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smellthebooks

Smell The Books

"Do you know that books smell like nutmeg or some spice from a foreign land?" - Fahrenheit 451

Currently reading

Princess in the Spotlight
Meg Cabot
Outlander
Diana Gabaldon
SPOILER ALERT!

Talk Of Angels

Talk of Angels - Kate O'Brien

This is one of my very favorite books.

 

Romantic?  Yes.  On every level.

 

Young, extremely beautiful Irish girl leaves her fiance, (who doesn't kiss very well) and travels to Spain for just one year so she can experience the real world before she gets married.  She takes a job as a governess to a rich, influential Spanish family, whose father and son have secret communistic dreams.  She becomes a "Miss" to three intelligent but boring Spanish girls and drives the other Irish "Misses" that work in her profession crazy with jealousy.  She even spurs one to confess her lesbian dreams of a romance with her.

 

She tastes Spanish life and it is very good indeed.  Bull fights, daily life, hot chocolate and beauty of the city she lives in.  Are you reading a travel guide, a romance, or a philosophical discourse of communism?  You are reading it all and it is much much better than my bare bones description of this book which was banned in Ireland when it was first published in 1937.

 

Go out and buy it and read it.  You won't be sorry.

The Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis

Ah, C.S. Lewis.

 

All Christians read him.

 

I have to admit, he is not one of my favorite Christian authors, nor do I think him as brilliant as so many do. 

 

I appreciate him.

 

I've tried to read the Narnia Chronicles twice.  I watched the movie.  I appreciate the effort.  But. I. just. can't. 

 

I don't know why.

 

Of all the books of C.S. Lewis' that I've read, or tried to read, this is my favorite.  It's fantastical and funny and wise at the same time.

 

The devil writes letters advising his nephew on how to deter a man from becoming a Christian and then when he does become one, he works to distract him.

 

While I think real spiritual warfare is much more ugly, I do get a kick out of this book and it offers some deep wisdom in regards to how Christians can get distracted from God.

SPOILER ALERT!

The Art Of Fielding

The Art of Fielding: A Novel - Chad Harbach

I wanted to like this one, I really, really, did!  But it just didn't work out.  It started out okay and interesting.  I mean, all the references to Moby Dick?  I LOVE Moby Dick! 

 

And baseball?  I LOVE baseball.  How could I not like this book?

 

I just couldn't get into the characters.  They seemed so disconnected.

 

And the President of the gay University President stalking the baseball player/student? 

 

Creepy.

 

I had to stop.

 

Sorry.

So funny!

Reblogged from Reading After Midnight:

Image source.

I've seen it a while ago but it still makes me laugh like crazy.


 

I Think I have this!

Reblogged from Susana "Lost in Fantasy Land":

Abibliophobia

SPOILER ALERT!

Ah, But Your Land Is Beautiful

Ah, But Your Land Is Beautiful - Alan Paton

It took me three serious tries to get into this book.  I finally finished it for the first time this morning.

 

Each time I started reading it, I just could not get into the subject matter.  It's a beautifully written book, and once I made the commitment, I enjoyed the writing style of the author and how he weaved tidbits of a tapestry together.  Unfortunately the tales he tells is of South Africa in the 1950's and honestly, it sounded like it was a hellish place to live.

 

I apologize to anyone from South Africa, but whenever I read or hear stories about your country, I cringe.  The history of racism, the anger, the cruelty, the denial of human rights, the killing of people and dreams.  It just leaves me cold.

 

This book is no exception and is another example of people gone wrong.  I am a Christian and believe that racism is a sin.  It can be the sin of an individual, a people group, or a country.  Nothing good ever comes out of apartheid.  Nothing. 

 

Even after reading several books on South Africa, I still don't understand their culture or history.  This people group doesn't like that people group, etc etc etc.  It's depressing and sad. 

Greedy

Reblogged from Derrolyn Anderson:

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Spoken From The Heart

Spoken from the Heart - Laura Bush

Wow, this is really going to be hard to write about.

 

I gave it only 2 1/2 stars.  Parts were like, then this happened, then this happened, then this was the holiday theme for 2002....this was the holiday theme for 2003.....

 

 I'm about done with political autobiographies.  Since the Ronald Reagan era, I feel that the ones that I have read have been pretty glossed over.  When I read a political autobiography, I usually feel I'm reading the author's "political" version of their life and that they don't really dig deep into anything.

 

That all said, I picked up this book on Laura Bush, precisely because I could not find a biography on her and I wanted to learn more about her and what made her tick.  I decided to break down and read her book. 

 

The one overwhelming thing I learned about her is that she is a very intelligent, gracious, down to earth and strong woman.  She shares her entire life in the book seemed focused on setting the stereotypes that were pasted on her to rest.

 

I feel that First Ladies of the United States and the President's children should be respected more by the press.  I find it very disturbing how the press treats first families in general.  I can see how anyone would retreat behind a shell to protect themselves and their families while living in the limelight.  It is also very unfair to be harsh on the First Ladies as they are doing a lot of charity work and represent America and it's women.  I can see how most cannot really win over the press as they also have to support and campaign for their husbands.  I think it's time that First Ladies should receive a stipend or be paid for the work they do.  The double standard in American culture towards women is actually quite shameful when you look deeper into these women's lives and see what they have to go through emotionally and how they must work in their position as First Lady.

