Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Table Talk Tuesday

CMash Loves to Read is starting a new Tuesday Meme called Table Talk Tuesdays that has book bloggers getting to know each other, inspired by the idea of friends meeting over a cup of coffee and talking about their lives.
Cmash Loves to Read”=
So without further adieu here are my 3 tidbits/questions -

1. What are you reading right now? I know it's a bit of a generic question but I'm having a hard time picking anything up and staying interested in it, so I'd love to hear what's caught your attention.

2. My favorite place to meet people is at a coffee shop. It doesn't even have to be a cute, locally owned one, Starbucks is fine with me.

3. In addition to Loving Books I have a blog over on Livejournal. I have written in it every day for almost two years (September 8th will be the actual day. YIKES). I try to write a bit about my life every day but lately I seem to only be able to get out a couple of vague sentences before bed alluding to how tired I am and how little i want to work/go to school/do things in general. If I overlook my sometimes less than stellar content it is one of the things I'm most proud of.

Don't be shy! I'd love to hear (ok, read)  what you think

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Thirteenth Tale

Diane Setterfield

Margaret Lea is a lover of books, but has previously shied away from the infamous Vida Winter, who has been called the modern day Charles Dickens. She has published over 50 novels, most of which became instant best sellers, but her books are perhaps the least interesting thing about her. You see, Vida Winter's has never told her story to anyone. Every journalist gets a different life story, with a different family, in a different country with varying degrees of privilege.  When Margaret receives a letter from Ms Winters asking for her to writer her long anticipated  biography, Margaret doesn't realize her life is about to be changed forever by a haunting and true story that is worthy of any classic Gothic novel.    

The Thirteenth Tale is a book for book lovers. It's as simple as that. This isn't to say that the casual reader wouldn't enjoy this beautiful example of story telling, just that those who look at the space between pages as a second home will enjoy it more. Setterfield has taken care to make her characters painfully real on all levels, defining them by their flaws and making them relate-able by their hopes and fears. The hardest to deal with, in my opinion, is Margaret, who's obsession over a sister she never knew has overshadowed her life. 

What I enjoyed most about The Thirteenth Tale was the overwhelming feel of a classic Gothic novel. It is reminiscent of something one of the Brontë sisters would have written a hundred years ago. The moors, the ghosts and this odd, otherworldly connection that seems to exist between all of the characters create a timeless reading experience.

The one negative that kept gnawing at me in the beginning of the novel was how much I had to suspend my disbelief. A lot of things were just slightly off about the introductions that were being made - a mysterious letter from a mysterious woman is more often then not a start to a Da Vinci Code type novel, not one like this, but that's really just my personal preference. 

All in all I absolutely loved this book and encourage any fellow book lovers to pick it up. I also found the interview with Diane Setterfield in the back of my paperback copy really interesting. So what are you waiting for - go check this book out!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hopping Into the Last Week of Summer

Hello everyone! It's Friday and that means it's time for another book blog hop - hosted by the wonderful Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books. Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their reading.
Book Blogger Hop
This week, Jennifer poses the question: Do you have a rating system for you're reviews, and if so, what is it and why?

I'm pretty lax when it comes to ratings. Sometimes I rank things out of 5, but thats more to keep things tidy on my librarything and goodreads accounts. Sometimes I'll post something at the bottom of my reviews but really I find a well worded summary of my feelings on the book to be more helpful for my memory and for other people to understand exactly where I'm coming from. It's easier to see what I would have taken a star or something away from when I just come out and say it instead of posting the actual rating.

Now for my weekly updates.
Readings been a bit sporadic this week. I took the GRE on Thursday and spent most of the past three weeks studying, and when I was reading I felt guilty and couldn't really concentrate. Despite this I finished Norwegian Wood on Wednesday and I really enjoyed it.

I have a few books I'm trying to get through right now. I'm still in the ever present battle with Lolita, and am probably not going to make my end of August goal, and I started The Lady Elizabeth by Allison Weir two weeks ago and have been distracted. Lastly I just started The Theirteenth Tale and am happy to report I think I'll  devour this over the next two days!

My personal book buying ban has been tested this week. I got a copy of Hunger Games at Costco.

 It was only $5.50 and since I've heard nothing but got things I caved. I'm going to have to get back on the wagon in the next few weeks so I can afford books for my classes this semester, but thankfully I'll be within walking distance of one of the huge Chicago Libraries.

