Tagged: 2017 reading challenge

The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

The Man in the Brown Suit is a mystery novel, but it also reads like a grand adventure. There’s a murder to be solved for sure, but there’s also espionage, a perilous sea voyage, diamond smuggling, kidnapping, a journey across Africa, and romance. Looking back, I’m amazed at how much Agatha Christie was able to fit into the novel. And yet, it didn’t seemed forced or crammed in. Here’s how the publisher describes the book: Pretty, young Anne came to London looking for adventure. In fact, adventure comes...

Mountain of Books

Mount Vancouver TBR Checkpoint – October 2017

Wow, somehow I missed doing any checkpoints for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge, but at least I’ll get one in before the end of the year. TBR stands for “To Be Read,” and refers to the mountain of books that have been sitting on my shelves or in my Amazon cloud that I haven’t read yet. It’s the middle of October, and I’ve read 22 books on my way to Mount Vancouver, leaving me with 6 more books to go. Here are my finished books so far: The...

Ewan McGregor and Gwyneth Paltrow in Emma

Classics Club Book #12: Emma by Jane Austen

The last time I read Jane Austen’s Emma was long before I had seen the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow. Since then I’ve seen the movie maybe half a dozen times, as it’s become one of my girls’ favorites. Because I’ve seen it so many times, the movie has overshadowed the book in my memory. So as I picked up my Kindle to read the novel for my Classics Club Challenge I was curious about how different the two might be and how the movie would stand up next to the...

Empire of the East by Fred Saberhagen

Empire of the East by Fred Saberhagen

One of the things I love most about reading on a Kindle is rediscovering books and authors I haven’t read in a long, long time. As I come across bargain books from my youth through ebook discount services like BookBub and Early Bird Books, I purchase them and put them on my ever-growing To-Be-Read list. That’s how I ended up re-reading one of my favorite books from the past, Empire of the East by Fred Saberhagen. Empire of the East blends science fiction and fantasy in post-apocalyptic America.The story has...

Classics Club Book #11: O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman. O Pioneers! deserves more, but this is going to be a short review, because I’m catching up on reviewing books I read this summer. Willa Cather’s novel of the Nebraska prairie reminded me of Llewellyn’s How Green Was My Valley, which I read earlier this year. Both novels are beautifully written stories drawn from their authors’ childhood memories. In the case of O Pioneers!, the memories are of life on the plains of Nebraska,...

Lonesome Dove

Classics Club Book #10: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

He had known several men who blew their heads off, and he had pondered it much. It seemed to him it was probably because they could not take enough happiness just from the sky and the moon to carry them over the low feelings that came to all men. Lonesome Dove has been on my to-be-read list for over twenty years. A classic western and a Pulitzer prize winner, I’ve started it at least three times. I’ve even successfully avoided watching the Lonesome Dove TV miniseries all these years...

London Plague of 1665

A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe

Many consciences were awakened; many hard hearts melted into tears; many a penitent confession was made of crimes long concealed. It would wound the soul of any Christian to have heard the dying groans of many a despairing creature, and none durst come near to comfort them. Many a robbery, many a murder, was then confessed aloud, and nobody surviving to record the accounts of it. When A Journal of the Plague Year was first published in 1722 as the “Observations and Memorials” of a “citizen” who called himself...

Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm

The best thing I can say about Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm is that it helped me meet the letter “Z” requirement for my 2017 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge. I forced myself to keep reading this dated satire long after I lost interest in it. From the publisher: Max Beerbohm’s only novel is a comic masterpiece set in the privileged environs of Judas College, Oxford. When beautiful prestidigitator Zuleika Dobson gains admittance to the all-male campus, romance is suddenly in the air. But the smitten undergraduates are out of...

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The Sapphire Rose by David Eddings

The Sapphire Rose is the final book in the David Eddings fantasy trilogy The Elenium, and overall it provides a satisfactory conclusion. There were even a few twists I wasn’t expecting. Rather than summarize the book and give away some of the events of the earlier two books, I will simply say that The Sapphire Rose continues to tell the story of Sparhawk’s quest to save his queen from death, while at the same time trying to prevent the evil god Azash from getting loose and wreaking havoc on the...

The Ruby Knight, detail

The Ruby Knight by David Eddings

The Ruby Knight is the second book in The Elenium by David Eddings, and it improves slightly on its predecessor, The Diamond Throne.  Sparhawk and his companions continue their quest to save Queen Ehlana from the poison that is slowly killing both her and the knights whose life forces are keeping her alive. The story is a little more focused than the first book, and the light-hearted humor doesn’t seem as forced. Eddings has never had a problem creating likable characters, and his ensemble from The Diamond Throne really come into their...

Diamond Throne

The Diamond Throne by David Eddings

I’ve had David Eddings’ three-book series The Elenium on my bookshelf since about 1995, and for one reason or another have never gotten around to reading it. So when I was putting together a list of books for my 2017 Reading Challenges, I decided it was time to finally knock it off my To Be Read list. The series is comprised of The Diamond Throne (1989), The Ruby Knight (1991), and The Sapphire Rose (1992). After finishing The Diamond Throne, I’m a bit disappointed. Not that it was bad, but it wasn’t as...

Welsh Valley

Classics Club Book #7: How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn

O, there is lovely to feel a book, a good book, firm in the hand, for its fatness holds rich promise, and you are hot inside to think of good hours to come. How Green Was My Valley is a gem of a novel. It took me a while to warm up to it, since it doesn’t really have a focused plot, but instead is a coming-of-age story that unfolds the way life does. It’s the story of a coal mining community in South Wales as told through the...

The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe

What a thing is the heart of man! Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther In The Sorrows of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe opens a window into the soul of his young protagonist, allowing the reader to witness first hand his tragic destiny. Young Werther suffers from a hopeless love for the enchanting Charlotte who is engaged to an older man. In a series of letters to his friend Wilhelm, Werther reveals the depths of his anguish. The Sorrows of Young Werther is a beautifully told tale of the interior of...

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Deal Me In Challenge: Stories #3, #4 and #5

The Deal Me In Challenge continues with three more macabre stories, each from a different one of Alfred Hitchcock’s anthologies. Over the past three weeks I drew the K♦, 7♦ and 2♥, which were assigned to the following stories: K♦ – “Prolonged Visit” by Hal Dresner from Alfred Hitchcock’s Hard Day at the Scaffold (read January 15, 2017): This was a pretty mediocre story about a mother-in-law who comes to visit and overstays her welcome. Besides perpetuating the stereotype of the intrusive mother-in-law, the story did not interest me at all. 7♦...

Black Beauty First Edition Detail

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Now I say that with cruelty and oppression it is everybody’s business to interfere when they see it. Black Beauty, page 74 I knew next to nothing about Black Beauty before I started reading it, and it was very different than I expected. My previous experience with equine stories has been through movies like Secretariat, The Black Stallion, and Hidalgo,  so I was expecting a story about a colt who beats all odds to become a great racehorse. If my Kindle edition would have included the original title,...