 

I think this book would have been more enjoyable if Laura had written a memoir of her years in the White House and focused more on those details.   Laura's life actually is pretty uneventful and average before she married the most eligible bachelor in Texas.  The most interesting thing about Laura is that she married a man who became President. 

 

Laura has been very active and busy with charity work which she also documents in detail.  I found the reams of information about her charity work very interesting since the media never mentioned it much.  She is a champion of literacy, at risk children and women.  Laura may not change the world by herself, but she definitely stands on her husband's platform and uses that platform to try and improve the world.

Abandoned Books: Under The Dome

Under the Dome: A Novel - Stephen King

Yes, yes, well my first attempt at a Stephen King novel did not go well.

 

I started Under The Dome with high hopes since it didn't sound super scary and the whole idea of a town getting trapped under a mysterious dome sounded really interesting to me.

 

For you Stephen King fans, don't be upset with me.  Horror is not my usual genre and one I never read much, so I am hard to please.  Stephen King is such a popular writer and from what I read he is a GOOD writer.  This book just wasn't my thing.

 

For one, it seemed to long and drawn out.  I wanted it to move along and learn what this mysterious dome was and how the citizens of the town would react.  I felt the characters were a little too stereotypical for me and I didn't get attached to any of them.  I didn't care about them, so as things got drawn out, I found myself really uninterested in what would happen. 

 

I read about 21% into this book on my kindle before I gave up.

 

I haven't given up totally on Stephen King.  I still want to read Misery or The Shining!

Reblogged from Valz:

This photo, called The Reader by Jennifer Zwick, captures the thrill and imagination of reading as a young girl. It is part of series of constructed narratives about growing up female.

 

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

If I were a screenwriter, I would love to focus on writing screenplay adaptations from books.

 

Some movies end up better than the book, some about the same and some movies mysteriously end up even better than the book.  Some are different and yet can stand in both media forms on their own.

 

After finishing, "Never Let Me Go," I decided to immediately check out the movie. 

 

The screenplay is based very much on the book and they did a really good job bringing this story to life.  The frustrating mysteriousness of the story was well done and the emotional focus on the characters pushed the story forward.

 

My favorite scene was when the men brought the "bumper crop" boxes of broken toys and bits of left over things from other people's lives into Halisham.  The contrast of their faces, knowing the truth and the child clones who were literally jumping for joy over the junk somehow was the one point where the clone's lives intersect with the wider world.

 

Other scenes such as the one where Ruth finally completes are haunting as well.  While I don't think the author necessarily wrote this book to address stem cell research and cloning specifically, I do hope that this movie would make people think about the ethics and terrible possibilities of cloning humans.

Quote o' the day

Reblogged from Bashara Likes Books:

So true!!!!

SPOILER ALERT!

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

A haunting book at best.

 

I have to admit that this is my second reading of this book and I was much more wrapped up in the story this time than the first time I read it.

 

I'm not sure why.  Either I had my mind on other things which made it hard to get into the story, or the story was so subconsciously disturbing that I could not wrap my head around what it was about.  The first time I read it, I kept trying to figure out the "world" that these children were living in. What were they talking about when they used the word, "completion?"  I couldn't quite digest the fact of what they were for because I was wrapped in who they were and following along in their emotional adventure of their lives.

 

I originally expected a somewhat typical dystopian story with a literary twist, but "Never Let Me Go" is much more deeper and intense.  Kazuo Ishiguro took a very personal and emotional approach to telling his story.  It's written in first person and the narrator's (Kathy) voice actually changes as she grows up.  The writing perspective caters to how they are discovering their own emotions and vague to the harshness and the details of their short lives.

 

"Never Let Me Go" is the coming of age story of a group of clones who were created for the purpose of donating their organs and their lives to science.  What sets this book apart is the haunting perspective of how these clones come to the understanding of who they are and their purpose for existence.  I think this is what makes this book so emotionally charged.

 

While living in what could be construed as a modern day boarding school, these clones go through the confusion and questions that all teenagers go through, but their real purpose in life clouds any real understanding of the world around them. 

 

Their desire to be known is an impossible one in a world that sees them as disposable body parts.  Honestly so many analogies could start here regarding young people today that the list would go on and on in great length.

 

Do clones have souls?  Can they love?  I suppose that is something we will all eventually find out as science marches onward to the time when human clones will be created.

 

 

Stephen King Yeah

Under the Dome: A Novel - Stephen King

So, I've started "Under The Dome" by Stephen King.

 

Yes, it's true, I've never read a Stephen King book in my entire life.

 

Thrillers are not books I normally read.  I occasionally venture outside my favored genres and many times am pleasantly surprised.

 

I decided I needed to read a Stephen King book after I saw the movies, "The Shining" and "Misery."  Both were awesome.  And very scary.

 

I know Stephen King is considered to be a wonderful writer and decided I needed to jump in and try him out.

 

Thus, "Under The Dome."

 

Have you read it?  Do you like Stephen King's books?  What do you like about them?