Monday, January 13, 2020

New Year, No Bookish Resolutions

Happy New Year! I know that I'm a bit late with my well wishes, but as the say goes...better late than never.

So, how has the new year been treating you, thus far? Have you been reading up a storm or savoring your first book of the year? I started off in a reading funk, but lately I have been gobbling up books left and right. I think I was waiting for something substantial to call my attention and when it didn't, I picked up a chick lit novel.  And then, I read another and now I'm reading nothing but mystery-thrillers. I always find those two genres to be satisfying, fun, and easy to get lost in. I think I needed that to help me get my reading back on track. Luckily, its worked. I'm currently in the middle of:
Of course, now I'm trying to figure out what to read next already. I was thinking of something for the Japanese Literature Challenge that my dear friend, Meredith is hosting over at her awesome book blog, Dolce Bellezza.  The challenge is three months long and all you have to do in that time is read one (or more) book(s) which have originally been written in Japanese. And, that's it. Easy peasy, right? Now, all I have to do is pick a book or three to read. Right now I have Yoshimoto, Ogawa and Murakami swirling around in my head.  Hmm...what do you think? Which writer should I pick? Or do you have one you can recommend? Let me know.

Oh, and before I forget, I just wanted to share that I am not making any bookish resolutions this year. I feel like I always do and I never manage to stick to them. Whether its trying to be "low-buy" with my book buying or writing more blog posts - I just seem to always fall short. So, this year I have decided to just go with the flow. Whatever floats my boat is the way I will read and book blog. We'll see how that goes. What about you? Any bookish resolutions for 2020?

And now, I'm off to read some more of You Can't Catch Me. Hope you have a wonderful week! Happy reading!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Lost Books Of Jane Austen by Janine Barchas

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

In the nineteenth century, inexpensive editions of Jane Austen’s novels targeted to Britain’s working classes were sold at railway stations, traded for soap wrappers, and awarded as school prizes. At just pennies a copy, these reprints were some of the earliest mass-market paperbacks, with Austen’s beloved stories squeezed into tight columns on thin, cheap paper. Few of these hard-lived bargain books survive, yet they made a substantial difference to Austen’s early readership. These were the books bought and read by ordinary people.

Packed with nearly 100 full-color photographs of dazzling, sometimes gaudy, sometimes tasteless covers, The Lost Books of Jane Austen is a unique history of these rare and forgotten Austen volumes. Such shoddy editions, Janine Barchas argues, were instrumental in bringing Austen’s work and reputation before the general public. Only by examining them can we grasp the chaotic range of Austen’s popular reach among working-class readers.

Informed by the author’s years of unconventional book hunting, The Lost Books of Jane Austen will surprise even the most ardent Janeite with glimpses of scruffy survivors that challenge the prevailing story of the author’s steady and genteel rise. Thoroughly innovative and occasionally irreverent, this book will appeal in equal measure to book historians, Austen fans, and scholars of literary celebrity.

my thoughts:

What a book! Absolutely stunning! That cover - oh, my! I fell in deep with just the cover - how could I not?! And then I opened up the book and started flipping through the pages...WOW!  I fell in even deeper.  Yep, I was smitten. There were pages and pages of Austen's novels' covers and they were amazing. The colors, the print, the images, the various languages they had been translated in, and just the books themselves. It was magical to me. Yes, some of the covers were beyond hilarious and definitely not what I would expect for an Austen novel, but I loved those covers just the same.  They were pulp fiction covers and they were the best.  Of course, I'm a fan of those types of book covers - they just show a bit of history with their images and text.  So, I thought it was brilliant that Janine Barchas created this awesome book about the history of Austen's published works - Barchas researched the way Austen's novels were published and how they were marketed.  Its actually quite fascinating and I found myself enjoying learning all about it. I loved seeing the trajectory of Austen's popularity via book covers. Plus, I'm not going to lie, I am a huge fan of pulp fiction covers - they are the best! I always think they provide us with a glimpse of history - penny dreadfuls, dime novels, etc..  I always imagine those wire racks that spin chock full of novels by Vonnegut and King - two authors who's books were marketed in such a manner when publishers didn't know what to do with them  (science fiction, horror - say what?!)  So, I love the idea of Austen's novels bearing pulp fiction covers - so cool!

Barchas' book is truly a gem. I just know any fan of Austen's works will fall in love with The Lost Books Of Austen - how could they not? The research is impeccable, the writing is top notch, and the topic is fascinating.  Overall, this makes for a must-read book. I would definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - you won't want to miss this one!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Lost Books Of Jane Austen
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Clergyman's Wife: A Pride & Prejudice Novel by Molly Greeley

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

For everyone who loved Pride and Prejudice—and legions of historical fiction lovers—an inspired debut novel set in Austen’s world.

