Yes, it has been quite a bit since I last posted. Truth be told, I am in a reading slump. I read a few back-to-back excellent books then the last one I felt indifferent about. I thought I could re-set my reading flow by reading another royalty biography, but even that is a slow go.
And I am OK with that.
If you are a reader then you may understand that not reading for a long stretch of time feels like you are failing in a way. Like a body builder who enters and wins a fitness competition and then stops working out and indulges on all the food she deprived herself of during competition prep. It is all a matter of allowing time, allowing yourself to explore other aspects of your interests and not holding yourself to a standard.
Instead, I have been watching Reign on Netflix. I have a deep interest in history and European history. I used to watch Game of Thrones but it got to be way too violent and some of the characters bored me to tears. For me Reign satisfies my need for a story, royalty and history all in one. I can tell it is for a younger audience, but it is really well done.
While I haven’t been reading, I’ve been getting my stories from many places: podcasts, television shows, YouTube, etc. I am a Reader but even people like me get reading fatigue. And while at first I was not OK with this, I am now. I know the right book will come along and reignite my passion, but for now the reading pilot light is weak.
WHAT I HAVE BEEN ENJOYING LATELY
- Discovering “new” music: my father is a huge music fan and while I have always listened to the music he loves, I’ve been exploring it more deeply. I have been consumed with the song “Soon” by YES.
- Cooking: Exploring other culture’s cuisine and making them in the kitchen. Last night I prepared dough to make a Polish dumpling. And this weekend I will be making an Irish potato and cabbage meal.
- House Hunting: My husband and I are looking to move into a new home so I am researching what I want in a house.
- Walking and Rebounding: I workout several times a week but I noticed that I was losing my drive (just as I am with reading). I have not been as consistent as usual and after a while I decided I needed to mix it up again. I’ve been more into the outdoors and more cardio than doing strength training. I do have to keep my strength training, but listening to my body is what will keep me going. Forcing my body and mind to do what it doesn’t want to only makes me avoid it.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN ENJOYING LATELY?
(Note: As with my reviews, I will not give a plot summary. I will get right into my thoughts.)
This was one of those books that I wanted to finish for no other reason than to finish it. I didn’t feel any connection to the characters, I didn’t feel like I was rooting anyone on (more on that later). In fact, there were two times during my reading that I took the book mark out and decided I wanted to move on. However, I kept reading.
The book itself is much like the Evelyn Hugo character: you do not know what it is about it that makes you want more. For me, I think it was the writing and editing. This book was edited and written so well that the words and pages flowed effortlessly. While I decided twice to abandon it, I kept reading because it reads very fast.
What I liked:
- Very original plot, main character and story. Although it is an older woman telling a story (which we’ve seen) this was done in a fresh approach.
- The writing and editing made for an effortless read.
- The time period and genre is also a setting I have not seen done in my reading life. I’m sure there are some out there, but this is the first time I’ve seen “old/classic-Hollywood” used as a setting
What I Didn’t Like:
- It felt like the supporting characters were archetypes. I do not want to give anything away, but I found little authentic depth with the characters as individuals. The way the author writes the relationships is, however, very well done. I think that is the reason I kept going.
- Some “Author…I can see you!” moments (which I really hate).
- There is one sentence during one of Monique’s sections where I had to go back and revisit the tense. ***POSSIBLE SPOILER**[Obviously, Evelyn’s sections were flashbacks/retellings. But Monique’s were not written that way nor introduced as such. Her parts are written as if it were an on-going action, not a memory. What threw me off was at the end of one chapter Monique says (paraphrasing) that she didn’t know then that in one week she would hate Evelyn and in fact want to kill her. I thought, “Wait a second…” and flipped back to earlier pages. Perhaps it was my own confusion but I thought I was reading a “live” telling since Monique’s parts were written in present tense but in fact it isn’t? Was it? I wasn’t sure. I decided to let it go and chalk it up to maybe I misread. If you read this and have thoughts on this, please let me know.]*** SPOILER END***
Would I recommend this? I think so.
The way in which it is written and edited makes this a reasonably quick read for an almost 400 page book. It is very entertaining, it deals with interesting characters, a fresh plot, and time/setting. I can see why a lot of people gave this a high rating. I do not disagree with those high ratings.
