Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review for You - The Island of Dr. Moreau

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G Wells
4.5 stars
This short novel is the eerie story of a man named Edward Prendick who is lost at sea and finds himself rescued by a man named Montgomery aboard a large ship en route to an unnamed island. Prendick is utterly grateful to Montgomery although right away he can tell that something is not quite right. There’s an unsettling feeling aboard the ship. It is carrying lots of animal cargo on board that is bound for the island and the animals wail and wail. Then there’s Montgomery’s manservant, M’ling, who looks very odd to Prendick’s eye. But what exactly is wrong with him Prendick cannot quite grasp.

When they arrive at the island the drunk and abusive captain has decided that Prendick is not allowed to travel with the ship any further. Although Montgomery and his employer Moreau, who has met him at the ship, at first tell Prendick that he is not welcome on the island, eventually they take pity on him and set him up in a room.

Moreau is very cold to Prendick and constantly reminds him that he is an unexpected and unwelcome guest so he has to be prepared to accept the secrecy in which he is kept. Prendick is told that they do scientific work on the island, but what exactly that is is kept from him. Moreau constantly escapes behind a door where a large puma is caged and locks the door behind him. The screams of the beast chill Prendick.

One of his first nights on the island, Prendick searches his brain for he remembers the name Moreau, but how and for what? Finally it comes to him! Dr. Moreau was a famous scientist in England but was exposed for his gruesome experiments in vivisection! All of a sudden Prendick is terrified for he chances to see behind that locked door and finds, not a puma, but a half-puma, half-man monster. He runs for his life away from the enclosure and tries to hide out in the wilderness only to be greeted by more man-beasts. When Montgomery and Moreau finally catch up with him they must finally explain the purpose of this island of theirs. No, they do not wish to splice him with an animal, as he had feared; Moreau is trying to turn animals into humans, and the puma will be his greatest achievement yet!

I will end my summary there because that is only about halfway through this wonderfully scary tale. Even though I knew the “secret” of Dr. Moreau’s island before I started reading the book (as I’m sure most people do), that didn’t diminish any of the story for me. Wells’ novel is exciting and nerve-wracking from start to finish. Right away when Prendick meets Montgomery you get a sense that things are going to take a turn for the worse very soon. And then once you finally come into contact with the man-beasts Wells only gives you just enough description to let your own mind run wild. There is one scene where Prendick is being chased by something but you don’t know exactly what, and it was truly scary. At the end my heart was pounding. And I thought with such an unrealistic concept as this it would be hard to actually instill fear in me, but I was wrong.

The true mastery of this book is what it represents, the message if you will. Wells was a master of social commentary and this science fiction novel was no exception. The premise of what Dr. Moreau was trying to do with these animals was turn them into humans so that they could flawlessly fit into the human world. First he would make them look human and then give them a set of rules to follow:
“Not to go on all-fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men? Not to suck up Drink; that is the Law. Are we not Men?” Not to eat First or Flesh; that is the Law. Are we not Men? Not to claw the Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Are we not Men? Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not Men?”
Then he sent them out into the wild to live abiding by these rules he pounded into their heads. If they messed up they’d be punished. But the problem was they were still animals. You could not just give them some silly rules and change the way they looked and expect it all to go as planned. As Prendick stated,
“Now they stumbled in the shackles of humanity, lived in a fear that never died, fretted by a law they could not understand; their mock-human existence, begun in agony, was one long internal struggle, one long dread of Moreau--and for what? It was the wantonness of it that stirred me.”
These principals can be applied to many things but what stuck in my mind the most, whether Wells intended this the most or not, was race relations. The book was written during the time when slavery had come to an end in most parts of the world and black people were expected to integrate flawlessly into the rest of society, basically given society’s pre-existing rules and expected to have no problems at all whatsoever, not taking into account what problems society would have with them and how difficult it might be overall. When things did not go flawlessly it was all their fault, not a fault of the system, and they were the ones punished.

I would recommend this book to anyone because whether you’re looking for a book with a message or one that is just a sci-fi thriller, you can find both here, and I think that’s a rare trait. I cannot wait to get my hands on some more of his work!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

10 Books I Want to Re-Read

Alright, so I saw this post just now by Karen over at Books and Chocolate about ten books she wants to re-read and I just knew I had to post about it over here. It was calling to me!

I feel I never have the time to re-read my faves because I’m just so busy reading all these new books (new being a relative term of course since I’m almost always reading classics). I can’t even remember my last re-read but I’m pretty sure it was a Shakespeare play.