Charlotte Collins, nee Lucas, is the respectable wife of Hunsford’s vicar, and sees to her duties by rote: keeping house, caring for their adorable daughter, visiting parishioners, and patiently tolerating the lectures of her awkward husband and his condescending patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Intelligent, pragmatic, and anxious to escape the shame of spinsterhood, Charlotte chose this life, an inevitable one so socially acceptable that its quietness threatens to overwhelm her. Then she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Travis, a local farmer and tenant of Lady Catherine...

In Mr. Travis’ company, Charlotte feels appreciated, heard, and seen. For the first time in her life, Charlotte begins to understand emotional intimacy and its effect on the heart—and how breakable that heart can be. With her sensible nature confronted, and her own future about to take a turn, Charlotte must now question the role of love and passion in a woman’s life, and whether they truly matter for a clergyman’s wife.

my thoughts:

As a huge fan of Austen's beloved novel, Pride & Prejudice, I was thrilled to be holding a copy of Molly Greeley's book, The Clergyman's Wife.  I am a huge fan of books that are inspired by Austen or actually retell Austen's stories, characters - I find these types of stories to be such treats to read. So, I was thrilled to dive into Greeley's book about Charlotte and Mr. Collins. I wanted to find out what happened to this couple and how happily ever after they really were. Was Mr. Collins as odious as we had always thought, or had marriage changed him? Did married life truly supply Charlotte with more than just security?  After all, isn't that why Charlotte married Mr. Collins - to have a life that would afford her stability?

In this amazing debut novel, we get to know Charlotte and learn about why she made the choices she did. Its fascinating and provides a deeper look into her character, which helps us to better understand her motives. As for Mr. Collins, well, he is definitely who we think he is, except, there are moments when we see him through Charlotte's eyes and are able to catch glimpses of his true self.  Its definitely an interesting story to read about these two and their life together. I also enjoyed meeting Mr. Travis and Mrs. Fitzgibbon - two lovely additions to Charlotte's world that helped her to find friendship and a sort of companionship that she really needed. It was truly sweet to read.  Plus, did I mention that we get to meet up with Lizzy and Mr. Darcy a few times in the story and I just LOVED it.  Talk about a fun and engaging reading experience!!

I would happily recommend The Clergyman's Wife to fans of Austen and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Clergyman's Wife
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Three Things...

1.  Journals/Planners.  I love to journal and I do like a good planner. Writing down all the feels in my journal has always been one of my favorite things to do.  Except, I recently found myself falling down the rabbit hole of YouTube videos about journaling and planning. Yikes! Those videos showed all the things that I thought I needed- journal covers, paper ephemera, stickers, washi tape, watercolors, etc.  So, I made a few purchases here and there. And, I tried to join in on the fun by decorating my planners and journals. Except, the more I joined in on the fun, the less I wanted to actually journal. Ack! I had lost my journaling mojo. The horror! Well, it felt that way to me. Especially, as I've always been one to write in a journal - whether it be about what was going in my life or a poem I was working on.  I would always find something to write.  And, I loved that feeling of wanting to write in my journal. So, I've decided to go back to the basics. A journal and a pen. That's it. I will use the journal covers I bought - how could I not, right? They are pretty cool. And, I might add a sticker or a piece of washi once in a blue moon, but I'm not going to pressure myself to "pretty" everything up. That's just not me. I'd rather have a pretty journal/notebook and fill it with writing instead of paper ephemera and stickers. Of course, this now means that I want to cull my stationery supplies. I've been watching YouTube videos about stationery minimalism and definitely want to give that a try - its basically, keeping the items you truly love and using those (using what you have, instead of buying more).  Wish me luck!

2.  Books.  My reading has been rather decent lately. I was mowing through the Maisie Dobbs series (again), but decided to stop and pick up a book or two from my TBR pile on my nightstand. So, I'm currently reading:



What about you? Which books are you getting lost in? Or do you have an recommendations for me?

3.  TV/Music.  TV is consisting of Hallmark Christmas movies (and a few Lifetime ones), along with some of my favorite holiday films - Christmas with the Kranks, Love Actually, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  And, I'm still watching Housewives - OC, NJ, and Dallas. Last night was OC and it was a doozy. The women are in Key West and they are getting drunk, screaming at each other, and eating cake. All in all, its definitely a fun season to watch.

Music is Christmas music and it is so much fun to sing along to. Joy to the World and Hark the Herald Angels Sing - LOVE!!  Also, did you hear about the Alanis Morissette tour? OMG! Garbage and Liz Phair, too! Talk about an awesome tour!! I feel like I'd be listening to my high school/college soundtrack live - how can I resist?

And now, I'm off to read some more of Cleo Wade's book, Heart Talk. Hope you are having a groovy week. Happy reading!!