Book Beginnings on Friday

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Meme - Book Beginnings on Friday. This is a new meme that I have decided to start entitled Book Beginnings on Friday. I hope that you all join in.

At this stage I do not have a button for this meme, being someone that is very technologically challenged. If there is anyone out there that wants to participate in this meme and has the skills to make a button, I would really appreciate it :-)

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Becky at Page Turners. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.

Thank you to Rose City Reader for giving me the idea for this meme. On Rose City Reader you will find 'Opening Sentences of the Day' so please have a look at this wonderful blog for further opportunities to share opening sentences.

The Portrait of A Lady by Henry James

"Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable that the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea".

I think this is a really really wonderful way to start a book. It pulls me in straight away, and I couldn't agree with it more!

Place a link to your Book Beginnings on Friday post in the Mr Linky below or alternatively leave a comment.

Lights, Camera, Blog Action!

This is a special feature dedicated to spreading the word about the other great blogs that are out there! I have found a lot of great blogs through such features and I want to be able to share some book blog joy too!
This week I am featuring Allie from A Literary Odyssey.
Allie's blog is fairly new, and I absolutely love it. Allie has challenged herself to reading a set list of 250 classics, and I love classics so I love reading all about the books she has read. Her reviews are interesting and well written and I would accept any recommendation she provides.
1. Tell us something about yourself:
My husband said to say that I have an awesome husband who is pretty cool. While I agree, I don't think that is what you want to know, so here are the basics! I am 24, married to my high school sweetheart and I have two adorable cats: Hemi and Sparty. Sparty is named after my college's mascot (The Michigan State Spartans!), where I earned two bachelor's degrees (English and History), a minor in social studies, and my teaching certificate. Right now I work as a park ranger for my city park system, which is pretty much one of the best jobs ever and not something that just anyone does!
2. What was your favourite book as a child or young adult, and why?
As a kid, that would have been a toss up between quite a few titles! I absolutely loved reading The Little House on the Prairie series, as well as anything by Scott O'Dell or Roald Dahl. When I was in that awkward teenage stage, YA was nothing like what it is now. I was never really a "girly girl," so I had a hard time finding YA titles to read. I read a lot of adult fantasy and sci-fi in addition to the few YA titles I could find.
3. Why do you love to read?
I find reading to be an extremely personal experience. While I am reading, I feel like there is no one else who could possibly find as much meaning in those words that I am at that moment. It is pretty powerful! I also love knowing that with certain titles, a woman my age read those same words maybe 200 or 300 years ago and probably loved it as much as I do now. Reading has always been an escape for me and something all my own. I am sure that it will always be that way!
4. How do you choose your books?
Many, many times I just wander through bookstores and see what jumps out at me. Covers, titles, store recommendations sometimes come into play, but I love looking at the shelves. Two hours is what I consider to be a good book store shopping experience! I also have some friends I trust for judgment, as well as what is on the best-selling lists, etc. However, I really like to read things that not everyone else is hooked on at the moment. Older literature as well as lesser-known works always seem to find their way onto my shelves.
5. If you had to narrow it down-who would be your 3 favourite authors and what would be your 3 favourite books?
If I absolutely had to pick, I would first have to go with Edith Wharton. I have a weird obsession with anything Wharton related. I think her writing is simply beautiful and love everything. I'm also going to say Orson Scott Card. And not because I think he is super amazing, but because his work has really inspired me to be the reader that I am now. Last...I have to go with Jane Austen. You just can't beat her. My three favorite books...From my childhood I am going to go with The Giver by Lois Lowry. It is the original dystopian novel that got me hooked. I'm also going to say Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.
6. When and why did you start your blog?
Basically I was incredibly depressed at the end of the summer (2009) because I did not land a teaching job. Teaching jobs are super hard to come by in Michigan and while I had a few interviews, I didn't get a job. I had nothing else going on and some friends kept urging me to pursue writing. The idea of doing a book blog developed after that, since it was a combination of two things I really love-reading and writing. The "challenge" part of my blog was simply an idea. I wanted to challenge myself intellectually, so what better way than to read 250 of the classics?
7. What do you love about book blogging?
I really love the community aspect. When I started out back in September, I really didn't think I was going to read any other blogs or that anyone would read, let alone comment on mine! It is pretty amazing to find so many people love the same things I do! I also love that I can spy on other people's bookshelves and get a diverse set of opinions about books and authors.
8. What tips do you have to offer to other book bloggers?
I'm still kind of new to the game, but I'll give this a shot. First, always remember why you started blogging. Hopefully the answer to that is that you love to read. From some blogs I have come across, it almost seems like the author has lost sight of what they are doing. Second, be original! bring something new and fun to the table! I love unique perspectives and contests and memes. We all love to be surprise! Third, push yourself! I never limit what I am capable of, no matter if it is my personal life, reading, my relationship with other people, my writing, nothing. Don't limit yourself to one little genre!
I really like the idea of giving yourself a challenge to avoid feeling bad about the circumstances you find yourself in. It seems like a very productive and positive way to approach difficulty and I really admire that. Working as a park ranger sounds like really interesting work and I am glad that you are enjoying it.
I haven't read anything by Edith Wharton, but I know a lot of people recommend her work so I think that I will have to remember to giver her a try at some point.
If anyone else is interested in participating in Lights Camera Blog Action I would love to have you. Please just email and I will forward you the questions!

