Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

Every year, I tried to read a few classic novels. My education in high school was somewhat lacking so I'm "playing catch up" with reading classics. I picked up Madame Bovary because it seems to be pretty easily spotted on any recommended reading list and on all the classics shelves.

That being said, I have to say that I really struggled through this book. I didn't find any of the characters particularly likeable so throughout the entire novel I felt rather irritated. I also have to admit that I didn't really know what the book was about before I read it, and through the first part I felt bad for Emma. By the end, I thought she was selfish and self-indulgent...I didn't like her at all. Her husband, Charles, who was really devoted to her wasn't even that sympathetic of a character because he came off rather buffoonish.

I read some notes about the novel that said Flaubert was the one of the first novelists to effectively write in the tone of the situation and character he was writing about. I have to agree with that statement. Once I read that, I understood why I was so bored while reading about Emma's boredom! I gave the book 3 stars out of 5 because of this. I thought the writing was well done, but I got tired of the droning on that some of the characters did. I'm glad I carried on and finished the book, but overall it wasn't really in line with my taste in books so I'm not sure that I'd recommend it to anyone.

Shattered City (the Halifax Explosion and the Road to Recovery) - Janet F. Kitz

It was pretty foggy when we were in Halifax, and the second day were were there it was drizzling rain the entire day. The Busker Festival was canceled for the day so we opted for the indoors. We decided to visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic along the waterfront. It was such a treat. It's one of the best museums I've been to! In all its exhibits, we spend quite a bit of time reading about the Halifax Explosion. The exhibit was very detailed and super impressive.

Shattered City recounts the events of December 6, 1917 in the Halifax Harbour. The ship Mont Blanc was loaded with explosive munitions that were to be convoyed to Europe for WWI. While coming into the harbour, another ship called the Imo collided with it and resulted in the Mont Blanc's cargo exploding a short time later. The devastation of Halifax was complete. It was the largest non-nuclear explosion ever. Thousands were killed and even more injured by the explosion. Many people were left homeless as their homes were obliterated by the explosion or burned to the ground as a result of it.

Janet F. Kitz wrote the book after doing much research and interviewing survivors from the event. The book becomes much more personal in this way as she followed individuals through the incident and their recovery over the years. At times, I felt teary eyed reading what happened to many people. In addition to losing their families, many people had to deal with severe injuries from the blast (blindness, broken bones, and burns just to name a few), and the loss of their homes and belongings. What made all of this worse was that it occurred during the winter and a blizzard blew in the following day. The book also describes reconstruction and relief aid after the explosion that is equally as interesting.

Kitz was also one of the people responsible for the exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax. Many of the people she wrote about in the book have photos and belongings on exhibit in the museum. I am glad that I had the experience of reading the book after I saw the exhibit. However, I would recommend the book even without seeing the exhibit.

Living Dead In Dallas - Charlaine Harris

I decided to start reading the second book of Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Series because I have it on my e-book reader and it's easy to read while I dry my hair after I get out of the shower. I have to say that I enjoyed the second book more than the first. I can't tell if it is because the writing/story were better, or I have just gotten used to her style.

In Living Dead in Dallas, Sookie and Bill are recruited by Eric the Vampire to go to Dallas and help the Dallas vampires with a problem they have encountered. One of the vampires in their nest has been abducted and they have no idea what happened to him. Using Sookie's telepath powers they hope to find out what has happened to their friend. This book somewhat coincides with the second season of True Blood (HBO's original series) although there are major differences. However, if you are worried about any spoilers, I'd wait to read this book until the second season is finished (even though I don't know exactly what is going to happen on the show since there is three episodes left).

Overall, the story was more captivating than the first. It might be that I am in the "Team Eric" group and he is in the second book much more than the first. I was also really disappointed that one of the characters in the book has quite a different fate than on the show. I won't give away what happened or who it happened to, but it happens at the beginning and was a huge downer to me.

There is one thing in particular that irritates me about the book. Charlaine Harris is somewhat repetitive in her writing when she mentions Sookie's "gift" or her inability to hear Bill's thoughts. At times I feel like shaking my book and saying, "OK, I get it!!! She has been somewhat of an outcast because of her gift and yes, it's great to not be able to hear Bill's thoughts!" It's somewhat reminiscent of Stephanie Meyer and her obsession with Edward Cullen's beauty in the Twilight books...I know...there's just no other way to say it...he is beautiful!!! I get it! Move on!

I'll definitely keep reading the Southern Vampire series since this book was better than the first and because of my huge love for True Blood. It's just something fun and easy to read to pass the time!

The Gunslinger - Stephen King

While on vacation, I also read The Gunslinger by Stephen King. My husband has been bugging me for a few years to read The Dark Tower series so I finally broke down and started reading it. He warned me that a lot of people didn't like the first book so I shouldn't expect to really think it was something special. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Was I a little underwhelmed? Yes.

The story is about a gunslinger chasing a man in black. You don't really know why he is chasing the man in black for a lot of the book, and along the way, the gunslinger picks up a companion as well. The book is about their journey and the gunslinger's past. It also introduces The Dark Tower whose purpose is not really known in the first book. Honestly, I felt a little confused while reading it because the book is fairly vague. To me, it seems like King was using the book as a setup for the series rather than to tell a complete story within the series. For that, I was a little disappointed, but it also left me with enough questions that I will definitely read the rest of the series.

Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris

I went on vacation to Nova Scotia last week. Our flight was long....VERY LONG! I knew that I needed something easy and quick to read, so I picked up a copy of Charlaine Harris', Dead Until Dark. I am huge fan of the HBO show True Blood which is based off The Southern Vampire Series.

I knew the book wouldn't be a masterpiece of fiction so my expectations were fairly low. The book was enjoyable, but was complete and utter pop fiction. I enjoyed it for what it was, but overall it was a pretty simply written book that was somewhat uncompelling. I am going to continue reading the series just because I like True Blood so much, but I have to say that I was underwhelmed by this first book.

The story is about a waitress named Sookie Stackhouse who has a special ability to read people's minds. She meets and falls in love with a vampire from the Civil War era in rural Louisiana. Part of the reason she is so taken with Vampire Bill is that she cannot read his mind like she can most people. When women who have been intimate with vampires start turning up dead, people are quick to blame vampires and suspect Vampire Bill of killing them. What ensues is a quick read and an interesting plot twist.

I am not sure that I can recommend these books to people. They are what I call "grocery store novels." They are easy to read and are typically written to appeal to people who don't read a whole lot. While I have to say that I do read some "grocery store novels", I can't say that I often recommend them to people. I'll see how the series goes and I might end up changing my mind and really liking it in the end.

Since I didn't find the book overly compelling, I'm adding a picture from our trip that was taken during one of the most incredible experiences of my life! We went whale watching in The Bay Of Fundy off Brier Island. It is located on the Digby Neck in Nova Scotia. The whales were incredible! They came right up to the boat and a few were playful and showed off their massive dorsal sides! This picture is of the flukes of one of the humpbacks that was playing near our boat. It left me completely breathless to be that near to something that large. If you haven't had the opportunity to go whale watching, I highly recommend it. It is so addicting and is by far one of the most awesome experiences I've ever had.

Life of Pi - Yann Martel

I recommended this book to my cousin a few years ago. He wrote me a few weeks ago saying he had picked it up and read it recently and asked me a few questions about it. It has been about six years since I had read the book, and honestly, I couldn't remember a lot of the important details! So, instead of giving him my uninformed opinion, I picked up the book this week and reread it. I loved it just as much the second time around.

I am not one to read books more than once. In all my years of reading, I have only read Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsong, Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, and now Yann Martel's Life of Pi more than once. I feel like there are so many books out there to read that it is difficult for me to decide to read a book more than once.

The book starts out with a writer who is struggling to write his new novel. He meets a man that tells him his incredible story of survival at sea with some of the zoo animals his family owned. Pi's family decided to move from India to Canada in the late 1970s. They close down their zoo and pack up some of their animals to move. On the voyage, the ship they are traveling on sinks. The next 200 pages are a story of tenacity, hope, and survival that rivals any adventure story around. While reading it I could feel my lips get chapped and cracked, my throat was dry with thirst, and I felt constantly afraid that Richard Parker could turn at any moment!

The best part of the book (and the most thoughtful) occurs at the end. I won't give the ending away, but it is my all-time favorite end to a book (although George R.R. Martin's end to Game of Thrones is a pretty close second). Pi and Richard Parker are some of the most compelling characters I have ever read about, and I highly recommend this book for people to read. It's engrossing and thoughtful throughout the entire story.

Jarka Ruus - The High Druid of Shannara (Book 1)

There is a reason I love reading fantasy novels. The stories are so imaginative and many of the characters noble. There is such a lack of this in society today that I find it refreshing that there are people in this genre of novels that have redeeming traits. There are always lessons that are learned in these books as well as good against evil. Jarka Ruus is no exception.

The book is about a redeemed witch that has become the leader of the Druids and the boy who searches to free her from those who wish to eliminate her. Grianne Ohmsford was introduced in The Voyage of Jerle Shannara series as a deceived witch of ultimate evil. She has become the leader of the Druids in Jarka Ruus and has been eliminated as leader through a dark and mysterious way. Her nephew, Pen Ohmsford, has been charged with finding her and bringing her back to Paranor to regain control of the Druid Council.

The characters are all faced with difficult choices. Pen has to decide whether to seek the aunt he barely knows, or try to continue his life as he wants. While the decision is somewhat made for him, he does choose the noble path and takes up the cross to find her. Grianne herself has choices to make. Does she continue on the path of a good Druid, or revert to her old self in order to survive? Terry Brooks makes his characters with personal flaws which makes it easy for a reader to identify with them. Whether the character struggles with anger or impulsiveness, the characters continually learn from these flaws and makes the reader contemplate how they can better deal with their own flaws. I like that the book is a bit introspective in this way while a good adventure with danger is occurring.

Will the book change your life? No...but will you have fun reading it? I believe so! This has been the most intriguing of Terry Brooks' Shannara books since The Heritage of Shannara series. If you want to read these books, start with The Sword of Shannara and work your way forward. Brooks references past books in the series as you read through them. You might suffer through the first book, The Sword of Shannara because it is strikingly similar to Lord of the Rings. However, the rest of his books are more original, and I really enjoyed them. I recommend them as a fun read that will have you at the end of your seat!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Home | Gallery | Tutorials | Freebies | About Us | Contact Us

Copyright © 2009 A Little Bookish |Designed by Templatemo |Converted to blogger by BloggerThemes.Net

Usage Rights

DesignBlog BloggerTheme comes under a Creative Commons License.This template is free of charge to create a personal blog.You can make changes to the templates to suit your needs.But You must keep the footer links Intact.