On my first visit to Rome, what most astounded me was that “S.P.Q.R.” was actually imprinted on manholes in the street. So I was most eager to delve into Mary Beard’s new book, SPQR.
At times, this reads like a House of Cards take on Roman history, as Beard narrates with suspense the political wranglings, betrayals, assassinations, and changing power players over the centuries.
Arianna Huffington dedicates her new book, The Sleep Revolution, to “all those who are sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Here, here!
We all love (and need) sleep, but so many of us don’t seem to get enough of it—what Huffington calls “our current sleep crisis.”
I don’t have an “I Heart Darcy” t-shirt. When it comes to Jane Austen’s heroes, my heart belongs to Mr. George Knightley.
He has all the advantages of Darcy—land, position, looks—and so much more. Read on …
Agatha Christmas: A Reading of Christie’s Holiday Classics
“A Christie for Christmas” was the popular saying back when the author was putting out a mystery each year.
She incorporated the holiday into several of her books.
December 16 is Jane Austen’s birthday!
Also, a shout-out to the upcoming “Emmaversary”—the 200th anniversary of Emma, published on December 25, 1815.
This is the original The Girl on the Train. Elspeth McGullicuddy cannot get anyone (the porter, the local police) to believe that she witnessed a murder on a passing train.
No one believes her, except her friend Miss Jane Marple …
Here is my list of 20 books for The Classics Club’s latest literary roulette.
The Club spins a random number and all participants have to read that book by Feb 1 2016. This time, I picked thick, old-fashioned tomes.
If Shonda Rhimes were to write a book about Renaissance France, it would likely resemble The Rival Queens—a dramatic and almost soapy page-turner by Nancy Goldstone.
I don’t mean this as a knock, but more as another case of truth being stranger than fiction.
This novel features all the hallmarks of classic Christie: a “village mystery,” mustached detective Hercule Poirot, memorable supporting characters, and an intricately woven plot.
There’s also danger, as the children have more to fear than ghosts and goblins in this Halloween story.
It’s been a blast reading Salem’s Lot by Stephen King as part of the #SalemAlong!
This scary pageturner is an especially good read on the run up to Halloween. Just remember to lock your windows! Here’s my wrap-up and review.
I’ve been curious about the Miss Read books and was so pleased when Village School was lucky number #5 on my Classics Club Spin List.
It tells the story of the small village of Fairacre, England, as narrated by the school mistress of the local, two-room elementary school, aka “Miss Read”.
This past weekend I participated in the Dewey’s Readathon, with 1900 readers from all around the world. This is a fun event which brings readers together for a 24-hour book marathon. I read four different books. Booklover’s joy!
It’s the first day of the Halloween month, and I’m starting the #SalemAlong—a readalong of Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.
I’ve been wanting to read this, and scary books are perfect for readalongs. Strength in numbers?
In 1820, Jane Austen sunk into obscurity “out of print, out of demand, and almost out of mind.”
Today, Austen is a worldwide phenomenon. Jane’s Fame by Claire Harman looks at the erratic, inexorable rise of Jane and the Janeites.
On September 22, Oceanic 815 crashed into into “the Island,” and Frodo was given the One Ring. Same day. Eerie.
I’m turning over a new book leaf and looking to Bloggiesta for insight and inspiration. This blogging marathon offers amazing advice on key blog improvement topics. Come join in!
Here is my list of 20 books for The Classics Club’s latest literary roulette. The Club spins a random number and all participants have to read the corresponding book.
This time I will be reading book #5: Village School by Miss Read—perfect for back-to-school.
One of the great pleasures of reading Jane Austen is when off the page jumps one of her distinctive zingers: “I am worn out with civility,” says Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park. Read on …
I was surprised at how much I laughed while reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.
There’s a love triangle, coming-of-age angst, and lots of literary name-dropping, but this book feels as if it’s really about the writing.
Some children are afraid of clowns, I was afraid of magicians. Indeed, Erin Morgenstern shows that they can be menacing, which kept me on edge.
The storyline is clever, original, and enchanting; however, I found this book to be much darker than I expected.
I’ve posted my first Classics Spin list of twenty classic books new and old.
In this literary roulette, the spin will decide which book I read, when The Classics Club announces which number book is chosen.
