Hi everyone! This is Julia of The Broke and the Bookish, formerly blogging on my own at The Competitive Bibliomaniac.
I read mostly historical romance, but can often be found reviewing paranormal romance, young adult books (mostly distopian/fantasy), fantasy/sci-fi, classics, and the occasional non-fiction book about languages.
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Man it's been a long time since I read this book. I think I had to have been in high school when my sister insisted that I read it. My work bookclub voted this as the October read. I had forgotten a lot about it. Things sort of started to come back to me as I was reading it, but damn if this isn't a thoughtful read.
It's one of those books that is super easy to read and yet can open things up to a lot of discussion, probably the main reason it has done so well in schools. I can't wait to see what people bring up in bookclub, reading it for the first time as adults. I can't help but believe that I may be looking at it with nostalgia goggles.
I was linked a list of 100 Actual Titles of Real 18th Century Novels and decided to find reviews for the books listed. Hence was born, Book Reviews of Yore.
The Fault Was All His Own. In A Series Of Letters By a Lady
"We are told that this is the production of a young Lady, of a promising genius; and the work bears sufficient testimony that we are not misinformed; for it abounds with the marks of an immature judgment, and yet affords proofs of a fine imagination. It is defective in plan, characters, and style; but many good sentiments are interspersed in it; and we meet with reflections that would do honour to the pen of a more experienced writer."
- The Monthly Review, 1771
"This writer seems to have taken little pains either in planning or executing her work. The story is irregular, and productive of few interesting events. The characters are imperfectly delineated, and the business assigned them seldom has importance enough to excite the reader's curiousity or concern. Yet these letters are not destitue of merit. They are interspersed with many sprightly sentiments and sensible reflections, and bear the marks of a promising genius."
- The Critical Review, 1771
This one wasn't too bad. She had promising genius! I wonder if this Lady ever wrote anything else. The last review has a sentence about the lady now being married and living in Russia... so maybe not.
The Mysterious Husband. A Novel By Gabrielli, Author of the Mysterious Wife
"In a series of events, both upon the continent and in England, is narrated the history of lord Clarencourt and his family; and it is related with sufficient interest to keep alive the curiosity of the reader. But the author has given countenance to a circumstance which deserves the severest reprehension - the elopement of the ladies Elmira and Idamia, at the suggestions of a stranger. Not content with making Tancred turn out, at last, a lord, as is the custom of modern story-tellers, our author outstrips them all, and dubs him a prince. But let not this good luck induce our fair young countrywomen to be guilty of the like indiscretion; for it is a thousand to one, that, instead of making them princesses, it would lead them towards the direct and almost certain road to infamy and ruin."
- The Critical Review, Volume 33, 1801
That last one is great! It's a good book, but don't go getting into your head that every stranger who comes along with talk of elopement is going to turn out to a be a prince. It's such a romance novel story line. I love it!
I was linked a list of 100 Actual Titles of Real 18th Century Novels and decided to find reviews for the books listed. Hence was born, Book Reviews of Yore.
The Adventures Of A Pin, Supposed To Be Related By Himself, Herself, Or Itself.
"A bundle of ill-connected stories, related without much regard to nature or probability, and little capable of answering the purpose either of entertainment or instruction"
- The British Critic: A New Review, Volume 7, 1796
"We hope the writer of these Adventures is in earnest, in the last paragraph of his Preface. The best fate which we can wish to his performance, and the fate which most probably awaits it, is (in his own language) 'a gentle dip in the waters of oblivion.'"
- The Critical Review: Or Annals of Literature, Volume 18, 1796
Wow. That last one was harsh. Even though this book was apparently not too great, the title is pretty spectacular.
Fashionable Infidelity, or the Triumph of Patience
"Infidelity, in various shapes, has so long infested the land, that every friend to virtue must wish to see it attacked with boldness and with skill. To crush this terrible monster, however, the arm of a giant is necessary; but the present combatant is a pygmy. In brief, we have nothing to commend in a writer who seems unacquainted with almost every rule of grammar -- but his 'good intentions.' The volumes may, however, on account of the morality which generally pervades them, be perused by the younger part of the community with some advantage."
