Book Blogger Hop

This is the first time I have participated in the Book Blogger Hop hosted at Crazy-For-Books. I have seen it around, but never really had the chance to follow up on it.

I saw someone post about it today and decided that now was the time to start. I am just sitting at home on a Friday night, watching Casino Royale and playing on the computer, so it's the perfect opportunity. I am now going to head off and have a look at some other blogs!

Book Beginnings on Friday


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 Double Crown by Marie Heese

"I am the chosen of the Gods".

It is a short first sentence, but quite powerful.

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!

Today I am featuring Stacy from A Novel Source. She has a wonderful blog, full of interesting reviews of interesting books. It is well worth checking out.

1. Tell us something about yourself
Prior to being home full-time, I worked as an Executive Director of a non-profit that advocated for children who had been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. I worked with abused children for 15 years and loved my days. As my children grew up somewhat in the not-for-profit world and helped out with fund-raisers and special items for foster children, I credit that time in our lives to their sense of compassion and empathy for others.


2. What was your favourite book as a child or young adult, and why?
That's an easy one - A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. My 7th grade teacher read the book aloud to us in class, otherwise, I may never have found her. I fell in love with Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Who...and Meg Wallace! I was so Meg Wallace, the flawed big sister who kept messing up, saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing. Even now I can remember with a great fondness the affinity I felt with Meg throughout the whole series.

3. Why do you love to read?
As a child it was a way for me to escape my problems. As a teenager I found I could relate to others in books. As an adult I find it's impossible to get through a day without reading a significant amount...if I don't read, I get really cranky! Or the even shorter answer.... it's as necessary as breathing.


4. How do you choose your books?
I think books oftentimes choose us. For example, there's a book that's been out since 2004 and was chosen as a National book club pick. I saw the book then. I picked it up, read the back, and put it back down. Did this several times over the NEXT SIX YEARS! Even when I worked in the used bookstore I'd move that particular book around but would never read it. I finally broke down and got it from Paperback Swap recently and fell in love with it! Why do we do that? Is it just we're not ready for that book at a particular point in our life? I think that must be the case. So, the final answer to your question is, it chooses me.


5. If you had to narrow it down - who would be your 3 favourite authors
and what would be your 3 favourite books?
authors? Madeleine L'Engle, Kathleen McGowan, and Leo Buscaglio
books? Glimpses of Grace by Madeleine L'Engle, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte & The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien


6. When and why did you start your blog?
I started in September, '09, but I only posted just a very few times between the Fall and January, 2010 when I really took off with my blog. And why? I really wanted to keep a better track of my reading and to just share what I thought about the books I was reading. It's funny how things evolve into so much more than we ever expect them.


7. What do you love about book blogging?
There's so much that I love - it's become so addicting! The camaraderie amongst many of the book bloggers, how ever-evolving this whole thing IS - so much seems to change almost on a daily basis, it's exciting! I love that on my daily stats, my number of unique visitors changes and people want to read what I have to say. I really, really love that.


8. What tips do you have to offer to other book bloggers?
-Don't be afraid to ask other book bloggers a question or for help. If you don't get an answer from one, move on to the next. For the most part, this is a super-friendly community.
-Do your research about what looks good & professional, but at the end of the day, it's YOUR blog. You have to be happy with what your platform is so you'll want to put the content up there. Because it is content, content, content...so, I'm told...lol

I love A Wrinkle in Time as well - I reviewed it a little while ago for my feature A Blast from the Past. I loved your story about the book that was following you for 6 years - that's one thing I love about books.

I hope that everyone has a look at A Novel Source.

If anyone else is interested in participating in Lights, Camera, Blog Action! please send me an email to pageturnersbooks@gmail.com and I will forward you the questions!

That's a Wrap - March 2010

That's a Wrap - March 2010

It hasn't been as big a month here at Page Turners as in February 2010, but I will summarise what I've got up to in any event.

There are two exciting things today that I want to share with you first up:

1. The first is that this morning I received The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck from Mrs Q: Book Addict, which I won from her a few weeks ago. She has a great blog you should all check out, and I am very grateful that she has sent me this book all the way from Canada to Australia!

2. The second is that I finally finished The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James last night. It was my very first Henry James book. I really loved it when I started reading it. It has that lovely, old-fashioned detailed writing that I adore. The problem is, as the book went on and on...and on... and on.... I just found that I had lost all enjoyment and I was forcing my way through it. Anyway, more on that in my review, I just needed to try and get it out of my system, and announce to the world that I am proud for actually persevering to the end!

