Weekly Reads: 7.14.14

As I was reading Cartwheel in e-book format last week, a thought crossed my mind that I should check the due date. I forgot. The book expired one night when I was unable to put it down. 😦

Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois

Cartwheel
By Jennifer duBois

So I picked up

The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer

The Uncoupling
by Meg Wolitzer

I’ll pick up Cartwheel tomorrow at the library, and I can’t wait to finish it! Then, I’ll gladly re-pick up The Uncoupling.

If you’re interested in my generally unfiltered thoughts as I read, check out my new Tumblr Totally Contains Spoilers.

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

Weekly Reads: 7.7.14

How was your weekend? I got to fit in a lot of reading, relaxing and household projects. Happy 4th of July indeed!

This weekend I began reading

Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois

Cartwheel
By Jennifer duBois

So far, I’m really enjoying this book. Let me know if you’ve read it! If you’re interested in my thoughts as I read the book, check out my new Tumblr Totally Contains Spoilers.

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

Witty & Engaging: A Review of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love

Happening upon Nancy Mitford was, for me, a happy little surprise. I’d read that one of her books, a Christmas one, was recommended by Flavorwire. My library didn’t have that one, but it did have

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford | A Review by The 1000th Voice

The Pursuit of Love
By Nancy Mitford

Review

I’m absolutely in love with Mitford’s sentences. Some of them are concise, some possess hidden barbs and others are complex and fascinating.

Louisa was to have two houses, one in London, Connaught Square, and one in Scotland. Her dress allowance would be three hundred a year, she would possess a diamond tiara, a pearl necklace, a motor-car of her own and a fur cape. In fact granted that she could bear John Fort William, her lot was an enviable one. He was terribly dull.

The pursuit of love in this book is both romantic and familial. It’s Linda’s (the narrator’s cousin), it’s the Bolter’s (the narrator’s mom) and it’s really each character’s pursuit. Linda wanted so badly not to become just like the Bolter. But upon leaving her second husband and taking up with a French Duke she‘d only just met, she confirmed to the reader, Fanny and her family that she was just the same. She was going to be a problem.

Alfred likes people to be filed neatly away under some heading that he can understand; careerist, social climber, virtuous wife and mother, or adulteress.

The Pursuit of Love was witty, smart and surprising. It was, ultimately, a wonderful book. In fact, a near perfect book.

Rating

Writing 5 out of 5 stars

As I said, I loved Mitford’s sentences. They were a thing of beauty.

Character Development 5 out of 5 stars

The story had an interesting structure where the  narrator was telling her cousin’s story while weaving in her own and the rest of her family’s. In that way, Mitford was able to craft well-developed characters

Storytelling 5 out of 5 stars

Mitford’s story was fascinating, humorous and ultimately very entertaining.

Total 5 out of 5 stars 

Have you read any of Mitford’s work? What did you think?

Book Review: Remarkable Creatures

By Tracy Chevalier
I first stumbled onto Tracy Chevalier when I read The Girl with the Pearl Earring. I loved the way Chevalier created an entire story around a Vermeer painting of a young girl with a pearl earring. I quickly fell in love with several of Chevalier’s other books. She became one of my favorite authors and landed a spot on my 30 Things Before 30 list.
Remarkable Creatures is her latest work, published in 2009. Like her other books, this one is well researched and well written. Her characters’ dialects and actions feel authentic.Remarkable Creatures gently drops its readers into the early 1800s, when women’s rights were severely limited and having a mind of one’s own was a cause for intense disapproval. As usual, her characters are strong women who challenge authority and buck convention. They work to make a name for themselves in a time and an industry in which women were persona non grata.

The remarkable creatures are more than just the two female narrators who chose to live life on their own terms. The early 1800s brought about many discoveries of the natural world. Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, introducing the concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest, would be published in 1859. While passing time, waiting to die, and reading about the natural world would have been more fitting for an upper class spinster and a poor girl should have been a dishwasher, the narrators found their passion, their lives’ calling in fossil hunting on the beaches of England.The tales of fossil hunting and the challenges of a friendship that challenges class and age fill the pages of this book and really flesh out the story.

This book is a must read for historical fiction lovers. Tracy Chevalier may be one of my favorite authors, but I would recommend this book regardless.

Book Review: Moloka’i

This is one of the most beautiful
cover images I’ve ever seen.
By Alan Brennert

If you’re looking for an inspiring story about a life well lived, this is it! Moloka’i is the story of young Rachel Kalama who is ripped from her family and all she knew to spend her life in isolation on a small tropical island. Rachel must start a new life and create a new family.

Despite a debilitating illness, Rachel is able to live a full, adventurous life on the small island of Moloka’i. Her heartbreaks and triumphs became my own as I progressed through the book. Brennert has really immersed the reader in Rachel’s life. You’ll live with Rachel as she learns about life, love and loss and you’ll be able to follow the changes the 21st century brought through her experiences.

I highly recommend this book, but that comes with a caveat. I sometimes found this book so heartbreaking that is made me incredibly angry. I contemplated throwing the book across the room more than once. It was well worth pushing through, though.

Book Review: The Night Circus

By Erin Morgenstern

This richly imaginative fable is full of beautiful language and sumptuous settings. The circus of Morgenstern’s imagination is very graphic and very elegant. The characters are richly imaginative, the magic unusual.

The well-crafted story of Le Cirque des Reves is told in vignettes that follow the characters through many years. As the story switches from character to character, it was easy to forget how each person fit into the puzzle, partly because the connections weren’t all revealed in the beginning. For a time I thought there were too many characters, but in the middle of the book, when all the characters had been introduced, it became more clear who each character was. I still believe the story would have benefitted from at least two less characters.

This book was such a treat, and I hope the movie is no less a feast for the eyes. I highly recommend this book.