So, if I had my way and never had to work again (let’s go lottery that I never ever play! show me the millions!) and could spend all my time reading and doing whatever I wanted, then I know I could get around to some re-reads. So then, what would be the 10 I would re-read first? Let’s see…

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: Duh, it’s my favorite book people! You knew I was going to say that one.
2. Animal Farm by George Orwell: After reading 1984 for the first time this past year, it’s really made me want to go back and read this one. I first read it when I was in the 8th grade so I don’t really remember it like at all. But I do remember liking it! And I LOVED 1984 so…

3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: This was the only book in high school that I was assigned that I actually read and LOVED. I finished it in two days as I could not put it down. I’d love to see what I’d think of it now that I’m older.

4. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson: I read it when it first came out and loved it. Now that I hear a movie is in the works I’d really like to re-visit it. Also since the first time I read it I wasn’t living in Chicago at the time I think some parts would interest me more now that I am.

5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: It was one of my favorite books as a little girl but I haven’t read it since. Why?
6. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding: Now this was a book that I really really didn’t like in high school. I only remember bits and pieces but it sounds like a book that potentially I’d feel very different about now. I’d like to give it another go.

7. Anything by Charles Dickens: I was forced to read a bunch of his stuff in school and I didn’t like any of it. In fact, it felt like torture at the time. However, I’ve heard from so many people that they adore his stuff and I simply must try again. Well one day, I swear, I’ll re-read something of his. One day.

8. Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare: Okay, I’ve read this play probably about a dozen times. But who says I can’t read it at least a dozen more? It’s my favorite of his works!

9. Hiroshima by John Hersey: I remember being really moved by this the first time I read it and I’ve always wanted to pick it up again. It will happen.

10. Macbeth by William Shakespeare: I had to end the list with Shakespeare (and had to put him down twice because he’s THAT awesome). And Macbeth is probably my second favorite play of his, though I still haven’t read them all yet…

What 10 books would you re-read if you had all the time in the world and an empty TBR pile?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bechdel Test...Wednesday?

Ugh, the procrastinator in me just can't seem to post my meme on the right day! But at least it's happening :) That's right, the Bechdel Test is back in action people! For more info just check out this handy dandy link.

Last time around Little Women passed the test with flying colors (which was none too surprising). This week I decided to test my most recently finished book since it's still fresh in my mind. It's another Kazuo Ishiguro, and he's played this game before. His book Never Let Me Go passed the test back in March. Can he go 2 for 2? Let's find out!

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
1. Does it have at least 2 women in it?
Yes it does. But really only one MAIN character that's a woman.
2. Do they talk to each other?
Boo. No. Ishiguro implies conversation between two of them, but that's all you get...
Whomp whomp. Can't win em all I guess. It's still a marvelous book though. My review is coming soon, after my review that I'm still lagging behind on (The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells).

Until next time :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Am Very Stylish

Wow, well this last month, actually these last two months, have been so incredibly busy for me I have fallen extremely behind in my blogging duties. As a result I haven’t been that great of a blogging buddy to some of my friends, and as such I apologize (bad blogger! bad!). I will try to make up for that now by finally accepting my Stylish Blogger Award that I was so graciously given to me by not 1 but 3 of my fellow bloggers! Yay me :)
So thank you very much Perri over at Lesser Apricots Jenny at Lit Endeavors and Karen over at Bibliophilic Blather. Love you all!

So since I won this prestigious award, I’m now supposed to tell you all 7 things you may not know about me. So here goes…

1. I know this is a literary blog, but I’m not a fan of Charles Dickens. I know, the horror! I just never liked him when I was forced to read his stuff in school. But I’m going to attempt to read him again later this year and try to remedy that.

2. I decided to start this blog over really getting incensed thinking about the double standards presented in the book The Odyssey. I wrote a post about it here.

3. I didn’t claim the feminist label until I was almost done with college. I thought that that would have to mean I hated men. How wrong and misinformed I was!

4. My grandmother, who is no longer alive, is a source of inspiration for me and though she would never have called herself a feminist I truly believe that is what she was.

5. I’m now in my late 20s but I still have no idea what I want to do with my life. If it could somehow involve books or writing that would be fantastic.

6. This should be obvious but I’m a proud supporter of Planned Parenthood. I know my blog isn’t always as feminist in tone because it’s more about books and whatnot but if you follow me on Twitter I post a lot more feminist-type links there.

7. My poor kitty, Misha, is a long-hair and has to get shaved once a year to keep her coat looking nice. I just got it done last week and she looks ridiculous right now. I’ll try to post a pic of her in all her glory later this week if I get a chance.

