Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Review March 2014

There have been some fantastic articles out there about reading, re-reading, and some inspirational people who have tackled some of the hardest literature out there. Shout-out to all you amazing readers. I wanted to highlight some of my favorites and then give you my latest book review.

BBC Article, Reading the World in 196 books: A woman named Anne Morgan started a blog called A Year of Reading the World, in hopes that she would be able to fill her shelves with various publications from nearly 200 nations. The article states "One by one, the country names on the list that had begun as an intellectual exercise at the start of the year transformed into vital, vibrant places filled with laughter, love, anger, hope and fear. Lands that had once seemed exotic and remote became close and familiar to me – places I could identify with. At its best, I learned, fiction makes the world real." 

The full list is on the website, and her experience is inspiring!

BBC article, The Joy of Binge Reading: The trend for books has been, write one book quickly and write another one, quickly - so that the readership doesn't die down, because reader's are bingeing. The author argues that this addiction is actually quite healthy stating, "it’s an experience in which you suspend critical judgment and allow pure joy to take over" and "Of course, go too crazy too fast with binge reading and you can feel as awful as you do after traditional bingeing on food and drink: overfilled, dazed and in need of sunlight and exercise. The good news? Even the worst binge reading has got to be among the most productive of binge behaviours." I would like to argue that binge reading supply and demand may make the 'literacy' part of reading fall by the wayside in order to meet the demand. However, I am not quite set in my theory yet. 

I notice that at the end of my novel, I am not quite ready to give up the book. It makes me angry that I don't know what else happened during the novel, especially as Fanny and Edmond end up together at the end of one of my favorite Jane Austen novels. I guess I am the classic binge reader - always wanting more. I see the author's point.

BBC article, Re-Reading; The Ultimate Guilty Pleasure: I love the premise, "As parents learn with frustration, as small children we love immersing ourselves in the same story over and over. But in adulthood that joy tends to become a forgotten pleasure." 

The article poses some fantastic points, even including some scientific data, like 1. The first time we read something, we are so pre-occupied by the what, and 2. The second time we read something, we can allow ourselves to get caught up with the emotions of the book. The article concludes, "Perhaps what’s really strange is that we don’t re-read more often. After all, we watch our favourite films again and we wouldn’t think of listening to an album only once. We treasure tatty old paperbacks as objects, yet of all art forms, literature alone is a largely one-time delight. A book, of course, takes up more time, but as Mead and Ellis confirm, the rewards make it amply worthwhile."

I hope you enjoyed those articles as much as I did!

Book Review 

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott - 5*

I have written a review on this before. This was a fantastic re-read. A little while back, I decided that I would begin re-reading this book every November. It makes me happy. We all need a little more happy in our lives. The characters are so well-written and developed - the personalities of the characters so unique, the story is beautiful, and the script is captivating. I identify with more than one character in more than one season. It is worth the read and re-read!

The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis - Unfinished, but loving it!

My mom and I listened to this while we drove across the country. It was hard for me to listen to because there were so many good and deep points. It got to the point where weather and listening did not mix, so I haven't completed this yet. However, from what I was able to listen to, my mind was blown away. It exposed me to so many insights and theories about the after-life and what is really important in life. I can't wait to find out what happens to the main character after all his experiences!

Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, Judy Blume - 5*

How could I not give 5*'s to these classic children's books? I started reading more children's literature. This classic made me wonder if children take away that it is ok to lie, lol. But, in all honesty, I think it is just a good story about defeating odds and finding joy in the journey of being young. I enjoyed it because it kept a smile on my face.

Running Out of Time, Margaret Peterson Haddix - 5*

This author is awesome! I read the Shadow Children series written by her several years ago, and remember really liking the series just as much as I liked the book I just finished. These are fast reads - and I finished this book in one day's time. I like that her books always have a political underlying theme. I can't say too much about the book itself for fear of spoiling it, but can say it is about a teenage girl who grew up in an environment and within a matter of hours, her world turns upside down as some truths about her life, community, and family are exposed. The tone is fast and very much portrayed like a 14 year old girl. Love this author.

The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B, Sandra Gulland - 5*

I could not put this book down, and finished it in a week's time. Ask my sweetheart. This book is the first book of a three-part series. A fantastic account of Mrs. Bonaparte recounting her life experiences in journal style, based on accurate information of the time. It is well researched, and strikes several of my emotions. I am already reading the sequel. Highly recommended.

Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe, Sandra Gulland - currently reading

This is the sequel to the Bonaparte series. Again, I am almost halfway through the book, and have only had it for three days. 

1776, David McCullough - currently reading

This is a fantastic research paper written in a novelistic documentary-style, highlighting the Revolutionary War. So far, I like that McCullough tackles both sides of the story. He creates a fantastic view behind the scenes by referencing writings including, journals, newspapers, personal letters, and other historical documents to back up this incredible time in history. I highly recommend this to anyone questioning the intentions of government during that time, or wanting to know more about the art of war. There is no doubt in my mind that the creation of this nation was Providential - this book backs my theory.

My Other Book Reviews 

Children's Literature....How I Love Thee
Book Review - Some Classics
Little Women: Keeping Busy, Best for Happiness
The Same Kind of Different As Me
Thoughts From These High Green Hills: Finding Joy in the Journey
The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime: October Happiness Project Updates
A Home at Mitford: Getting Rid of My Trash
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

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