Posts Categorized: Reading Challenges

East of Eden by John Steinbeck, read by Richard Poe

August 23, 2014 Books, Reading Challenges 1

EastofEden

I missed the second check in because I was behind, so I’m combining 2 and 3 into my review of this epic EPIC book.

Questions from Part 2:

1. What do you think of the characters’ growth and/or change in this section? Specifically, Adam, Cathy/Kate, and Lee have all had some big things happen.

I kind of wanted to slap Adam, punch Cathy, and hug Lee.

2. Lee is quickly becoming an important and insightful character. What do you think of his insights and his thoughts on language and his ethnicity?

I LOOOOOOVE LEE. I love everything about Lee and his story. I love the examinations of race and religion and even family through Lee. Through Lee (on the Trask side of the story), I feel we truly see what family can be. It isn’t always blood that ties us together.

3. The Cain and Abel and the importance of narrative continues to take on more prominence. How so?

4. How do you perceive Samuel now that he’s gone? Was he just a device for delivering advice?

I MISS HIM!!!!! He was a device for delivering advice, but he also helped further the story. Without him, those boys would have NEVER had names. And he’s the one who lead Adam to Cathy the evil b!tch.

5. Cathy/Kate…expound. There will probably be one of these at every checkpoint because OMGthatwoman.

That sums it up pretty well I think; OMGthatwoman.

Questions from Part 3:

1. What do you think of the twins since they’ve grown up quite a bit? They seem to take after both Adam and Charles. How do you explain that? My book club had fun with some theories recently.

Can I just say I adore Cal? BECAUSE I ADORE CAL. Because Cal is like, the ONLY, balanced character in this book. Unlike Adam and Aron, he’s not all good, and unlike Charles and Cathy, he’s not all bad. And he doesn’t really seem to want to embrace either ideal!

2. Any surprises in this section? Lee, Dessie and Tom, Adam’s business dealings? Just some ideas. :)

Adam’s business dealings were a surprise because I was all WTF are you doing Adam? It came out of left field and left right field. And then, poor Cal, went and made that money for Adam and WHAT DID THAT JERK DO but throw in back in his face? I never saw what Cal did as particularly bad. That’s just business.

Aron’s turn was surprising too. It almost felt like suicide.

3. Ugh, Kathy/Cate. Is there anything redeemable about this woman?

Oh hell no. There is no redeeming that woman. I don’t know if she thought leaving her money to JUST ARON was a good enough apology, in her misguided demented little diseased brain, but oh hell no. Not good enough.

Further Thoughts:

My further thoughts are for the audio. If you ever consider reading this book, I highly recommend the audio. Richard Poe was amazing. He really brought the book alive and dude, I don’t know if I would have made it without him.

For more insights on East of Eden, please see the collected posts over at The Estella Society. And join us for the next read, coming soon!

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A More Diverse Universe!

August 20, 2014 Reading Challenges 10

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Earlier in the week, I mentioned Aarti’s fantastic annual event, A More Diverse Universe. Today, I’m back with my reading list! Need to know about A More Diverse Universe?

For those who have not heard about #Diversiverse before, it’s a very simple challenge.  For those of you who have participated in the past, it’s even easier this year.  The criteria are as follows:
  • Read and review one book
  • Written by a person of color
  • During the last two weeks of September (September 14th – 27th) 

Yay! More Diversiverse and more Diversity! Here are the books I hope to read:

16171272From the bestselling author of The Color of Water and Song Yet Sung comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery crusade—and who must pass as a girl to survive.

Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town—with Brown, who believes he’s a girl.

Over the ensuing months, Henry—whom Brown nicknames Little Onion—conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859—one of the great catalysts for the Civil War.

An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride’s meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.

 

170436One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neale Hurston’s beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear, or foolish romantic dreams, it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose. 

A true literary wonder, Hurston’s masterwork remains as relevant and affecting today as when it was first published – perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature.