My Good Reads review does not have a star rating. It is simply marked as read. The Review reads: tbd…
Because while I liked it, there is still lingering feelings of dislike: much like Evelyn Hugo herself!
I think this is one I will decide on a rating many months later.
So, to be continued…
The last quarter of 2016 was an odd one for me and I did not do much reading at all. I had lost my passion for it – along with other things – due to reasons I’d rather not discuss on the internet. ha! Let’s just say I was taken out and lost a lot of the joy I usually find in many things. I am back to it and in January I culled my To Be Read (TBR) list and decided to begin the Re-Read Project to ignite the bookworm in me once again.
All 3 below are so different from each other and makes for great, diverse reading.
As a bonus, queued up is :
It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era.
The 3 Books I am Excited to Read
A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth…But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand
When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared.
follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.
One of my goals this year is to read more and read faster. I have so many books on my reading list and as a slow reader – not a good combination…
When I think of reading, I think of sitting in a window seat, overlooking the streets of Paris, with the gentle Spring breeze gently blowing the curtains…a cup of coffee on a delicate table and I, comfortable in a dressing robe, reading my day away.
Alas, I do not live in Paris, I do not have a window seat and it is certainly not Spring. I’ve always heard people say how they squeeze reading in during the day. I never could do that because I always felt like I needed to “get into” the book for a solid period of time. While I do schedule at least 1 hour per day reading (yes, I mark it as a task on my to-do list) I want to get in more.
Yesterday my work computer was updating. While it did it’s thing I thought I’ll just read a few pages while this updates. I ended up finishing about 10 pages or so while the computer ran it’s updates. It got me thinking of opportunities to read during the day that I otherwise would not have thought:
- While waiting for your phone or tablet to charge
- Boiling water – A watched pot never boils, so why not read?
- As food item cooks in above water – watched food never cooks.
- At the deli counter – the meat slicer is going, you may as well use that time wisely!
- At a red light – And if the person behinds you beeps when the light turns green they obviously do not understand the importance of finishing a paragraph before re-inserting the bookmark.
- During a conference call you really do not need to be on – Caution advised
- Schedule a 30 minute meeting and hide in the bathroom – no one will know….
- While on hold with customer service – Your call may be important to them, but your time isn’t
- When a friend or family member puts you on hold – see above
- Waiting in line to buy or check out books – may as well get a head start.
- Laundry time – whether at a laundromat or not, use that time wisely!
- Pumping gas – safer than smoking a cigarette
- While your dog is doing his/her business
- As the coffee is brewing or tea kettle going
- Arrive to an appointment early and read in your car – waiting rooms are too loud and chaotic.
- Waiting for food at a carry out or drive through
- Software updates – This could take a while…
- During a dish washing cycle – maximize the free time.
- At a 4-way stop sign – no one can decide who goes first anyway…
- At an amusement park while others get in line for a roller coaster — up to an hour wait? No problem!
For Christmas I got $50 total in Barnes and Noble gift cards and after careful consideration, I decided to buy three books.
DEAD WAKE- THE LAST CROSSING OF THE LUSITANIA
My goal for the last few years has been to read more books by male authors. It may be just me, but it seems like novels by women dominate the shelves. Obviously, how each gender writes and their topics are different, so I want to explore more male fiction writers since finishing book 2 of The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin. This has been on my T.B.R. (to be read) list for many months. I’m looking forward to this one.
A guest on the podcast “What Should I Read Next” listed this as one of her favorites and it sounded awesome and right up my reading ally. Anything that has to do with untangling secrets of the past I am all in.
I am not much of a re-reader – hence the re-read project – but this one I have read twice: once in 2013 and a second in 2015. I own it in EBook form but needed to own it in paper form. At the end of my days on this planet, I want people to find this book and see it has been read and loved. I want it dog eared, binding separating, cover creased…the works. I love this book so much.
THE RE-READ PROJECT
I am approaching the final pages of Lessons from Madame Chic and up next is another personal favorite: THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
This was a book where after I read the last sentence, I went up stairs to my husband and collapsed on the bed, longing to discuss it. haha! I want to experience that again as I only recall the feeling and not the details. Now THAT is a good book!