Lastly one of my best friends is pages away from completing Infinite Jest. After doing a bit of research she had decided to undergo a years worth of reading of Jest - Starting September 13, 2009 when she bought a copy while visiting me in Chicago and finishing by September 13th of this year. She recently wrote a blog about the her experience with the book, and while her blog isn't strictly dedicated to things bookish, her Jest entry is definitely worth a few moments of your time! You can find it here. In the fall we're going to do a buddy read of 1984 and Brave New World, so expect more plugs.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Norwegian Wood

Haruki Murakami

(from goodreads)
"Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman. "

I was very impressed with Norwegian Wood. Murakami brings to life Toru Watanabe in such a way that I, as a reader, felt I could reach into the pages and touch him. He's flawed. Man is he flawed. An introvert to the very core, Toru spends a lot of time reading the Great American Novels while everyone else is reading Japanese Bestsellers. He goes about his business without a care that the people he associates with are only there because of proximity and not any real meaning.  Toru may be flawed, but the few people he comes to care about make him seem perfectly normal. Naoko is quiet and aloof, Reiko is to used to her protected life, Nagasawa is a perfect ass and Midori is a little to extroverted for the people she loves. 

All at once a Coming of Age story, a story of first loves and eternal losses Norwegian Wood is a perfect story for all ages, beautifully translated (at least in my edition) and will stay with you for weeks after you put it down for the last time

Hey look, a giveaway

The broke and the bookish is hosting a fabulous giveaway to celebrate getting 200 followers in 2 months. Congrats to them and hope you all check it ouy

Thursday, August 19, 2010

(insert witty Hop title)

Book Blogger Hop
It's Friday and that means it blog hoppin' time!
This week, Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books asks us how many blogs we follow.
My answer? 83. Do I read every post on every blog - of course not. That would be a little ridicules, but I try to only follow blogs I intend on reading on a regular bases. I feel like that's only fair. I'm more likely to comment on a post about things that interest me, and thus make the blogging world a little bigger. 

In other news,  I've finished two books since the last hop. The Constant Princess and The Tower, The Zoo and the Tortoise.  I'm nearing the end of my possible last summer vacation so I did a quick trip to Chicago to move the few things I brought home with me back to my apartment. The ride itself left me a bit restless and I didn't get much reading done this week because of . I'm also taking the GRE in the next week and reading has been on the back burner. That's all for updates at Loving Books this week. Hope everyone is well and Hopping in good health!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Top Ten - Quotes

Jillian over at Random Ramblings hosts a weekly top ten meme that I love to at least follow when I don't actually have the time to make a list myself. This week I have the time and I love the topic, so without further adieu here are my top ten favorite quotes!

1. "We could imagine all sorts of universes unlike this one, but this is the one that happened."- Foer

2. Over his shoulder i saw a star fall. it was me" -  Tracy Cheviler

3. -“Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” - G. K Chesterton

4. "My brother and i used to play a game. i'd ooint to a chair."THIS IS NOT A CHAIR." I'd say. Bird would point to the table."THIS IS NOT A TABLE.""THIS IS NOT A WALL."i'd say."THAT IS NOT A CEILING."We'd  go on like that."IT IS NOT RAINING OUT." "My SHOE IS NOT UNTIED!" Bird would yell. I'd point to my elbow. "THIS IS NOT A SCRAPE!" Bird would life his knee. "THIS IS ALSO NOT A SCRAPE!" "THAT IS NOT AKETTLE!" "NOT A CUP!" "NOT A SPOON!" NOT DIRTY DISHES!" We denied whole rooms, years, weaters, once, at the peak of our shouting, bird took a deep breath. At the top of his lungs, he shrieked:"I! HAVE NOT! BEEN UNHAPPY! MY WHOLE! LIFE! "But you're only seven," i said" - Krauss

5. "He wondered how many people were destitute that same night even in his own prosperous country, how many homes were shanties, how many husbands were drunk and wives socked, and how many children were bullied, abused or abandoned. How many families hungered for food they could not afford to buy? How many hearts were broken? How many suicides would take place that same night, how many people would go insane? How many cockroaches and landlords would triumph? How many winners were losers, successes failures, rich men poor men? How many wise guys were stupid? How many happy endingsd were unhappy endings? How many honest men were liars, brave men cowards, loyal men traitors, how many sainted men were corrupt, how many people in positions of trust had sold their souls to blackguards for petty cash, how many had never had souls? How many straight-and-narrow paths were brooked paths? How many best families were worst families and how many good people were bad people? When you added them all up and then sibtracted, you might be left with only the children, and perhaps Albert Einstein and an old violinist or sculptor somewhere." - Joseph Heller

6. "I took my morning walk, I took my evening walk, I ate something, I thought about something, I wrotes something, I napped and dreamt something too, and with all that something, I still have nothing because so muchof sum'things has always been and always will be you.
I miss you." - Mark Z. Danielewski

7. "you're always you, and that doesn't change, and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it"- Gaiman

8. “People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It's not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past.” Kundera (I think?)