Booking Through Thursdays: Sensual and....

This week I will participating in Booking Through Thursday from 18 March 2010 and 25 March 2010.

Which do you prefer? Lurid, fruity prose, awash in imagery and sensuous textures and colors? Or straight-forward, clean, simple prose?

Definitely lurid, fruit prose, awash with imagery and sensuous textures and colours. I love language that I get lost in, language that is totally descriptive and full of depth. That's not to say that simple, straight forward language can't create the same quality story that sensuous writing can, but for me it is usually that more descriptive style of writing that really pulls me into the story.

Books and authors that come to mind as demonstrating the style that I like are books by Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver and I am sure that there are many many more. I like the language itself to form part of the story if that makes sense, and for me, the more simple straight forward writing can't do that in the way that more sensual language can.

25 March 2010 - coming soon

Choosing a book because of the reviewer

I subcribe to the New York Review of Books, and yesterday I came across a book review written by Margaret Atwood. A lot of you may know that I am a massive Margaret Atwood fan and am slowly working my way through all of her books.

The book she reviewed is called Anthill by EO Wilson. Here is the link to her review. Now I have never heard of EO Wilson, although apparently he is one of the big wigs in entomology (ant science? - I am sure that I am displaying my ignorance now!). This is his very first novel, and its about... you guessed it, ants.

Now, if someone else had reviewed this book, someone that I didn't know, I probably might not have even read the review. But because it was Margaret Atwood, I read it immediately, and I now want to read the book. Why? Because it was reviewed by Margaret Atwood and I loved her review. The book itself sounds alright, but otherwise isn't really my thing.

What do you think? Is there something wrong about choosing a book because of its reviewer? Or does it not matter? Do you think an author would be upset to know that it was the reviewer of their book that attracted you to their book?

Teaser Tuesdays: The Portait of a Lady by Henry James

Tuesday Teaser is great meme hosted by Should Be Reading and is a great way to find out about new books.
Here are the guidelines: 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!

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

"These words were uttered with a breadth of candour that was like the embrace of strong arms - that was like the fragrance straight in her face, and by his clean, breathing lips, of she knew not what strange gardens, what charged airs. She would have given her little finger at that moment to feel strongly and simply the impulse to answer: 'Lord Warburton, it's impossible for me to do better in this wonderful world, I think, than commit myself, very gratefully, to your loyalty'.

I absolutely love reading old books like this, and so far this one is wonderful.

Book Beginnings on Friday:

Sorry for the shameless advertising, but I also wanted to let people know about a new meme I am hosting called Book Beginnings on Friday, the aim of which is to share the first sentence of your current read with everyone. You can see Week 1's post by clicking here and Week 2's post by clicking here. Check it out this Friday.

Some of Page Turner's features are on hiatus

Upon careful consideration, I have decided to put at least 3 of Page Turners features on hiatus - these being 'Great Authors', 'Wonderfully Short Wednesdays' and 'Thoughtful Thursdays'.

The reality is, at the moment, I just don't have time to keep up with everything, and I would rather prioritise participating in memes hosted by other wonderful bloggers that I have come to love.

I will continue with:

I will post about book and blog related issues like I did in the Thoughtful Thursday posts, but only when they occur to me, not every Thursday. If I read a short story, I will review it in the normal course of things and not for a special feature. Similarly, if I feel like telling you all about a wonderful author I have discovered, then I will, but not every second Tuesday.

I have decided that I need to go back to basics a little bit more, and focus that little bit more on my reading than on my blogging.

