Tag Archives: classic literature

February Reading List

Hey there, friends! I just finished off the February reading list, and wanted to release it so you had time to request books from the library, find books at the used book store, or get your ebook copies! February’s theme is “Month of Romance” (in honor of Valentine’s Day), and I think I’ve put together a great selection of books to get us in the romantic mood!

Feb. 2 – 8 – I Love You, Ronnie – by Nancy Reagan

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We’re going to kick off this romantic month with a recommendation. My amazing friend Haley recommended this book, which includes letters written by Ronald Reagan to his wife, Nancy. The book covers the breadth of their relationship – from the acting days, to the presidency, and beyond. Haley claims Ronald Reagan is “the most romantic man ever.” It will be fascinating to see more into this historic American’s life, as well as his long relationship with his wife. I can’t wait to tackle this book, and I hope you’ll read it with me! This bit of biographical literature will be a wonderful way to get us in the romantic mood!

 

Feb. 9 – 15 – Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery

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This book is another recommendation, from my lovely friend Alyssa. I have, to my shame, never read Anne of Green Gables, although I was a very big reader as a child. This book is considered a youth fiction, but also falls under the category of romance – and I can’t wait to find out why. With two daughters, I’m always on the search for youth-appropriate, classic literature, and Anne of Green Gables could possibly be a winner. Add to that that Alyssa and I have always had the same taste in books, and this is bound to be a great selection for this month!

 

Feb. 16 – 22 – Forgiven – Rebecca Brooke

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Well, you might have a hard time finding this book. I was actually given this book along with the opportunity to have my review shared on a book promotions Web site (time to broaden my reading horizons), but you may be able to find an e-copy of it on the Web (try Amazon). This is a contemporary romance, and seems to be a promising addition to our reading list. I hope you’ll find a copy and read along!!

 

Feb. 23 – March 1 – Justine – Lawrence Durrell

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I have a little confession to make… my mom (HI MOM) got me this book, and the other Alexandria Quartet books, for Christmas about two years ago, and they have been sitting on my shelves, unread. I normally read everything my mom hands me, and I trust her judgment 100%, so I finally dug this one out! This blog has given me an excuse to tackle books that have been collecting dust for a while! Justine is the first in the Alexandria Quartet, and is our historical fiction novel for the month. From the brief research I’ve done about it, I’ve found the words “romance,” “erotic,” and “religious following” thrown around on more than one occasion… sounds promising! I hope you’ll pick this one up, and read with me!

Well, there you have it! Our reading list for February, our “Month of Romance.” It’s going to be a great month of reading, and I hope you’ll join me. You’ll notice I avoided the “trashy romance novel” genre for this month… and you’re probably surprised. I thought it was just a little obvious and… well… you know I hate them. I hope you’ll read at least one (and hopefully more) of these books with me! Remember, we’re looking for a “book club” feel, and I want to know what you think!!

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Book Review: “Gulliver’s Travels”

So, I’m running a little late with this book review (still Saturday, I guess). I’ve been scrounging to the the last 2/3 of the book done TODAY, first because I have homework due, and second because I needed to post this book review. My husband and I have spent the last two days (Thursday and Friday) on a road trip with our two kids from North Carolina to Arkansas, to visit my in-laws for the Thanksgiving holiday. While we really enjoyed the scenic drive, it didn’t leave much chance for reading (I get car sick). We also didn’t have a chance to get the audio book ordered, downloaded or borrowed from the library in the week before our trip – it was a very hectic week!

But, I managed to finish the book today (literally minutes ago), and I am right on time for this review!

This week we read our third book for November’s “Month of Travel” theme, and finished the 12th book of our book challenge. Our reading was Jonathan Swift’s classic novel Gulliver’s Travels.

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I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read this book before this week, but I am glad I picked it up. Besides being able to kill two birds with one stone (this book was required reading for my “17th and 18th Century British Literature” course), I really enjoyed Swift’s satirical novel!

Honest assessment: this book is kind of tedious. It’s an exciting adventure story following Gulliver on his travels to magical lands, where he encounters people who are described as vastly different than those of his home of London, but which are, deep down, not much different than the land of Gulliver’s origins. Swift brilliantly uses satire to comment on human nature, pointing out how we all have desires (for wealth, for immortality, for intellect), but it is in our nature to be disappointed with whatever our situations are, even if we achieve all these things.

My favorite part of the novel was Gulliver’s visit to Lilliput, where he encounters a race no more than 6 inches tall, where Gulliver towers over even the buildings. Swift satirizes the state of English politics, poking fun at politicians by calling them “small,” and comparing politics to circus performances. The comedy is tongue-in-cheek, and Swift blatantly bashes politics (particularly the King, Queen and the Whig party, who Swift himself clashed with), hiding behind the guise of telling a silly story (because, of course, politics are pretty silly).

Taken simply for the story, Swift still tells an interesting tale, that has stood the test of time! Navigating the language barrier got better through practiced reading (it was actually the punctuation that got to me, and I found myself inserting periods to separate the various ideas that were in each paragraph-long sentence).

Did you read along? Did you love the story? Did you have trouble with the language? Which race of people were your favorites?

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Throwback Friday?

Whoops… forgot my Throwback Thursday post for the second week in a row… I wanted to keep up with the Vintage Slang posts, but I’ll make an effort to continue with that next week (and from then on).

More important than Vintage Slang…..

On this date in 1851, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is first published as The Whale by Richard Bentley of London.

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Even if you don’t read the book – read the opening to the book! It is one of the greatest first lines in any book (but you really should read this book). This is a great book to recommend to that teenage boy in your life (or the “man boy” as I like to refer to the man in my life) who doesn’t like to read… the book oozes masculinity, and might help open their eyes to the joys of reading (especially classic literature, which is often forgotten by teenage/man boys.

To quote Dr. Peter Suski, my high school English teacher: “Fellow literature geeks will understand this: I have favorites that go beyond favorite books, favorite authors, favorite genres, etc. In novels, I have such things as favorite conversations, favorite motifs, favorite settings, etc. The opening of “Moby Dick” is #1 in two categories: Favorite Paragraph in a Novel, and Favorite Opening of a Story Line in a Novel.”

Happy Birthday, Ishmael!

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