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a reread for me. It’s probably been 10 years or more since I first read it and my life experiences have changed me immeasurably since then. I want to see how I experience now, as a MORE grownup person than I was then.

I was thinking of throwing in Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (I read the first few pages in the bookstore the other day and WHOA.) if I can get it from the library.

I also have other books I’m thinking of throwing in, but these are the two I definitely want to get to (cause I own them!). Do you have any books you’d recommend?

 

 

 

 

 

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Bout of Books 11

August 14, 2014 Books, Reading Challenges 8

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Y’all! It’s that time again! You know I can’t miss a good readathon. Assuming I’m of sound mind to read next week, here’s my pool. Plus maybe a couple others. You know how I roll.

I’ve already started Gutenberg’s Apprentice, so that will probably be my main book, but, as I do when I’m reading loooooong books (and yo, this book is SUPER LONG), I’ll be going back and forth between it and another. I’m already reading Tiny Beautiful Things as well, so that will be my starting go-between. I definitely want to hit up Sweet Tooth, to get Andi OFF MY BACK ALREADY, and figure Sweetness #9 will be a good followup to that. I’m still digging the nonfic, so I threw It Looked Different on the Model to stir things up a bit. Lastly, RIP starts NEXT WEEK, so I threw in something that looks a wee bit spooky; The Supernatural Enhancements. All in all, I think this is a good mix of books and dude. I CANNOT WAIT. Join me?

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The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

 

 

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East of Eden , Discussion 1

July 31, 2014 Books, Reading Challenges 1

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Yesterday was the first installment of our East of Eden Readalong with the Estella Project! Holy cow you guys! I’m loving this novel!
 
Watch out a few spoilers from the first section.

1. What do you think of the style of Steinbeck’s writing? Readable and awesome or slow and slogging?

I’m enjoying the heck out of it. I swear I am and I’m so shocked! I’ve tried to read this book before but never got anywhere. Maybe it’s because I’m listening to it this time and the reader is awesome? Yeah, that is probably it. It’s readable and awesome now.

2. We have a wicked case of sibling rivalry going on here. What are your thoughts on Adam’s and Charles’ relationship thus far? Their father’s influence?

Wow, that a contentious relationship. I would have been crazy scared of Charles if I’d had to grow up with him! It all seems to come down to Cyrus and his obvious affection for Adam and lack thereof for Charles. Charles so clearly adored his father and was mostly scorned. Adam was terrified of Cyrus and Cyrus adored him. Justa recipe for disaster when you have a kid as screw-loosed as Charles!

3. Just….Cathy. Expound.

What a beast! I can’t wait to learn more about her. She’s just diabolical. She has no reason to be so nutty. She had good parents (who maybe “spared the rod” a bit too much?) and a good upbringing. By all appearances, she didn’t want for anything. So, she was obviously born psychotic. So I’m looking forward to figuring how where her machinations come from.

4. It remains to be seen how Samuel Hamilton’s brood will play into the story. Any guesses?

Oh, I love Samuel! I want more of the Hamiltons! I keep wondering about them, as we’ve had such small teasings about all of them. Seeing as how Samuel Hamilton is based on Steinbeck’s own maternal grandfather, I see them having a huge part soon. Can’t wait!

See you next week for the next installment!

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Bout of Books 10: The Master Post

May 12, 2014 Reading Challenges 5

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This post will track my reading this week. Let the reading begin! And scroll down for new posts!

Goals

– Read. A lot. Duh.
– Read at least two books. As in all the way through and FINISH THEM.
– Try to participate in at least one Twitter chat because GOSH DANG IT, it’s fun.
– Comment on a least 20 other participants’ blogs.
– Find a new-to-me blog to follow

Monday:
Pages read: 294
Books finished: The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Titles experienced: The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie; The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

Tuesday:
Pages read: 154
Books finished: The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Titles experienced: The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

