Dust of Snow by Robert Frost

 

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.


January Wrap Up

I’ve read 10 books this month, 5 were my own paper books. Only 45 more to go for my goal for the year.

The Sharpe books were comfort rereads.

I read a Shakespeare play – Midsummer Night’s Dream – not that thrilled with it. There were fun lines but overall I didn’t particularly care for this play, maybe because the plot was simple. Only 5 more to go for my goal for the year.

I also read the first in the Bess Crawford series – Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd. I really enjoyed it and look forward to more. I liked the time period – WWI,  the main character and the plot. There were a few times when I thought Bess was a little slow on the uptake but overall a good mystery.

I haven’t read anything for the 2 challenges I signed up for though I have given some thought about what to read but haven’t settled on anything.

I read Stay, Illusion by Lucie Brock-Broido, a book of poetry that I completely didn’t understand at all.

 


Plans for 2014

I’m staying kind of loose with my reading plans for the year.
I have some specific plans: read 50 of my own paper books, complete the Foodie Challenge and the Back to the Classics Challenge. I have other reading I’d like to do: read Shakespeare and more poetry but I’m not putting any limits.
Otherwise I’m leaving myself open to read what interests me, to try to read more outside my comfort zone but not make it feel like homework.

So I’ve started the New Year with a comfort read, a rereading of Sharpe’s Eagle by Bernard Cornwell.


Back to the Classics 2014

A second challenge I’ll be attempting. I have several classics sitting on my shelf so hopefully this will help me get through some of them.

Back to the Classics 2014

Here are the rest of the guidelines:

  • All books must be read in 2014.  Books started prior to January 1, 2014 are not eligible.  Reviews must be linked by December 31, 2014.
  • E-books and audiobooks are eligible!  Books can count for other challenges you may be working on.  However, books may NOT crossover categories within this challenge.  You may NOT count the same book twice for different categories in this challenge.  
  • If you do not have a blog, you may link your review from Goodreads or other publicly accessible online format.
  • Please sign up for the challenge using the linky below BEFORE MARCH 1, 2014.  Please link to your sign-up announcement post (if possible/applicable).
  • You do not have to list your books prior to starting the challenge, but it is more fun that way :).  You can always change your list at any time.  You can read the books in any order (including mixing in the optional categories at any time).
  • You can decide to attempt the optional categories at any point (you can also bow out of the optional categories at any point as well).
  • Please identify the categories you’ve read in your wrap-up post so that I can easily add up your entries for the prize drawing!

And finally. . . . The 2014 categories: 

Required:

  1. A 20th Century Classic
  2. A 19th Century Classic
  3. A Classic by a Woman Author
  4. A Classic in Translation  If English is not your primary language, then books originally published in English are acceptable.  You could also read the book in its original language if you are willing and able to do so.
  5. A Wartime Classic  2014 will be the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.  Any book relating to a war is fine — WWI, WWII, the French Revolution, the War of the Worlds — your choice.
  6. A Classic by an Author Who Is New To You This can be any author whose works you have not read before.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be an author you’ve never heard of.
Optional Categories:
  1. An American Classic
  2. A Classic Mystery, Suspense or Thriller 
  3. A Historical Fiction Classic.  This is any classic set at least 50 years before the time when it was written.  For example, Margaret Mitchell published Gone with the Wind 70 years after the end of the Civil War; therefore, it is considered a historical novel.  A Tale of Two Cities and The Scarlet Letter are also historical novels.  However, older classics set during the period in which they were written are not considered historical; for example, the novels of Jane Austen.
  4. A Classic That’s Been Adapted Into a Movie or TV Series.  Any period, any genre!  This is practically a free choice category.  However, it’s a separate category than the required categories.
  5. Extra Fun Category:  Write a Review of the Movie or TV Series adapted from Optional Category #4.  This should be some kind of posting reviewing the book read for the previous optional category above.  It can be any adaptation — does not have to be adapted before 1964.  For example, if you chose Pride and Prejudice as your the optional classic above, you could review any adaptation — 1940, 1980, 1995, 2005, etc. These two optional categories go together, but this must be a separate blog posting — no fair just mentioning it in the book review!
And to clarify, you have to read different books for each category — you can repeat authors or genres, but no fair using the same book multiple times within this challenge! The only book that you can repeat is in the movie/TV adaptation review.
I have several books floating around in my head but not sure which ones yet. I most likely won’t be trying any of the optional categories.

