Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesdays

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy aka Bermuda Onion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun.

I recently finished reading a compilation of Poe stories and while there were certainly many wondrous words in his writing, I was intrigued by moiety:

From The Pit and The Pendulum:

Scarcely had I dropped my head back into its original position, when there flashed upon my mind what I cannot better describe than as the deformed half of that idea of deliverance to whick I have been previously alluded, and of which a moiety only floated indeterminately through my brain when I raised food to my burning lips.

Here's the definition from Merriam Webster:


noun \ˈmi-ə-tē\
plural moi·e·ties
1 a : one of two equal parts : half b : one of two approximately equal parts
2: one of the portions into which something is divided : component, part moiety>
3: one of two basic complementary tribal subdivisions

WWW Wednesdays

MizB of Should be reading nicely hosts this weekly event.

To join in, click here.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I had a hysterectomy last Monday and while recovering (very nicely, actually), I have had the chance to catch up on one of my all-time favorite passions: READING!!! (and get a good start on the reading challenges I signed up for!) I finished three books this week! I can't remember the last time that happened (pre-Tucker (my son), of course!) So here's what I've been up to!

Recently finished:

Small Island by Andrea Levy (for What's In A Name 4 Challenge: linked to my review); The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (for Back to the Classics challenge; again linked to my review) and The Pit and the Pendulum and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe (for Celebrate the Author Challenge). I haven't read Poe since Junior High and enjoyed revisiting him. I do have to say for a book of less than 200 pages, it took me awhile with all his lengthy, wordy descriptions but I suppose that's who is he is. My favorite that I re-read was The Tell-Tale Heart. I do hope to read more of his work in the future.

Currently Reading:

I enjoyed The Girl Who Played with Fire so much more than the first one so I put the final one on hold at the library and it became available a lot faster than I thought it would so I'm taking a "break" from the challenges to read since I can't renew it! I'm about a quarter of the way through...

Coming Up Next:

I'm participating in the Oliver Twist Read-Along at A Literary Odyssey and since Charles Dickens was born in February (think: Celebrate the Author challenge), I though I'd take the opportunity to read two other classics of his: Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. I'm planning on buying all three so I don't have to worry about due dates! I think that should do it for February-lol!!! I do go back to work in mid-February so I will be resuming my audio books.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser is from The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson.

Blomkvist was working on the Salander Story and wouldn't share any part of it. This was nothing new. He hadn't said a word about about the WennerStrom story either-not even Berger had known- but this time he had two confidants.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Book Review: The Outsiders

I chose for The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton for my Children's/Young Adult Classic.

Synopsis from Amazon:According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser. This classic, written by S. E. Hinton when she was 16 years old, is as profound today as it was when it was first published in 1967

My Thoughts: I must have been too busy reading Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary but somehow I never read any of S.E. Hinton's books as a teenager, didn't know S.E. Hinton is a woman, and never even saw any of the movies based on her books!.. I know, you can't believe it, can you?!? Having said all that, I am planning on rectifying this situation! This book was AMAZING! I read the whole thing in one day (it helps I'm recuperating from surgery and basically under house arrest for two weeks). I enjoyed all the characters and admired Darry, Ponyboy's oldest brother, for doing all he could to keep him and his brother together after their parents' deaths. I have to admit I cringed during the fight scenes and imagine I will undoubtedly do the same when I see the movie. I felt bad for Johnny who's parents don't seem to care about him or what he does and wonder how many children there are out there who live with this everyday; probably more than I really care to think about. I loved the story of these boys, their struggles with life, life-and-death issues, and everything in between. I loved that they seem to come out stronger on the other side, so to speak. Now to add this to my Netflix queue!

Book Review: Small Island

Synopsis from BookBrowse: Hortense Joseph arrives in London from Jamaica in 1948 with her life in her suitcase, her heart broken, her resolve intact. Her husband, Gilbert Joseph, returns from the war expecting to be received as a hero, but finds his status as a black man in Britain to be second class. His white landlady, Queenie, raised as a farmer's daughter, befriends Gilbert, and later Hortense, with innocence and courage, until the unexpected arrival of her husband, Bernard, who returns from combat with issues of his own to resolve. Told in these four voices, Small Island is a courageous novel of tender emotion and sparkling wit, of crossings taken and passages lost, of shattering compassion and of reckless optimism in the face of insurmountable barriers---in short, an encapsulation of that most American of experiences: the immigrant's life.

