Posted in reading

5 Books on my TBR for Summer

Hey, everyone!

How goes it? Are you keeping afloat in this sea of uncertainty? It feels like monsters, mayhem, and certain death is lurking around every corner…or so we’re told. Besides all of that though, we’ve made it into the thick of summer – which means swivel fans running nonstop, long lazy days too hot for anything, ice cream, and cold drinks all around. It’s supposed to be monsoon season here, but one little rain shower, doesn’t qualify as a monsoon, does it? So this heat-wave has me feeling more like a puddle, than a person. And to make matters worse, there isn’t a single beach within five-hundred square miles of me, or even a pubic pool open to wade in, so I’m left with many, sweaty afternoons to fill. And what’s better than to fill my time with books?20200712_150346

As with all readers, my TBR (To Be Read) list is ever growing and expanding, while the list of books I’ve actually read is criminally short. But amongst the eternally broadening TBR, there are some titles that are calling out to me louder than all the others. Some of these books have been on my list for ages, and others are newly added. I am hoping to cross these titles off my list very soon, so I thought I’d share with you the top five books I’m so looking forward to reading this summer.

1. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

In this “utopian” future, humans are genetically engineered, socially manipulated, and pharmaceutically anesthathized to become docile, and uphold the authoritarian ruling order… all at the cost of freedom, humanity, and our very souls. Is it me, or does this sound a little too, familiar?20200718_123801

I’ve known about this book for a long time, but my curiosity was first piqued when I heard from someone that they preferred this book, to 1984. (Not that I’ve read 1984 either, but that’s beside the point.) A couple of months ago, I got this book as a gift for my birthday, so now that I have it in my possession, I’m going to be reading it very soon.

2. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy

Set in the year 1792, this story takes place in France, during the Reign of Terror. Sir Percy, and Lady Marguerite Blakeney find themselves targets, at the center of a deadly political scheme. And only one man can help them–The Scarlet Pimpernel— a master of disguises who leaves only a calling card behind, after his covert rescues, emblazoned with the infamous red flower.20200721_111236

This book is relatively new to my list, but when I heard about it, it jumped straight to the top. I was at a book store and saw this book sitting on a table, so I snatched it right up. I think the themes, and content of this book could be especially valuable in today’s world.

3. Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Preus

 In 1841, Manjiro and his four friends are castaways on a deserted island. Beyond the island are countless unknowns – demons, monsters, and barbarians, or so they’ve been told. One day, an American whaling vessel passes the island, and brings the castaways aboard. Together, they sail across the high seas, and visit places they never could have dreamed exist. But years later, Manjiro wants to return to his home in Japan–to become samurai.20200721_111017

First off, can you think of anything cooler than samurai’s? If I could be anything, I think, I’d become a samurai. So as you can imagine, when I read the title of this book, I knew I had to read it. I’d seen the book floating around the book world, at libraries and such, and I got lucky and found a copy at a thrift store. So I’m excited to dive into this story very soon. (Also, this book has pictures. Bonus points!)

4. Shirley, by Charlotte Brontë

Centered around two young heroines, this story takes place during a difficult time in history. With the Napoleonic wars raging, Luddite revolts, and industrialization of England, this story covers many social struggles of the contrasting characters.

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I’m a huge Brontë fan, so this book was a given, for me. I’m ashamed to say though, this book has been sitting around, gathering dust on my shelf for far too long while I waited for the right time to pick it up. But there’s no time like the present, right? Charlotte usually writes very deep, and profound books, so I can’t wait to start Shirley.

5. The Wingfeather Saga book 1: On The Edge of The Sea of Darkness, by Andrew  Peterson

“Once, in a cottage above the cliffs on the Dark Sea of Darkness, there lived three children and their trusty dog, Nugget.”IMG_20200713_085140_255

Just about everyone and their grandma has read this book and loved it – and I’m starting to feel a little left out. I’ve heard such great things about this series, so I am really stoked to read it. And if there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s that the so-called middle-grade books can truly be some very impactful stories.

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So that’s the list. This year hasn’t been a very good one in terms of getting books read. I’m sure it has a lot to do with procrastination, and the threat of extinction hanging over our heads, so its understandable that I’ve been reading less than usual. But in June, I decided I was going to make more time for reading, and spend less time endlessly scrolling on social media. And happily, it’s been working. The more I read, the more I want to read, and I’m feeling ambitious about crossing these books off my TBR. So wish me luck, friends, and I do the same for you!

What are some books on your TBR? How is your reading year coming along? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

 

Thanks for reading,

Lady S

Posted in Book Reviews, reading

5 Classics I Did Not Enjoy

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I love classics. Many of my favorite stories were written a hundred, or more years ago. There is something special about the books written long ago, that can never be replicated in modern ones. You might read a dozen books written in modern times, and dislike more than half, whereas, if you read a dozen classic books, chances are, you will love nearly all of them.
That said, just because a book is labelled a ‘classic’ is not a guarantee that it will be as wonderful as you might expect. Below, I’ve made a list of just such books. I’m not going to say that I “disliked” them, but rather, I just “didn’t enjoy”.