“A wire that snaked its way through all the trenches, through all the winters … across all the lines.”
This moving novel is both a mystery and a reflection on the Great War. It feels especially resonant as we head into the 100th anniversary of the start of that conflict this July.
Egyptian Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz wrote this as both a sequel and a tribute to the classic One Thousand and One Nights.
This book picks up the day after Shahrzad has told her last story.
The Dewey’s Read-a-thon, spring or fall, is always one of my favorite events. A whole day dedicated to reading!
The Read-a-thon kicks off at 8:00 am on Saturday, April 26, 2014. This year, we have over 650 readers who have signed up worldwide!
What happens when you don’t like the book that everyone else loves? And vice-versa?
I prefer not to disparage any book, as I don’t want to deter readers who might love said tome. I myself have been burned by people warding me off great reads.
Ah, coffee and Jane Austen … I should start every weekend morning like this! It’s 14°F outside, making it a perfect day to spend reading.
I’m finding it most ironic that Stephen King joked about the hefty size of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.
I am reading King’s 11/22/63 in anticipation of the upcoming 50th anniversary of November 22nd, as part of the #112263Along!
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.
These two books terrified me in a way that I hadn’t known reading could do. Neither is a typical horror story, but both gave me nightmares
Join us for a readalong of Stephen King’s time-travel novel, as the 50th anniversary of the famous date approaches.
This group read runs until Dec 22.
Phantasmagorical is how I would describe Neil Gaiman’s latest. That is not to say this is a book of pure fantasy.
The story feels real even as it veers off into the fantastic. All becomes plausible via Gaiman’s dark magical realism. But, it is the emotional pull that gives this book its heft.
My review of the chilling, true crime account of a serial killer who roamed Paris during World War II.
Dr. Marcel Petiot was well-respected and charismatic physician who led a macabre double life. King imbues this book with a smoky, atmospheric look at life in Occupied Paris.
If a book could at once be chilling and cosy, that is how I would describe The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton.
I highly recommend this as a perfect Halloween read. These stories offer all the joy of reading Edith Wharton, plus some very spooky moments.
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday asks us to name the Ten Best Book Sequels. ‘Anything Part Two’ can be tough, but great sequels can be even better than the original. Here are some of my favorite book follow-ups!
Goodness, this Top Ten really made me think! From Jane Austen to J.R.R. Tolkien to Stephen King, my favorite books are the ones that are peopled with distinctive, believable secondary characters.
In his novel Under the Dome, Stephen King channels Victorian author Matthew Arnold with an almost exact quote from the poem “Dover Beach.”
How fascinating that after more than a century, Arnold’s ‘darkling plain’ has influenced King as well as science fiction writer Ray Bradbury.
Mann Gulch, Storm King Mountain, and now, Yarnell Hill.
As I try to come to terms with the heartbreaking tragedy in AZ, I look to two books: the award-winning Young Men and Fire, by Norman Maclean and the compelling follow-up by his son John Maclean, Fire on the Mountain.
I recently learned that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence by default. He was the third choice actually.
Still, he suffered from extreme writer’s angst after Continental Congress edited his hard-wrought words.
Reading Stephen King’s Under the Dome, I felt that tingly thrill of anticipation that I used to get from watching LOST. King was a big fan, and alludes to the show several times in his novel.
Now we get Under the Dome on TV. Could this be the heir apparent to LOST?
I am a bit jumbled in my favorites, from classics to new releases to G.R.R. Martin to chic lit. Ooh, and I just loved Bring Up the Bodies!
And I’d really love some book recommendations, please.
Outside a high back window lives a spider I have called Charlotte A. Cavatica. Now it turns out that like her namesake, she is tending a very large egg sac.
Two favorite reads are keeping me from going out there and sweeping it all away.
I really enjoyed the latest by Pulitzer Prize winner Joseph J. Ellis. This book offers several fascinating and new (to me) insights on that seminal time frame from May to October of 1776, which Ellis calls “the crescendo moment” in American History.
Here are my Top Ten picks from an overflowing summer To Be Read pile. I’m going for mostly new books and reread of one beloved favorite.