My Thoughts: I picked this one up randomly walking through the library shelves and the title caught my eye. I've always been interested in the black vs white, civil rights movement and, having never looked at it from a Jamaican point of view, thought this one seemed interesting. I have to be honest and say that the story did take a bit to get going while the author told the stories of each of the characters and how they interacted with each other. I enjoyed the character of Queenie, the white landlady who is at the center of the story. I enjoyed her determination and desire to do what's right, provide a place for people who had nowhere to go, regardless of their race and the feelings of her neighbors who felt she was ruining the neighborhood. She was also trying to make a living for herself while carrying for her disabled father-in-law and herself while her husband was missing during the war. Hortense is a lady of an entirely different sort, however. She comes to England expecting to live a grand life, compared to the one she had lived in Jamaica and has a serious reality-check, She is also another strong woman determined to make the best of what life has dealt her. I think that may be the overall theme of this book, however simple, that life can be difficult and you may struggle but how you handle it is what makes you the person you are.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 Book Challenges

I'm either ambitious or completely crazy but I'm signing up for 10 reading challenges this year!!!
I am committing myself to reading more classics this year and thus a few of the challenges do overlap.

I've decided to list them all in one post (I have provided links to each one). this will also make it easier for me to follow-up at the end of the year. In no particular order, here is what I'm planning for the new year:

Melissa from The Betty and Boo Chronicles is hosting the Memorable Memoirs Reading Challenge. Running from January 1- December 31, 2011, it's pretty flexible as to how many you actually commit to reading no pre-listing is required! Also no reviews of individual books are required either! As Melissa says: "If you enjoy reading memoirs or really haven't explored them as much as you'd like to, then this is the challenge for you."
I'm going to try to read 10 memoirs.

Lu from Lu's Rants and Raves is sponsoring Celebrate the Author in which she challenges us to read books by authors born in a particular month. This is my list of authors I plan to read. Many of the books will overlap with other challenges I hope to complete.
January: Edgar Allan Poe
February: Jules Verne
March: Lois Lowry
April: Washington Irving
May: Arthur Conan Doyle
June: Harriett Beecher Stowe
July: Nathaniel Hawthorne
August: Paula Danziger
September: Roald Dahl
October: Oscar Wilde
November: Mark Twain
December: Rudyard Kipling

Lynossa of Deranged Book Lovers is sponsoring the Wordsworth Classics Reading Challenge. You can read any classic novels which are included in the list of Wordsworth Classics. You don't need to read the Wordsworth edition; you can pick any publisher releases as long as those releases are unabridged.
The levels are:
Peasant: 1-4 books
Bourgeois: 5-8 books
Knight: 9 – 12 books
Noble: more than 12 books

I have decided to participate at the Bourgeois level.

Beth from Beth Fish Reads is sponsoring What's in a Name 4. In this challenge, Beth has chosen 6 words/themes for us to chose our books within. they are Number, Jewel or Gem, Size, Travel or Movement, Evil, and Life Stage. The book title must contain one of these type of words. Here are my choices:

Number: Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Jewel or Gem: Girl with a Pearl Earring
Size: The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy
Travel or Movement: Running in Heels by Anna Maxted
Evil: Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Life Stage: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Caitie of is sponsoring the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Challenge. Based on the book of the same name, the challenge is simple – read some books from the list! For the most basic, check out the Listology list.

There are 4 levels to participate in:

High School Diplomat: 5 books from the list
Bachelor’s Degree: 6-10 books from the list
Master’s Degree: 11-15 books from the list
PhD: 16+ books from the list

Because so many of these will overlap with other challenges, I have decided to participate at the PhD level.

I have already signed up for the Back to Classics challenge here and the Century Challenge here.

The next few really just require me to keep track of the books I'm reading in order to complete them:

Amy at My Overstuffed Bookshelves is sponsoring the 100+ Read Challenge, which I guess is self-explanatory. I think I may have read over 100 books in 2009 and came somewhat close in 2010.

Teresa from Teresa's Reading Corner is sponsoring the 2011 Audiobook Challenge.

Curious: 3 Audio Books
Fascinated: 6 Audio Books
Addicted: 12 Audio Books
Obsessed: 20 Audio Books

Because I average about a book a week commuting to work, I think the Obsessed level is more than attainable!

Becky from Becky's Book Reviews is sponsoring the A-Z Challenge.
There are three options:
-Read alphabetically by Title (26 books)
-Read alphabetically by Author (26 books)
-Read alphabetically by Title and Author (52 books)

I have decided to participate by reading alphabetically by Title.