Month: February 2013

Vanity Fair Readalong: The first half.

vanity fair readalong

I am SO excited to finally talk about this book! Thanks again to Trish & Melissa for hosting :-)

fainting, swooning woman

I’m surprised by how much I’m loving Vanity Fair! It was one of those classics that I wanted to read eventually, but it’s kind of long and I thought it might be boring or too hard to read. Turns out it’s actually extremely entertaining! Who woulda thought.

Oh, and right, if you haven’t read Vanity Fair before and you’re not doing the readalong there will be spoilers here for the first half!!! So avert your eyes. You’ve been warned.

To make sure that I was keeping up with the readalong and to motivate myself, I decided to read it in sections – when Vanity Fair was printed, it was originally a couple of chapters at a time in a monthly magazine thingy. So I printed out the sections as they were published back in the day, and I’ve been reading one section a day (so about 3 to 4 chapters). There were actually a couple of days when I wanted to read past that section, but made myself wait until the next day.

vanity fair sections

The sections of Vanity Fair as they were first printed.

So, thoughts!

  • I really love the sarcastic, mean, and sometimes silly tone of Vanity Fair. I love that the author is constantly talking directly to the reader about these characters and happenings as if it’s all on a stage.
  • Yeah, I really like Becky Sharp. Is she calculating, selfish, and mean? Yup! But that’s what makes her such a fun character! And I like that she’s looking out for herself, even if she’s kind of a sociopath about doing it. She’s poor, and was picked on at that school because she was poor, and I totally get her wanting to get ahead. At least she’s not whiny…
  • like Amelia. Amelia suuuuuucccks. I just do not like that timid and fragile kind of girl that’s prone to crying all the time. Have some backbone, woman! And for no good reason other than they were matched at birth, she’s totally hung up on…
  • George Osborne, who I HATE. He is such an ASS! But I think he’s going to be one of those characters that I love to hate. Lighting your cigar with love letters from your lady is such a douche move, but it’s also SO crappy that you almost kind of can’t believe it. It was a total “Oh-no-he-didn’t!” moment. But it looks like we won’t have to deal with him anymore, so yay.
  • Awwwww Dobbin! I liked Dobbin right away, when he was defending himself as a kid. And now he’s the sweet guy who (for some reason) is in love with Amelia and is literally doing all he can to make her happy. And she treats him like garbage. I’m wondering though… Dobbin seems like a “hero”, and this novel isn’t supposed to have a hero, so will he do something horrible later?
  • I didn’t like Rawdon at first… but now I kind of do. It’s endearing how much he kind of adores Becky right now. He’s not a horrible guy.
mustachios

But why is he so obsessed with his mustachios???

 

  • Little things like that are what are making me love this book. There’s so much humor and wit and edge and I just love it all so far.
  • Sooo… Mrs. Bute is horrible. I liked old Matilda Crawley at first, but now I don’t cause she’s a big ol’ hypocrite. All “oh rank and titles aren’t important!” and then she goes and disowns Rawdon for marrying Becky? Lame.
  • Things started to drag a little bit around the war stuff, don’t you think? War talk in books almost always makes my eyes glaze over.
  • Aaaand now the young Pitt Crawley and his boring little wife are the ones inheriting all of Matilda Crawley’s fortune! Wonder what Becky and Rawdon are gonna do now… And oh yeah, Becky had a baby. I wonder how that’s gonna go. She doesn’t seem like the mother type.
  • Oh, I would totally be ALL about Thackeray and declare him one of my favorite classic authors… except for how racist he seems. Yeah yeah, I know it was common for the times, but I don’t like it. His descriptions of Sambo and Miss Swartz are really horrible. I tried looking up more about him online, and things seem to point to his being racist… It seems like there’s not a whole lot of biographies about him though, so finding info is hard. This might keep me from reading his other books after Vanity Fair though.

 

Okay, I think those are the majority of my thoughts! What do you guys think so far?

~Sarah

It’s Our Birthday! What What!!

image

The Birthday Girls!

Yuuuup, that’s right! Today I am 26 and my Gabby girl is 1 year old! That adorable, awesome kitty face is already 1 year old!!! I cannot believe it.

So, when we got her last May we asked the lady when she was born, and she said the last week of February. So OBVIOUSLY I declared that we shared the same birthday! And no one can argue with me, because I have a tiara on. So there.

I’m feelin good. I’m drinkin coffee and trying to comment on blogs and get ahead on some blog posts because on Friday I’ll have my wisdom teeth out and I ain’t gonna be online much. It’s gross wet-snowing out right now, but later the honeyman and I are going out to buy me some books (obvs) and probably dinner at Red Robin – YUMMMMMM! There will be Cougar Town watching and Black Ops playing, and all will be happy.