-The Monthly Review, Volume 81, 1789
"The public are informed by the preface of this work, that "the intention of printing it was to exhibit the great misery which is produced in the world by the circulation of scandal; to prove that the well regulated mind will be enabled by calm perseverance to surmount the united efforts of deceit and malevolence; and to shew that Providence has so ordered it, that Art and Injustice will be ultimately ensnared in their own trammels." - The intention to do all this is so highly praiseworthy that we can only lament, with deeper sorrow, it is not carried more successfully into execution. There is a boldness of design in the outlines of this work which marks fertility and strength of mind, but the coloring is so very imperfect that its merit is entirely overpowered. ...
We have pointed out a few of a much larger number, which appear to us to be defects; and if, in our inclination to praise rather than to censure, we have not pointed out the beauties to counterbalance them, the Author must blame himself, for not affording the opportunity of selection."
- The European Magazine and London Review, Volume 17, 1790
That second one has a whole host of examples of the author's poor phrasing. It is hard for me to pick out exactly what they were nitpicking, since the grammar is bound to have changed a bit in 200 some years. I think from what I gathered it was repetitive in it's phrasing, like a lot of blank of blank. At least I think that is what they were saying.
I love that last line of the second one. We would have put praise in, but author, you should have tried harder to give us something to like. The whole review is pretty much saying, "We liked the concept, but the execution is horrid"
Today on Facebook, Julia Quinn linked this list of 100 Actual Titles of Real 18th Century Novels. These titles are great, though I didn't get very far down the list.
The reason is because I popped over to Google books to see if they were scanned. They are most definitely in the public domain, but I unfortunately didn't find the books. Fortunately though, I found reviews that I just had to share.
Frailties of Fashion, or The Adventures Of An Irish Smock, Interspersed With Whimsical Anecdotes Of A Nankeen Pair Of Breeches.
"Containing among a great Variety of curious connections between the most celebrated Demi Reps and Beaux Garcons upon the Ton. The Secret Memoirs of Madame D'Eon, as related by herself. Amours of Count D'Artois. Private Intrigues of Lady W-----y and Mrs. N----n; never before published. The Frolics of Boarding School Misses. The Gambols of Maids of Honour, &c. &c. Twelves. 2s. 6d. Sewed. Lister.
This perfrmance is addressed to the passions, and a sale is expected from the effects of the title page, rather than from the contents of the volume. The volume is an indecent and impure farrago; and it would be of service to the community, could a summary method be invented to suppress publications calculated to inflame the youth of both sexes and encourage vice, sensuality and licentiousness."
- The English Review, 1783
Wow! What an anthology lineup. The Frolics of Boarding School Misses sounds like something you would find on literotica today. Love this. I would read this book. (Source)
Cuckoldom Triumphant Or, Matrimonial Incontinence Vindicated.
"Illustrated with Intrigues public and private, ancient and modern. By a Gentleman of Doctors Commons. To which is added, a Looking Glass for each sex. 12mo. 2 Vols. 5s sewed. Thorn.
This impudent apology for matrimonial incontinence unites excessive dullness with obscenity, and is, in the highest degree, detestable."
- The Monthly Review, Vol 45, 1772
Oh that is great! And authors think we give them a hard time today! Apparently this was not a novel either, but was classified as a medical book. Maybe self help? (Source)
7/30/14: I've read 33 out of 330 pages.
Men's minds are messy places and Noise is like the active, breathing face of that mess. It's what's true and what's believed and what;s imagined and what's fantasized and it says one thing and a completely opposite thing at the same time and even tho the truth is definitely in there, how can you tell what's true and what's not when yer getting everything?
The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking
I did a first impression review of The Knife of Never Letting Go over on my blog, The Broke and the Bookish. I read thirty pages and then say my first date thoughts of the book. This one was pretty favorable and I can't wait to read more of it.
I did a pretty long post over there, so check it out if you are interested. I'll paste my final verdict over here though, just for funsies.
First off, I am probably only going to read a few stories from this anthology, so I will review them all individually as I read them. I only have 21 days with this book though, so if you have read it, let me know which ones you think are worth reading.