The last part of this award is I have to bestow it on 8 other wonderful bloggers. So, the awards go to:

So go visit their blogs, they’re really good :) And I promise I’m trying to get back up to speed with mine. Things have just been super crazy around here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

And We Have a Winner!!

Hooray! It's finally time! My internet wasn't working yesterday but it is now so I can finally announce the winner of my 100 Follower Giveaway.

Without further ado, the winner of the most awesome prize ever goes to...

Ellie of the blog Books, Fitness & Other Stuff (go take a peek!)!! Congratulations :)

Ellie, I'll be emailing you shortly at the email address you provided me (ellie.bfaos [at] gmail [dot] com) so be on the lookout for that. My email is llevinso.bookreader [at] gmail [dot] com in case it somehow lands in your spam folder.

The winner has 48 hours (until Wednesday night) to respond to my email otherwise it'll be a do-over.

Wow, this first Giveaway of mine sure was intense huh? I'm sure I'll do another one when I hit another milestone...

Giveaway Update

Okay all. I know I was supposed to announce my 100 Follower Giveaway winner last night but, surprise surprise, my internet was not working. Don't worry, Once I get home from work today I'll get on that.

So don't worry, you haven't missed the announcement. It'll be coming in just a few short hours (and of course I'll also be emailing the winner personally). Then the winner will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Again, sorry for the delay but it's almost time!! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Review for You - The Autobiography of an Execution

The Autobiography of an Execution by David R. Dow
4 stars
David Dow is an attorney working in Texas to help convicted murderers escape the clutches of execution. This book was basically a memoir in that he is mainly focusing on one specific case that troubled him greatly, spattered which many anecdotes along the way. However, since he’s a lawyer he had to change many facts and literally every name in the book so as to comply with attorney-client privilege. As he states in the introduction, the bond of attorney-client privilege is not something that goes away just because a particular client is no longer living.

The client that he mainly focuses on throughout the book is one that he happens to believe is actually innocent. Dow makes it perfectly clear from the beginning that he is aware that almost all of his clients are in fact guilty, however he believes it is still the right thing to do to fight for them to live. But this death row inmate, Henry Quaker (obviously not his real name), was different. Dow explains how over the course of trying to traverse the justice system he comes to believe that Quaker was in fact innocent of murdering his wife and two little children. Instead it looked to be a case of mistaken identity. But the justice system is tricky. Dow explains how the life (and death) of people can be decided basically by the whims of a ticking clock, a sleepy attorney, some incorrectly filed paperwork…some very minor things.

Throughout his fight to get Quaker a stay of execution, Dow leans on his family for support and you can sense his exhaustion through the pages. Not only does he have to deal with this one extremely intense case, but it is only ONE of the many cases he is dealing with at the time. He never seems to get any sort of break. Executions are being scheduled for different clients of his all the time. Other criminals are writing him letters asking him for help because they feel their own lawyers messed up their cases. And he can’t help everyone. But at the same time you can feel the sense of responsibility that must tug at Dow knowing that if he doesn’t at least try something a person will die. Even if that person is a violent horrible murderer.

Whether you are for or against the death penalty I think this is a very interesting and enlightening read. It gives an interesting perspective on things and definitely puts the system under a microscope. Dow admits how difficult it is to do what he does but how it would be even harder not to do it. And he makes the story very engaging along the way. You could feel the sense of urgency in these cases. An execution date would be set and then the lawyers would be running around filing things and I could literally feel myself holding my breath. It was fascinating.

There were a couple incidences in the book where he talked about running into strangers and having to tell them what it was he did for a living. Now, he could have easily talked about the occasions where he has been lectured to about what an awful human being he was for getting convicted rapists and murderers off of death row. That’s actually what I was expecting to happen. But instead he talked about the times he was pleasantly surprised by people that respected what he did. It was actually rather touching, and I think if he went the expected route in his storytelling I would have found it annoying and off-putting.

As a whole the book flowed very easily, even though Dow went off on many a tangents it all made sense with the story he was trying to tell. One thing that took some getting used to was that he did not use any quotation marks when people were talking. But after a bit I settled into that rhythm as well.

Overall it was a deeply touching story and Dow really gave you the sense that, even though he has done this work for so long, this is something he cares greatly about. And he could communicate that very well through his writing. I found myself caring very much about the outcome of Henry Quaker. I was convinced, like Dow, as to the story of innocence Quaker was putting forward. I found myself wanting Quaker to live.

But then again, as Dow stated at towards the end of the book, maybe he did do it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reminder! Reminder!