Gabby and I wanna share the love. Comment and tell me what you like to eat on your birthday! I am all about the food. And if you comment, you might win a either a $15 Amazon gift card OR a book from The Book Depository up to $15. Your choice.

Yayyyy.

Yayyyy.

Giveaway ends on… tomorrow morning at noon EST! And I will announce the winner sometime after that. Oh and it’s open internationally.

Have an fabulous day ya’ll!

~Sarah

Top Ten Tuesday: My Auto-Buy Authors

top ten tuesday

 

Alriiiiight, it’s Tuesday! Which means is time for Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Authors That I’d Put On My Auto-Buy List.

1. Diana Gabaldon - Umm, duh. I will scoop up any book she puts out as quick as they come. ESPECIALLY if they’re Outlander or Lord John books.

2. Michio Kaku - Michio is my probably my favorite physics author, because he writes really fun, interesting, thoughtful books about theoretical physics and the possibilities of where theories and science could take us. You should check out Physics of the Future.

3. Christopher Moore - He is SO FUNNY. I prefer some of his older stuff like Lamb, but no matter what I’ll try whatever he puts out.

4. J.K. Rowling - Yeah, even though I couldn’t finish The Casual Vacancy, I would still buy and try out anything she writes.

5. Jennifer Crusie - She’s my favorite contemporary romance author, so whenever she comes out with a new book I pick it up instantly. I’m always holding out hope that she’ll write another book as awesome as Bet Me. (It’s been a long while… I really hope she puts out a new book soon, whether it’s amazing or not.)

6. Rainbow Rowell - Attachments was a blast, and I am SO excited that her newest novel, Eleanor and Park, is being released in the U.S. today!!! Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m totally going to go birthday book shopping and pick it up.

7. Patrick Rothfuss - Dude writes epic fantasy like nobody’s business. The Name of the Wind got me hooked on fantasy. He’s SO GOOD that even if he broke into other genres I’d try it out.

8. A.J. Jacobs - Jacobs takes on major quests (live the Bible literally, be as healthy as possible, etc.) and then writes about them in a really hilarious but interesting way. Can’t wait to see what he cooks up next.

9. Chris Wooding - In all fairness, I’ve only read his first two Ketty Jay books so far, but I LOVE them. I already bought one of his other books, The Fade, to try and I’m pretty sure I’ll continue exploring his work, old and new alike.

10. Sarah Addison Allen - I adore her books, no one does magical realism like she does! I should re-read Garden Spells while I’m waiting for a new book from her.

Also, I wanted to list some relatively new authors whose books I really liked, and am anxiously awaiting to see what they come out with next… but since I’ve only read one book by them, I need to read more by them before deciding if they go on my auto-buy list!

11. Ernest Cline - Ready Player One was so awesome and unique. I really want to see what idea he comes up with next, because he has major world-building skills. (Okay actually I just did a search online and his next novel is going to be called Armada, but there’s no details or release date about it yet. Can’t wait!!!)

12. Drew Magary - The Postmortal was fantastic! More please.

13. Matthew Norman - Dude, Domestic Violets was hilarious. And I need more humorous fiction in my life, so I hope there’s more where that came from.

14. Helen Simonson - Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand was well-written and wonderful. I hope she has something else in the works!

 

Soooo, I cheated a little bit. But I’m just so excited for authors I like to put out new books! I always want more!

What authors are on your auto-buy list?

~Sarah

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

martian chronicles book cover

Yay, another book read from my Classics Club list!

The Martian Chronicles is a book of short stories by Ray Bradbury about humans coming to Mars, starting with the first expedition and going chronologically from there. He wrote these stories in the 1950’s, but they’re set from 1999 to 2026.

It’s always hard to review a book of short stories, even if they do form one overall story. Plus I don’t want to give much away, because if you haven’t read it yet I think you should. Bradbury paints a bleak picture, but it’s one that I think it important. The main theme seems to be that humans tend to do whatever they want without concern for others (like Martians) or for future consequences. I hope hoping that this book would be more about humans and Martians interacting, but it didn’t turn out that way. It was definitely more about humans and how we tend to pollute and destroy pretty much everything.

My favorite stories were And the Moon Be Still As Bright, Way In the Middle of the Air, and Usher II. These were some of the longer and most sad stories, but they were also the strongest and made me feel stuff. And the Moon Be Still As Bright was kind of intense – it was about one of the first crews to land on Mars, and how one of the men realized that humans were going to come and ruin everything that remained of Martian culture. Way in the Middle of the Air was about racial tensions. Usher II was interesting because it’s a story about anti-censorship, and it’s obviously something Bradbury felt very passionately about.

