Bleak House by Charles Dickenszzzzz

Bleak House (Modern Library Classics)Finally! I finally finished. I don’t think it’s taken me this long to finish a book in ages. My normal daily minimum pages to read is 50. Hey. I have 2 kids a job and a life. It’s not easy to read more than that. With this book, I had to drop the minimum requirement to 25 pages, and even that was tough. Thinking back over the plot(s) it was pretty good, but Mr. Dickens has a way of drawing everything out to such proportions that the plot comes to a screeching halt. Actually, between pages 700 and 850, it picked up. But boy was it slim reward for reading that many pages beforehand.

Ok. Some semblance of the plot(s). A girl who is an orphan and knows nothing of her parents is taken under the guardianship of a man she doesn’t know, but who turns out to be a part of a VERY long-standing suit in Chancery. He has 2 other wards (a girl and a boy) and has taken the orphan girl to be a companion to the girl. Some folks, who are dangerous with such information, find out that this girl’s mother is a person of high rank and the girl is older than the woman’s marriage. Much drama then ensues.

This being Dickens, there is of course a moral. The evils of the Chancery court are horrendous and numerous. It ruins lives and needs to be eviscerated.

I’m not sorry I read it. But, I am not in a hurry to jump into another book that is heavy, like this. Please, God, don’t let War and Peace be the next book in my 12-book resolution.

Heather

My friend Heather heard the name of my blog today for the first time. Unfortunately, she was in an inverted yoga position at the time, so when she started laughing, she had to come out of the position in order not to injure herself. She laughed even harder at the tag line. I knew if anyone would get the reference, it’d be her. I heart Crue fans.

Thanks to Jmfausti. I think.

jmfausti sent me a copy of a book she hated. I got it today. So, um, thanks? Actually, I told her I wanted to get it from the library to see how bad it really is. She said don’t bother, since she was only going to burn her copy, anyway. So she sent it to me. I heart blog friends!

How can this be bad?

If you’ll notice, the categories for this entry are Books and Motley Crue. Yes, once again, dear readers, the two are one.

Nerd Girl Rocks Paradise City, by Anne Thomas Soffee, is my new acquisition. It is a memoir about the author’s years as a journalist in Hair Metal L.A. Let’s just say that I knew this book was for me when she quoted Vince Neil in the jacket copy. Hell Yeah! I love this chick. I’ll review it for real after I’ve actually read it.

Marie, you’ve got to see this book. She graduated from College in 1989, I think.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Myths) (Myths) The premise of this book intrigued me. The myth of the Odyssey from the perspective of Penelope. Hmmm. Better check it out. It was cute. A nice fast read. Not quite what I expected from Margaret Atwood. I guess I expected more high-brow lit stuff. Don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty of literary techniques at work here. Songs by the 12 maids as a chorus. Traditional Greek stuff.

It was very entertaining. Check it out.

The Friendship Test by Elizabeth Noble

The Friendship Test : A NovelThe story of this review is kind of neat, so I’ll tell it before I actually review the book. I got a random comment on a review a couple of months ago that I wasn’t sure was serious. It appeared to be from a guy at HarperCollins publishers, so I emailed him. Sure enough, the author of a book I reviewed and liked last year was about to have a new book out, and he wanted to send me a review copy. Woo Hoo! I thought. A free book! He sent it. I read it. Here’s the review.

There is something about the way Elizabeth Noble writes. She can take the most melodramatic, soap-opera-script, drivel and make it worth reading. The best word I can find to describe the way her books make me feel is comfortable. Maybe cozy. It’s like a plush chair, a warm blanket, and cocoa in front of the fire.

Now that you know what it feels like, let me tell you the plot. And remember, she tells it much better than I do. Frederica (Freddie), Tamsin, Sarah, and Reagan formed an unbreakable bond in college. Now, 19 years later, they are still best friends, except that Sarah died 3 years before the opening of the story. In one morning, Freddie takes her son back to his boarding school, which always messes with her emotionally, her husband tells her he’s having an affair, and she finds out her father died. She spends the rest of the book dealing with these major issues. Of course, as the title suggests, she does it with the help of her friends.

Hawkes Harbor by S. E. Hinton

Hawkes HarborS.E. Hinton is from around here, so I feel all community-helpful when I buy her books. I think this is her first adult novel. The rest are wonderful YA stuff.

The language was familiar. Lots of dialogue, minimal narration. But, I have to admit, it was wierd. I liked it, but it was wierd. You’re reading along and you think you’re just reading about a guy with a past in a mental hospital. Then suddenly, there’s a vampire! WTF?! Then, nearly as suddenly, he’s not a vampire anymore. Excuse me? I didn’t realize it was a treatable condition. Well, I guess the medical community hasn’t really nailed down the specifics of how the whole thing works, yet, so I guess she’s free to use creative license.

But, as it turns out at the end, it wasn’t really about the dude being a vampire at all. It was more about the friendship these two guys had for 10+ years.

It was almost like a treatise on toxic friendships. You know the kind. The one where everytime the person calls you cringe because you know when you hang up the phone in 3 hours, you’re going to be completely drained. Or the kind where your “friend” has a way of throwing in little comments to let you know you don’t meet quality control for basic humanness. Of course, this situation was slightly more extreme (blood sucking classifies as more extreme, right?) but it’s a metaphor.

Happy New Year!

And everyone knows that the new year means new resolutions. But here’s the thing. I make new resolutions all through the year about various things. All except one. I only make new book resolutions at the new year, because that’s the easiest way to keep track of whether or not I meet them.

I read 100 books last year. But then I went back and looked at my resolutions from last January. Yeah, it was to read less books and read better ones. So it looks like I’m going to be repeating last year’s resolutions. But this year, I have a plan.

I intend to read 50 books this year. 12 of those books will be for Tequila Mockingbirds bookclub. 12 of those are for the Chat and Craft bookclub if they move the time to one I can do. And 6 of those are for the Reading Matters bookclub. What is that 30, now? Okey doke. So 12 more are for my resolution to read big, important books. Okay, so maybe just big books. Also, all the books are currently on my shelf, so I’ll be actually reading some of those shelf-sitters that have been there for years. The last 8 are my choice. It’s for random stuff. Whatever gets thrown in my path.

I’ve already picked most of the books. I’ve decided to choose the books by drawing titles out of a hat. So, in no particular order, here are the 12 big books I resolve to read in 2006:

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
The Forest by Edward Rutherfurd
Wings of the Dove by Henry James
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber
…And Ladies of the Club by that woman with the really long name.
The Regency by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West

So, there they are Ladies and Gentlemen. Wish me luck.