Monthly Archives: September 2014

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey that allows bloggers to post a sort of wrap-up of the past week while also looking to the week ahead. Without further ado…

Last Week: I worked a full 12 hours on Monday, so I had the awesome (and rare!) chance to take Friday off completely. I spent the day questing through the lands of Skyrim, catching up on some reading, hanging out with my roommates, and going to a good friend’s surprise birthday party. It was a great day of rest and relaxation after a hard three weeks!

I read very little last week. It was another hard, busy week at work – and lots of serving stuff at my church also. I only finished two books – although one was a chunkster, coming in at 579 pages!

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

My True Love Gave to Me – Edited by Stephanie Perkins

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) – Deborah Harkness

Currently Reading: The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson; Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) – Deborah Harkness

The Haunting of Hill House Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)

Looking Ahead: More of the same, really. I’m excited to read more stuff for the R.I.P. IX Challenge – plus more spooky stuff that I’m not reading for the challenge! It’s that time of year! I’m leaving for vacation this Friday, so I’m hoping for some great reading time while I’m gone! We’ll see what happens!

The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co., #2)

The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) – Jonathan Stroud

Being busy has meant taking stock of my priorities and squeezing in reading time here and there. I’m learning that reading more slowly isn’t always a bad thing – especially if it means more time playing games, hanging with friends, and serving at church. So here’s to not worrying about my TBR so much!

 

 

 

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Review – A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)

 Title: A Discovery of Witches

 Author: Deborah Harkness

 Published/Age Group/Genre: 2011 – Adult Fiction – Paranormal

 Rating: 4/5

The Story: When Diana Bishop puts in a request at Oxford’s Bodleian Library to view a rare manuscript, all she wants is to get some work done for the conference she is going to present at. But suddenly she is swept into a mystery older and more important than anything she has ever encountered. She quickly learns that she is the first person to see the manuscript in hundreds of years – and when she sends it back into the library, it goes back into hiding. Now surrounded by vampires, witches, and daemons – all who want to know the manuscript’s secrets – she must confront her identity as the last of the famous Bishop witches, learn to use her magic, and navigate a forbidden relationship with the handsome vampire who is lurking on the edges of her life to protect her.

The Opening Line: The leather-bound volume was nothing remarkable.

What I Loved: This book is so complex. It weaves together science, history, and ancient arts like alchemy easily, making me work to understand the connections between all three. Another plus is how everything revolves around an ancient, enchanted manuscript that has hidden itself deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. I love books about books. The plot winds through time and has a unique system for magic, bringing together myth and realism in a a striking compare/contrast that left me on the edge of my seat.

What I Didn’t Love: Matthew and Diana’s relationship troubled me for a lot of reasons. No matter how much I learned about vampire pack dynamics, that didn’t help ease my discomfort as I watched Diana take a backseat to Matthew’s control and anger time and time again. He often tried to use fear and manipulation as a means of control – something that is never okay. Here’s hoping their relationship improves in future books.

Final Thoughts: I’ve read this one before, but I haven’t read the third book in the series, so I reread as a refresher. I’m glad I did because of the complex events and connections. While there were a couple things that troubled me, I do like the book a lot. It’s a good R.I.P. IX read without being too scary – perfect for this time of year.

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It’s Banned Books Week!

Every year, the American Library Association sets aside a week to celebrate the books that have been challenged or banned in our nation’s schools and libraries. Books are challenged or removed from libraries for many reasons, including (but not limited to!) sexual content, violence, religious viewpoint, offensive language, and unsuitability for the targeted age group. These are only a few of the reasons books are challenged – there are plenty more, including a ton of wacky ones that don’t even make sense.

In honor of Banned Books Week, I’m going to take a cue from my friend and coworker Lindsey by listing my top ten favorite banned books (in no particular order because I suck at ranking). If you’re anything like me, when a book is challenged, that just makes you want to read it more. Am I right? The books listed below are some of my all-time favorites – funny, important, challenging, and lovely.

1. 1984 – George Orwell

2. Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling

3. Scary Stories series – Alvin Schwartz

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

5. The Giver – Lois Lowry

6. Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson

7. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

8. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeline L’Engle

9. Goosebumps series – R. L. Stine

10. And Tango Makes Three – Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell

I remember reading most of these during some very formative periods of my life. The waves of nostalgia make me think of so many memories connected to these books. Spending the long, dark evenings before Halloween scaring myself with the Scary Stories and Goosebumps series. Reading and rereading Harry Potter as a comfort novel when my life felt bad. Using Speak to help me understand how a close friend was feeling as she opened up about the abuse she suffered in her childhood. These are the books I have read and reread multiple times, the books I go back to for comfort and a sense of safety. As a reader and librarian, it makes me sad when parents or others want to restrict access to these books. Just as they have been lifelines to me over the years, they can be lifelines to others who need them in a moment of hardship. And no one should have the right to deny someone else access to that.

Banned Books Week Links and Resources:

19 Banned Books if They Were Made Appropriate

33 Must-Read Books to Celebrate Banned Books Week

15 Classic Children’s Books that Have Been Banned in America

American Library Association

Banned Books Week

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