Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Describe Yourself Book Tag


I found this book tag via Marianne's blog @ Let's read! The idea is to answer the questions with the titles of the books you've read in 2020... Well, not all the book titles I read during 2020 were appropriate enough to answer the following questions. So, I decided to choose books I've read over the years.

If you decide to participate in the 'Describe Yourself Book Tag', leave me a link in the comments section so that I can check out your post.

Here are my answers to the 'Describe Yourself Book Tag' as follows:

Describe yourself: Becoming by Michelle Obama

How do you feel: Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto

Describe where you currently live: Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: 
Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas

Your favorite form of transportation: 
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

Your best friend is: Pack of Two by Caroline Knapp

You and your friends are: 
The Girls by Lori Lansens

What’s the weather like: Out Came The Sun by Mariel Hemingway

You fear: The Witches by Roald Dahl

What is the best advice you have to give: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Thought for the day: 
Only Time Will Tell by Jeffery Archer

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

 

I absolutely adore the 1991 film adaptation of the novel, The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim, and have watched the film quite a few times over the years. I've wanted to read The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim ever since watching the film adaptation of this novel, but never did until now for various reasons.

So finally, almost 30 years after watching the film adaptation of The Enchanted April for the first time, I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim and narrated by Nadia May. 

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim was first published almost a century ago in 1922. It's a good classic, historical fiction novel. But frankly, I enjoyed the movie adaptation a bit more than I did the novel... There's only been a couple of times where I've enjoyed the movie version more than the novel itself and this was definitely one of those times.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim starts off well enough and even ends well enough, but the middle of the novel has its ups and downs for me... On the one hand, I enjoyed reading about what each of the four female main characters was thinking in more detail as they arrive and begin to unwind during their month long vacation/stay at a medieval castle in Italy. 

Each main of the four main character couldn't be more different from the other in terms of age and class... Being female, English, and their shared need to leave the dreary weather of London, England seemed to be their only common thread at the start of the novel. The insights to each woman's inner thoughts gave readers an enlightening perspective to their personal desires/thoughts and a glimpse of what a woman's life was like during this time period. But learning about their inner thoughts became too much after a while. I wish some of it had been pared down a bit quite frankly. 

I enjoyed the interactions between the characters in The Enchanted April and learning about where they were staying the most. Plus, seeing the transformation of each of the main characters by the novel's ending was also an added perk.

Listening time for The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim is 8 hours, 13 minutes. The narration for this novel was decent enough.

Below is the plot summary for The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim from Audible:

Four very diverse women, all seeking revitalization and escape from the dreary February rains of 1920s London, rent the small medieval castle of San Salvatore, nestled high above the bay of Portofino, Italy. Arriving at San Salvatore, they find it awash with the scent of flowers, its olive groves terracing down to the sun-warmed sea.

Mrs. Wilkins and Mrs. Arbuthnot are glad to leave their insipid duties and unresponsive husbands behind; the elderly Mrs. Fisher wishes only to sit in the sun and replay her youthful memories; and the bewitchingly beautiful Lady Caroline Dester desires to have seclusion from all adoring suitors. A month of blissful privacy at San Salvatore promises to be the remedy each of them is looking for. Amid the canopies of fragrant wisteria, in the sweet sunshine and melodious silence, four lives are transformed and resuscitated by the magic of San Salvatore.

I am giving The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, September 20, 2021

First Edition Copy of 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley Sells for $1.17 Million Dollars at Auction!!

 Wow, simply wow, at the sheer fact that a first edition copy of Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein, sells for $1.17 million dollars at auction.

I learned about the recent auction through an online article from CNN titled, First edition copy of 'Frankenstein' sells for over $1 million at auction by Kaanita Iyer. In the article, Kaanita Iyer wrote the following:

Christie's, which hosted the auction, estimated the book would go for $200,000 to $300,000. But by selling for nearly four to six times as much, the book set a record for the highest price paid for a published work by a woman, according to Fine Books Magazine.

I think it's pretty cool that Frankenstein set the record for the highest price paid for a published work written by a woman.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer

 

Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer is a book that has been on my reading wishlist for quite a while. I listened to the unabridged audio version of Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer, which was narrated by Sarah Mollo-Christensen.

I am a fan of true crime and in 2019, I thoroughly enjoyed Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman... However, the focus of this nonfiction book was on male serial killers, not women serial killers. In fact, the only female serial killer I knew a little about at the time was Aileen Wuornos.

I am happy that I finally listened to Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer as it focuses on several women serial killers (15+) throughout history and from different countries around the world. All of the women serial killers discussed in Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer were ones I'd never heard of before. The writing for Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer was good and I enjoyed the flow of this book. The narration was decent as well.