9. "This year, I have committed more faults than ever before and I have never been a better person." - Hugo

10. "I feel the same way about disco as i do about herpes" - Hunter S. Thompson

Hope everyone is having a good week!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise

The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise
(From Librarythings Early Review program. Is currently out)

Julia Stuart

The Tower, The Zoo and the Tortoise follows a slew of characters as they make their lives in and around the Tower of London. There is Balthazar Jones, a Beefeater with the worlds oldest tortoise, his wife Hebe, one of two employs of the Tube's lost properties department, The Tower bar maid who was born while the resident doctor played monopoly and The Tower Chaplin, who builds elaborate machines and writes erotic fiction in his spare time.

Though I found the first few pages a bit slow, The Tower, The Zoo and the Tortoise was a really beautiful, and moving read.  I thought that all of the characters, and believe me there are many, were well rounded and interesting. For the first time in a long time I thought that everyone in this ensemble acted like a real person, they thought like real people do and responded accordingly.

The overall story was really original. Seeing the lives of modern Beefeaters was really interesting, as well as Hebe's job in lost properties. My only with this novel was how long it took to get information out. Things that are set up at the beginning of the novel take till the last pages to become completely understandable. This wouldn't a issue if it was a mystery novel, but as it's just straight up fiction and the information becomes more irritating and less interesting with the massive buildups than any moving moment.

One of the best books I've read in months.Perfect for reading on a rainy day, on a long train ride or by the side of a pool.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Constant Princess

The Constant Princess

Philippa Gregory

Catalina is daughter of two of the greatest monarch's Europe has seen. She has known since she was three that in addition to being an Infanta of Spain she is the Princess of Wales and will one day be Queen of England. Nothing will stop her from claiming these titles that she see's as her birth right. Not the death of her first husband Arthur, her parents refusal to pay the rest of her dowry or her inability to secure a betrothal to Arthur's younger brother, Harry.

I'm a Gregory fan, for the most part. There are always things about her novels that make them slightly irritating, but that rarely effects the breakneck pace I read them at. The Constant Princess was no different. I really enjoyed Catalina/Katherine's thoughts and life as she journeyed from Spain to England. Her life is usually thought of as the First wife of Henry VIII, the woman set aside for Anne Boleyn, and the mother of 'Bloody" Mary I.  It was nice to see her young and in love, even if her first, love filled marriage is short.

Her time waiting to become princess again is a bit long. Catalina's italicized thoughts take up pages and pages where before they book up a page at the very most. Her waiting and scheming would be very irritating if you didn't know she would be successful. All the odds are against her and her attitude, as well as Henry VII and his mother Margaret Beaufort are irritating.

Her actual reign as Henry's queen is  more interesting and gives a lot of insigt into a time I didn't know much about. She was a much stronger woman that I would have previously given her credit for. I'd been putting off reading The Constant Princess because Katherine didn't interest me as much as Henry's other wives/other historical women, but I'm glad I did pick it up. A very enjoyable read.

Hopping through my TBR

It's Friday (the 13th -spooky!) and we all know what that means! It's time for the Book Blog Hop, Hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books
Book Blogger Hop

This weeks Hop question is:
How many books do you have on your 'to be read shelf’?
As of right now 51. I just started a new method for keeping my TBR books. I got a little journal and near the end of July went through my room writing down all the books I haven't read that I have plans on finishing (some odd self help books and things my mom picked up at a rummage sale were not counted). I decided that I would keep my book Wishlist separate and always carry it in my slightly smaller notebook that I keep in my purse for things like grocery lists and restaurant recommendations. I'm finding that this has keep my TBR list at a manageable length, has helped dissuade me from heading out to barnes and noble every other day and given me the satisfying feeling of crossing things off a list. 

I'm back on track this week and didn't buy anything book related. I did get a copy of The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise as an ARC earlier in the week though. I started it last night.

Lastly, I finished The Constant Princess yesterday so I should probably have a review up by tonight. I'm pretty happy that I am only 11 books away from my goal of 50 for 2010.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Red Queen

The Red Queen
The Cousins War - Book 2

Philippa Gregory

The Red Queen follows Margaret Beaufort, starting as a young girl dreaming of being the next Joan of Arc. We watch her marry at the young age of 12 and shortly give birth to Henry Tudor. Her son fills her with purpose, and while she is separated from him for most of his life this never stops her from plotting to make him King of England.

