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text 2018-05-23 02:29
Summer Reading List 2018
Pete Rose: An American Dilemma - Kostya Kennedy
First Love, Last Rites - Ian McEwan
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket - Edgar Allan Poe,Richard Kopley
Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld,Keith Thompson
Three Tall Women - Edward Albee
Homegoing - Yaa Gyasi
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë

I'm well behind pace in my reading this year. I always say I "average" a book a week, for 52 or so books a year, but I usually exceed that by a fair margin. This year, I'm quite slow. Only 16 so far - even though at least two were "doorstops."

 

So two weeks ago, when I realized I hadn't even considered my summer reading list, I was worried. But when I finally sat down to compose it, the list came flowing straight out. Easy-peasy, less than an hour's contemplation, for sure.

 

The fact I've been using the same nine categories for years, I'm sure, helps considerably. Three books for each month of summer. Things that make me happy and better-rounded. Plenty of room left for serendipity and other titles. Here goes:

The list.

 

1. A baseball book - "Pete Rose: An American Dilemma" by Kostya Kennedy. Reading a baseball book - fiction or non-fiction - is a summer tradition. Thanks, Casey Awards for the ready-made list. 

 

2. A Michael Chabon book - "Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces." This was both tough and incredibly easy. I've read all of Chabon's books, except some very hard to get screenplays and graphic novels. Luckily, he has a new book out this month. It's an anthology of his magazine essays, in the mode of "Maps and Legends," but it's better than none!

 

3. An Ian McEwan book - "First Love, Last Rites." I've read all of McEwan's recent stuff, so I have to reach way back into the Ian Macabre phase, which I like less, but it needs to be done. At least there's a new McEwan adaptation coming out in theaters soon.

 

4. A Neglected Classic - "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket," Edgar Allen Poe's only novel. Not one that was really on my radar, but read entry five for more "why." 

 

5. A recent "big" book - "Pym" by Mat Johnson. I have the opportunity to hear Johnson read in June, and I think it's time to read his novel, inspired by Poe's, as listed above. 

 

6. A YA book - "Leviathan" by Scott Westerfeld. A steampunk, World War I revisionist novel? Yes, please. 

 

7. A Play - "Three Tall Women" by Edward Albee. It's in revival on Broadway right now with Laurie Metcalf. You know I won't make it to Manhattan, so I'd better finally read it.

 

8. A Recommendation from a Friend - "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi. My friend, Laura, suggested it. She didn't have to suggest very hard, because I was already meaning to read it. And she loaned me her copy!

 

9. The book I didn't read from last year's list - "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" by Anne Bronte. There's one every year. This year's will probably be the Chabon, just because it's new and might be hard to acquire through library means.

 

Well, that's it. I'll post a list on the booklikes list app. Will you read along with me? What's on your list for Summer '18? 

 

-cg

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text 2016-08-09 12:46
Bookhaul #30

This is again a bookhaul with three books, but I am going to (try atleast) stop buying books for a while, so I just wanted to show you these before I'm going on a ban. These are my latest book purchases:

Every since Karina E on Booktube talked about The Sandman I wanted to read it. My plan was to read it in senior year of high school for my German class, but I never did it (because I choose other books). Now that it's out in English and in this edition I decided to finally pick it up. The Queen of Spades sounded also interesting and because I saw these little black classics in a super cool bookstore (so I could look through all of them) and because they were the same price as online, I decided to pick up that one too.

 

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a book that has been on my wishlist ever since I read Jane Eyre (because I want to read all of all the Brontë's works) and a few booktubers have been reading it this year as well (which made me want to read it even more). Most of the time this book was a bit more expensive than the regular english libraries, but now it was a lot cheaper so I couldn't resist.

 

I cannot wait to read all three of them! This will be the last bookhaul for quite a while though, because I feel overwhelmed with all the unread books I own (I own around 50 excluding all the penguin little black classics), because I want to read all of them so badly and the pile just keeps getting bigger and bigger...

 

What books have you recently bought?

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review 2016-08-01 00:00
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë The Tennant of Wildfell Hall is Anne Bronte's novel about the depredations of alcohol. It is essentially a primer for the temperance movement, and yet it's also wildly feminist for it's time and rather snarky in some places. I wouldn't say I loved the novel, but I enjoyed it.