Ending the year

Well, I’m calling it. I won’t get another book finished by 12/31, let alone 5.  So my challenge to read 100 books this year ends with my reading 95. Not bad at all. More importantly I read 50 of my own which I really wanted to do. I need to make shelf space!

 


Foodies Challenge 2014

 Welcome to the 2014 edition of Foodies Read!

If you are new to a food/reading challenge, you may be wondering – what is a “food book”? A food book is a book which is centered around food and/or drinks. That could be a cookbook, a food biography or memoir, a non-fiction book focused around a specific food, wine, chef or restaurant, or a fictional story in which food plays a major role.

Here’s how the challenge works:
1. Decide how many food books you want to read in 2014.
Pick one of the reading levels below:

Levels:
Short-Order Cook: 1 to 3 books
Pastry Chef: 4 to 8 books
Sous-Chef: 9 to 13 books
Chef de Cuisine: 14 to 18
Cordon-Bleu Chef: More than 19

Guidelines:

The challenge runs from January 1 through December 31, 2014.
You don’t need a pre-selected list of books.
It’s okay to cross over with other challenges.
Any book format is allowed (print, audio, ebook)
For more information visit the host site.
I’m going for the Short-Order Cook level 1-3 books.

Home Stretch

90 books down, 10 to go!!

I’ll have to think of another challenge soon. Something to help bring down the TBR pile.  If only nothing new would be published until I could catch up!


On a Roll

Just reading through my pile of books! I really believe I’ll reach my goal this year: 100 books, 50 of them my own. I’m at 70 books done, 38 of my own and it’s still August!I was looking at a blog the other day, a list of something, and there was an author there I wanted to read more of but now I can’t remember who it was. Or what blog I was looking at. :(   Hopefully, I’ll remember at some point.

I finished Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor today and have to say it wasn’t for me. The story sounds like my kind of thing, but I ended up not liking any of the characters, not caring about anything that was happening and was extremely glad it was 190 pages, so I wouldn’t have to give up.  I was disappointed because it started out so great. I enjoyed the first 50 or so pages, but then it just got draggy. Oh well.

I also finished March Violets by Philip Kerr. It’s the first in his Gunter series, but the second one I’ve read. A little odd knowing the character at a later date and then getting to know him in the beginning.  I like this series so far, the setting, the ambiguous characters, the twists that occur. But I think I need to space out the reading because they are kind of depressing.

Still working through Magic Mountain, though I’ve only got about 150-200 pages to go, I’m at the last section. I really can’t wait to be done with this one. Again, I started out enjoying it, well, was unsure at first, then really got into it and now just want it over with. I get why it’s a classic, but I also understand why it’s not high on peoples TBR piles.  I really had a hard time reading the third section, I just didn’t care, it was the same thing over and over again. I had to skim or I would have thrown the book across the room and that would not have been a good thing to do to a library book!


36 to go

It’s the beginning of August and I’ve read 64 books so far this year!  I’m going for a total of 100 and it looks like I should be able to accomplish that! The big part though is 50 of my own books for the year and I’ve only got 16 more to go on that, so yay me!  I’ve read a lot more non-fiction so far than I usually do, which is great. It seems this is the summer for that instead of all the quick light reads I used to do.

I’m halfway through The Magic Mountain by Mann, and while I am still mostly enjoying it, I am getting a little bogged down by all the descriptive writing.  It definitely helps to have people to discuss this with, I’m getting more out of it with the discussion and it makes me read more carefully when I know I have to discuss it.

I’m also reading March Violets by Philip Kerr and Inferno: the World at War 1939-1945 by Max Hastings. Slow going on the Inferno front, reading a chapter a day, the Kerr book I’m enjoying and it’s easier bedtime reading.


Tackling

An RL book group decided to tackle The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann this summer. We’ve divided it into four sections so we don’t feel overwhelmed. Have to say it took about 130 pages before it started to capture my interest. It’s a wordy book, it forces you to slow down to savor and to get all the nuances. Our first meeting was fun. Most everyone is enjoying the language, some find him too wordy and aren’t sure what the big deal is.  I’ve started the second section today and it’s getting more interesting, we’re past the setting the stage and introducing the characters bit, so my interest has grown.  I’m glad I have a group of people to talk to about this book, this is certainly not something I’d pick up on my own.


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