Wednesday:
Pages read: 174
Books finished: The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon; Burning Girls by Veronica Schanoes
Titles experienced: The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon; Burning Girls by Veronica Schanoes; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Thursday:
Pages read: 72
Books finished: None
Titles experienced: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Friday:
Pages read: 376
Books finished: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark, Among the Thorns by Veronica Schanoes, A la Carte by Tanita S. Davis
Titles experienced: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark, Among the Thorns by Veronica Schanoes, A la Carte by Tanita S. Davis, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Saturday:
Pages read: 88
Books finished: Kinds of Blue by Karen Beilharz
Titles experienced:We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, Kinds of Blue by Karen Beilharz

Sunday:
Pages read: 95
Books finished: none
Titles experienced: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

Total pages read:
Total books finished:
All titles experienced:

 

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The Woman in White – Epoch 1

January 27, 2014 Books, Reading Challenges 7

The Woman in White was my first Wilkie. Your first of anything you love is always special, and The Woman in White is no exception in my book. I loved it then, and I am loving it even more now. Like most exciting books, WIW kept me on the edge of my seat the first time I read it. I had to know WHAT IS GOING ON and I had to know it RIGHT NOW. As I’m reading it this time, I am able to slow down, pay attention, and wonder about Mr. Collins and what he’s trying to say in addition to enjoying the mystery.

Because, you see, I think my Wilkie is saying a lot (or at least I choose to believe he is saying a lot) (this is a discussion in its own; is he saying a lot for society sake and for the sake of change or for sensationalism sake to sell more books?), about a lot of things and I find myself enjoying reading his musings. His thoughts on class; is Marian so unmarriageable because she is ‘man-ish” or because she is basically a pauper? Or because she doesn’t need a man. Why is it if you are smart, it makes you manly? Marian is my favorite and my best. Laura isn’t allowed to have feelings for Walter, because he is of a lower class than her, and is forced to marry Sir Percival because he is of her class (the SPOILER ALERT! I can’t say what I want to say about Sir P.). Is Sir P. a ***** because he is of the gentry? (I’m barely controlling myself here people.

Best move on.

Wilkie was a well known opponent of marriage. What is he saying about marriage in this book? Is it for the strong? The weak? The poor? The wealthy? Are they all just marrying for money? Or love? Which is better? Marry for love or money? Should you try to get both? Should we EVEN CARE? Oh Wilkie, my brain hurts. Is Laura’s only purpose in this book to be an attraction for the men, either with her looks and soft ways or for her money? Poor Marian.

I choose to feel Wilkie is saying all of this is ridiculous. Do what the heck you want. With whomever the heck you want to do it with. Just watch your pocketbook.

I can’t wait (because I can’t quite remember what happens in this next section) to see (remember) where Wilkie is going with poor Laura, Marian, and Anne. Well ALL NEED MORE ANNE. What is her deal!!! Seriously! And I want to see Sir Silly P Glyde get what’s coming to him. Oh. And more Fosco. Lots and lots more Fosco.

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Bout of Books 8.0

August 3, 2013 Reading Challenges 5

Bout of Books

What can I say? I’m a glutton for reading. Yep, I’m joining the Bout of Books.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 8.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. 

It’s right after The Dog Days of Summer Readathon (August 17, join us?), so it will (hopefully) be a lovely week of reading. I have so many books I need to get through! In fact, I should be reading right now! I’ve been playing around with my template though.

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Ready to Go! April 2013 Readathon

April 27, 2013 Reading Challenges 18

I’ve been so busy this week, I haven’t even had time to post what I’m reading! That’s okay, I’ll just take care of it in the opening hour post. First, the introductory meme!

Okay, here is my primary stack:

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and here’s my back up. Always need a back up.

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Introductory Questionnaire

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I’m in sunny and weatherially confused North Carolina!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

All of them? Okay, that’s cheating. Relish by Lucy Knisley for a start. Since I’m starting there!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Guacamole and chips!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I read The Graveyard Book at least once a year. Last year, I read it twice.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I’m not even sure how many read-a-thons I have participated in. One thing I do know, I need breaks, and I need to go outside a bit. Hopefully it will be beautiful all day long.