1.The Picture of Dorian Grey, by Oscar Wilde
I read The Picture of Dorian Gray, quite a while back, so I’m not sure, if I re-read it today if my opinion would be any different. But, from what I recall, this book was a strange read. The main theme of the story, in a nutshell, portrays the evils of greed, and vanity and how they can ensnare you; and that was definitely achieved. I read this book quickly, and was never bored while reading, but I must say that it was a relief when I finished it. This book really gives off a dark, disturbing, feeling of immorality, and evil; and I suppose, it being a classic, in gothic literature, that was to be expected. Nevertheless, reading through the events that transpired, left me feeling greatly uncomfortable. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading this story, but I might give them fair warning beforehand. The feelings and emotions that it evoked in me, is what keeps me from regarding it as a favorite, though it was well written, and thought provoking.

2. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly
Frankenstein. There have been so many fascinating spinoffs, and legends inspired by this book, so I was very excited to read it. But, my excitement was not met within the story. Mostly, I was “disappointed” while reading this book, rather than “disliking” it. I felt a bit let down, that it wasn’t the scary and mysterious book I thought it would be. I felt bored many times, and the lengthly dialog and endless recounting of events, outweighed the more interesting parts.
Perhaps some of the issue was the frame of mind I was in, at the time I read it, I was traveling, and that may have had much to do with my lack of enjoyment.

3. Emma, by Jane Austen
Now, before the Jane Austen Police Force comes after me, here is your friendly warning: you may prefer to skip this section.
Like all of Austen’s works, it follows the life and adventures of a young woman, trying to figure out her future. I felt that the story was “spoiled” for me, by Emma, herself, who also, happens to be very “spoiled”. In nearly everything she did, she tragically, ruined the situation for someone else. And though her intentions may have been good, it doesn’t change the fact that she left a path of destruction behind her. In the end, she finally, recognizes some of her past mistakes, but that wasn’t quite enough to improve my view of her, or the book.
(I did like Mr. Knightley, though. The only character who had any sense!)

4. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
It saddens me terribly, to add this book to the list. But, I simply, can’t pretend that this was the best book I’ve ever read. Of course, the overarching story was still very enjoyable, but there were a few things that made the reading experience feel very tedious for me.
One of those few things was the very large number of songs in the book.
That may not sound like a big deal, but when there are three to four pages of one song appearing quite frequently…well, it’s just not fun. I suppose, one could simply skip the songs entirely but, to me, that felt like cheating, so I read through them all.  Even though I could barely keep my eyes open a few verses in.

5. Villette, by Charlotte Brontë
Now, for this particular book, I actually really did enjoy it, but I had one major issue with it. That issue was the French dialog. The story takes place in France, so as you might expect, there is quite a lot of French, spoken throughout. But, what you might not expect is the utter lack of translation. This wouldn’t be a problem if I spoke French, but unfortunately I do not, and I’m sure many others don’t either. If this only happened once or twice, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but there were times that I would miss out on entire conversations, and have very little clue as to what was being discussed. Many times I was left feeling confused and annoyed over missing out on some important piece of the story. So if you want to read Villette, it might be handy to have a French-English dictionary nearby. Or like me, you could just try to decipher the meanings of any words that might look slightly similar to something in English.

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There you have it. I’d like to think I’m not alone in my feelings toward [some] of these books.
Tell me what classics you’ve read that you have found to be somewhat, disappointing.
Or share below, how wrong you think I am for thinking such horrid thoughts about such grand works of fiction.

Thank you for reading, Lady S

Posted in reading, WORDS

Noteworthy Quotes

I don’t often write down, or make note of quotes from books, but on occasion when I find one that I really love, I underline it (*gasp*). I used to be afraid of marring or damaging my books in any way, and I still try my best not to crack their spines; but then I had an epiphany, and I realized that I would rather leave a permanent mark of an underlined phrase, or sentence, that stood out to me, for my future self, or perhaps another future reader.
If I happen to find such markings in a book purchased from a thrift store, I have come to appreciate it and find it quite interesting. It’s an extra little treasure to see what a previous reader may have found deserving enough to underline.So today I will share a few of those interesting pieces I have found to be worthy of sacrificing a pristine page for.  DSC_0610

“Just what I thought, that did I tell M. Emanuel, and explained to him that my own last appeal, the guide to which I looked, and the teacher which I owned must always be the Bible itself, rather than any sect, or whatever name or nation.”
Charlotte Brontë, Villette

“Puddleglum’s my name. But it doesn’t matter if you forget it. I can always tell you again.”
C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

“‘No living creature has the right to claim wisdom. There is always more to find out. I should know that. I imagine you know it, too, Wizard.’
‘I’ve never ever felt wise,’ Derk said frankly. ‘But I suppose it is a temptation, to stare into distance and make people think you are.’
‘It’s humbug,’ said the dragon. ‘It’s also stupid. It stops you learning more.’”
Diana Wynne Jones, Dark Lord of Derkholm

“Narnia, Narnia, Narnia: Awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters.”
C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

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These are a couple quotes that I have collected over time, and I look forward to reading more, and marking down passages, and pages that I like, and perhaps sharing them all with you.

