Monday, September 30, 2013

September Chapter

Welcome to the Read.Write.Repeat. monthly wrap-up.  Every month, I give a quick overview of what books I read, the progress made on the 100 Best Novels goal, a few book-related links, and general blog news.  

September News

I kicked off September with my first review for a book tour.  I had a great experience partnering with TLC Tours.  I really enjoyed Visiting Tom by Michael Perry.  I am excited about future book tours.  You can look forward to my first partnership with Novel Publicity later this week.  I also have two more TLC Tours lined up for later this fall.  I'm excited about each one! You can always count on my honest opinion.  That's a promise.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ulysses - James Joyce

I finally did it.  I triumphed over James Joyce!

Ok, I'm not actually sure I can say that.  After all, I think I understand about 10% of this so-called masterpiece.  I can honestly say that I have never read a more confusing book in my life.  Anyone who claims to understand this work completely is lying.  There is nothing else to it.  Joyce himself predicted that it would talk generations to get to the bottom of Ulysses's layers.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Someday, Someday, Maybe - Lauren Graham

I have a confession to make.

I never would have picked up this book had it not been written by the incomparable Lauren Graham.  Recently, you may know her from the show Parenthood, but more than likely you, like I, see her forever as Lorelei Gilmore.

Yeah.  That Lorelei.  The one with wild jungle brain and the most perfect daughter ever known to television.  She wrote a book.  Ok, technically the actress who played Lorelei wrote the book, but that seems a small detail to note.  Obviously, I was going to read it.  It really didn't even matter what it was about.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Dinner - Herman Koch

Are you as happy as I am that it is Friday?  Probably not.  I'm pretty happy.  I live for weekends these days.  Weekends mean hanging out with Kevin, reading, writing blogs for the next week, and general relaxation.  Far better than being at the office.

Weekends sometimes mean dinners out.  Kevin and I love good food.  We realized this year that we are actually a bit snobby sometimes about our food, though only at restaurants.  We love a good fancy dinner. We really need no occasion to go; it's a bad habit for our bank account.  With all our expensive taste, though, we have yet to visit a restaurant like the one in Herman Koch's The Dinner. This unnamed restaurant, which serves as the setting for the book, would far exceed our budget, even for a special occasion.  

Koch, a Dutch author, breaks the book into sections, each named after a dinner course.  The entirety of the novel takes place in one evening at the restaurant. Though Koch employs a series of memories to fill in more details, the main event is one dinner. Two brothers and their wives dine together. Paul, the main character, resents his sibling, Serge, who is expected to be the next prime minster.  

At first, the book seems to just be about an unpleasant evening born out of the necessity of familial relations.  As more is revealed, however, it becomes obvious that this is no ordinary dinner.  These couples are together to discuss the actions of their sons and how to handle them.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

As I mentioned on Monday, my posting schedule is a bit off this week.  Rather than the typical Tuesday/Thursday posts, I am spacing out three posts this week.  Hopefully you stopped by on Monday to read about The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.  Today, I am once again touching on a book from the 100 Best Novels list.  Before you raise your hand and complain that I am not delivering the variety I promised for this week, take heart in the fact that Slaughterhouse-Five is about as far from Brodie as one can get.

Back in high school, I remember being given a list of books to choose from for a project. Slaughterhouse-Five had made the list and one of my classmates chose it.  I remember having only a vague impression of Kurt Vonnegut's work; it was out there.  Don't ask what I picked; I'm sure it was something far from controversial.

Had I read Slaughterhouse-Five as a high school sophomore, I undoubtedly would have had a much different opinion of it than I do now.  The book is a bit "out there."  It is a satirical look at WWII and alien abduction.  Yes, both of those things. The aliens are what take it a bit off the rails for me.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark

Surprise!  Here I am on a Monday!  

I have been reading at such a voracious rate lately, I figured I should squeeze in three books this week, rather than the typical two.  Considering that I have four books finished and waiting in the wings, another two started, and a whole collection waiting On Reserve, I felt the need to increase the pace a bit.  So, this week, rather than the typical Tuesday/Thursday routine, you can expect new posts today, Wednesday, and Friday.  You can also expect quite a range of genre this week.  I have been hopping all over the place lately.

Today, we continue with the 100 Best Novels challenge.  I am very slowly making progress on the list, a fact which excites me.  Over on my personal blog, I made the goal of completing this list by my 30th birthday.  This means reading about two books a month from the list.  The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie marked my second such book for the month of August.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sweet Tooth - Ian McEwan

It's no secret that Atonement by Ian McEwan ranks as one of both my favorite books and my favorite movies.  After all, you know me - nothing thrills me like an unhappy ending.  Side bar: What is wrong with me?

Last year, when McEwan released his latest work, Sweet Tooth, I immediately added it to my On Reserve list.  I had never read another book by the British author.  I figured myself long overdue.  I had to find out if the remainder of his work lived up to Atonement.  As with many books on the list, it took me about a year to finally work my way around to the book.  So was it worth the wait?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Visiting Tom - Michael Perry

As I have mentioned, I am actively seeking ways to improve Read.Write.Repeat.  I want to appeal to a wider audience and increase the variety of posts.  As always, I am open to and eager for your suggestions.

One of the biggest steps I am taking now is to start participating in book tours.  For those of you who do not know, book tours are designed to help authors promote their work.  In the real world, this means a literal tour of book stores and promotional events across the country.  In the virtual world, this means scheduling your book for review on a series of blogs like this one.  

There are a variety of companies out there who organize these events.  Today, I am proud to be joining TLC Book Tours as a host.  I hope this will be the start of a long and profitable relationship. TLC does not require positive reviews; instead, they allow bloggers to speak honestly about what we have read.  They also tour a wide variety of genres.  Both of these things make me excited to work with them.

As I start my journey as a tour host, I commit to retaining quality in my book choices.  I do not want to spend my time reading a bad book any more than you want to read about one.  When TLC contacted me about Visiting Tom, I launched into my standard research on a new book.  Turns out, this book has been receiving stellar reviews around the Internet and even hit the New York Times bestseller list.  Despite it being solidly outside my typical genres of choice, I was sold.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Living History - Hillary Rodham Clinton

Way back at Christmas, I picked up a stack of books from the second-hand store where my mother-in-law works.  Their inexpensive prices convinced me to a grab a few for which I normally would not have paid.  While I get most of my new reads from the library, it can be so nice to own a book and not ever have to worry about when it's due.  That applies especially in cases like this, where the book is one I won't be tearing through in under a week.

Living History chronicles Hillary Rodham Clinton's life up through her years as First Lady.  The memoir is a bit dated now; it was published in 2003.  Clinton has been and continues to be a polarizing figure in American politics.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Matched - Ally Condie

What is it exactly that has so captured the world about futuristic, dystopian novels lately?  Does anyone have a good answer to that?  Because here I am with another one.

You would think after books like The Hunger Games or Divergent or most definitely Wool, I would quit while ahead.  I already know there are far more duds in this genre than delights.  Still, I soldier on, hoping for another winner.

I wanted to like Ally Condie's Matched.  I really, truly did.  It has enjoyed a level of popularity that falls just under that of books which make it to the silver screen.