A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

When I first heard the title A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, I was instantly intrigued. I’ve read a lot of books, a few with witches, but not many and I’ve enjoyed most of them. I don’t want to be a witch, don’t get me wrong, it’s just a trope that fascinates me. Always has, so I knew I wanted to get my hands on this book. What to know what I thought about it? Please come read my review, published on BlogHer today to find out!

PS: As of 3:06 PM, the link is fixed. Thanks for letting me know Debi dear! 😀

Capricious Reader Weekly

I’m at the beach this week, but I still saw a few things around the  ‘net I wanted to share with you this week.

The first round decisions for the Nerds Heart YA tournament are starting to come in. Check it out. I’m a semi-finalist judge with the fabulous Nicole from Linus’s Blanket and I can’t wait to get my books! You know I’m watching this with baited breath!

Speaking of NerdsHeartYA, Melissa over at Book Nut interviewed one of the authors whose book was chosen for the tournament. Meet Jennifer Roy, author of Mindblind, which sounds fantastic by the way.

I really wish I could sew. I want to make one of these Library Tote Bags!

Patrick Ness won the Carnegie Medal for Monsters of Men! He accepted the prize with a “fierce defense of libraries.” As if I needed more cause to love the man. Plus, he’s kind of a cutie.

I don’t know about you, but summer means cooking out around here. These mushroom cheddar sliders look to die for!

I did my first tiny vlog, of sorts, so if you want to hear the thick Southernness of my accent, you can watch it here. I’m responding to a question; my three favorite physical possessions. Three guesses what I said. 😉

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

It all started with this:

I saw this on someone I follow’s Tumblr. I was immediately intrigued and I reblogged the trailer myself because I thought it looked so fantastic. Carl saw it and was so impressed he immediately went out and bought the book. He couldn’t wait, so he read it. Then he reviewed it. After reading that, well, I just couldn’t hold off any longer. I had to read it immediately too.

And holy cow y’all, am I glad I did. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is outrageously original, completely creepy and oh so much flipping fun. (How’s that alliteration?)

Gosh. I don’t know where to start.  I can tell you that from page one I was enchanted. It starts out like many YA novels. There is a young boy who feels awkward, doesn’t have many friends, and adores his grandfather who tells him fairytales about his own life growing up on an island, in a home for children. He was sent there as a child for protection from the Nazi invasion. His stories are fantastical; girls who levitate, invisible boys, and the Bird who smokes a pipe and watched over them all.  Jacob loves them. He loves them until he outgrows them, that is. It is only after the violent death of his grandfather, when Jacob thinks he saw something… unusual… that Jacob begins to wonder just how fantastic his grandfather’s stories really were. He begins to wonder if his grandfather’s monsters really exist.

What Jacob saw gives him nightmares. His life falls apart. His parents are, understandably concerned for him and so is Jacob. So, with the help of his parent-ordered therapist, he sets out to discover the island and his grandfather’s stories and put all the horror and fear behind him. He finds the island. He finds the house, yet it isn’t what he expected. And what he discovers there will change his life forever.

This book wrapped it’s sweet little Gothic arms around me and held me tight until the very last page. I could not put it down. I did not WANT to put it down. Something about Jacob, and the kids at the Home… they just spoke to me. They are all so extremely different, different in ways I can’t comprehend, but at the same time…I just know. I know what it’s like to feel different. And how it feels to find someone who is different too and the… just… homecoming of that. .

There is so much to love here and I feel like I did it all wrong. I did it wrong because I was impatient and got the eBook. Do NOT read the eBook. Go out and get your hands on a physical copy. The holding of this book is as much a part of the experience as the reading of it. While I got the experience, what with the pictures and whatnot, I did not get the full experience and I damn well know it. Get. The. Book. I may have to get it to read it again. Why do you need the book, the physical hold-it-in-your-hands-book? The pictures. The pictures are such a strong part of the narrative and they just don’t look right in the eBook. And the pictures are just as fascinating as the narrative, especially because they are real. Mr. Riggs says:

As regular readers will probably have guessed by now, I managed to cram just about everything that fascinates me into this book: travel to strange corners of the world, urban exploration, dark fantasy, and creepy vintage photographs. The photos in the book — 50 in all — are all original and never-before-published, found either by me or by photo collector friends of mine, and they’re woven into the story’s narrative. With one or two exceptions, they’re not digitally manipulated at all. – Mental Floss

I can’t tell you how much I love that the pictures are real, that Riggs found them, that they weren’t produced for the book. It’s just so. cool.

