Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (recent TBR adds)

Click for more info!
Today the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish have asked for ten books that we've just added to our To Be Read lists. For no good reason, I'm listing 11. I have a little bit of everything here, memoirs, fiction, and books on decluttering, grammar, carpentry, shipwreck, rock legends, Jesus, blindness, rabbits, and mystery.
What's burning a hole on your TBR?



Killing Jesus, Bill O’Reilly, Martin Dugard
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter, Nina MacLaughlin
Between You & Me, Mary Norris [to be released April 6]
Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, Rick Bragg
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing
My Cousin Rachel, Daphne du Maurier
Death Comes to Pemberley, P.D. James
Watership Down, Richard Adams
The Story of My Life, Helen Keller
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, Jeanne

Monday, March 30, 2015

It's Monday! (3/30/15)

It's Monday! is sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.
Last week I took a mini Spring Break while the university students were on break. I was home Monday and Tuesday, and I finished this wonderful book:
As with most books that you wait breathlessly for, it wasn't quite as good as my expectations, but there was nothing to complain about either. More on this one later.
When I finished Dead Wake, I didn't really know what to pick up. I'd originally planned to read Life from Scratch, but another foodie memoir didn't sound like what I wanted. Then I thought I'd read The Story of My Life by Helen Keller, but that didn't really appeal to me either.
I finally decided to get a jump on my April book list, and settled on At Home, Bill Bryson's exhaustive (emphasis on exhaustive) tome about the history of "home." My husband asked me how I was liking it (as he has a theory that all big books make me cranky), and I told him it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, and I knew I'd enjoy it more if I'd give into it and accept it for what it is.
Because At Home was making me cranky (yes, score one for hubby), I decided to start a book of poetry, and I've been saving Garrison Keillor's edited collection Good Poems: American Places for April--National Poetry Month. I'm not far into it at all, but I've already marked several lines of pure gold. Amen for poetry.

There is no earthly reason why I'm still reading Little House in the Big Woods, but I am close to finishing it. It's charming but a little too simplistic to hold my attention for long.
And can I just say I'm going to dearly miss Middlemarch when I'm finally finished with it?

I don't know that I'll finish At Home this week, but if I do, I'll be on to something much lighter, likely a memoir.
What are you all reading this week?

Monday, March 23, 2015

It's Monday (3/23/15)

It's Monday! is sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.
Yay! I'm on spring break! Just sitting around in comfy clothes, reading to my heart's content.
Last week I finished two books, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls. I don't read a lot of suspense or romance books (in fact, none), so Rebecca was a thrilling Englishy read that kept me reading and wondering "what's gonna happen next?"
As for Half Broke Horses, if you enjoyed Walls' The Glass Castle, you'll enjoy this one. HBH is the story of Jeannette Walls' grandmother Lily Casey Smith who was a rough-around-the-edges rancher and schoolteacher in the Southwest in the early part of the 20th Century. We also meet Wall's mother, Rosemary, who appears in The Glass Castle. Supposedly, the events of the novel are true, only the dialogue is made up.

When I finished Half Broke Horses, I picked up the long anticipated Dead Wake.
I'm also reading Little House in the Big Woods, and I continue with the audio of George Eliot's Middlemarch. The end is near, as I'm on disc 18 of 25. I can't wait to see how all the various plot threads are tied up at the end.

What's next? I think I'll pick up something I bought recently, probably Helen Keller's The Story of My Life.
What are you reading this week?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Finds (3/20/15)

Hosted by MizB. Click on the picture to link up!
Not a lot going on this week, book finding-wise. I did stumble upon a few, though, that piqued my interest.
In other news, I'm taking a little "spring break readcation" in which I will sit on the couch and read for most of five days straight. Delicious.

Earlier this year I bought "Death Comes to Pemberley" on DVD for the library, and I was the first (only?) to check it out. I really enjoyed it. It's the continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice plot adapted from the book by the same title by P.D. James. Now, as much as I enjoyed the film, the book has very mixed reviews. I wonder if a lot of the bad reviews come from Austen purists who think folks shouldn't tinker with perfection than they do from folks who think the book was poorly executed. I'm willing to give it a shot and let you know what I think.
The Wilderness of Ruin is a true crime book in the vein of The Devil in the White City. Set in the same time period, I believe, it's the story of a mass murdering teen in Boston. To be truthful, The Devil in the White City (and more recently, the brilliant In Cold Blood) took a lot out of me, and I'm unsure how soon I want to jump into another true crime, but when I do, this one will be it.

