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Showing posts from June, 2020

REVIEW: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Reader, this book was published in 1847. Back then, writers liked to describe every bird and leaf and brooklet. Dialogue often consisted of elaborate monologues. Many of the ideas and values of the time are outdated and even offensive today. Still, I couldn’t help but love it. I read an advanced copy, beautifully illustrated by Marjolein Bastin. This would be the perfect edition to own, with gorgeous watercolor paintings that Jane herself would aspire to create. What satisfied me about Jane Eyre was her spirit and character – she was unapologetically herself. She reminded me a little bit of Anne Shirley (except that Anne was more “apologetically” herself.) Jane just wants to be accepted for who she is, but she is unloved for most of her early life. The story follows Jane Eyre through several stages. Her childhood as an orphan living with cruel relatives is heartbreaking. She endures hardship at a poorly run boarding school. She is comfortable, but unfulfilled as a governess at Thor

REVIEW: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

How fun it is to revisit favorite books. I have never been one for re-reading (there are so many good books to read) but writing these reviews has given me the desire to do just that. I guess favorites are favorites for a reason. “Now the circus is open. Now you may enter.” The mysterious circus arrives without warning and takes place only at night. The reader is transported around the world as dark secrets about the circus are revealed and the characters search for a way out of a deadly game. The pace is a slow burn, and the real magic of this book for me exists in connecting the pieces to create a strange and interesting world. There is a love story (actually, more than one) but don’t go into this book expecting romance to be the main theme. Sections of this book are written in second person, which created an intimacy and drew me in immediately. Reading these chapters, I felt as though I were being let in on a secret. This is a book that recalls the won

TBR: The Shell Collector by Hugh Howey

I have a huge TBR (to be read) pile. I’m not exaggerating. I have over 1700 books on there, and I do weed it periodically. This is a problem for me, because I want to read them all. My reading goal for this year is 100 books. I will probably achieve that, or come very close. But, do the math! It will take me 17 years to read all of those books, and only if I don’t add any more to my TBR (unlikely).   Feeling overwhelmed and panicky about how many books there are is my motivation to start cleaning out my TBR list. So, I am starting at the bottom. This is the book that’s been on there the longest. I am hoping that writing about why I want to read it will push me to actually read this one, or move it to the DNF (did not finish) pile. One step closer to reading all the good books! I am a huge fan of Hugh Howie’s Wool trilogy. The stories are character driven, and the plot is original and suspenseful. I am also impressed that Wool was originally self-published after Howey won

REVIEW: Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

A senseless tragedy takes the lives of June’s entire family. Bill Clegg writes, in vivid detail, how several people caught in the aftermath are affected by the disaster. I love books with alternating points of view if they are done well. This book has eleven point-of-view characters. Some are told in first person and some are in third person. This could have resulted in a confusing mess, but instead it shaped a complex, emotionally compelling story.  "At first he thinks his house is on fire, but when he leans out and looks back, he can see that the smoke is coming from beyond the trees on the other side of the property. Then he smells it—the oily stench of a fire burning more than just wood. He can taste it, too, and as he inhales, it mingles with the pot smoke still on his tongue and in his throat. The birds get louder. Squawking, yelling what sound like words.  Go! You! Go!  he thinks he hears, but knows it’s impossible. He blinks his eyes open and shut, attempts to process