Are there any quotes that you love, or have dared to underline in your books?

Posted in reading

2017 TBR

DSC_0551Before you ask, yes, I am aware that the year is halfway over, and yes, late is an understatement for the timing of this list; but I made one anyway.
I realized that there was a small, (yet intimidating), list of books that I am determined to read in the near future. Some of them have been sitting on my shelf for ages, and others are a bit newer, but I really want to read them. (Hopefully, in this century!) So I decided to stack them up and call it, my 2017 TBR.
These aren’t the most leisurely books to read, but I’m going to try my hardest to read them by the end of the year. (Realistically, I may not….. but if I do, I’ll probably throw myself a party or something)
Some of you may think, “Meh, I could read those in my sleep!” And some of you may think I’m out of my mind! Especially, considering the amount of books I’ve managed to read thus far… well…this could seem a bit far-fetched. But, we shall have to wait and see!
Now, on to the list:

DSC_05591.Food Forensics, Mike Adams

“What’s really in your food?” Begs the question in this book.
The Health Ranger, Mike Adams, takes us inside his laboratory, to conduct extensive    research on the quality, and contents of the foods, and supplements we consume daily.
Not much is known, and still more is hidden from the publics’ knowledge about the  health benefits, and toxins that may be lurking in our foods.

I can’t wait to delve into the science, and information this book contains.

 2. Bonhoeffer, Eric Metaxas 

The account of a pastor-turned-spy, and eventually martyr, during one of the darkest         periods of human history. In the face of unspeakable evil, Bonhoeffer was one of the few heroes who sacrificed everything in order to save countless lives, in the midst of the vile reign of The Third Reich.
In this day and age, we can learn much from the faith, of one so committed to following God’s will, and fighting against the evil that thrives in this world.

3. Endurance, Alfred Lansing

In August of 1914, explorer Earnest Shackleton, and his crew board the Endurance, and set off on an impossible mission to travel to Antarctica, and travel across uncharted seas on foot.
This is a true story of survival, in the harrowing events that the crew of the Endurance withstood. Overcoming unspeakable odds, in one of the most hostile environments on the world.

I’d known about this book for a while, and I was lucky enough to find it in my local thrift store; so now that I own it, I’m excited to get into it.

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4. Villette, Charlotte Bronte

Lucy Snowe is a leaf blowing in the wind.
Not a relative to speak of, she struggles to find a place in the world she can call home.
On a whim, she travels to France, and ends up at a girls boarding-school in a town called, Villette.
There, she comes into the presence of old, and new friends, and begins to build a new life.

I only recently heard about this book online, and was surprised to find it sitting on a bookshelf in my house!

5. Journey to The Center of The Earth, Jules Verne

Professor Liedenbrock, along with a small team, leads an expedition through a secret tunnel, on a journey deep into the center of the Earth.
An old classic, filled with adventure, and discovery.

I’ve wanted to read this book for a long while, but only recently, was I able to get my hands on a copy. (Thanks to my grandpa, for giving away a whole bunch of books!)

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6. Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury

A modern classic; this tells of a time when Halloween comes early; blown in by the strange and unsettling, Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show.
Drawn in by the novelty, and excitement, two boys soon realize that there is something sinister going on, and indeed, Something Wicked This Way Comes.

I had forgotten about this book for the longest time. All year it’s been waiting around for me, so I am finally going to take the time to actually read it.

7. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. LeGuin

This is the tale of the greatest Sorcerer in all of Earthsea.
He was once called Sparrowhawk, a young and reckless wizard, who unleashed terrible darkness upon the world. We follow him through the tests, and trials he experiences, to try to restore balance to the world.

(This too, has been collecting dust on my shelf, and it’s high-time I read it!)

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8. The Return of the King, J. R. R. Tolkien

The raging battle against the the dark forces of Mordor, comes to an epic conclusion in this final tale. We will learn the ultimate fates for, Frodo, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and the rest, in their last battle to overcome the Dark Lord, once and for all.

For the past three years, I have been slowly making my way through this series. Starting with, The Hobbit, and now ending with, The Return of the King, I’m going to be happy that I have completed the story, but a little sad too. The good news is that I can always re-read them if I want to!

9. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien

Raise your hand if you have never heard of this book. (*raises hand*)
I’m either, way out of the loop, or this book doesn’t get much attention….but I digress.
Set far in the past, (long before Bilbo, or Gandalf), we get a glimpse of the history of Middle-earth, the creation of the world, the great battle between Light and Darkness, and insight into the likes of Elrond and Galadriel. All, are detailed in this book, setting the stage for the Hobbits, the Orcs, and the Dwarfs, that are yet to come.

So there you have it…my TBR, (To Be Read), for 2017. These nine books are going to be my top priority for the rest of the year…(in addition to whatever else may come across my night-stand).

What are some books that you really want to read this year?