This month I decided to put some of my special features on hold. I am finding my work very time consuming at the moment and I have decided to spend less time on the computer at home. The result is I haven't been able to keep up with everything I would like to. In the end though, it's all about the reading, and that's what I prefer to spend my time doing.

So to compromise, I decided to give up some my own special features rather than the memes that I love participating in. I have also given up my competitions for the moment.

Some of you may remember that I had a feature called "Thoughtful Thursdays", basically where I discussed book and blog related questions that I had been thinking about. I am toying with a new idea - rather than have this as a regular feature, I will post any such thoughts and discussions as they come to my mind and label them with "Literary Thoughts" - I will then create links to all my literary thoughts in my "Special Features and Contests" page.

Milestones

1. I did start a new meme called Book Beginnings on Friday.

Here is my introduction to it: "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."

A lot of people have started to participate in it, and I would love it if even more people did! It's a bit like Teaser Tuesday really, only it's the first sentence of the book. Gilion from Rose City Reader gave me the idea.

2. 100+ Followers

I reached 100 followers this month which is very exciting. Click here to see my thank you message to everyone. I know it's not supposed to be about how many followers you have, and it's important to keep sight of the reason of we start our blogs, but given how much effort we all put in, I think it's OK to admit to be excited about having followers and knowing that there are other out there reading and enjoying your blog. So thanks.

3. Book club

I went to my first ever Book Club on Sunday with a friend of mine and I absolutely loved it! I can't wait to go to another book club. I haven't decided yet whether I will have a separate post where I discuss my experience at the book club, or if I will include this in the review of the book that we discussed. We will soon see.

Reviews

I reviewed 5 books this month:

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards
The Secret River by Kate Grenville
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

I actually read 6 books this month but I have yet to review The Legacy by Kirsten Tranter (I have been waiting for the book club before I reviewed it) and The Portrait of a Lady Henry James (which I finished last night, thank goodness).

Special Features and Memes

On Great Authors I discussed:

  • JK Rowling
On Wonderfully Short Wednesday I discussed:

  • The Blockade by Sushma Joshi
On Thoughtful Thursday I discussed:

  • Dust jackets
  • How do you broaden your reading?
  • Unfinished series
On Lights Camera Blog Action I featured:

  • Reading Extensively
  • Caroline Bookbinder
  • YS Princess's Ideas, Resources and Reviews
  • A Literary Odyssey

PLEASE NOTE: I have no one scheduled for Light's Camera Blog Action this coming Friday, so if anyone is interested, please email me at pageturnersbooks@gmail.com and I will send you the questions asap.

On Book Beginnings on Friday I discussed:

On A Blast from the Past I discussed:

  • Freddie and the Enormous by Hugh Scott
  • The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein
  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
You can see links to my usual memes here.

Challenges

I am plodding along with all my challenges, you can see a list of all of them by clicking here. This month I decided to keep a record of them all in my sidebar, so if anyone is interested in my progress they can have a quick look. I try to keep them as up to date as possible. I was going so well with the New Authors Challenge, that I have decided to change from goal from 15 to 50!

And that is it for March.

I would love to hear how everyone went this month - if anyone has a wrap up post of their own, please leave me a link so I can have a look. Happy reading to everyone in April!

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
You can finally read the review of this book by clicking here.

Currently Reading

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
I am still plodding along with this book. I was really enjoying it until I got about 3/4 of the way through it, and now it is starting to feel like a chore. I have started skimming pages instead of reading them. This book would have been so much better if there was 25% less of it.

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
The Portrait of a Lady is taking me so long I have barely started this one.

Up Next

I will definitely be reading The Double Crown by Marie Heese next.

Two exciting pieces of news!


I have 2 exciting pieces of news!

First - My followers have officially reached 100!

Thank you so much to everyone that has been following me since I started this blog. I started Page Turners for myself - to make sure that I was actually thinking of what I read, and thinking about my reading experience. But in starting Page Turners I have also met a lot of people who have the same interests as me, and I have valued your contributions to Page Turners. I know that everyone says remember blogging should be about yourself, but it wouldn't be the same without knowing that other people were reading it and enjoying it.

Second - I am off the a book club today!

Very exciting, but in a different way, I am off to my first ever book club. We will be looking at The Legacy by Kirsten Tranter. Some people might remember that I read it a little while ago, but I haven't wanted to review it until I went to the book club, in case it changed what I thought of the book in any way. I am excited that the author is coming, but I am also a little nervous because my take on the book isn't very glowing I'm afraid!

