Tolkien Blog Party 2018

As if I needed an excuse to have a celebratory second breakfast this morning, today is the birthday of the Shire’s two most famous hobbits.  I mean, when two of your favorite characters in all of literature have a birthday on the SAME DAY, it would just be rude and disrespectful to refuse second breakfast.

But second breakfasts aside, I was reading the comments on a post in the Classics Club blog and came across Hamlette.  When she mentioned that she would be hosting her 6th annual Tolkien Blog Party from September 22-29, I knew I had to participate.  She will have posts running all week and she created this tag as a way for the rest of us to participate. So without further ado, here’s a Tolkien tag!

Tolkien Tag 2018

1.  What’s your favorite Middle-earth story/book?  My favorite has to be the Fellowship of the Ring.  There is so much going on and I love every freaking page.

2.  Do you have a favorite subplot?
I absolutely love the Tom Bombadil scenes and the Ent scenes. (I also adore how the friendship between Legolas and Gimli progresses)

3.  What’s your favorite theme in Tolkien’s books?  (Can be in one specific story, or overall.)
I love the element of friendship and solidarity.  Everyone plays a part and they work together to defeat evil.

4.  Do you have a favorite weapon from Middle-earth?
I wouldn’t mind having Sting the next time I get tossed into a group of Orcs.

5.  Would you like to be a hobbit?
I think I have been living as a hobbit for my entire life.

6.  Do you have a favorite romance/couple?
I’m a fan of the Aragorn/Arwen romance, but I really hope Treebeard finds his lady Ent.

7.  What’s your favorite Middle-earth creature?  (Can be “real” or “imaginary.”)
Ents! With Elves as a close second.

8.  What character do you look the most like?
Well, I’m short with brown hair and I enjoy the above mentioned second breakfast, so I’ll have to go with any of the hobbits.

9.  Are there any books about Middle-earth or Professor Tolkien (but not written by him) you recommend?
I have this awesome illustrated Guide to Tolkien by David Day that I would recommend.

10.  List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotations from the Middle-earth books and/or movies. 

“It’s the job that’s never started as takes the longest to finish” -Sam

“Deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised” -Aragorn

I am so excited to get to participate in Bilbo and Frodo’s Blog party.  I have been a fan of Tolkien for years now and I never get tired of rereading the books or talking about the books.

If you are a Tolkien fan, I would recommend checking out Hamlette’s blog party!

Tolkien Party Hobbit Hole 2018

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My Agatha Christie Collection

I have enjoyed Agatha Christie since my middle school days. Call it a fondness if you will (or maybe an obsession).

Ever since I was 13 years old and my school’s summer reading list included And Then There Were None. I remember clearly when my mom handed me $10 and I walked to a little used bookshop in New York and asked for any title off my list. I remember the elderly shop owner who asked me what kind of books I liked (I was into Goosebumps and the Boxcar Children at the time). He said “ah, you like mysteries so why not try this one” as he handed me an old copy of And Then There Were None. I was intrigued and with my $8 change I was able to get myself some snacks (yayyy) and I rushed home to read my new book. I couldn’t have planned it better because that evening there was a thunder storm and I settled in with my snacks and started reading. My friend called me to come over and I remember telling her I was grounded. I wasn’t. I was engrossed in my new book. I was creeped out and terrified. I was hooked.

Very few books hold such vivid memories for me but reading And Then There Were None was a milestone in my reading life. It was my first experience with an adult mystery book and I loved it. When I looked on the inside cover and saw how many other books she had written I was thrilled. Of her 80 something works I have now read 75 of them. I am not sure if it’s nostalgia, a love of cozy mysteries, or the quality of the books but these are books I have come back to again and again. Whenever I’m in a reading rut I can always pick up an A.C. and I’m all better. I think she had such an understanding of human nature and it reflects in the genius of her mysteries.

Fast forward 20 years and I’ve acquired a few of her books. When I started collecting her books, I had mainly used mass market paperback versions of her books and I still have quite a few of them. But when I saw these William Morrow Harper Collins versions, I decided to start slowly collecting them.

They are a very nice size and feel great in my hand but I don’t think I can bring myself to get rid of my older books.

I also recently acquired this beautiful leather bound version of Murder on the Orient Express.

These endpapers are just the greatest.

My shelf stats are as follows:

Print copies: 40

E-book: 1

Standalones: 5

Ms. Marples: 7

Hercule Poirots: 29

Spin-offs: 2

So there’s my modest collection. Eventually I will own all of her books and short stories. And while it will probably always be a mismatched collection, I couldn’t care less. I love them all.