Okay peeps (yeah, I used that word, what of it?), remember, this is your last chance to enter my giveaway so do it now!

It's really simple to do and you could win an awesome prize so what's stopping you?! 3 books in 1 people! 3 in 1!! I know a few of my followers thought they had entered initially but then checked back to realize they hadn't, so you may all want to double-check (heck, triple-check) just to be sure. You'll kick yourself later if you don't ;)

Remember, you have to enter the giveaway by posting your info on THIS LINKED THREAD. DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE YOUR CONTACT E-MAIL!! And also remember, you get an extra entry if you follow me on Twitter, so leave your Twitter info as well! 

I stop taking entries at 9:00 CST hurry hurry!

...gee, I used a lot of exclamation points in this one, didn't I :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2011 Pulitzer Prize Winners

Alright I'm a day late on this one but I just wanted to do a quick post...

Yesterday the Pulitzer Prize winners were announced. For a complete list of the winners you can go here but here's the list as it would pertain to this blog (and that's what's really important, right?):

FICTION - "A Visit from the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan (Alfred A. Knopf)

DRAMA - "Clybourne Park" by Bruce Norris

HISTORY - "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery" by Eric Foner (W. W. Norton & Company)

BIOGRAPHY - "Washington: A Life" by Ron Chernow (The Penguin Press)

POETRY - "The Best of It: New and Selected Poems" by Kay Ryan (Grove Press)

GENERAL NONFICTION - "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer" by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner)

I'm going to be honest, I really haven't heard of most of these. The Emperor of All Maladies...yes. A Visit from the Goon And I haven't READ any of them! Does that make me a bad reader?

What about the rest of you? Have you read any of these? What do you think of the winners? Any destined to become future classics?

Sound off below!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cover Art Part II

Sorry for the extended absense loyal followers. I should've mentioned it (and if you follow me on Twitter you probably saw) but I was out of town. But now I'm back! Woohoo!

I know you missed me and my witty greatness, am I right? So I didn't get to post my review last week so now this week I owe you two reviews. I promise I'll try to get to them as soon as I can. I swear!

For today's post I figured I post some more classic book cover art, since it got such a great response last time.

Let's take a look this time around at my favorite book Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte:

Going left to right from the top to bottom...this is the one I've seen the most actually. Very simple.

Next, I think this is the Penguin Deluxe Edition that's come out. Interesting and I like how it makes it feel eerie, as it should. However, there is no winding peak tower hill thingy in Jane Eyre...

Now the next is the cover I own. Very Victorian I think. A tad boring though.

The last in the top row is very different. I don't know about the smoke, is that supposed to be a face? Not sure.

First on the second row is obviously the movie tie-in. I always avoid these covers like the plague. I don't know why they just bother me.

Next...I have no idea. This I think is supposed to be like those Twilight books in here and why I do not know. It has nothing to do with the book at all.

Second to last is just a simple outline of Jane which I actually find very interesting. Kind of a good methaphor for the book.

And lastly we have this weird cover that kind of looks like any modern romance novel. I don't like it. And again, what do roses have to do with Jane Eyre?

So what is your favorite? Least favorite? Discsus!

And don't forget you still have a couple days to enter my GIVEAWAY where you could win this book and Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey...don't waste another minute :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bechdel Test...Wednesday?

Whoops, I didn't post my meme yesterday! Alright, well I don't have much time so here goes...if you don't know about the Bechdel Test, here's a handy dandy link: click on me!

Sorry I didn't do this last week but I was busy getting ready for my Giveaway. Haven't entered yet? Don't worry, there's still time but just one more week :) Did everyone read my Bechdel Test of The Road that I posted 2 weeks ago like good little followers? Good.

Moving on...

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
1. Does it have at least 2 women in it?
Um duh, yes! It's a book entitled LITTLE WOMEN!
2. Do they talk to each other?
3. About something besides a man?
Why of course!
It would be a sad state of affairs if this delightful novel, one of my favorites growing up, that was full of women didn't have a single scene where they didn't talk of men. But don't worry readers, it consists of several! What a fantastic book! Must re-read it someday in the near future...

Tune in next week...and I'm off!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


"Well I don't know why I came here tonight,
I got the feelin' that somethin' ain't right,
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wonderin' how I'll get down the stairs

Clowns to the left of me,
Joker's to the right,
Here I am Stuck in the middle with you
Yes I'm, Stuck in the middle with you

And I'm wonderin' what it is I should do,
It's so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losin' control, yeah I'm all over the place.

