Latest Purchase

I never did a bookhaul picture for July because we were so busy, and not buying a ton of books. We did, however, visit a few bookstores while we were traveling. Come on,  I can’t help it.

The most notable one was Haslam’s in St. Pete, FL. If you are ever in that area, you must go. It’s largest New & Used bookstore in Florida…I think the oldest too. It’s fantastic. We got stuck there during a rainstorm (flashing lights and everything!) and I was not sad about it.

It was there that I picked up the hardback copy of The Thorn Birds that you see in the stack below. If you’ve been following the blog for long, you know that is one of my absolute favorite books, and my paperback copy is in tattered shreds. I’ve been wanting to buy a hardback copy for awhile, but the thought of replacing it with a NEW book was heartwrenching…it just wouldn’t have the same smell. A used book! Problem solved! My bff and husband were befuddled by my choice completely. She even brought me a new paperback copy…”Look! They have a fresh one!” Nope. I want it to smell like my old one, otherwise it’s just not the same.

I know. It’s ok, Mon. I know I’m insane.

Just roll with it.

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And look! I FINALLY got The Great Gatsby! FINALLLLLYYYYYYYYYY. Hannibal Rising rounds out the Quartet, we already had the other three. And Gargoyle  I read in college and loved, so when I saw that beautiful hardcover I couldn’t resist.

Nothing new that I haven’t read yet. That’s usually the case when I’m buying hardbacks. I don’t like paying a lot of money for things I am unsure of.

Have you bought anything interesting lately?

Half Broke Horses

I love Saturdays when I can lay around and read a book from beginning to end, and that’s just what I got to do today. Hubby is closing tonight, so I picked Jeannette Walls’ Half Broke Horses off my TBR shelf and pretty much didn’t move from my spot on the couch. There was a little Reds baseball in there, and after the game, I moved outside, where the light is now fading. I have about an hour left before he’s home…maybe I’ll open a bottle of something and stay out here. It’s gorgeous tonight.

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My little reading corner

 

Half Broke Horses is a very sweet, semi-biography of Walls’ grandmother. She classifies it as a novel, because while it is based in fact, the stories came mostly secondhand. It is written in first-person, in very short one to two page chapters. This is a very easy, engaging book about a life ranching in the Southwestern US. I kept comparing the life to The Thorn Birds, except cattle instead of sheep. It also has some parallels to The Grapes of Wrath–you will recognize the references to the Okies taking over California.

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I would definitely recommend that you add this to your list of nonfiction/memoir/biographies to read. It is a lovely story about an extremely strong woman fighting for her beliefs and her family in the face of many challenges. Lily Smith was a firecracker for sure.

Goodbye Chick-lit, Hello Dragons

In the hallway of my childhood home, we had these towering bookshelves that were full to the brim. At least that’s how I remember them…maybe because I spent quite a lot of time, sitting on the floor in front of them, with books scattered on the floor around me, pulled off the shelves. While seated, there was a whole row of Babysitter’s Club, neatly pink and organized. But if I stood up, I could reach all of my mom’s books. And those, my friends, are what I loved most. Those were forbidden fruit. The books I REEEEEEEEEEEAAAAALLY wasn’t old enough for, but read anyway. I don’t really remember any of them, except for Thorn Birds, which I have already told you about, and still love to this day. I do know, that a great many of them were romance novels, because if there’s one thing my mother loves–it’s a love story. I share that trait with her, as do my sisters.

For most of my reading career, smut was my one true love. Especially historical romances. I loved the lords and ladies the most. And it wasn’t even that I needed the sex scenes…that held no interest for me, I mostly skipped over that…mostly. It was the romance that I wanted. I had this dream of being swept off my feet–the Disney Ideal. You know what I’m talking about.

I also loved more modern Chick-Lit. That stuff I could relate to more as I got older, because the women were like me–the same time period, the same worries–to a point anyway.

