Friday, October 9, 2015

Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

I was a little hesitant going into this book. I knew almost nothing about it, except for the ending and the fact that a lot of people find it dense and unreadable. So imagine my surprise when I found it a surprisingly easy and compelling read.

Madame Bovary tells the story of farmgirl Emma, who marries provincial doctor, Charles Bovary, and almost immediately regrets it when she realises that it means she has to live in the provinces. She uses books as a means of escapism until her mother-in-law decides that all this fiction reading is making her hysterical, and orders Charles to cut off her access to books. So Emma turns to affairs instead.

I don't know if it was the translation I read or if I was just in the right headspace for this book, but I flew through it. The writing was beautiful, the story was pretty fast paced for a classic, and the characters felt surprisingly modern a lot of the time. Sure, Emma's occasional bouts of full blown hysteria weren't exactly modern, but it's a nineteenth century book. We can't expect everything.

While I was reading this, I was struck several times by similarities to Anna Karenina. Or at least the Anna-y parts of Anna Karenina. Unhappy marriage, one child, affairs, tragic ending. Except that I liked this approximately a thousand times more than Anna Karenina, with all its rambling side plots and segues about farming.

The ending was both more and less dramatic than I'd imagined, and while I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the "whip around all the main characters to find out their fates" chunk at the very end - because it seemed a little anticlimactic after the drama that preceded it - I still appreciate that it was included to demonstrate the impact that certain events had on those involved.

On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I'd definitely recommend it.

Have you read it? What did you think??

K xx

Monday, October 5, 2015

September reading wrap up

Another month over, and we're definitely into the pointy end of the year now!

Books read: 34. WHAT IS HAPPENING.
New vs rereads: 22 vs 12. This month was...not good in terms of rereads. There were too many new books I wanted to read, dammit!
Most read genre: Contemporary. AGAIN. Although fantasy was only one book behind...

Favourite book: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Holy hell, it was amazing.
Least favourite book: I guess by default it goes to the book that I DNFed, The Fifth Season. But really, the problem with this wasn't the book so much as that it just wasn't the book for me.
Favourite cover: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray. It's so preeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetty!

Diverse Books Project: This month was definitely an improvement on last month in terms of how much I enjoyed the books I read. But I did quit one, so...I guess it balances out.

Oh yeah. I also got a haircut.

In September, I ended up reading 3 graphic novels, 2 non-fiction books, and 29 novels. There are links to all my Goodreads reviews below!

5 stars
Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

4.5 stars
Roller Girl
Roller Girl

4 stars
Lair of Dreams (The Diviners, #2)Tales of the Otherworld (Otherworld Stories, #II)Hawkeye, Vol. 4: Rio BravoThe Shepherd's CrownMy Brilliant Career / My Career Goes BungCinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)Scarlett UndercoverTalk Under WaterEl DeafoWhat I Thought Was TrueThe Last Camel Died at Noon (Amelia Peabody, #6)The Miraculous Fever-treeThe Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2)Madame BovaryThe Last Leaves Falling
Lair of Dreams | Tales of the Otherworld | Hawkeye Vol 4: Rio Bravo | The Shepherd's Crown | My Brilliant Career/My Career Goes Bung | Cinder | Scarlett Undercover | Talk Under Water | El Deafo | What I Thought Was True | The Last Camel Died At Noon | The Miraculous Fever Tree | The Light Fantastic | Madame Bovary | The Last Leaves Falling |

3.5 stars
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)Becoming Kirrali LewisWay Down Dark  (The Australia Trilogy, #1)Guardian of the DeadEverything, EverythingSoon (Once, #5)Hello, Goodbye, And Everything In Between
Queen of Shadows | Becoming Kirrali Lewis | Way Down Dark | Guardian of the Dead | Everything Everything | Soon | Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between |

3 stars
The Islands at the End of the World (Islands at the End of the World, #1)The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next, #3)The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the BountyWorld After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse, #8)
The Islands at the End of the World | The Well of Lost Plots | The Bounty | World After | The Iron King | From Dead to Worse |

2.5 stars
Tyrannosaur Canyon (Wyman Ford #1)Prey
Tyrannosaur Canyon | Prey |

2 stars
Thanksgiving |

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)
The Fifth Season

What did you read in September?

K xx

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Brilliant Career - Miles Franklin

Oh, hi. Remember when I used to do this blogging thing? Yeah, me too...

I actually finished this one about three weeks ago, and just kept on forgetting to actually review it. Whoops.