The novel is two stories, one about Gilbert Markham and one (the far more interesting, and lengthy story) about Helen Huntingdon. Gilbert is a young wealthy farmer, going about his wealthy farmer business when a young widow moves into Wildfell Hall. At first he's quite bothered by her cool demeanor, but as he comes to make her acquaintance he's drawn in and the two fall in love. However the young widow, Helen, has a terrible secret. She's on the run from her verbally abusive, alcoholic husband and isn't really a widow at all. When Gilbert professes his love to Helen, she reveals her secret and tells him her rather tragic tale.

I enjoyed this story quite a bit, even if the moralizing annoyed me in many places. However, in order to write the story she wanted where Helen is a heroine and not some tarted up hussy, Anne needed to make sure that her heroine embraced the most strict morals of the day so there are moments where Helen comes off rather preachy. This Victorian moralizing gives the book a very preachy feel, and dates the book quite a bit for when you peel back the surface of what modern readers would find old fashioned and dated, you get a very modern heroine. Helen leaves her husband. She flat out refuses him his bedroom rights, and when she feels she and her son can no longer abide in his presence she runs away in the night. There's a reason this book hit the world with shockwaves. A wife forbidding her husband her bed (we're talking sex here) just wasn't done, and yet Helen is extremely sympathetic because of her strict adherence to Victorian morals. My one complaint is that Helen is the cheese that stands alone, there is at least one other example of a good woman trapped in a marriage with an alcoholic asshole, however he reforms and the marriage is for the better for all that it's rather plain the two are mismatched in the extreme.

The other reason I really enjoyed the book was because I sensed that in some respects Anne was taking swipes at the novels of her sisters. I kept thinking that if the Brontes were alive today Emily and Charlotte would have been die hard Twilight fans and Anne would have written scathing blog posts about how Edward and Jacob are terrible love interests and Twilight promotes all kinds of abuse. Anne's complete takedown of the Byronic hero in this novel was a delight to watch.

There's a bit where Helen's aunt is trying to convince her not to marry Huntingdon and when Anne say's that she likes him despite his faults and her aunt replies, "To be sure, my dear; and the worse he is, I suppose, the more you long to deliver him from himself." That moment cemented that the book and I would get along just fine. All during the courtship I kept yelling, 'RED FLAG. RED FLAG" and I could tell that Anne wanted me to be yelling that (or whatever the Victorian equivalent would be). The book delighted me in how it eviscerated the 'brooding but sexy man' trope and pointed out that someone so obsessed with his own troubles isn't really the best relationship material.

It is not, as I said, a perfect book. The moralizing was annoying and detracted quite a bit from the book. Near the end I started skimming quite a bit as Helen's willingness to martyr herself in order to be a good Victorian woman made me roll my eyes. As I said, it keeps Helen sympathetic to the Victorian reader, but to the modern reader it makes her a bit bland. I can't say spineless, because Helen is nothing if not full of steel, but the final act of the book does detract some from that steel to a modern reader.
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review 2016-02-04 17:23
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë

This is one great classic. So far I have read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, which I loved, and Wuthering Heights by Emily, a book which I absolutely hated (Cathy and Heathcliff, I loath you with all my heart). But The Tenant of Wildfell Hall outshines both these books in my opinion.

 

I really enjoyed the realistic setting of this book. Anne Brontë deals with a topic which is as relevant today as it has been when Brontë has written it. What happens when your beloved husband turns into a different kind of person after you have married him and love starts to fade? Nowadays you would divorce that guy but what kind of choice would a woman in Victorian times have? 

Which brings me to Helen, our heroin in this story. I pretty much love everything about her. She has her flaws and she has made some bad decisions in her life, but she doesn´t blame other people for these faults and she is very aware of the things she has done wrong. And instead of succumbing to her fate, she takes matters in her own hand and turns into a very strong and independent woman. She is one awesome character.

I have to admit that I haven´t been particular fond of the male characters in this novel. In comparison to Helen they felt like a weak bunch and I actually felt the need to slap some common sense into them or just slap them in general because they were awful beyond words.

 

If you are in for the classics and you haven´t read a book by Anne Brontë just yet, you should pick this one up. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

 

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text 2016-01-29 09:34
Reading progress update: I've read 254 out of 524 pages.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë

It´s a great novel, but right now I feel the urge to kick one of the characters across the English countryside.

 

funny new words

[Source]

 

 

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