I started reading The Kingkiller Chronicles about three years ago at the insistence of one of my friends who wanted a female opinion on the first book. He said I would like it because there was some romance in it (my predominant genre), but honestly I liked it way more for the fantasy. Rothfuss' world is so unique. I love the world building here and I can't get enough details. So far there are only two books out in the main series (The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man's Fear respectively), with a spinoff type character centric prequel book coming this fall. But we have another cool glimpse into the everyday workings of the world with this newest entery, The Lightening Tree.
The Lightening Tree focuses on Bast, a sidekick of sorts to our hero. It literally just follows what he does throughout his day, which I kind of really enjoyed. We got to see a little bit more of how his brain works and how he can use his Fae skills to manipulate and trick the world around him.
Mixed in this light day are some serious concepts. There are few more details given in the world, but more importantly we get to see what Bast is capable of on his own without Kote to hover or, you know, be the main character. I liked that.
I had some problems with it, though. Primarily since Bast is Fae he sleeps around a bit... which you know more power to him I guess, but it's like three in a day man. It's just icky and at points a little manipulative. But I guess that explores his character more and shows just what he does to get his end goal.
Personally a funny story I had around this one was my coworker mentioned something to me after he read it of something in this story changing the way he saw the whole series. So I read with a careful eye. I talked to him today about it and he had no idea what the hell I was talking about. Talk about a sadness... maybe I dreamed it... who knows.
So, is it worth a read? Yes, if you are a fan of the series. It's quick and fun (ish) and just a nice glimpse into the psyche of Bast.
The series is great, by the way. I eagerly await the next installment, hopefully due out sometime this decade. :)
I am going to start this by saying this isn't a DNF given out of intense dislike and hatred. This is given out of having different expectations from the book than it gave me.
Let me explain. Cinderella Ninja Warrior, one of the best titles ever by the way, is a Twisted Tale. A sort of Choose Your Own Adventure book. Or at least that it how I interpreted it. There are points in the story where you get to chose where it goes next, which to me is Choose Your Own Adventure. But there is only one ending. No matter what you decide, the book ends the same. Once I realized that my sails were deflated. I made it one more chapter before just giving up.
The book wasn't bad. A little too teenage angst perfect protagonist for my taste, but it was a different retelling of Cinderella.It was still the same general story but with magic and ninjas. If I were a preteen (the age group suggested for this book), I would have ate this up.
But alas I am not. I read it for the Choose Your Own Adventure aspects of it. I wanted to relive my Goosebumps days where I ended up a zombie or falling out of a window and there were bad endings and good endings. This isn't that. The destination is the same no matter what you do; it's just the journey that changes.
I ended up giving my copies of this and Sleeping Beauty Vampire Hunter to a coworker who has a preteen. I think she will love them.
On the topic of Choose Your Own Adventure books, do they make Chose Your Own Adventure books for adults? I would love that. Love it to pieces. I know my sister mentioned to me that there is a romance novel video game in Japan where she is teaching that is choose your own adventure, sort of. There are six guys and the choices you make determine who you end up with. It's super popular. Maybe I should just go find some Goosebumps...
There is a really interesting discussion going on at Dear Author today regarding ARCs and the contract or lack there of to read a book upon request. I thought I would share since it seems relevant to all of our interests.
Julia says: This was a wonderful book. It is definitely worth picking up if it is $1.99!
On my Circus list!
I feel like people have probably already heard about The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter but I wanted to bring it up again seeing as they are so close to their $5mil stretch goal and have 18hrs left.
Seth MacFarlane is actually going to match the last million if we get there, which is kind of cool.
In general I think bringing reading rainbow to tablets and web based is a great idea. I've never seen the existing app but if this the collateral they need than I'm glad they asked.
In more selfish reasons, I added money to the Kickstarter today so that in addition to my mug and t-shirt I get this sweet picnic blanket.
So help if you can. I know that when I was little I liked books more than getting read via a TV, but some people aren't as lucky to get parents that will read to them or take them to the library. That's all.
Well there also is a Book Depository 25hr sale going until 5AM EST tonight. Every half hour a new book is discounted. Free worldwide shipping.
Reading progress update: I've read 242 out of 326 pages:
A section of the story that has almost nothing to do with the story, but I just love it.