Clowns to the left of me,
Joker's to the right,
Here I am Stuck in the middle with you"
                                                               -Steve Miller Band
I've decided to share this song for two reasons today: 1) It's awesome; and 2) I'm stuck. I'm stuck on a book that I can't seem to really read. It's upsetting because I've been "reading" it for three days now and I'm not even over the 100 page mark! That's not like me at all. And since I've been in this funk it's taken all the creativity out of me, hence why I haven't even posted for the last two days. Garg. The book is Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff.
It's so weird because I heard such good things about it and I was really excited when I picked it up from the library...but it's so dry and dull so far. I find myself not wanting to read during my lunch break (which never happens) and when I start to read before bedtime I get tired REALLY quickly and find my eyes suddenly becoming overly heavy. Next thing you know I'm out!

Maybe it's just one of those books that really take off after the first 100 pages? I don't know. Has anyone else read this book? I don't want to give up on it because it's been a long time since I've done that with any book but...

I'll keep trying for now.

Oh but while I'm here I might as well remind everybody to enter my GIVEAWAY!! Remember you have until April 20 to do so, so you better get cracking :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fantastic Five Friday! (on Saturday)

Since yesterday I was busy getting my 100 Follower Giveaway off the ground and running I didn't have time to post my Fantastic Five Friday like normal. So here it is on Saturday, for the second week in a row. Let's see if this time Blogger actually cooperates! But if you have not entered my Giveaway, please to yesterday's post and do so because I'm super excited about it. You have until April 20 to enter.

And back to FFF! I figured I'd continue with our Bronte theme from the Giveaway AND incorporate National Poetry Month at the same time (clever, eh?). So for this FFF I'm featuring the poetry of Anne Bronte. Did you know that she was actually more known for her poetry than for her novels? In fact, I hadn't even realized she had written two books until it was pointed out to me by a friend about 6 months ago!

So here are some of her poems that I enjoy, and I hope you all will too :) *Most of her poems are all quite long so I'm only going to include 3 here but a full list can be found HERE*
A Prisoner in a Dungeon Deep
A prisoner in a dungeon deep
Sat musing silently;
His head was rested on his hand,
His elbow on his knee.
Turned he his thoughts to future times
Or are they backward cast?
For freedom is he pining now
Or mourning for the past?

No, he has lived so long enthralled
Alone in dungeon gloom
That he has lost regret and hope,
Has ceased to mourn his doom.

He pines not for the light of day
Nor sighs for freedom now;
Such weary thoughts have ceased at length
To rack his burning brow.

Lost in a maze of wandering thoughts
He sits unmoving there;
That posture and that look proclaim
The stupor of despair.

Yet not for ever did that mood
Of sullen calm prevail;
There was a something in his eye
That told another tale.

It did not speak of reason gone,
It was not madness quite;
It was a fitful flickering fire,
A strange uncertain light.

And sooth to say, these latter years
Strange fancies now and then
Had filled his cell with scenes of life
And forms of living men.

A mind that cannot cease to think
Why needs he cherish there?
Torpor may bring relief to pain
And madness to despair.

Such wildering scenes, such flitting shapes
As feverish dreams display:
What if those fancies still increase
And reason quite decay?

But hark, what sounds have struck his ear;
Voices of men they seem;
And two have entered now his cell;
Can this too be a dream?

'Orlando, hear our joyful news:
Revenge and liberty!
Your foes are dead, and we are come
At last to set you free.'

So spoke the elder of the two,
And in the captive's eyes
He looked for gleaming ecstasy
But only found surprise.

'My foes are dead! It must be then
That all mankind are gone.
For they were all my deadly foes
And friends I had not one.'

The Captive Dove
Poor restless dove, I pity thee;
And when I hear thy plaintive moan,
I mourn for thy captivity,
And in thy woes forget mine own.

To see thee stand prepared to fly,
And flap those useless wings of thine,
And gaze into the distant sky,
Would melt a harder heart than mine.

In vain-in vain! Thou canst not rise:
Thy prison roof confines thee there;
Its slender wires delude thine eyes,
And quench thy longings with despair.

Oh, thou wert made to wander free
In sunny mead and shady grove,
And, far beyond the rolling sea,
In distant climes, at will to rove!

Yet, hadst thou but one gentle mate
Thy little drooping heart to cheer,
And share with thee thy captive state,
Thou couldst be happy even there.

Yes, even there, if, listening by,
One faithful dear companion stood,
While gazing on her full bright eye,
Thou mightst forget thy native wood.

But thou, poor solitary dove,
Must make, unheard, thy joyless moan;
The heart, that Nature formed to love,
Must pine, neglected, and alone.

