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review 2018-08-05 09:48
Into The Water - Paula Hawkins

Entertaining enough, but it didn't have me turning pages and enthralled as Hawkins's debut book. The story line is slow in the first half of the book, but picks the pace up in the second half.  I found Jules's character's wallowing in self-pity in the beginning overwhelming and there is too much anger in other characters. The ending was frustrating to me because Hawkins allows loose ends remain loose - as a reader I don't particular like it. With the rest of the characters, I felt like the author placed dust sheets over their stories to wrap them up quickly. Overall, give it a go: it's a quick summer read, but not for must-keep-in-my-library category.

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review 2018-07-24 17:30
life in Georgian England
Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England - Amanda Vickery

It's about living in Georgian England and what the household politics would probably have been like.  The life and times of people from a few sources, the accounts books (apparently women did the household accounts and the men did the estate books); diaries; merchant accounts and letters mostly.  It was interesting to see where the roots of the tradition of a parlour in Ireland was, and this was where I had problems with the book.  The period traditions were treated as alien things, not things that have echoed down the ages and some of the commentary about furniture failed to see how and why someone might want to, in a house that is largely their husband's, a space of their own, even if it was only a desk.  And where someone might decide to, when faced with someone who didn't respect their space (which would probably have been often in a world where women were regarded as ornaments rather than people) they would have procured things for themselves that would have been seen by the men as wrong to use, whether that was style or size.  A desk suited to a small woman would have been difficult for a large man to use.  I didn't see the author see subversion in these things, or see the widow buy many tea pots because her husband belittle her "tea habit".  Humankind hasn't changed much, just the decorations.

 

The author also attests that yellow isn't seen in heraldry and therefore isn't caught up in symbolism.  Yellow and gold were inter-changable in heralry (for the most part, it's a little more complicated than that but it is largely thus) and were given a lot of the same attributes and two minutes with a reasonable heraldry book would give you this information, hell two minutes with the Heradry Society website and their introduction to Heraldry PDF (page 10) would tell you what you need to know about yellow/gold (sweet they have rules for same-sex marriage crests...https://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/resources/same-sex-marriages, their wages are a joke and actually if you examine them are the same as they were in 1831 only translated from £Sd to Decimal, I'd much rather be a herald in Ireland than the UK); yes I know too much about the topic.

 

Honestly this is the only way to really test a book, to test what you know against it and then see where there are flaws and then determine if you trust the rest, I don't know any better.

 

It's not a bad read, a little dry in places but interesting to show how people of a different time lived.

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review 2018-06-26 18:57
A love story you won't soon forget
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer,Annie Barrows

I struck gold because I didn't think I'd fall so deeply in love with a book so quickly after finishing up The American Way of Death Revisited but then along cameThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer. GUYS. This book was a joy to read from start to finish. I gobbled it up in 2 days and then felt absolutely bereft when it was over. If you enjoyed 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (this is the reason I picked it up) then you will love this book too. Told in letters and telegrams this is the story of a group of people living in a small town in the Channel Islands called Guernsey and their interactions with a Londoner (and writer) named Juliet. Juliet had made her name (except it was actually not her name but a pen name) writing a popular humor column during WWII but at its close (and the beginning of our story) we find her in a bit of a writing rut and looking for her next challenge. This is when she receives a letter from a man in Guernsey who has found a book about Charles Lamb with her name written inside the front cover. This is the beginning of her interest in the place, its people, and its creation of a literary society which saw them through the war and their occupation by German soldiers. While it starts with correspondence between Juliet and Dawsey (the man with the book) it soon blossoms into back-and-forth communication with the other members of the Society (and a few Islanders hellbent on its dissolution). A common thread runs through much of their remembrances of the occupation and the start of the Society and it seems to center around Elizabeth McKenna who while not an Islander came to play a pivotal role in so many of their lives. There were quite a few "WHOA" and "THAT explains it!" moments while reading this book (as well as quite a few tears I ain't gonna lie). I think it's impossible not to fall in love with this book and its characters. 10/10 and absolutely gutted there won't be more books written by Shaffer in the future.

 

PS Someone informed me they adapted this for film and I AM LIVING FOR IT. (Lily James is one of my faves so ya'll know I'm gonna be watching this at my earliest convenience.)

 

What's Up Next: Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

 

What I'm Currently Reading: I don't even know anymore

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-06-19 18:47
Friendly advice
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar - Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed is a collection of the letters and responses that were printed in the advice column, "Dear Sugar", from The Rumpus. The topics range from love and marriage, cheating, identity (sexual and otherwise), parenting, relationships with parents/children, grief, and abuse. Strayed does not pull her punches and she doesn't apologize for it either. She somewhat softens the blows of her blunt advice and observations with endearments like 'sweet pea' and 'honey bun' but instead of sounding condescending it feels like it could be delivered by a trusted confidant. Lest you think that she gives this advice from a rather standoffish perspective it is often conveyed through her own personal experiences and struggles. When the column was originally written her identity was unknown which makes the intimacy and the rawness of the letter writers and her response to them such a unique and wonderful thing. If you've ever experienced turmoil in any area of your life (and you'd have to because that's just a natural part of things) then reading such real, honest advice delivered with love and respect is a welcome breath of fresh air. I laughed, cried, and goggled with incredulity while reading this book. It's an excellent palate cleanser if you're in a book reading rut or a great way to kick start your summer reading adventure. ;-) 10/10

 

The inner flap contains some great quotes. [Source: Cook, Wine, & Thinker!]

 

What's Up Next: The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Condoleezza Rice: A memoir of my extraordinary, ordinary family and me by Condoleezza Rice

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-06-01 19:00
A character you won't soon forget
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

There is a reason that this debut novel has been on hold for many, many months and why it continues to be difficult to get in a hurry. Gail Honeyman has managed to create a character so unique and delightful that I found myself instantly enamored of her. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of a woman who the reader learns from the outset is completely aloof to the social mores of society and is pretty content to remain so...until she sees the man of her dreams. It seems fairly obvious to the reader that this 'relationship' is doomed to fail. (Like my romance with Brian Littrell when I was in middle school.) However, having this foreknowledge does not detract from the story because the love story is between the reader and Eleanor and Eleanor with herself. She is a fragile woman who has built up a rather thick wall between herself and the entire world...and she's had plenty of time to reinforce that wall. Her past is nothing if not murky and it doesn't get cleared up until almost the very end of the novel. (And it's a doozy, ya'll.) It's exceedingly difficult for me not to spill some essential facts while writing up this review because they're the things that make this a truly gripping piece of realistic fiction. Eleanor is a character that seems to live and breathe beyond the page. Her bucking of social 'norms' coupled with her frankly hilarious inner dialogue about what is and isn't 'polite' had me laughing out loud on several occasions and made me feel so connected to her. I truly rooted for her and became emotionally invested as if I was reading an autobiography or memoir instead of a work of fiction. (Gail, you've made it into my list of top 20 authors of all time. I'm excited to see what you come up with next!) 10/10 highly recommend

 

A/N: The author discusses child abuse, disfigurement, bullying (from all ages), and mental illness. If these are triggering to you in any way, shape, or form then you should steer clear. Everyone else, I think Gail handled these topics very well (having dealt with 2 of the 4 personally) and I see no reason why you should give this book a pass. Eleanor will grab you by the heartstrings and refuse to let go.

 

What's Up Next: Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It by Grace Helbig

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Outsider by Stephen King

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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