So. My Brilliant Career. It's the story of Sybylla, a teenage girl growing up in rural Australia in the 1890s. Her father makes bad decisions and ends up dirt poor. The family try to scrounge a living together, but the drought hits and all the animals start dying. So Sybylla's reasonably rich grandmother takes her off her parents' hands with the hopes of marrying her off or turning her into a governess. But Sybylla wants to do something more with her life, and starts writing about her life.

Sybylla was a FABULOUS character. She's sassy and fiercely independent and often talks in all caps. She'd rather hang out with the shearers and the grooms than with people of her own class. In short, she feels like a teenager struggling her way through a world where she's expected to be an adult already.

It's full of incredible characters and funny moments and amazing writing.

But then I hit My Career Goes Bung. was not good. The basic gist of it is that everything we knew in My Brilliant Career was what Sybylla had written. In My Career Goes Bung, she tells us that huge parts of My Brilliant Career were fictional. There was no Harold Beecham. She had no siblings. Her mother and grandmother were both vastly different characters.

So basically? We had to get to know Sybylla all over again. And I didn't like Writer Sybylla nearly as much as the character she'd apparently created. Especially when she was dumped into an all-new environment with all-new characters.

In summary, I gave the omnibus book 4 stars, but it was more like 4.5 stars for My Brilliant Career and 3 stars for My Career Goes Bung.

Have you read this? What did you think?

K xx

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

August reading wrap up

So. September is a thing that's happening now. If someone could explain to me how the hell it's possible for it to be September already, that would be fabulous...

Books read: 31.
New vs rereads: 15 vs 16
Most read genre: Fantasy! For once, my most read genre wasn't contemporary tralalalalalala. Don't get me wrong, I love contemporary books. But it's a delightful novelty to list something else here.

Favourite book: Based on the ratings below, it was The Assassin's Blade. But I think Pretty Girls might actually be my favourite book of the month, despite the fact that it was so totally squick-worthy that I couldn't bring myself to give it 5 stars.

Least favourite book: The Affair of the Poisons. The most exciting thing about it was the title. Everything else was so dry it may as well have been chicken that's been on the grill for an hour.

Favourite cover: Oh man. This is really hard, because the Throne of Glass covers are all super pretty and super similar. Maybe it's Akata Witch?? Let's go with that.

Diverse Books Project: I had kind of a mediocre month with my Diverse Books Project. All but one of the four books I read (the fifth one I read during July) were good but not great. Hopefully September is better?? Also, it was VEDA so all of my videos are part VEDA, part Diverse Books Project. So...yeah.

In August, I ended up reading 2 graphic novels, 2 non-fiction books, and 27 novels. There are links to all my Goodreads reviews below!

5 stars
The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1-#0.5)
The Assassin's Blade |

4.75 stars
Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)
Heir of Fire |

4.5 stars
Pretty Girls: A Novel
Pretty Girls |

4.25 stars
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 3: CrushedCrown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)
Ms Marvel: Crushed | Crown of Midnight |

4 stars
My Love Lies Bleeding (Drake Chronicles, #1)This One SummerHold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper StoryMaking Money (Discworld, #36)The Whale RiderHow To Say Goodbye In RobotThrone of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Down UnderThe Boy Most Likely To
My Love Lies Bleeding | This One Summer | Hold Me Closer | Making Money | The Whale Rider | How to Say Goodbye in Robot | Throne of Glass | Down Under | The Boy Most Likely To |

3.5 stars
AirframeOf Silk and Steam (London Steampunk, #5)Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)Deeds of the Disturber
Airframe | Of Silk and Steam | Angelfall | Akata Witch | The Deeds of the Disturber |

3 stars
Servant of the Underworld (Obsidian and Blood, #1)Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the WestAll Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, #7)Blood Feud (Drake Chronicles, #2)The Last Oracle: A Sigma Force NovelMen of the Otherworld (Otherworld Stories, #I)MiddlemarchChasing Impossible (Pushing the Limits, #5)Cockatiels at Seven (Meg Langslow, #9)The Kite RunnerFull Blast (Full Series, #4)
Servant of the Underworld | Wicked | All Together Dead | Blood Feud | The Last Oracle | Men of the Otherworld | Middlemarch | Chasing Impossible | Cockatiels at Seven | The Kite Runner | Full Blast |

2 stars
The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Infanticide and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV
The Affair of the Poisons |

What did you read in August?

K xx
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