But then, suddenly, I completely lost interest in them. Maybe it is because I started reading more difficult books, I think that has a lot to do with it. Or maybe it is because I became a lot more cynical and realistic about love and relationships. That’s probably more likely. I’m not going to sail on a pirate ship and meet a dark and dusky sailor…and if I did, he’d be more likely to kill me than love me. HR and Chick-Lit became comical and unrealistic.

That said…I lost faith in that genre about the same time that dragons and magic became believable in my mind. How twisted is that? I think my desire for whimsy makes sense though. When everything in my life was dark and dismal and depressed, I craved the light. When reality was kicking my ass, I wanted a fantasy world full of wizards and adventure. And now that I am out of that darkness, and my life is happy…I no longer need the fake love stories, because I’ve written my own. So why not continue with whimsy and magic?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I will always be a romantic, and I will always ship certain characters. I can’t help it. And when those characters get together in a story…fireworks go off in my head! I just don’t necessarily need that to be the sole premise of the book, or need it to be full of sex and smut. Give me a little substance with the love story. Even Pride & Prejudice has a LITTLE drama. A bit. It’s a classic. Right?

WWW Wednesdays

letyourvoicebenerd just posted a WWW Wednesdays post, and I thought it was neat, so I’m going to play along!

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What are you currently reading?

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (I may decide to read all four books in this collection, we’ll see if I do it all at once.)

White Apples and the Taste of Stone by Donald Hall

 

What did you just finish reading?

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

The Kill Order by James Dashner

Nine Horses by Billy Collins

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Eye of the Minds by James Dashner

 

Quote

The bird with t…

The bird with the thorn in its breast, it follows an immutable law; it is driven by it knows not what to impale itself, and die singing. At the very instant the thorn enters there is no awareness in it of the dying to come; it simply sings and sings until there is not the life left to utter another note. But we, when we put the thorns in our breasts, we know. We understand. And still we do it. Still we do it.

Colleen McCullough, The Thorn Birds

Pride and Prejudice

There are so many books to read, and there is so little time, that I rarely return to books I have read in the past. I’m continuously moving down the list, one after another, devouring the next book in line.

However, there are a select few stories that I crave repeatedly. My guilty pleasure books. My cures. Whenever I get a little stressed, lonely, bored, or when I just can’t figure out what I want to read next, these jump out off the shelves. They are my best friends, my confidants. They are my security blanket.

Their covers are worn, and I rarely lend them out, because I never know when I’ll need to read them again. They are:  Secret Garden by Frances Hodges Burnett, Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, and the most important one, Pride and Prejudice by the wonderful Jane Austen.

When I found out Books & Brews was going to kick off their Monday night Book Club with P&P, I may have done a happy dance in my cubicle. And then I immediately downloaded it to my Kindle because *gasp* I actually loaned my copy out to my sister! I must really love her!

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I have read P&P 10 times at least, but this time was different. I don’t know if it’s because I journaled all the way through, or if I’m reading it from a different place in my life, but there were so many things that I’ve never noticed in the story before.

The biggest one is that Mr. Bennet is a MUCH more complex character than I ever realized him to be. Sure, I always knew he doted on Elizabeth, and rolled his eyes at Mrs. Bennet. But he’s really not that great of a guy, is he? I always loved him because he was such a closeted introvert, but he also goes into town to cheat on his wife pretty much his whole marriage, and his daughters are well aware of it. The whole “If you don’t marry Mr. Collins, your mother will never speak to you again, and if you do, I won’t.” wasn’t so much teasing his wife as it was a pot shot. It makes Mrs. Bennet’s anxiety and nerves seem a lot less ridiculous.

Also, I had never paid much attention to Mary before, but she has a lot of very intelligent things to say. She fades in the background behind her beautiful, extroverted sisters, but I would be really interested to see who she would be today. A lawyer maybe, or a journalist.

I can’t wait to talk about this on Monday. I have so many notes and I’m excited to hear what other P&P fans have to say. Of course, this book is all about the love stories of Darcy and Elizabeth, and Bingley and Jane, but there’s so many other complexities that after more than one read you will find woven into the plot. Sometimes it’s good to come back to reread your favorites.

What book do you come back to again and again?