If you’re looking for an interesting sci-fi read about space, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a book that explores humanity and how Bradbury thought of the world in the 1950’s, this is perfect.

Sarah Says: 4 stars

Sarah Sunday!

 

i love couch you understand me

Good morning peoples of the internet.

Sarah update: WORK WORK WORK. And then a nap, and then some more work. I fit in 70 hours of work into five days this week. Most of it actually wasn’t toooo bad. Friday was the worst – I don’t know what my problem was because I actually got a decent amount of sleep before work, but I was super tired and cranky for my whole 16-hour shift that day. UGH. Buuuuuut now it’s Sunday! Glorious Sunday! And after today I will have 9 whole days off! Yesssss!

Let’s face it, most of those days off are already going to be busy-ish, but that’s okay. I got lotsa birthday-celebrating to do this week (turning 26, woo-hoo), which will take up a few nights. During the days there will be lots of cleaning and going to the gym and generally just getting everything ready so that when I get my wisdom teeth removed on Friday I can spend the whole weekend being lazy and healing. And that will STILL be better than being at work!

gabby and books

Bookish update: A whole lotta nothing. Well, not exactly. I’m about halfway through Vanity Fair (loving it), and about halfway through HP&GoF. It’s bothering my slightly-neurotic self that these books I’m reading for readalongs are falling into the next month as well, so I won’t be done with them until mid-March. Actually, it’s just because it’s going to make my February reading stats look sad, because the book counts as “read” when I finish it, so that’s the month it goes into. But my March stats will look awesome, I suppose. I just don’t like carrying books over into the next month for some reason.

I’m working today on finishing The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury so that I have SOMETHING to review here, and I’m also planning on finishing the 8th Nightside book – I actually started this Nightside book about a month ago, but I used to read this series a lot at the gym and since I started doing treadmill intervals more I don’t get to read as much while I workout.

Not sure how much reading I’ll get done this coming week, but I AM planning on book shopping! I ordered a book from The Book Depository the other day (The Iron Jackal, the third Ketty Jay book) and am anxiously awaiting that. Sadly, the estimated delivery time is about two weeks and it hasn’t even shipped yet. But I’m looking forward to going book shopping on my actual birthday, because there are at least 3 books I want to buy right now, 2 of which are being released on Tuesday. So exciting!

Some interesting internet-y stuff…

Anyways, that’s enough rambling from me. My week was boring. How’s your week been?

~Sarah

 

Classics Club February Question

 

 

Hi there, fellow Classics Club readers!

Once again, I feel a little lame because I only just joined the CC at the start of the year, so I haven’t read a ton of classics from my list yet. But I’m going to attempt the February question anyways!

“What classic has most surprised you so far, and why?”

Vanity Fair

 

I’m going to have to go with the book I’m reading right now, Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. I had heard of this classic before but didn’t really know what it was about, and honestly I wasn’t quite looking forward to reading it – it’s just one of those chunky classics that I figured I should read at some point. I joined a readalong for it, and I have to say that I am LOVING it so far!

I think Vanity Fair is most surprising in how funny it is. I know that it’s supposed to be a satire, but I didn’t expect it to be so silly and sarcastic! I have cracked up SEVERAL times while reading this. I’ve been underlining and writing notes as I go along – some are parts that are interesting or meaningful, and some are just parts that make me giggle.

lol

Like this.

 

The first discussion post is coming up for the Vanity Fair readalong this weekend, and I can’t wait to talk to the other gals about it!

What about you? Have you read Vanity Fair? What classic have you found most surprising?

~Sarah

 

 

Let’s Talk! Welcome to the Family

Lets Talk Lets Talk: Review Request Rant

Let’s Talk is a weekly meme created by Smash Attack Reads and A Book Obsession in which you talk about whatever the topic is. And if there’s one thing you know I love to do, it’s blab.

Today’s question:

If you could be part of one fictional family (book or screen), what family would you choose, and why? Would you choose to be a current family member, or a new one?
 
My mind IMMEDIATELY went to the Weasley family from Harry Potter, but that could just be because I’m re-reading the series right now. But they’re so awesome! Wouldn’t it be so cool to have the Weasley twins are your brothers???
 
LET ME LOVE YOU
 
The only other family that I can think of right now would be the de Clermont family from the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. For those of you unfamiliar with the books, the de Clermont family is Matthew’s family of vampires. One, it would totally kick ass to be a vampire (I’d be a new member of the family, I think). Two, it would be awesome to be part of that family because they are super powerful and influential. And three, because they are super loyal to each other. Even when they are angry at each other or having a disagreement, they will totally stand up and protect each other by any means necessary.
 
What bookish family would you want to be a part of?
 