Has anyone else been to a book club with an author when they didn't actually like the book, or didn't think it was well-written? Any tips?

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

 A lot of people have been saying that they are looking forward to me review of Cold Mountain so here it is!

I don't know what really made me choose this book. I purchased it last year at the Sydney Book Fair. I knew when I saw it that I vaguely recognised the title, but I didn't honestly realise that it was the title of a movie that I recognised. The back of the book seemed really interesting and I like the cover (the cover pictured is the one on my book), it is very mysterious.

When I talked about my reading this book during memes such as 'Its Monday! What are your reading?' and 'Teaser Tuesday', everyone left me comments saying that they really loved it. I have now become one of you - I really loved this book. When I first started reading it, I wasn't as taken with it as everyone else seemed to be, but as the book progressed I felt like had increasingly more vested in the lives in Inman and Ada, and eventually I was swept away by their story.

I think the back of the book describes the story in the most appropriate way:

"A soldier wounded in the Civil War, Inman turns his back on the carnage of the battlefield and begins the treacherous journey home to Cold Mountain, and to Ada, the woman he loved before the war began. As Inman attempts to make his way across the mountains, through the devastated landscape of a soon-to-be-defeated South, Ada struggles to make a living from the land her once-wealthy father left when he died. Neither knows if the other is still alive."
And this is it, the two are preoccupied by their separate existences, moving forward with their immediate concerns in the hopes that they will once again see each other (more so on Inman's part I think than Ada's anyway).

I think what I loved most about this book was the way in which the story was told. Each chapter alternates as between Inman's and Ada's perspective. I loved reading about Ada's and then Ruby's life - I kept wondering throughout the book whether if I were in their position I would be able to take up the reins of a farm in the way that they did. Ruby seemed to have a level of self possession I only wish that I could ever have, and Ada tried and tried and learnt and learnt until she came to love the land as much as Ruby. Their story was a story of the bravery and courage of women, and I am sure they are an example of the lives that many women would have had to lead during those times.

I do have to admit though, that it was Inman's story that particularly effected me. What I loved most was how it was written. I love a story that is told not through conversation between different characters, but simply by description - description of the people, description of the situation and description of what passes between them. It was also through Inman that Frazier as able to paint a bigger picture of how the civil war effected people in different ways. as Inman travels through the south, he meets all kinds of people, and those people recount their stories to him. In this way, the story of the civil war's real effect on the population is told, bit by bit, through almost case studies of the lives of the citizens.

This book was definitely a special one, well written, and emotional (I cried at the end).

Summary

What kind of read is it?
Historical and romantic, but most importantly for me, thoroughly detailed and emotional. It takes longer to read than you might expect, being more challenging than you might think.

Do I recommend it?
Yes, very much so. I think it is a wonderful read and a wonderful story.

Do I recommend that you buy it?
With that one, it's hard to recommend to either way. I can see this as a book I will definitely re-read and am grateful that I have on my bookshelf. It's hard to know if other would feel the same though.

Star Rating

6/8 stars

Really enjoyable and well written. I would recommend it.

A Blast from the Past: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden


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.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

This book is one of my absolute all time favourites. I fell in love with it the first time that I ever read it, and I have read it many many times since without my love of it ever changing.

It is one of the most special books that I have ever read, in the sense that it takes you back in time almost as if it is a true history of someones real life. It is the story of Chiyo, born into poverty in rural Japan. After an accident, she is discovered as a beauty by Mr Tanaka, a Japanese business man. She and her sister are sold by her family to Mr Tanaka, who takes the two of them to the city, where Chiyo is trained to be a Geisha (I won't spoil what happens to her sister), becoming Sayuri. The story then recounts her journey as she is trained to become a Geisha and in fact becomes one of the most popular Geisha in the city. She is bullied by her 'sister' in the Geisha house, and is cared for by her mentor, who takes her on out of a sense of competition with her.

There is love and loss throughout the journey. It is educative as well as imaginative. I have very rarely read a book where the characters and their world and experiences are painted to vividly by the author. Very few books have had as large an impact upon me as this book has, and I have rarely re-read any book as much as I have re-read this one.

I very much recommend this book to everyone - I think that if you haven't read it then you are really missing out.

If you have a book from the past that you want to share with everyone, why not write your own Blast from the Past post and leave a link to in the comments field below?