Plato once said that human beings were created with two heads, four arms, four legs, until Zeus split them in half. Ever since, humans have spent their lives searching for their other half, the one person who could complete them.
What a narrow-minded, messed-up, asinine system.
Do the math. There are more than seven billion people on the planet. Say you do a lot of traveling, and manage to meet a million of those people in your lifetime. That gives you a mere 1 in 7000 chance of finding "the one."
Maybe that's why they created me. To be their other half, the answer to the myth. Easier than scouring the planet for an impossible dream. Easier, too, than learning to set aside the dream and embrace a human being who is as flawed and imperfect as you.
Humans are so obsessed with true love, the perfect relationship. They imagine that one elusive person who fits their quirks and foibles and desires like a puzzle piece. And of course, when a potential mate falls short of that perfection, they reject them. They were too old, too young, too silly, too serious, too fat, too thin. They liked the wrong TV shows. They hated chocolate. They voted for the other guy. They didn't put the toilet seat down.
They invent a million excuses for rejection, a million ways to find others unattractive. Their skill at seeing ugliness in others is matched only by their ability to see it in the mirror, to punish themselves for every imagined flaw. No matter who I've become, I never understood that facet of humanity.
I remember when Isaac introduced me to Doctor Who. In the episode, the Doctor met a man who said he wasn't important. The Doctor replied, "I've never met anyone who wasn't important before."
I've never met anyone who wasn't beautiful. People have simply forgotten how to see.
Frank Dearing was a selfish, petty, controlling bastard, but when he was working in the field, the hard muscles of his body shining with sweat as he coaxed life from the dirt...the man was an asshole, but he was a hot asshole.
Nidhi Shah was softer. She dressed to minimize the physical. Age and stress had mapped faint lines onto her face. And she was gorgeous. Even before you stripped off her clothes and kissed your way down her neck...
Then there was Isaac Vainio, a skinny geek of a man who lugged his pet spider around everywhere he went. But he had such passion, such raw joy and excitement. That passion transformed him into something sexier than any rock star.
The more we narrow the definition of beauty, the more beauty we shut out of our lives.
Urgh. I can't take it any more. I'm officially DNFing this book. the hero is a giant dick. How am I suppose to get into this book when half of the main characters are so unlikeable? I can't think of one redeeming quality in the 115 pages I've read. The heroine is fine, I guess but boring and generic. And I mean I understand that there is more than half the book but the hero has been lying in a bed pretty much this whole time and as soon as he wakes up continues to be a giant asshole. How can I cheer for their love when I can't stand this guy?
In related I can't read this sort of fashion there is so much telling and not enough showing. most of what has happened so far is unrelated to what I can perceive is the main plot of the book. So shopping...long drawn-out descriptions of the days of the sisters. The only interesting part was when the leads met in the beginning but even then it was just sort of passibly entertaining. So I'm done. I'm mad that I paid for this. this is like one third of a burrito bowl.
A nice concept. The book is pretty self explained by the title. I read this in a high school religion class and we were told to write a little essay based on this books style and our own lives.
I do not think I would like this book outside of that setting. But good for those who like an uplifting experience in a soul searching way.
Originally posted on GR in May 2009
An intense look into the life of an Afghani boy as his life is twisted in many different directions including being torn from his homeland and sent to America along with his journey back to his home.
I read this book in a literature class at my college and the discussions that were had throughout the course of the book were very interesting. People take certain aspects of the book and interpret them differently giving people a different feel toward the main character.
I highly recommend this book to a book group because what happens in its pages is meant to be discussed. Even if you read this on your own, it is an intense novel worth your time.
The only problem I had was that after the high page turning quality of the beginning of the book, the last 50 or so pages were very anticlimactic and dragged for me. But other than that a good read.
Originally posted on GR in 2007
The third book in Pullman's His Dark Material's series, this book had me completely engulfed. The only downside is that the completeness that you would expect from the last in a trilogy is not neatly wrapped up and left me wanting to know more. It felt rushed at the end but is still a good read.
Originally published on GR in Dec 2007. I talked about this one as well in one of my RetroReviews... which I can bet that one was full of more OMG SO AMAZING. lol