Margaret Beaufort is one of Gregory's least likable characters. She is strong willed, but believes that all of her wants are the will of God. It's easy to how being shuffled from husband to husband has made her into the pious woman she thinks she is. My biggest annoyance with her is her unending hatred of Elizabeth Woodville. Especially since she interacts with and serves her for several years. Her petty jealousy is annoying to read, and made me long for the pages of The White Queen, with it's more accessible heroin. Even with her annoying characteristics she is a perfect love to hate character.

The Red Queen reads like any Gregory novel. It's very straightforward and easy to follow. It is especially interesting to read this having already read The White Queen. The stories completely intersect for the latter third of the novel, detailing the death of Edward Vi, the rise and fall of Richard III and yet another take on what happened to the Princes in the Tower.

Worth the read if your a Gregory fan, and are ready to put up with the typical historical inaccuracy's.
My Rating : 4/5

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Versatile Blogger Award

This week, Coffee and a Book Chick  ,Jackie B at Housewife Blues and Chihuahua Stories, and Kelsey at Kelsey's Book Corner each gave me the Versatile Blogger award. I am so honored to be given such a lovely award from so many other wonderful bloggers. 

And the rules for accepting this award are:
When you receive this award, you must share seven things about yourself and then pass it on to 15 blogs you have recently discovered that you enjoy!
So, for your further boredom I present my 7 facts!

1.I had a fish called Ophelia till she went crazy (read: something happened to her swim bladder), swam upside down for a year and a half and died. 
2. I'm American but ever since my best friend showed me an episode of Qi when I was in high school I have been obsessed with British Panel Shows. 
3. I love to bake, but I rarely eat what I've made.  I have been using this as a reason for why I can't live alone. 
4. I was a theatre geek back in high school and had every intent on directing plays for a living. Now I'm in film school. I've dabbled in directing, production design, producing. None of these positions were for me. The only thing that really fit was screenwriting but that is still a bit of a stretch.
5.One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone picks at their nails. To  me they might as well be running them over a chalk board.
6.I love Diet Pepsi
7. My least favorite season is Summer. I hate how hot it gets and how much drama comes about. My favorite seasons are Winter and Spring

And last but certainly not least, here at the blogs I'd like to give this award to, in no particular order. You should go check them out!
Rachel at 1001 Books
Becky at Page Turners

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'm out of witty Hop titles

Today's Friday, which here in the book blogging community tends to mean it's time for the Book Blog Hop - hosted by Crazy-for-Books. So if you're hear from the hop leave a comment. I'm getting much better about visiting as many blogs as I can.
Book Blogger Hop
This weeks hop question is
 Do you listen to music when you read? If so, what are your favorite reading tunes?
I am not big on listening to music when reading. I usually pride myself on being a multitasker but music and reading don't see to go well for me. I can only focus on one at a time. Sometimes I'll listen to a little classical music of a French artist but I can't have lyrics I understand playing while I'm reading

As some of you know, I've been on a self imposed book buying ban. While I was rereading Harry Potter and looking forward to birthday books it wasn't so hard to pass up trips to Barnes and Noble in favor of just buckling down and reading what I own, but I found my will tested this week.
Yesterday was my Best Friends birthday, and I was early for our lunch, which was in the same plaza as Barnes and Noble. I thought there would be no harm in just walking around. I mean I look at books on Amazon all the time and seem to be able to resisting buying them. I was wrong. I walked out with the latest Phillipa Gregory book - The Red Queen and started it yesterday.
I bought it with a gift card, and hopefully it will inspire me to finish the Weir books I have scattered around my room, as well as the other random historical fiction I have in my room. 

Happy Hopping

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Loved, I Lost, I made Spaghetti

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti

Giulia Melucci

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti is 2 parts relationship memoir and 1 part cook book. Giulia gives her reader the rundown on her late blooming love life while associating all of her failures with men to her successes in her kitchen.

I got this for my birthday from a friend and was intrigued, as I had never heard of it. Within a few pages she had me sucked into her ever failing love life and my mouth watering with a recipe for amazing blueberry muffins. Giulia Melucci obviously writes from the heart. She is honest about her own downfalls as well as the men she has dated. These men make a colorful cast of characters from your typical commitmentphobe to two novelists with peter pan complexes, an alcoholic and a man twenty years her senior. 

The concept has been done before, but Melucci's love afair with food gives her story something special. Fellow foodies can relate to her love of fresh ingredients and finding the perfect new kitchen accessory. Her recipes are filled with as much heart as her search for love and leave your mouth watering.

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti may not be for everyone, but for those who do enjoy it will find themselves laughing out loud and heading to the grocery story for pasta.

My Review