I’ll be updating this post through out the day, so check back for updates!

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Making Reading Plans….

December 26, 2012 Books, Reading Challenges 12

It’s the time of year! When the new crop of reading challenges pop up and, even though I’ve sworn not to join any, I do it anyway! So, let’s see what I have cooking so far…

2012 TBR challenge

The TBR Pile Challenge 2013 is organized by Adam of Roof Beam Reader. The idea behind this challenge is that you read older books on your shelves, books that have been there for longer than a year. They deserve to be read, too!

The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months).

1. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
2. Affinity by Sarah Waters
3. The Namesake by Jhumpta Lahiri
4. Saplings by Noel Streatfeild
5. Before Women Had Wings by Connie May Fowler
6. The Bells: A Novel by Richard Harvell
7. Beyond Black: A Novel by Hilary Mantel
8. The Bone People: A Novel by Keri Hulme
9. Symphony by Jude Morgan
10. The Chronicles of the Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones
11. Atonement by Ian McEwan
12. The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

2012 Back to Classics Challenge

The Required Categories:

  1. A 19th Century Classic - Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  2. A 20th Century Classic - Excellent Women by Barbara Pym  
  3. A Pre-18th or 18th Century Classic: – The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox
  4. A Classic that relates to the African-American Experience – Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  5. A Classic Adventure - King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard
  6. A Classic that prominently features an Animal - The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame 

Optional Categories:

A.  Re-read a Classic – Either The Scarlet Letter or Dracula by Bram Stoker
B.  A Russian Classic – Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
C.  A Classic Non-Fiction title – The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell
D.  A Classic Children’s/Young Adult title – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
E.  Classic Short Stories Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories by Angela Carter

Other goals:

Read more nonfiction
Read more classics
Read (or try to read) Dickens again. Dickens is my literary nemesis. We hate each other. He’s my Moriarty.
Try Diana Wynne Jones again. With a different book. Fire & Hemlock…it’s another nemesis.
Try Eva Ibbotson again.
Read more with the children.

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At the rate I’m going, I may be wrapping up The Count of Monte Cristo this day. If (HOPEFULLY) I’m finished with the Count by then, I’ll be reading something else. Not sure what yet, though.

I also plan (hope) (wishful think) that I’ll keep better track of my challenge participation this time. I’ll have a page dedicated to all the challenges I join throughout the year and will try (no promises) to update monthly. We shall see! I hope to finish more than the RIP and the OUAT challenges this year!

What challenges have you joined? Go on, get me in more trouble. :)

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Dewey’s Read-a-thon: The End

October 14, 2012 Reading Challenges 10

 

Golly pete y’all. I can’t believe it’s come and gone again. This year was incredible. I got to kick of the read-a-thon with four hours of hosting, which was absolutely amazing, then, despite having to leave for my daughter’s birthday part, I still managed to read 4 fantastic books. All in all, I call that a success. Then, to top it off, I feel like we managed to do what we set out to do; to honor Dewey’s memory and create another memorable event for everyone. At least, I hope we did.I hope you had as much fun as I did!!

So, now for the final meme!

Which hour was most daunting for you?

11:00 PM EST. I gave up. I pretty much woke up at 3:00, excitement and nerves I think, and I was just beat.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

All the books I read this year were all very engaging. Graphic novels always work great, and short ones like The Prince of Mist, are great too.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

I have my own ideas on THAT. lol

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

I’ll reserve judgement on that as well. :)

How many books did you read?

Four

What were the names of the books you read?

The Good Neighbors Kin, Kith, and Kind by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh
The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Which book did you enjoy most?

All were great,  but The Prince of Mist was something very special.

Which did you enjoy least?

None of them

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

I didn’t get to cheer. I signed up before Andi and I became co-hosts anyway, and I just didn’t have time. If I hoped to read, that is. And I hoped to read. :)

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I’ll be here. Hosting again in April! Can’t wait!

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