Oppressed with sin and woe,
A burdened heart I bear,
Opposed by many a mighty foe:
But I will not despair.
With this polluted heart
I dare to come to Thee,
Holy and mighty as Thou art;
For Thou wilt pardon me.

I feel that I am weak,
And prone to every sin:
But Thou who giv'st to those who seek,
Wilt give me strength within.

Far as this earth may be
From yonder starry skies;
Remoter still am I from Thee:
Yet Thou wilt not despise.

I need not fear my foes,
I need not yield to care,
I need not sink beneath my woes:
For Thou wilt answer prayer.

In my Redeemer's name,
I give myself to Thee;
And all unworthy as I am
My God will cherish me.

O make me wholly Thine!
Thy love to me impart,
And let Thy holy spirit shine
For ever on my heart!

So there you are. I hope you go to that website and look at more of her stuff. I'm not religious and I know a lot of it, like that last poem, is about God, but I take it my own way and as such I read it as very pro-woman and even feminist. My favorite is The Captive Dove.

And don't forget to enter my Giveaway! I won't stop harping on you all until you do ;)

Friday, April 8, 2011

100 Follower Giveaway!!!

Hooray! It’s finally time! That’s right, my 100 Follower Giveaway is here :) Is anyone else doing a happy dance? No? Just me?

Anyway, if you’re a follower of this blog, the most awesomest blog in the whole wide world, now is your chance to win The Bronte Sisters, a collection of the three great classic novels: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. That’s 3 books in 1! Who wouldn’t want to win this?
So do you want to be well read just like me? Just enter my giveaway!

  • Be a follower of this blog
  • Have a US mailing address (I wish I could make this giveaway international but I’m sorry, I’m poor!)
What You Need To Do To Enter:

Simply leave a comment in this post stating:
  • The email address with which to contact you if you win
  • Your blog link (I’ll post it here if you win)
  • If you follow me on Twitter, please say so and state what your Twitter name is (because sometimes it’s different you know) because if you do you’ll get an EXTRA ENTRY!
The Giveaway will run from RIGHT NOW April 8 – April 20, 2011 until precisely 9:00 CST. The winner will be picked at random and I’ll announce the lucky winner of the 3 in 1 prize on Sunday, April 24, 2011. So be ready!

Now go forth and enter my lovely giveaway. And be sure to spread the word as well :)

***P.S. I won't be responding to any comments in this post so if you have a specific question, please email me at***

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review for You - American on Purpose

American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by Craig Ferguson
5 stars
Many of us know Craig Ferguson as the delightfully irreverent comedian that hosts the Late Late Show on CBS. He makes us, well at least me, laugh out loud with his hilarious monologues and also makes us think with his highly inquisitive and thoughtful dialogues with his guests. So it was not so surprising that his memoir elicited much of the same response.

Craig was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland by a family with three other children, Craig being the second youngest. He describes his childhood in much the way one would expect back in those times. His family was pretty poor and school was tough. But his parents worked hard because, as Craig explains, to them work = love, so that was how they showed one another that they cared. Even though it seemed there wasn’t too much openness in his family (talking about things like feelings or sex was unheard of, of course) it was obvious that they cared about each other a lot.

While Craig’s elder siblings went on to further their education, he struggled with school and dropped out at an early age. He mentions his love of books and learning, just not in a school-type of environment. This is obviously evident when one watches him now on his Late Late Show because he is extremely bright. But unfortunately dropping out of school and going right away into the working world hard the predictable ramifications. Craig recalls his first experience with alcohol where he got so drunk that he literally remembers nothing until waking up on his mother’s couch realizing he had urinated and vomited on himself. He vowed never to drink again but of course that didn’t last.

His drinking and drug use spiraled out of control, though he admits the alcohol was the main problem. He takes the reader through his trials and tribulations. His troubled marriages and his road to recovery and all the way through his stunning turn around and rise to stardom. It really is a remarkable success story.

Craig Ferguson’s memoir could have ended up being just another run-of-the-mill addiction story but it was so much more. He has this incredible wit that he really helps the reader tune into the story. I found myself laughing out loud constantly. And you would think with all the horribly depressing things an addict would write about that it couldn’t be that funny, but Craig has a way of making it funny and incredibly awful at the same time. A hard line to walk. It was also very deep and moving. Ever since Craig was a little boy his dream was to live in America and it was something that he actively pursued. It was weird to have a Scottish immigrant (who is now an actual American citizen, something he talks about in the book) describe to me so accurately what the American dream is about. I rarely have my American patriotism in full swing (not that I’m not patriotic, but you know what I mean) but he really did it for me. I was definitely not expecting that.