The Other Typist, by Suzanne Rindell, is a twisty, noir page-turner. Fans of Gillian Flynn will definitely enjoy this book, which feels like Gone Girl set in the 1920s.
This book is not so dark, however. It’s snazzy with an alluring, slow-boiled plot.
Who knew there was math and economic strategy hidden in the subtext of Marianne Dashwood’s swoons?
All this time, we Janeites have been unwittingly indulging in sophisticated Game Theory Economics. So argues UCLA professor Michael Chwe in an intriguing new book, Jane Austen, Game Theorist.
Sinners and the Sea tells the story of Noah’s Ark from the viewpoint of his unnamed wife. It’s a fascinating, beautiful, and addictive read. Kanner gives us an impassioned look at what life was like for Noah’s wife, the family’s many struggles, and the giant, terrifying adventure of the ark.
I’m so excited for the Dewey’s Read-a-thon, Sat. April 27, 2013. More than 400 readers will join in the worldwide, 24-hour read-in. I’ve gathered a stack of books and I am so eager to just read … and read and read.
It’s not too late to sign up and READ … or you can follow my updates.
I stopped and caught myself when I heard that E.L. Konigsburg passed away last Friday. It hurt.
But almost immediately, that gave way to the familiar, deep-in happiness I always feel when I think of her. Oh, I loved her books when I was growing up!
April is National Poetry Month, and I have been loving it! Twitter offers one of the best ways to experience this, via a stream of poetic tweets. Here are some tweeps who are making Poetry Month extra special.
How Did I Not Know About Marvel’s Pride & Prejudice?
It came out three years ago. I am hugely, abominably embarrassed. I wouldn’t even share this mortifying tale, except for the hope that others might benefit.
Let me say up front that this Marvel P&P is a gem. Regency romance meets comic book—pure genius!
The first daffodil stems in my yard peeked out auspiciously in early March, but have not made much progress since. Frankly, I am daffodil-starved. Thankfully, I can turn to these lovely poems about the yellow beauties, so “they flash upon that inward eye.”
BBC radio host Sandi Toksvig has dismissed Kate Middleton, saying “I cannot think of a single opinion she holds—it’s very Jane Austen.” Clearly Toksvig has never actually read any Jane Austen, because her books are almost entirely composed of expressive characters giving their opinions.
I don’t know what it is about ‘Spring Forward,’ but I always find myself reshuffling my TBR pile. During winter, I reach for moody, atmospheric tomes.
Now, I’m craving lighter reading and some sunshine in my books.
Today, January 28, marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Though P&P has long been one of my favorite books, I confess that I simply could not get into it at first.
Many readers were confused and disheartened when the Pulitzer Prize announced there would be no award for fiction in 2012.
But, this is not the first time the Pulitzer crew has punted on fiction. There are several other notable misses and disses in Pulitzer history.
Just as the deficit continues to plague our nation, money (or lack thereof) has been a driving force in many of our favorite books, from the many “dettes” owed in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to the misfortunes of Les Miserables to the gritty poverty of Angela’s Ashes.
Now that everyone has Kindles, Nooks, and iPads, it’s much easier to bring books on a trip. But the question remains … exactly what to read? I find that my book tastes change dramatically when I am on the road—trending towards escapist and the potboiler.
Bring on the Hobbit Triple Play!
Hello?! Am I the only person who is excited that Peter Jackson is turning The Hobbit into three movies?! Seriously, I don’t understand all the snarkiness. Heck, The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien could have easily been four movies, or six! So much was left out!
Today (July 13) in 1798, William Wordsworth came upon the scenic ruins of Tintern Abbey, on the banks of the River Wye, while on a walking tour of Wales. The poet was famously struck and spent the next few days ruminating as he walked, conjuring the “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey” in his head.
To me, it seems fitting that the New York Marathon and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) both take place in November, since running and writing are very similar pursuits. I would take this further, though, and argue that writing is running for the mind.
Can You Pick 5 Favorite Books?
Recently, The New York Times Magazine conducted a poll via Twitter: “What are your top 5 fiction books?” My feed lit up with a stream of titles: The Great Gatsby, Infinite Jest, Crime and Punishment, Jane Eyre. It was like a reader’s stock ticker with books instead of companies.