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review 2017-05-15 14:33
"Henry and June" by Anaïs Nin
Henry and June: From "A Journal of Love"--The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin (1931-1932) - Anaïs Nin

I've spent months with the writings of Anaïs Nin collected in this book, reading much as she might have written them, at night in the hours winding down to sleep a page or two at a time. The writings come from her diaries, written in 1931 and 1932 when she came to know June Miller and her husband, the writer Henry Miller, culminating in a passionate affair with Henry.  

 

The writing here can be fantastic, though as you might expect in a diary, it can also be uneven. There are transcendent passages, even more compelling in many cases than Henry's fictional(ish) accounts of the same world, and it tells in real time the story of a woman awakening to some knowledge in herself she's tried to ignore.

 

The Millers become a conduit for Nin's sexuality to open in a way she couldn't have imagined. Nin first finds herself enthralled with June then, after June leaves the country, gets drawn into a physical relationship with Henry and she lives the whole affair through her writing. There are entries full of rapture and passion, but there are many others about her doubts and fears. Nin, who was married at the time, struggled with her passion and how her actions could hurt her husband. What's more, she is haunted by the promise of June who holds a strange power over both Henry and Nin and will return at some point threatening their relationship.

 

If you are the type who reads one book at a time, Henry and June can feel tedious, as I learned during some periods when I was more consistent in my reading. It was not written as a self-contained story so it reflects the uneven way life actually moves. Nin has remarkable character shift in these years but it happens in fits and starts. On one page she may come to a declaration like, "I want passion and pleasure and noise and drunkenness and all evil." But an entry or two later she may again be convinced that Henry is cruel or she is.

 

If you're able to stick with it, Henry and June is a remarkable book both for Nin's honesty and her ability to charge the writing with such emotion without going over the top. Her cruel moments, her insecurities, her lust, her indiscretions, Nin spreads it all out on the page and we're lucky enough to get to read it.  

 

Henry and June is a great read for this and for anyone who has been avoiding the big questions in their head, about a relationship or sex or work or even religion and politics. Nin's willingness to explore her passion — intellectually, physically and in writing — may embolden us to face the doubts and dark corners of our own minds honestly.

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review 2017-03-06 00:00
The Blood Keeper (The Blood Journals)
The Blood Keeper (The Blood Journals) - Tessa Gratton I enjoyed this book much more than its companion book/prequel Blood Magic; the pacing and storyline are more exciting, which may have to do with sidelining the 'kids at school' elements of the story for more paranormal stuff. Still finding the actual magic problematic; for some reason, although I've read everything you could imagine across fantasy/paranormal/supernatural, the blood magic as described really disturbs me. Maybe it's enough to just say, trigger warning to cutters & the depressed? But if you can get around cutting to use your blood to power spells on a regular basis (it's sort of explained as pain=sacrifice/cost...), then it really is a pretty good read, with fascinating emotional complexity in particular if you've invested in reading Blood Magic first; it really takes the relationships and sacrifices of that story and builds them out.
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text 2017-01-03 00:20
January TBR 2017
Victoria: A Novel from the Creator/Writer of the Masterpiece Presentation on PBS - Daisy Goodwin
Mata Hari's Last Dance: A Novel - Michelle Moran
Assault and Beret - Jenn McKinlay
A Perilous Undertaking - Deanna Raybourn
Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois - Sophie Perinot
One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd - Jim Fergus
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: A Novel - Susan Jane Gilman

Hello everyone!

 

One of my reading goals for 2017 is to read from a set TBR. I found in 2016,  I wasted a lot of time searching for my next read. I want to pick up the next book on my listed TBR and if it doesn't wow me in about 50 pages, just move along. Since I get most of my books from the library I don't have an issue with a ruthless DNF. In reviewing my goals from last year, I did pretty well with reading from different genres and reading more than watching television. So I'm going to stick with that for this new year and start off 2017 by focusing on some historical fiction. I have two much anticipated new mystery releases I will be reading as well.

 

I look forward to reading some of your goals as well! I find they inspire me to stick with mine.

 

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

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review 2016-08-02 22:07
Wolf Star (Claidi Journals #2)
Wolf Star: The Claidi Journals II - Tanith Lee

After saving the day at the end of WOLF TOWER, it looked like Claidi was all set for a happily ever after. However, her peaceful life is shattered when she’s kidnapped and held hostage in a clockwork castle. It’s up to Claidi to rescue herself and escape—assuming, of course, that the handsome prince of the castle doesn’t annoy her to death first.

 

WOLF STAR is the best written book in the Claidi Journals series. The story is more complex than “follow the hot guy” this time around, and Claidi spends most of the book in one location. As such, there’s more devotion to her character arc and world-building instead of describing constant scenery changes. Claidi’s forced to develop actual social skills this time, as her problem solving methods in WOLF TOWER amounted to “be snarky” and “sulk somewhere else”. The irony between her situation with Prince Venn and her treatment of spoiled nobility in WOLF TOWER is particularly delicious, with the added bonus of him being one of the most complex characters in the entire series and certainly the best love interest.

On the other hand, WOLF STAR just doesn’t have the charm of the original. Claidi’s wit comes from her naïve reactions towards new things, but this time around she’s limited to the various moving rooms in the castle. The novelty wears off fast, leaving little to distract from the fact that Claidi is kind of a brat.

 

Furthermore, the flaws of the second half of the series stem directly from the plot twists from WOLF STAR. It marks the shift from a vaguely dystopian landscape into an overtly steampunk/futuristic scifi setting, which isn’t bad in of itself, but technological rewards begin replacing emotional payoffs in consequence. It’s also responsible for introducing Ustareth, the worst character of the CLAIDI JOURNALS. Explaining why would be a major spoiler, but rest assured that she is reasonable for the stupidest elements of the entire series. All of them.

 

At the end of the day, it's a not terrible book. Tanith Lee was an excellent writer and she shines here. Sadly, sequels only get worse from here on out.

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text 2016-05-11 15:04
Library Haul
The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCullough
The Dark Rose - Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
The House of the Wind: A Novel - Titania Hardie
The Far Pavilions - M.M. Kaye
One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd - Jim Fergus
The Miniaturist: A Novel - Jessie Burton

So these are the books I got at the library sale two weeks ago. 

 

I'm reading the first book in the Morland Dynasty series right now, so finding the next book, The Dark Rose, at the sale and buying it was a no-brainer. I'm really liking the first book. There are 34 books in the series, following one family from 15th century down through WWII. The idea intrigues me.

 

The rest were all books I'd been meaning to read at some point but never got around to doing so.

 

My ever growing TBR...

 

I need new shelves!

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