If you are a fan of Agatha Christie, feel free to check out my post on Project Poirot (a reading project I saw on booktube) as I read through all of her Poirot books in order.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

R.I.P. Readers Imbibing Peril XIII

 

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As usual, I am late to the party.  But at least I freaking got here… right? Anywho, I came across this seasonal challenge on the Classics Club page and I really wish that I had found this, I don’t know, YEARS ago.  I practically live on mysteries and gothic suspense novels. This challenge originated with Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings but is now hosted by Heather at My Capricious Life.

About the challenge:

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:

Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.
There are several categories depending on your level of commitment but I chose to participate in Peril the first which will require me to read 4 books that fit within these categories.  While I don’t sign up for challenges all that often, this will work splendidly for me because A. These are usually my preferred type of books and B. This will work well and in line with the few other challenges I participate in (Project Poirot, Back to the Classics, and The Classics Club Challenge)
My choices:
1. Dracula
2. and 3. will probably be the next couple Agatha Christie’s on my Project Poirot list
4. The Hazelwood
I may change my selections, but I feel pretty confident that these will be the ones.  I am so excited to participate in this challenge for the first time! If you are also participating (since everyone seems to have already known about this challenge) please let me know what your selections are or drop a link to your post!

Where to get book recommendations?

Someone asked me how I figure out what books to read and I felt myself look like this:

I mean, the answer to that question is beyond complex.  So here I am, days later, mulling it over and I realized that I don’t purposely do anything to seek new book recommendations but they come from a variety of places.  With that being said, I will share some of the ways I find new books to read and hopefully some of you will drop a line and tell me where you get your recommendations.

1: Podcasts

My daily commute to work and household chore time are full of podcasts.  The two book related ones that I listen to most are the What Should I read Next podcast and the All the Books Podcast.  Of the two, the What Should I read Next podcast is my favorite.  Anne Bogel, the host of What Should I read next is a joy to listen to.

2: Staff Picks

I love staff picks at the bookstore.  I love how there are always a variety of selections from different staff members so there is usually someone with similar reading tastes to mine.

3: Cover Browsing

It’s time consuming but such a pleasant way to spend an hour… or two (don’t judge me) at the bookstore.  I do tend to pick up books with pretty covers, but I will pick up any book if the title is intriguing.

4: Other Bloggers

It’s one of the reasons we’re all here isn’t it? We share book reviews and rave about books we couldn’t get enough so naturally I pick up book recommendations here and there.

5. Amazon

The “You might like this” feature on amazon sometimes has a nice gem tucked away and I’ll usually make a note of any that sound interesting.

6. Other books

This is one of my favorite ways to get book recommendations.  I love when I’m reading a book and the characters mention another book by different author.  It’s almost like book inception.  A book within a book.  Mind blown. Another way I can get book recs from other books is when I read a retelling or a spinoff of another book.  (ie. when I read the Historian I had to go read Dracula)

 

There are many ways that I get book recommendations.  Divine intervention, being in the right place at the right time, having someone hand me a stack of books they’re getting rid of. You name it. But these were some of the most common ways I figure out what to read.

What are some ways you get new book recommendations?

Bad Book Habits Tag

I love reading other bloggers’ responses to book habits tags and I came across this tag over at Another Book in the Wall and thought it would be fun to put in my two cents.

Bad Book Habit 1: Spending too much money on books

I am THE WORST at controlling myself when I go to the bookstore.  I walk in and all those glossy covers and new book perfume assault me and I start picking up all the things. Oooh look, the sequel to that book I read last year. OOOOOHHHHH look, it’s the special edition hardback of that one book I love! OH how cute, Bella will like this one. And so on and so forth until my trip to the bookstore for one book, turns into a full out haul.  I need help. If there is a support group for people like me, please share in the comments because at some point, we will be unable to sit in my living room because the books have already spilled off the shelves and into a stack on my living room floor.

Bad Book Habit 2: Trying to Read too many books at once

I can manage pretty well with this one, but I am usually reading 2-3 books at a time.  One is usually digital and gets read at work when I have a few minutes here and there and the others are usually divided into a heavier read and something more page turning.  I guess this isn’t necessarily a bad habit, but I included it anyway.

Bad Book Habit 3: Hoarding Books

While I buy a lot of digital books and download others for free, the majority of my books are physical copies and I have a very hard time letting go.  When one of my dogs was teething a few years ago, he used the bottom shelf of my book case as a teething ring and so a lot of the tall books I had down there have damaged spines.  They are now on the floor in the aforementioned stack but I just can’t bring myself to get rid of them.  I know the spines are probably too damaged for any used bookstore or library to take them and I absolutely cannot bring myself to throw them out.  There are also some beautiful copies of books I wasn’t too crazy about sitting on my shelves that I just find so difficult to get rid of.

