Sign me up!

I love read-alongs. Especially when they involve classics. And Jane Austen. Lucky for me, Heidi over at Literary Adventures Along the Brandywine is going to be hosting a Persuasion read-along starting January 5 (today!) through to the end of February. The only thing I love more than a good classic Austen read-along is crossing books off of my TBR, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to start on my first pick for the Back to the Classics 2015 Challenge! There's nothing better than multi-tasking, am I right?

The pace is going to be pretty easy-going at 3 chapters a week. I'm not sure if I'll stick strictly to this schedule, I guess it will depend on how much I love the story, does that make me a bad read-alonger? Maybe, but I'll try not to get too far ahead. 

Although it is a classic, this is going to be totally new to me. I haven't read or seen any adaptations of Persuasion before and I'm excited to start this one. I'll be updating my progress on Goodreads, Twitter (#persuasionreadalong), and of course, here. I haven't decided how frequent my check-ins will be, again, I guess it will depend on how much I'm enjoying (or disliking) the novel (but I hope I love it). 

Are you joining in on this read-along? Have you read Persuasion before? Care to share your thoughts with me? What about adaptations? Do you have a favourite? Any recommendations would be 100% appreciated. If you recommend it, I will watch it! 


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Classics Club Meme: December 2014

True to form, I'm late to post but here's the Classics Club meme for December: 
Let’s talk about children’s classics! Did you read any classic works as a child? What were your favorites? If not, have you or will you try any classic children’s literature in the future? (We’re aware children often read at an adult level. Please feel free to share adult OR children’s classics that you treasured in childhood OR children’s works that you’ve recently fallen for.) 
As a child I always loved books and reading. I was always being given books for every gift-giving occasion, like birthdays and Christmases. When I started using the library, I would check out books at random without paying attention to genre, or even author most of the time. When I first decided to try and explore the classics (in my teens), I learned to my surprise that, in fact, a lot of the books that were my childhood favourites were classics. I just had no idea. These are the books that I would stay up past my bedtime to read by flashlight, or lamplight if I was out of batteries. These are the books that made me want to read books, that made me want to write books. The stories that I never really let go of. Of course like almost every other 12 or 13 year old girl I attempted Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, unfortunately they didn't immediately catch me (because I was to young to really understand them and enjoy them properly - obviously, others could, they just weren't for me at the time). It led me to believe that classics were "adult" books and that I didn't like them. I'm glad that now I can appreciate all sorts of classics and am striving to instill this same appreciation in my own children, in an age appropriate way, of course. My six year old, for example, adores Willy Wonka, and we're eager to dive into our next Roald Dahl. Hopefully soon we'll be able to enjoy my childhood favourites:

1. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

Peter Pan

2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1)

3. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

Winnie-the-Pooh (Winnie-the-Pooh, #1)

4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1)

5. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #2)

Hail to the King - A Stephen King Challenge (Intro Post)

HAIL TO THE KING
Cass and Leah are hosting a pretty great challenge for 2015. It's going to be all about reading the works of Stephen King. The rules and linky to sing up are here.

The Questions

1. What got you into Stephen King?
2. How long have you been a fan? Or are you a newbie?
3. First King book you read? [or plan to!] Did you like it?
4. Level you’re aiming to achieve!
The Answers
  1.  This Challenge, hopefully! I've never read any Stephen King, even though it was my goal to read at least one of his books last Halloween - I chickened out.
  2. I am totally new to his books (redundant answer, I know, but there's no other way to put it.) I've watched a few movies that were based on his books. Does that count?
  3. The first book I plan to read by Stephen King is On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, I know it's technically not a novel or short story (ok, it's definitely not either of those), but I'm really hoping no one will hold it against me. I'm taking baby steps into the world of horror.
  4. I'm hoping to read at least 3 of his books, so Scaredy Cat level for me. If anyone objects to my first pick being non-fiction, I'll probably end up reading 2 novels and I won't count On Writing (which I really want to read, so I'll read it anyway).
Are you a fan of Stephen King? Will you be joining in on the Stephen King Challenge? Let's chat on twitter #hailtotheking. We'll get over the fear together!