By the end of the book I found myself crying with tears of sadness, laughter and joy. Then I had to go online and look for clips from his show. I would recommend this book to anyone (though beware he does like to use a bit of foul language). Best memoir I have read in a very very long time!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Does the Cover Really Matter?

So as I was looking around Barnes & Noble the other day (you know, shopping for the book that would become my awesome GIVEAWAY prize), I noticed how a lot of classic books have like a zillion different covers and editions to choose from. I mean seriously! And you'd think because they are classics that they're all be pretty classicly-themed covers, right? Wrong. They're all over the place!

I'll give you an example of what I mean. Take a gander at just 8 of the possible covers for the undeniable classic Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte:

Let's go row by row, shall we?

The first is the actual version of the book that I own (so obviously that means it's the best). Pretty simple. I'm assuming this is the lovely (barf barf) Heathcliff's house all dimmed in the moonlight. Kind of haunting right? Eerie? I think that's a good enough cover.

Next is just a beautiful woman's face...I'm guessing Catherine? Well she is the female lead. But kind of a dull cover in my opinion but definitely a normal one for a classic book.

Moving on! UGH!!!! Does that seriously say Bella and Edward's favorite book in the upper corner? And it is all Twilighty. Yuck. Worst. Cover. Ever.

Last one on the top row: I'm assuming this is supposed to be the countryside that the novel takes place in but it is all too bright and cheery for this dark and depressing read. Bad call art department!

Next row...this reminds me of Persepolis for some reason. Anyone else? I like it because it's different and still has that eerie feeling to it. Not reading romance at all so that's a plus.

This next one is the only one I see that has both a man and woman on it, so it's nice that it includes Heathcliff, but it's not reading very dark and disturbing to me. Nice that the moors are involved though.

Almost done. This is very Tim Burton, yes? Which is a nice change of pace and I've seen this treatment on other classics as well but other then having fun with the cover I don't really see the point. It's still just a drawing of a woman. Oh wait, is there a little house in the background?

And last but...well yes least. What the heck is this? I mean seriously! Ferns? What is the point of this cover? Someone didn't feel like doing anything special with this one.

So what do you all think? Which one is your favorite cover? Lease favorite (let's leave out that fern one because otherwise I think this would be a pretty easy question to answer, haha). And can you believe I actually found TWO books that had covers that mentioned Edward and Bella? TWO!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

100 Followers Giveaway - It's Happening!

Alright, as the title states: it's happening. I went to the bookstore today and picked out the book I'll be sending to the lucky winner of my 100 Followers Giveaway. Are you all excited? Well you should be because I picked an AWESOME book! You ready?

It's The Bronte Sisters, a collection of three books, one from each sister: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte.
How great is that? Now the whoever wins can be just like me and read something from each sister! And really, who doesn't want to be just like me, right? And I figure this book is great for anyone because everyone likes at least ONE of the Bronte sisters.

The only thing I have to do now is actually get to 100 followers. I'm 11 away at the moment (damn you #89!). So help spread the word about my blog because the sooner I get to #100 the sooner I'll open up this giveaway and the sooner you'll have a chance to win win win (I say it 3 times because it's really winning 3 books, see?)!!

The day I hit 100 I'll post the rules for entering the giveaway, so be prepared and stay could happen at any moment...

Non-Fiction Used to be My Lover

You know, it's really hard to be a blogger when your home internet decides not to work every other day...

Well anywho!

It seems lately I’ve been on this non-fiction book kick. I don’t know why but I think everyone reads in their own little genre spurts. Non-fiction books used to be my one and only love but the beginning of last year I got into the classics. And I’ve been in love ever since. Not that classics are now all I read of course, but they’re by far the majority. Usually it’ll go classic, classic, literary fiction, classic, non-fiction…and the cycle repeats. Although this does all depend on the whims of the Chicago Public Library and when they feel the urge to divulge the wonderful books I’ve placed on hold. So if a non-fiction book I placed on hold a month ago suddenly becomes available I have no choice but to break my pattern. I simply MUST read it. I must!

But lately I just needed the non-fic back in my life. I think part of the problem was that the classics I have read recently haven’t been as wholly awesome as I have wanted them to be. Not that they have been bad, but they have mostly been in the 3 star range. Then came Isaac’s Storm and that was close to a 5 star book. It reminded me of how great my non-fiction lover could be!

