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text 2017-10-25 18:06
Reading progress update: I've read 56%.
Try - Ella Frank

Logan began walking toward him, and all Tate could think was, He should always be dressed in wet clothes. As he passed several other waterlogged customers, Tate noticed them looking him over as well, probably wondering how he still looked so appealing when he was just as wet as the rest of them.

Tate took in the water droplets sliding down Logan’s cheek, and his breathing faltered. When those same droplets then continued down to disappear into his shirt—holy shit—Tate knew he wanted to follow them with his tongue, and he wanted it now.

 

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text 2017-01-27 06:22
Friday reads 1/27 17
The Art of Being Normal: A Novel - Lisa Williamson
Love and First Sight - Josh Sundquist
Honesty - Seth King
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review 2017-01-24 18:49
Love and First Sight
Love and First Sight - Josh Sundquist

Love and First Sight is the first I’ve read by author Josh Sundquist.  I read it in less than a day because I just couldn’t put it down.  It is a gripping story with fabulous characters and an even ore fabulous story.

 

So much of YA fiction focuses on girls so I was happy to read this novel, one that focuses on a guy.  Will is not your average teenage guy, either.  He is blind and has spent most of his life sheltered from the visual world.  He has always gone to a school for the blind, and much to his mother’s distress, he has chosen to spread his wings and prove to her that he can thrive in the rest of the world, too.

 

The descriptions of the world as Will “sees” it are vivid and they only become more vivid after Will undergoes surgery.  The author really captures his journey and all of the emotionally charged aspects of it.  The emotional side of it all is something I never would have considered before reading Will’s story and it really was eye-opening.

 

The story is a wonderful blend of humor, stark reality, and adult choices.  It is as much a story of friendship as it is one of growth and coming of age.  It is also a story that makes you think.  Being in Will’s head makes you, as a person with sight, see the world in a different way.  It made me reconsider friendship and honesty and how differently even non-vision-related issues can be experienced by someone without sight.  And as Will goes through the experience of having to make a potentially life-altering decision, it made me think about all the implications of that kind of choice.  Choices that seem like easy ones on the surface, but really aren’t.  I enjoy a book that forces me to take another look at life and see it from an entirely different perspective.

 

Overall

This is a great read that will make you think.  The story is incredibly engaging and it is one that I won’t forget for a long time.  This is a book I highly recommend!

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12255
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review 2017-01-23 23:39
Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
Love and First Sight - Josh Sundquist

I first discovered Josh Sundquist by reading his memoir, and giggling the entire way through it. I'm not generally a non-fiction reader, but I devoured that book. That meant that when I found out that Sundquist had written a YA book, I knew I had to read it. I couldn't wait to see how his wit and honesty translated to a fiction novel.

First off, I have to give credit where credit is due. It's very obvious from the first few pages of this story that Sundquist did a tremendous amount of research on visual impairment, and worked hard to make sure that he was accurately portraying Will's day to day routine. Pair that with a lovingly crafted character, complete with Sundquist's signature wit, and you have a story that is a joy to read. I fell in love with Will, and the rest was history.

When the experimental surgery came into the picture, I found myself riveted. Everything was described in intricate detail, but it never felt overbearing. Instead, I found myself in the same situation as Will. Wondering if the surgery would be worth it, cheering him on when he was doing well, and lamenting with him when things weren't going well. His parents were so wonderfully supportive, if a little over involved at times, and there was this whole aura of growth and love to this book. It was a happy place to be.

Even if the friendship turned romance hadn't been a main portion of this book, I would have still loved it. Still, I couldn't help but fall for the slow growth of Cecily and Will's relationship. Cecily's acceptance of Will, her ability to open things up for him with wonderful analogies, tugged at my heart strings. I knew that fight was imminent, and of course I was right. What is YA without teenage tension? Still, it all felt so perfect. Not a single sentence of this book felt out of place. It all worked to build up Will, and show how amazing a person he was.

I'd highly recommend this for your reading list! If it's not there already, it's well worth a second look.

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review 2017-01-08 22:56
Books of 1916: Part One
Uneasy Money - P.G. Wodehouse
These Twain - Arnold Bennett
The Roll-Call - Arnold Bennett
Bird of Paradise (Dodo Press) - Ada Leverson
Tenterhooks - Ada Leverson
Love at Second Sight - Ada Leverson Love at Second Sight - Ada Leverson
Inclinations - Ronald Firbank
List of the Lost - Morrissey
Pride And Prejudice - Jane Austen
The Swimming-Pool Library - Diana Klein,Alan Hollinghurst

Books of 1916: Part One

 

2016 was a tough year in many ways, so may I introduce you to 1916? I think you’re going to love 1916.

 

I was struck by something I read in a (very nice) review of one of the books of 1916: —“because anything first published in 1916 that does not contain a word or thought about the First World War has got to be interesting.” Yes, you’d think so. But actually most of these novels make no mention of the war whatsoever. They tend to be historical, or escapist, or completely surreal.

 

You may notice that I’ve only reviewed about half as many books as I did last year for 1915. But last year I wasn’t done until March! So what you are losing in volume you are gaining in punctuality. Basically I began to feel this project was affecting my brain perhaps a little too much. My brother pointed out that I said in casual conversation, “I read that book in 1911.” I needed to dial it down just a bit.

 

Uneasy Money by PG Wodehouse

 

PG Wodehouse is always a delightful treat. I’m so happy there are more than fifty books still to come! I went by the US publication date in order to include this book, which some may consider cheating.