 ~Sarah
 

Harry Potter readalong! Dark marks and stuff.

It’s Harry Potter Post Friday!

awkward dance

I’m a little tired and my computer is being a pain in the ass, so let’s just jump right into the bullet points:

  • This is the longest it’s ever taken to get to Hogwarts! But that’s cause things are happening in the real world! (And by real world, I mean real wizarding world, obvs.)
  • I think it’s interesting that Cedric Diggory is actually pretty nice, but his father is such a dillhole. That part around the Portkey was so irritating. How did no one punch him?
  • How cool are Portkeys? Love that already we’re starting to see the use of a lot more different spells and magic.
  • So, the Quidditch World Cup!

qwc

  • Normally, I kind of like the Quidditch scenes. Rowling always does a good job of writing the school matches. But for the QWC, I think all the other stuff (the AWESOME TENTS, the tons of magical families all in one place, the souvenirs) was way more exciting than the actual match. And what do you know, the Weasley twins won some money!
  • (Poor Weasley twins, who are awesome at creating stuff but Mrs. Weasley just doesn’t understand them. They’re adorable.)
  • Some folks that look suspiciously like Death Eaters start tormenting the only Muggles, and people flip the fuck out. I have to say, this is kind of annoying – ALL THOSE WIZARDS, and hardly anyone tries to fight back? People just go crazy and run for the woods? The number of good wizards must have totally outnumbered the Death Eater-type folk, but you’d never know it the way everyone acts. YAY for the Wealey men for running right into the thick of it to get shit done!
  • And then this happens:

dark mark gif

  • And people flip out all over again, but the baddies stop tormenting the humans, so that’s cool.
  • I have to say, Winky is SUPER ANNOYING. Waaaaayyyyy more annoying than Dobby ever was. I do feel a bit bad for her though.
  • I love how this all sparks Hermione’s anti-elf-slavery tirade. She’s so awesome. She reminds me of me when I was a teenager and actually cared passionately about stuff.
  • They go home, everything’s cool, Ron is embarassed about his dress robes. I feel for him, but when he’s like “Why is everything I own rubbish?” I want to tell him to slap out of it and just be grateful for what he has.
  • There’s going to be a Triwizard Tournament!! At Hogwarts!!! Buuuut, you have to be 17 to put your name in the cup.

thats rubbish

  • I really wish we got to see more of the Arithmancy classes and Professor Vector.
  • That Rita Skeeter reporter woman is being a real jerk, already.
  • Mad-Eye Moody! FINALLY someone turns Malfoy into a ferret!

ferret

 

So all in all, not a WHOLE lot has happened yet, but I’m excited! This is one of my favorites :-)

~Sarah

The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding (Tales of the Ketty Jay #2)

Ketty Jay series, Chris Wooding

 

I literally hugged this book when I finished.
 
Just as a reminder, this is the 2nd book in the Tales of the Ketty Jay series, and you should head on over to my review of the first book, Retribution Falls, to check that out. And then you should start reading this series IMMEDIATELY, because I love it and I want to talk to people about it! Mmmkay?

So where did we last leave our intrepid heroes?

Well at the start, the crew of the Ketty Jay ain’t doin so hot. Captain Darian Frey is feeling a bit listless, wondering what he really wants. Jez is fighting her Mane side more and more, but feels it’s a losing battle. Crake is trying to drink his guilt and sorrow away. And the rest of the crew is restless; sick of everyone’s melancholy and sick of taking small, pathetic jobs. When they get an offer to go to the deep, dark heart of Kurg for a treasure that only Crake can unlock, it seems like things are starting to look up. But that treasure isn’t what anyone thought it would be, and now they’re fighting to get it back before unspeakable damage occurs.

For those of you who have read the first book (and are hence my very best friend), there’s a lot to look forward to in this book. Crake faces his past, Jez learns more about what it means to be half-Mane, and Darian comes face-to-face with Trinica Dracken again.

THERE IS SO MUCH AWESOME IN THIS SERIES. Too much for me to put in one measly review. I think that part of what I love is that all the characters really are important (even the cat), and Wooding does a great job at distributing the focus among them all. So many of them are searching for something, and I love learning more about them all. Everyone has their shining moment. Once again there’s an interesting, well-fleshed out plot with a ton of action. There’s funny quips and fun epic battles, and even little tender moments. AND this book was at least as good as the first, which is awesome. No second-book syndrome!
 
I just love it all. I CANNOT WAIT to read The Iron Jackal. For some reason it’s not really in print in the U.S. right now, but I’m going to order it from The Book Depository as soon as I possibly can. And after I read that I’ll be biting my nails waiting for the fourth book to come out, hopefully at the end of this year!
 
Sarah Says: 5 stars