Sunday, January 29, 2012

Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen

Rating: 3 stars
Shelf: 2012

Northanger Abbey is certainly not one of Austen's best novels. I'm not even sure it ranks among the likes of Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility or even Mansfield Park. However, as a commentary on writing and reading through the satire of the gothic novel, it's pretty good.

Catherine Morland is young and naive. Her parents allow her to travel to bath with the protective Mr. Allen and his ridiculous wife. Led astray by Mrs. Allen's judgement, Catherine befriends the beautiful and selfish Isabella. Luckily, she also meets Henry Tilney and his sister Elanor, and it is through this friendship that Catherine is eventually able to shed her naive nature.

The Tilney's whisk Catherine away from Isabella's influence to their home, Northanger Abbey. Catherine approaches the Abbey with the gothic assumptions her mind has formed from reading books like Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho. After a few embarrassments that Henry sets straight, and after Isabella's true nature is uncovered, Catherine matures into a decent and good young woman.

All in all, it was amusing. The Thorpes (Isabella and her brother, John) were probably Austen's most despicable characters. Of course, they were caricatures of the vain and selfish, just as Mrs. Allen. But there was something so evil and so destructive about their way to suck in both Catherine and her brother James. So, ultimately - an Austen worth reading, but not re-reading.

Purchase Now from Amazon: Northanger Abbey

Thursday, January 26, 2012

World Book Night - Giving away 1,000,000 books in ONE NIGHT!

I just registered to give away a mere 20 books on World Book Night - as part of the attempt to give away 1 MILLION books in one single night. You have to register before February 1st to be chosen as a book giver. World Book Night happens on April 23rd.

I applied to give away either Wintergirls, The Poisonwood Bible, or Hunger Games

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Joy of Books

Everyone around the book blogosphere has been sharing this video. It's pretty much amazing. Watch it.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. LeGuin

Rating: 4 stars
Shelf: 2012

This was, I think, my first foray into adult science fiction and I have to say, I found The Left Hand of Darkness to be absolutely wonderful. It's the kind of book that everyone should read. Its themes of gender, humanity, politics, religion and communication/universal understanding are poignant and thought-provoking.

Genly Ai is an envoy from outer space, on the planet Winter (Gethen) to convince its leaders to join the Ekumen - a unifying faction that hopes to trade goods and knowledge between all known worlds. Because the inhabitants of Gethen are androgynous (sliding into a gender only once a month to mate during a time called kemmer) Genly's journey is not just one in which he must cross a the unforgiving ice, but also one in which he must shed all preconceived notions of gender and, ultimately, humanity.

Some of my favorite quotes:

"A man wants his virility regarded, a woman wants her femininity appreciated, however indirect and subtle the indications of regard or appreciation. On Winter they will not exist. One is respected and judged only as a human being. It is an appalling experience."

"To be an atheist is to maintain God. His existence or his nonexistence, it amounts to much the same, on the plane of proof."

"Neither [a place of reward or punishment], child. There is just the world, it's how it is. You get born into it and... things are as they are..."

Purchase Now from Amazon:  The Left Hand of Darkness

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Sick & Scary Harry Potter Love?

I've mentioned before that I have Deathly Hallows on CD and that I listened to it in my car... probably 4 times in 2011. It may have also be 5 or 6 times. In the beginning, it was because I was doing a lot of travel between Long Island and Albany and I was getting bored with finding new radio stations in the mountain areas. And dealing with my old music CDs skipping because I don't have an AUX and don't feel like buying myself a new radio/iPod connector. Then, I listened to it some more because the morning shows in the Albany area are pretty... awful? Yes. Awful. Then, my friend gifted me Half-Blood Prince on audio and so, of course, I listened to both books back to back.

I took a break from the HP listening to listen to Christmas music. My HP obsession is pretty level with my Christmas obsession. But, now that Christmas is over.... Listen, I tried giving the Albany stations another chance. But I hate them all. The jockey's voices irritate me on what should be a soothing car ride. So now, I want to use the rest of my Christmas money to buy Order of the Phoenix and start again.

Is that... bad?

Purchase Now from Amazon: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Library

Our diplomas on the wall. We thought it'd be super cute because we both met and graduated from SUNY Cortland. Turns out, it IS super cute! 

His little corner. We bought the two small shelves for that side of the room to house our college textbooks and all of the picture books I worked on at B&N/Sterling. He didn't think we needed three shelves for that side of the room. We did. 

Looking in. Happy we did blue and red! So calming. 

Most of the books. We almost didn't fit them all. Me looking kind of gross after cleaning most of the day. 

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