Bad Book Habit 4: Not utilizing my library enough

There is no valid excuse for this one.  It’s not like I never go to the library.  I mean, my daughter is enrolled in the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Program there so we go to check in whenever she reaches a milestone and I have gone a couple times to pick up my holds books… but… I’m still buying books.

Bad Book Habit 5: Tuning out the world

When I read, I really like to be left alone. Preferably in a comfortable spot and with a tasty beverage.  However, I am a wife and mom of two who works a much more than regular full time job.  This leads to issues in that I always sneak away from things to get in a few extra minutes of reading.  In fact, I sometimes take way too long making dinner because my book always accompanies me into the kitchen and I will start reading while waiting for water to boil or something similar and ten minutes later I still haven’t put the noodles into the water. *covers face in shame* I mean do these people really need to eat right now?

So there you have it.  I am a terrible person sometimes.  Don’t judge.

A Place for Pluto

Bella and I are still chipping away at her 1000 Books before Kindergarten goal (though I am the absolute WORST about logging our books… and so despite reading 2-3 books minimum per night, we’ve only logged around 200 in the last few months) We still have our old favorites, but we’ve acquired many new books recently. And this book is among our favorites recently.

Brief synopsis: In this book, we meet Pluto (yes, THAT Pluto) when he’s part of the famous nine. He’s the smallest and furthest planet from the sun but he’s proud to be part of that elite group. Until… he finds out he is no longer considered a planet and thus is no longer part of the famous nine. He’s devastated and sets off through the galaxy to find out who he really is.

Mom’s thoughts: Ok so this book is heckin adorable. Aside from the beautiful color illustrations, the story is super cute as well. The story itself is good, but I like that it also teaches kids about belonging. It also has the added bonus of teaching kids a little bit about our galaxy. I found that it is entertaining enough that I don’t feel like pulling my hair out after reading it REPEATEDLY.

I’d say the intended age group is probably the preschool and up crowd, but the story is so engaging and the illustrations so adorable, that Bella (who is 2) has sat through MULTIPLE readings. Did I mention that I have a two year old and that we have to do everything repeatedly? 😆

Bella’s thoughts: Bella says “I like it”. (And we all know toddlers are brutally honest)

Til next time, Happy Reading.

War of the Worlds: My thoughts

I have been wanting to read this book for so long, but after I read The Time Machine, I found that I wasn’t really eager to pick it up anymore.  I put this book on both my Classics Club Challenge list and my Back to the Classics list and finally picked it up last month when I was trying to recover from a book hangover. I wasn’t sure if I’d finish it as I was a bit bored by The Time Machine, but I needn’t have worried because this book sucked me right in.

war of the worlds

 

A brief synopsis:

It is the end of the 19th century and a series of explosions on Mars is seen from an observatory in England.  Scientists are intrigued, but shortly after this, what appears to be a meteor lands in England.  The meteor turns out to be a landing pod which contains Martians.  Several men approach, waving white flags to signify peace, but are quickly incinerated by a strange Martian weapon.  What follows is utter chaos as the Martians begin their invasion of earth.

It wasn’t until the end of the book that I realized that the narrator was unnamed, but I found him to be a very likeable character. He never claims to be a hero and I was rooting for him the entire time. The narrator has a series of narrow escapes and I found it utterly freaking fascinating as he describes the breakdown of society and the mass panic that follows the invasion.

I tend to like books and the writing style from this era, but I think even those who aren’t very accustomed to this particular writing style will find it enjoyable in this book.  The story moves along pretty quickly and the writing is never an obstacle toward enjoying the book.  A Sci-fi book written in the 19th century might be expected to be a little “cheezy” (for lack of a better word) but I honestly found the book to be very suspenseful and no more “cheezy” or hard to swallow than any of the modern movie adaptations (In fact, I don’t think a single movie adaptation has done this book justice). This was definitely a page turner for me, but it also gave me a lot to think about when the narrator described society’s breakdown so clearly.

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Working in an industrial environment as I do, a cheap paperback edition was perfect for reading on breaks.

I highly recommend this book to anyone and I think this book would be a perfect choice for someone who wants to read more classic literature but is intimidated by massive tomes of literature written in archaic language.  5/5 stars for me.

Thanks for joining me today! Happy reading!