So watch the trailer above. Read the prologue and the first chapter. If you aren’t hooked by then? Well, I can’t do any thing more for you and I am so sorry you will miss the amazing experience of reading this book.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
By Ransom Riggs

Pub. Date: June 2011
Publisher: Quirk Publishing
Format: Hardcover , 352pp
Age Range: Young Adult
ISBN-13: 9781594744761

Source: I bought it from Barnes & Noble, for my Nook, just like I said.

Once Upon a Time Wrap Up

And so, the end. I had a fantastic time with this challenge and read a surprising number of books. This may be the most I’ve ever completed in any challenge and all the books were great. Several will be lifelong friends. Now to wait, patiently I hope, for Rearder’s Imbibing Peril (aka RIP) VI. Wow. RIP VI. Can that even be true?

Here is what I read:

I started with Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World by Signe Pike. It was the absolute most perfect book to read during this challenge and it really set the tone of my reading for it. (Fairytales. Faeries.)

I listened to I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs. I’m not sure I can fully enjoy just reading a Terry Pratchett book now. I’ve listened to more than I’ve read and, while I have enjoyed them all, they are really something special in audio. Especially when read by Stephen Briggs. (Folklore. Witches.)

Bone: Rose AND Bone: Tall Tales by Tom Sniegoski and Jeff Smith. Read these two graphic novels during the readathon. (Fantasy)

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Oh, The Name of the Wind! Still unreviewed by me, for it renders me inarticulate when I even try to say how much I adored this book. Still the clear front runner for favorite book of the year, this book still holds me in it’s thrall and I blame it for all the reading slumps I have had since. (Fantasy/Folklore. Lotsa magic.)

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. The continuation of the Mortal Instruments series. Clare knows how to keep one on the edge of their seat. (Fantasy. Angels in life or death battle.)

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Reviewing this very soon. Like, Monday while I’m on vacation. 🙂 (Folklore. Witches)

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett. More Pratchett and more witches, but with a more adult spin on it. Loved it! Reviewing with Kelly soon. (Fantasy. Witches having way to much fun.)

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Oh Monster, oh my sweet, scary, compassionate Monster. How you broke me and how you healed me. Another favorite and close contender with The Name of the Wind for favorite. (Mythology)

Graveminder by Melissa Marr. Adult Marr. Zombies. Purgatory. And also quite good. (Folklore. Zombies.)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I’m making this fit. It does involve time travel which is something of a fantasy. And the birds feel like folklore or mythology or even a fairy tale. Half my review is written so hopefully you’ll see it soon. (All categories.)

Now I gaze longingly at the shelf that contains most, if not all, the books I have lined up for RIP VI. I can’t wait. As always, thank you Carl, for putting on this favorite event. I don’t know if I could face Spring without it now. I know it would be lacking without this challenge.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event to list the books  finished last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books.!

Have you met Raych from books i done read? If not, you need to get over there, tout suite, and meet her. She’s genius and bust-your-windpipe funny and so where I am in my reading life right now it’s eerie. Scary eerie. Except I haven’t had the guts to read Sweet Valley High Confidential yet, so she has that up on me. The girl? She’s got the balls. Also, she’s read A Monster Calls too and has all the loves for it just like me. She’s teh awesome.

So, as you may have gathered, I am still having a hard time with the reading. I fully expected to slow down, what with it being summer, the kid out of school, lots of time spent in the garden, etc, but I did not expect it to grind to a halt. I haven’t finished a book in over a week. Something must be done! What? I don’t know. I keep picking up books, getting interested, only to loose steam about 1/3 of the way through. Its gut wrenching, that’s what it is. I need the sustenance of the written word! I think I’m going to have to pull a Raych (did you READ her post? Go, do it.) and read some YA. I need the whizz bang pop of some nicely written YA. Any recs? Quick reads. I needs them.

Here, discussion topic. What is the best YA you’ve read this year? Go. I need to know. Fast of pace, slight romantical thoughts, give me what was good so I can go and read it too.