So I strayed from my pattern and picked up one of my birthday books: American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson. It was a memoir (and really what a treat, I’ll be writing my review later this week). Now I’m reading another non-fiction. Part true crime, part just a simple story of the Texas legal system and a lawyer’s life called The Autobiography of an Execution by David R. Dow. Next up: Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. I know you all have to have heard of that one!

I know after these I’ll go back to my pattern but it does feel nice to shake things up every once in a while, you know? Hopefully I’ll return back into the foray of classics with a great one. A feminist one? Suggestions?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Books Everywhere!

I was looking around my apartment today and realized that I have books literally everywhere! I mean, it's kind of ridiculous.

My place isn't that big, well I guess it's big for a single gal living in Chicago by herself, but still. So I only have two actual bookcases and they only are about 3 1/2 feet tall and a couple feet wide. For a crazy book freak like myself that just simply does not cut it. They were already full of books when I moved in and it's not like I was going to STOP buying books. Let's get serious people!

So I took a little glance around. There's my nightstand, otherwise known as bookshelf #3, where I have my Kindle and 7 other books piled up. And I just recently removed some books from there to just place a few on top of my actual bookcases (so those don't even look nice and neat anymore, darnit!).  I see that on the end table by my couch I have two books... Oh, on my desk there are a couple I just picked up from the library. On my kitchen counter I have the two I just bought today (that was on accident, I simply should not be allowed in bookstores ever!). And in the lovely wicker basket I have in my living room, which is supposed to store pillows and blankets, I have 1...2...10 books in there.

Anyone else seem to have this problem? Not saying it's a bad thing. I like that literally everywhere you look in my apartment you can find a book. Does it make me look like a big nerd? Probably but who cares! I love me some books :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

E-Reader Questioneer

Okay, since I didn't have a post yesterday (and my earlier post was more of a rant than anything) I decided to post twice for today.

I found this questioneer over at Wall-to-Wall Books and decided to post it here as well because it looked like fun. So I hope you enjoy! Feel free to post (and link back) on your own blogs :)

1. What kind of eReader do you own?
Kindle. the new kind with WiFi and 3G.

2. How long have you had it?
I got it for Christmas this year. Thanks Mom and Dad!

3. What was your first bought book?
I haven't "bought" a book yet. Hooray for free classics! But the first book I downloaded and read was Persuasion by Jane Austen. However for my birthday my family did buy me a few books for my Kindle. But I still haven't bought anything on it.

4. Name 3 random books on your eReader "shelves" or in your "library" that are waiting to be read.
-The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
-Richard III by William Shakespeare
-Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

5. Name 3 random books on your eBook wishlist.
These would be ones I actually would have to pay for. I'm just afraid that once I start buying books it'll be a slippery slope, haha.
-The Lost City of Z by David Grann
-Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
-Kindred by Octavia Butler

6. What will your next purchase probably be and why?
Well, that would be my first EVER purchase and so it'll be some really dirt cheap classic for like $1 or something. Probably Island by Aldous Huxley.

7. If you get music (Nook Color gets Pandora) what was the last song or singer you looked up?
n/a. And even if it wasn't, I probably wouldn't use mine for music. My Kindle is for BOOKS.

8. How often do you use your eReader?
I try to switch off between reading from my Kindle and reading from a real book. So it goes: real book, Kindle, real book, Kindle, etc...

9. Have you downloaded any magazines?
Nope. Again, I haven't spent any money yet. Also, I don't really read any magazines anyway so...

10. How did you ever survive without an eReader?
I used the library a lot more than I do now, though I still use it quite a bit. And I spent A LOT more money on books! As you all know, I'm a lover of the classics so I was always buying up whatever I found in the bookstore. But now that I can download most of them for free I am overjoyed! It has really helped my pocketbook :)

Fantastic Five Friday! (on Saturday)

BLOGGER SUCKS TODAY! Oh my goodness I'm really pissed off. I had a whole post ready to go for my FFF on Saturday, a day late but whatever and it will not post correctly. I had a whole poetry theme because it's National Poetry Month but I can't do it! Sentences are getting misplaced everywhere and pictures fucking up. Son of b!$#h! And you know me. I don't curse on this blog but I am beyond frustrated. I've been sitting at my computer for over an hour trying to get this done.
So here. I was going to post all these lovely children's poems for me Fantastic Five Friday (on Saturday) post but that's not going to happen. Instead I'd like to turn your attention to this website: where I was going to copy and paste a couple poems from like Robert Louis Stevenson's The Land of Nod and Sarah Josepha Hale's Mary's Lamb. Also I was going to post some Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelustky because who doesn't love them. But when I type out a poem it gets all kinds of messed up so SCREW IT!
Hope everyone else is having a better day!