I might reinstitute these features at a later stage, but for now I will say goodbye to them. I hope that no one is too disappointed, but I suspect that it is mainly me that will feel any effect of these missing features :-)

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Book Details

Project Gutenberg

Book Review

I can’t really remember what made me started reading Treasure Island. I vaguely remember just having a flick through the various ebook options on the application I use (Stanza) and seeing this one and deciding to read it.

The narrator, Jim Hawkins, is a young boy who lives in a Village Inn run by his parents. His life becomes adventuresome when an old Pirate, Billy Bones, comes to lodge with them. Through very odd circumstances, Billy Bones suffers a stroke after receiving the Black Spot, and Jim Hawkins and his mother come into possession of a treasure map and are hotly pursued by Pirates until the Pirates are scared off by the coming of some townspeople. Jim Hawkins gives the map to Squire Trelawney and Dr Livesy, and they all then plan a big trip to Treasure Island in search of the treasure.

A ship is bought and Trelawney hires Captain Smollett and Long John Silver as cook. Long John then hires the rest of the crew. Despite some early signs that should have lead to suspicion, the ship sets sail for the Island. Unfortunately, Jim uncovers a plot to mutiny after the treasure is bought onto the ship.

The rest of the story details how the crew split into two, and end up stranded on Treasure Island fighting for life and treasure.

I really wish that I had enjoyed Treasure Island more than I did. I think what put me off was mostly the language that was used. Sometimes it’s difficult to get through to the story when the language is so old fashioned and dense, and this was one of those books for me. The language took something away from the adventure from me. I spent too much time focusing on what I was reading, which prevented me from really getting into it.

Something I did find interesting was this idea of honesty and loyalty that was so prominent throughout the story. At one stage Jim Hawkins is held captive by the enemy pirates and he gives his word to Silver that he will not attempt to escape. Then, despite being given the perfect opportunity to escape, he does not because he has given his word not to. This type of loyalty is totally foreign to me – I find it difficult to comprehend why someone would not escape captivity other than because they promised their captor not to? What do you owe your captor? Why would your word mean more to you than the opportunity to take flight when faced with death? Something similar that puzzled me was this – why did Jim seem so set in keeping his word to Silver when he happily broke his word to his own friends by abandoning them in the first place?

There is more to Treasure Island that what I have discussed here, but I think that this is the kind of book that you have to read yourself to know what you will get out of it.


What kind of read is it?
A challenging read, but a shorter one than you might expect.

Do I recommend it?
Not really to be honest.

Do I recommend that you buy it?
No, just get it from the library or a friend, unless you are a collector of classics.

Star Rating

Alright, but I wouldn't recommend it.

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday, what are you reading? is now hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. It is a chance for us to share with other book bloggers what we have just finished reading, what we are currently reading and what we are reading next.

Just finished

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
I really really enjoyed this book, it was so smooth and well written. It even made me cry. Review coming soon.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Hmm, this wasn't what I expected, but it was good in it's own special way. Review coming soon.

Currently Reading

Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
I was inspired to read this by another book I read recently, The Legacy by Kirsten Tranter. The Legacy is based on Portrait of a Lady, and as I am going to a book club about The Legacy this Sunday, I thought that I would try and read Portrait of a Lady for the book club as well.

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
This is my newest ebook read. Those of you who know me well, will know that it takes me forever to read ebooks, so you will see this one hanging around for awhile.

Up Next

I have two books that I really want to read next. The Spare Room by Helen Garner and The Double Crown by Marie Heese.

A Blast from the Past: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein

A Blast From the Past is a meme for people to review a book that they read before they started blogging. It doesn't have to be a favourite, it might be that you didn't enjoy it. It is about sharing a book from your past with others.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

I love love love anything Tolkien. I read The Hobbit as a child in primary school. I borrowed a beautiful copy from the school library that had lovely big illustrations. As an adult I made sure that I purchased the same copy that I read back then in primary school. I knew that I wanted to own it and that I wanted to own that copy with the beautiful illustrations.

I don't even really know what to say about this book. Its Tolkien. Does that say it all? I love the adventure. I love that although it is fantasy, it feels like history. I love how rich the characters are. I love how rich the countryside is. I love how rich the story is. I love everything about it.

I want to be able to say more, but I feel like this book is beyond words for me. I hope that if you haven't tried reading this book, you do now.

Please join in by leaving a comment or leaving a link to your own Blast from the Past in the Mr Linky below.