Audio. Still slogging (with great pleasure) (snort) (that’s a wry snort) (because, well, pleasure and Outlander? Come on!) (It’s funny!) through Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Geez louise, but I adore Jamie. I’m almost halfway through, so look for me to be listening to this for the rest of the month, if not longer. I’m off to the best next week, so I doubt I’ll have much time for listening then. Hmm…guess I’d better try to wrap it up this week!

Capricious Reader Weekly

I’ve been dying for some peach cobbler. The peaches are in at the market and I will be making this today!

So this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be. – the perks of being a wallflower by stephen chbosky (This may be the start of something wonderful…)

I think Pam (of Bookalicious.com) has finally made me want to try a book that’s been around for years. Don’t know what I’ve been waiting for!

I can’t tell you how much I adore this necklace! I wouldn’t mind having this either. It has a fairytale quality you know I adore. Heck, I love all of Beauty Spot’s stuff. I’ll just buy the whole store. When I win the lottery.

Speaking of Etsy; I love love love these stamped metal bookmarks!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Tell him how much you love him, while you still can. We’ll be celebrating the dad of this house with a favorite dish.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

One morning a couple weeks ago, I woke up super early, well before the kids were up and I decided to take a long, hot, relaxing bath. I needed company, and it was in the midst of that last reading slump, so I picked out this slim little volume and took it with me. I really had no idea what it was really about, just that it was an important work in feminist literature and that Ana liked it, which is always good enough for me. My bath was a little bit longer than usual, because I had to finish this tight, breathtaking work of genius before I got out.

Seriously y’all, this may well be the best short story I have ever read.

I’m struggling with how much to give away of the story. I like that I came into it completely blind. I like that I didn’t know what to expect, yet I want to make everyone I know want to read this story without saying “Hey, it’s short, it’s good, go read it for goodness sake!” And then, there is that other side, that wants to discuss every little thing about the story, down to the symbolism, plot, characters, etc, etc, etc. Oh stop me now. Let’s just start with a bare-bones synopsis, shall we?

The unnamed narrator and her husband John are “vacationing” in a colonial mansion for the summer. I say vacationing because really, they are there to help Her get better. No, she’s not sick, per say, she’s more… well… has a “temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency….” They (being her husband and also her doctor. Her husband is also a doctor.) insist on medicating her with all the various “remedies” of the day and they also prescribe rest. Lots and lots of rest. Rest with rest with a hearty helping of REST. They forbid her to work. What is sad, in my mind, is that not only does she go along with their “prescription,” she does it against her own better judgment.

Personally…that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good. Personally, I disagree with their ideas. But what is one to do? I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal – having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition.

The men in her life lead her to believe that they know what’s best for her. How irritating!

I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus—but John says the very worst thing I can do is think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad. So I will let it alone and talk about the house.

The couple takes up residence in the house, and takes possession of the uppermost room, a large room that was once the nursery. And said nursery has, you got it! Yellow Wallpaper.

The color is repellent, almost revolting: a smoldering unclean yellow… dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others.

And her husband constantly leaves her alone in there! With NOTHING to do, no way to entertain her mind, but only to REST. Rest damnit, rest. It is in this room, with its repellent wallpaper, that She spends all her time.  She becomes absorbed in the wallpaper, spends countless hours mesmerized by the many patterns, tints of yellow, and Things she sees in there. And it is here that Gilman’s talent truly becomes very apparent. With infinite care, careful prose, Gilman portrays a quick and sure pathway to madness that is as sure as it is terrifying. Not a word is wasted, not an image undefined, Her story is perfectly rendered.

There are things in that paper which nobody knows but me, or ever will.
Behind that outside pattern the dim shapes get clearer every day.
It is always the same shape, only very numerous.
And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don’t like it a bit. I wonder—I begin to think—I wish John would take me away from here!

As I said, this is a very important work of feminist literature, something I managed to get out of college (with a degree in English no less) without having much exposure to. I can see why this would have been a controversial work however. I couldn’t help but leave this work without feeling a complete abhorence for the husband, Her brother, and even John’s sister, who helps take care of our Delicate patient. And the resolution! Ah! Okay, Heather, shut up. Oh my goodness. I have myself wanting to read it again and probably will very soon. I can only hope I’ve managed to do the same to you. Go on, try it. I read it in an hour. Please? I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

The Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Pub. Date: October 2009
Publisher: Virago UK
Format: Paperback , 384pp
ISBN-13: 9781844085583