Bettyville reminds me very much of Will Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Book Club. Gay son comes home to help his aged, ailing mother. Different mothers, no books, but similar in many ways.
I'm unfamiliar with Mary Norris, but she is a 30-year veteran of The New Yorker's copy department. So, you can bet the woman knows her grammar and punctuation. Having been educated in technical writing and done a lot of editing in my life, I snap up these sorts of English-y books all the time (Lynne Truss, for example). And then I never read them. (Perhaps I'm unwilling to learn that how I've been doing or saying something for years is incorrect?) I am very much looking forward to Between You & Me, though. It will be released April 6.
What have you added to your TBR this week?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (spring reading list)

 Click for more info!
This week the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish have asked us to share our spring reading list. I have a mix of new releases and backlist books--all of which I want to read right now!


Erik Larson
Dead Wake

Gretchen Rubin
Better than Before

Nina MacLaughlin
Hammer Head

Sasha Martin
Life from Scratch

Helen Keller
The Story of My Life

Richard Adams
Watership Down
Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwicks
Dana Perino
And the Good News Is… [to be released 4/21/15]

Jane Smiley
Early Warning [to be released 4/28/15]

David McCullough
The Wright Brothers [to be released 5/5/15]

What's on your spring TBR?

Monday, March 16, 2015

It's Monday! (3/16/15)

It's Monday! is sponsored by Sheila at Book Journey.
I think it every year, but I'll say it again this year: This has been the best year of reading yet! And it's only March. I've read some fantastic books, and what I'm currently reading continues the trend.
Last week I finished my re-read of How Reading Changed My Life. It was much too short. I could read about Anna Quindlen reading for ages.
This week I'll be finishing (don't count your chickens, right?) Rebecca and Little House in the Big Woods. Rebecca. Oh my goodness. For more than the first half of the book, there isn't a whole lot going on, but last night a bomb was dropped, and I have a feeling things will be progressing at quite a clip from here on out. What a ride. I have no idea what's going to happen, and I love it!
I'm not quite halfway through Little House in the Big Woods. I think this would have been a great book (series) for me as a child, but there's not a lot to attract me as an adult. It's a little too simple, I think. Don't get me wrong, I like simple, but this is simple in a way that doesn't translate for me as an adult. I feel like I really missed out on something not reading these decades ago.
And then there's Middlemarch. My set of CDs is narrated by Nadia May, who apparently is well-respected for her audiobook narration. All I can tell you is that Nadia May is now the voice in my head and will be every time I pick up an English book from now until forever. I'm on CD 15 (of 25), and I'll be "reading" the book for all of March, at least.
Oh, and I'm loving the story.

What will I pick up when I'm done with Rebecca?
If my copy of Dead Wake arrives in time, I'll start that. If not, I'll start Jeannette Walls' Half Broke Horses.
What are you reading this week?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Finds (3/13/15)

Hosted by MizB. Click on the picture to link up!
I've read it on a lot of blogs lately, it's that time of year when we want to read all the books. And I'm feeling it too. This week I've added a lot of exciting new-to-me books to my already-too-long TBR list.

I'm currently reading Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca, and I'm enjoying it enough to add her My Cousin Rachel to my list. I owned an old hardcover copy of it long ago. I really wish I'd kept it.
I'm a little worried that Endurance will be too much like In the Kingdom of Ice to pack much of a punch, but I'm willing to give it a try. It is a beloved classic, after all, and I have been dithering over it for weeks now.
I'm pretty sure I read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in my college Critical Approaches to Literature class, but I think I'd like to re-read it. I remember really liking it.
And I've added two classics to my list. I've always meant to read The Scarlet Letter. It was never required reading for me in high school or college, which I think is odd. It seems like something I should have read by now.
And I'm adding the enormous Russian classic Anna Karenina. I know a lot of people adore this book, so maybe I'll listen to it on audio.

Last week I bought a copy of The Story of My Life, Helen Keller's autobiography. I remember being fascinated by Keller's life in grade school, and I can't believe I haven't read this one yet.
One of my college friends loved Watership Down, but at the time I had no interest in a long book about talking rabbits and their society. For some reason, now I do!
I've set a goal to read a Malcolm Gladwell book this year (I've already read Blink). Either The Tipping Point or What the Dog Saw or Outliers. What's your favorite?
Every now and then I like to read something fluffy like a celebrity memoir, and Melissa Rivers' new book (out May 5) about her mother, Joan Rivers, might be my next one. Joan Rivers always fascinated me. How she got away with some of the things she said always made me smile.
And last by not least, I just found out there's a new Clementine book out! Completely Clementine is the seventh, I believe. Although I've only read the first one, I will likely read as many of them as I can before they lose their magic--if indeed they ever do.
Whew! What have you added to your book list this week?