 

Lord Dawlish has a title but no money, so he is delighted when an eccentric millionaire leaves him all his money just because Lord Dawlish (aka Bill) gave him a few golf pointers once. But when Bill discovers that the eccentric millionaire has stiffed poor but deserving relatives, he sets out for Long Island to try to set things right. There is beekeeping, romance, people pretending to be other people, and lots of hilarity. The only sad part is something that happens to a monkey. In the end, everyone ends up engaged to the right person. On the final page we are at the train station in Islip, Long Island, which today is a gross and unappealing town, but apparently 100 years ago was a bucolic spot where the rich built mansions. If this book doesn’t make you smile, your soul is in mortal danger.

These Twain by Arnold Bennett

 

This is the third book in the Clayhanger series, and my favorite. In These Twain, the somewhat-starcrossed lovers from the first two books, Edwin and Hilda Clayhanger, embark on married life. They fight a lot. I read this book in the 1990s and haven’t re-read it, but what I remember most vividly are the descriptions of how angry they get at each other. Edwin Clayhanger thinks how he’d like to strangle Hilda, but then he goes for a walk and after a while he calms down, and when he comes home, he loves her again. At that time I was dating someone who made me really angry fairly often, and I thought These Twain was incredibly realistic. Bennett’s World-War-I-themed book (The Roll-Call) will come up in 1918, and is the last in the Clayhanger series.

 

Love at Second Sight by Ada Leverson

 

My hardcore fans (yes, both of you!) may remember that two years ago I was unable to review Birds of Paradise because I mislaid it and therefore couldn’t read it. (It turned up in the end, in a knapsack I never use.) I was eager to rectify my mistake by reading Ada Leverson’s 1916 offering, especially as this was her last novel.

 

Love at Second Sight is the last book in the Little Ottleys trilogy. Although I didn’t read the first two, it was easy to see what must have happened in them—in book one, the main character Edith must have married her husband, and then in the second one both Edith and her husband fall in love with other people but remain together thanks to Edith’s bloody-minded loyalty.

 

As this novel opens, Edith’s family has a guest in the house, and it’s unclear who she is, why she’s come to stay, and how long she plans to be there. But Madame Frabelle exercises a strange fascination over all of them. This book is terribly amusing and I’m not even going to tell you what happens, other than it’s a scream. The protagonist is thinking funny things about other people all the time but since she’s kind and fairly quiet, people don’t realize that she’s amusing and smart. The husband seems like the most annoying person on earth, and he must be drawn from life because how could you invent a person that annoying?

 

This is one of the rare books that has a contemporary setting during World War I. The husband was not called up because of a “neurotic heart,” which seems to be like PTSD. Edith’s love interest from the previous book returns home from the war, wounded. This novel’s realism allowed me to see all kinds of period details. For example, when the characters need to look up train timetables, they use things called the ABC and Bradshaw, which must be the apps they had on their phones at that time. Edith also had an Italian composer best friend who I thought might be based on Puccini since (according to Wikipedia) he and Ada Leverson were great pals.

 

I really was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen, and guess what? Everyone gets a happy ending!

 

Ada Leverson’s Wikipedia page says cattily that after this novel, she worked on ever-smaller projects. Just like me!

 

Inclinations by Ronald Firbank

 

Firbank is a riot! This book reminds me a bit of Morrissey’s List of the Lost. Of course, that should be no surprise really, since both of them are directly related to Oscar Wilde on the literary family tree. What sets them apart is Inclinations is unalloyed comedy and nearly all dialogue.

 

What kind of inclinations does this novel concern itself with, you may ask? Well, it’s about a middle-aged writer Miss Geraldine O’Brookmore, known as Gerald, who brings a fourteen year old girl (Miss Mabel Collins) on a trip to the Mediterranean. There’s basically no description of anything or explanation of what’s happening or who is speaking, so you have to be okay with feeling unsure about what’s going on. One of the characters is shot and killed and it was chapters later that I finally understood which one. Plot is not what this book is about. This book is about lines so funny and with such a nice ring to them that I will just give you a small sampling for your enjoyment:

 

Miss Collins clasped her hands. “I’d give almost anything to be blasé.”

***

“I don’t see Mrs Cowsend, do you?”

“Breakfast was laid for four covers in her room.”

“For four!”

“Or perhaps it was only three.”

***

“She writes curiously in the style of one of my unknown correspondents.”

***

[Talking about a costume ball]:

“Oh, Gerald, you could be a silver-tasselled Portia almost with what you have, and I a Maid of Orleans.”

“You!”

“Don’t be tiresome, darling. It’s not as if we were going in boys’ clothes!”

***

“Once she bought a little calf for some special binding, but let it grow up...and now it’s a cow!”

***

“Gerald has a gold revolver. ‘Honour” she calls it.”

***

“Is your father tall?”

“As we drive I shall give you all his measurements.”

***

“I had a good time in Smyrna,” she drowsily declared.

“Only there?”

“Oh, my dears, I’m weary of streets; so weary!”

***

“I’m told she [Gerald] is a noted Vampire.”

“Who ever said so?”

“Some friend of hers—in Chelsea.”

“What do Vampires do?”

“What don’t they!”

 

If you find this sort of off-putting, these lines really do make more sense, somewhat more sense, in context. In a chapter that is eight words long (“Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel!”), Miss Mabel Collins throws off the protectoress-ship of Gerald and elopes with a count. The final section of the book is different, slightly more conventional and somewhat Jane Austen-esque (“I’ve such news!” “What is it?” “The Chase is let at last.”) In this part, the Countess (Miss Collins-that-was) returns home to England with her toddler and there’s question in some minds about whether she is properly, legally married. I’m looking forward to Firbank’s next novel in 1917.

 

I’m only just now realizing that Firbank is the author that the main character keeps reading in The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst. I guess I thought Alan Hollinghurst just made him up. The thing is that his name sounds so made up, just “Fairbanks” with some of the letters taken out. Ugh, I learn everything backward.

 

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