Below is the summary for Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer from Audible:

When you think of serial killers throughout history, the names that come to mind are likely Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. But what about Tillie Klimek, Moulay Hassan, and Kate Bender?

The narrative we're comfortable with is one where women are the victims of violent crime - not the perpetrators. In fact, serial killers are thought to be so universally male that, in 1998, FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood infamously declared that there are no female serial killers. Inspired by Telfer's Jezebel column of the same name, Lady Killers disputes that claim and offers 14 gruesome examples as evidence.

Although largely forgotten by history, female serial killers rival their male counterparts in cunning, cruelty, and appetite. Each chapter explores the crimes and history of a different female serial killer and then proceeds to unpack her legacy and her portrayal in the media as well as the stereotypes and sexist clich├ęs that inevitably surround her.

I am giving Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

 

I'd put off reading Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu for various reasons... I was mildly concerned that Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu wouldn't live up to the hype because it had won the 2020 National Book Award and also because so many people seemed to be talking about this novel last year.

Curiosity got the better of me though, so I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu and narrated by Joel de la Fuente earlier this month. 

I enjoyed Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu much more than I expected I would. This novel is written like a screenplay, which made it all the more unique. 

I must also add that listening to Joel de la Fuente narrate Interior Chinatown was a true pleasure... In fact, I may have liked Interior Chinatown just that much more as an audiobook than I would probably have if I had simply read this novel instead.

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu is a satire that focuses on the stereotypes that befall Asian Americans in a way new and engaging way that makes one think about "race, pop culture, immigration, and assimilation." If you like satire, then this novel is a good one.

Listening time for Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu is 4 hours, 20 minutes.

Below is the plot summary for Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu from Audible:

A 2020 National Book Award Winner

"One of the funniest books of the year...a delicious, ambitious Hollywood satire." (The Washington Post)

From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play.

Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: He’s merely Generic Asian man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but he is always relegated to a prop. Yet every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy - the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that’s what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more.

Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes, Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu’s most moving, daring, and masterly novel yet.

I am giving Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway

 

I listened to the unabridged audio version of Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway and the author narrates her memoir. 

Listening time for Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway is 9 hours, 7 minutes.

In general, I enjoy reading or listening to memoirs, and listening to Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway was no exception. 

However, I must admit that I was surprised to find myself listening to Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway this month as I'd never really been that interested in Mariel Hemingway's life in the slightest. I am not even sure I've ever seen any of the movies she has acted in over the course of her life. But for whatever reason the subtitle of Mariel Hemingway's memoir caught my attention and had me intrigued, so decided to give her memoir a go.

Surprisingly, I found Mariel Hemingway's memoir to be excellent overall. I enjoyed learning about most aspects of her life, although some areas of her life were not as interesting as other areas. I think the best take away for me was how well written and organized Mariel Hemingway's memoir was. She also devotes an appendix to resources for drug/alcohol addiction, mental health resources, eating disorders, and lifestyle health at the end of her memoir.

Below is a summary for Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway from Audible:
A moving, compelling memoir about growing up and escaping the tragic legacy of mental illness, suicide, addiction, and depression in one of America's most famous families: the Hemingways.

She opens her eyes. The room is dark. She hears yelling, smashed plates, and wishes it was all a terrible dream. But it isn't. This is what it was like growing up as a Hemingway. In this deeply moving, searingly honest new memoir, actress and mental health icon Mariel Hemingway shares in candid detail the story of her troubled childhood in a famous family haunted by depression, alcoholism, illness, and suicide. Born just a few months after her grandfather, Ernest Hemingway, shot himself, it was Mariel's mission as a girl to escape the desperate cycle of severe mental health issues that had plagued generations of her family. Surrounded by a family tortured by alcoholism (Mariel's parents), depression (her sister, Margaux), suicide (her grandfather and four other members of her family), schizophrenia (her sister, Muffet), and cancer (her mother), it was all the young Mariel could do to keep her head. In a compassionate voice, she reveals her painful struggle to stay sane as the youngest child in her family, coping with the chaos by becoming obsessive about her food, schedule, and organization.

The twisted legacy of her family has never quite let go of Mariel, but in this memoir she opens up about her claustrophobic marriage, her faltering acting career, and her turning to spiritual healers and charlatans for solace. Mariel has ultimately written a story of triumph about learning to overcome her family's demons and developing love and deep compassion for them. At last she can tell the true story of the tragedies and troubles of the Hemingway family, and she delivers an audiobook that beckons comparisons with Mary Karr and Jeanette Walls.

I am giving Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family by Mariel Hemingway a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!