TSS – A little meme for your morning

Most recently seen at: I was a teenage book geek & Bart’s Bookshelf.  Answer the questions with book titles you’ve read this year!

In high school I was: Waiting (Ha Jin)

People might be surprised I’m: Born Round (Frank Bruni)

I will never be: The Maze Runner (James Dashner)

My fantasy job is: Flight (Sherman Alexie)

At the end of a long day I need: Love is the Higher Law (David Levithan)

I hate it when: Flyaway (Suzie Gilbert)
I have lots of flyaways. 

Wish I had: A Year By the Sea (Joan Anderson)

My family reunions are: Remarkable Creatures (Tracy Chevalier)

At a party you’d find me: Runaways (Brian Vaughn)

I’ve never been to: Palestine (Joe Sacco)

A happy day includes: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Alan Bradley)

Motto I live by: A Good and Happy Child (Justin Evans)

On my bucket list: Mendoza in Hollywood (Kage Baker)

In my next life I want to be: The Great Perhaps (Joe Meno)

Remarkable Creatures – Tracy Chevalier

This is, unfortunately, my least favorite kind of book review to write.  I read Remarkable Creatures, I liked it, but there is little to nothing that I will take away from this book after reading it.  I hope that by the end of this review I sort out whether this is a problem with me or with the novel, because at this point I can’t be sure.

On the one hand, this is a completely unique tale that is fairly accurate to history (as far as I can tell).  The plot concerns the life of Mary Anning and her friend Elizabeth Philpot.  Mary has long had a talent for finding fossils on the beach of Lyme Regis in England in the 1800s, and Elizabeth, recently moved from London to the small seaside town takes an interest in the hobby as well.  The history of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot is interesting not only from a scientific point of view, but also because the exploration of women’s place in society during this time period is endlessly fascinating.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t occupy enough of the book.  I think that Remarkable Creatures could have been more interesting if it didn’t change narrators throughout – I found Elizabeth’s voice to be annoying and unnecessary.  A story told directly from Mary’s point of view would have been more interesting in my opinion, though I understand the technical reasons for including her.  I also thought that the book could have used pictures.  There are so many fossils described that I really would have appreciated photographs or drawings to accompany the novel.  Not only would that have helped me to understand better what was being described, but it would have made for a lovely edition of the book.

But the truth is that I kept reading this book and didn’t dislike it, I just didn’t particularly love it either.  It could have been so much more interesting, or at the very least 100 pages shorter.  I think that turning this story into a novel didn’t do much of a service to the story, other than bringing it to more readers.  I would have rather just read a non-fiction book about Mary and Elizabeth.  So is that a problem with this novel or with my general dissatisfaction for historical fiction?  I’m not sure.  A lot of people have really loved this novel and here I am left feeling so meh! about it.  I did enjoy that Chevalier included a bibliography at the end of the book and will probably be reading more about Mary Anning in the future.

So go read this!: now | tomorrow | next week | next month | next year | when you’ve exhausted your TBR pile

Other reviews: Devourer of Books, Literate Housewife, My Fluttering Heart, Age 30+… A Lifetime of Books, S. Krishna’s Books, The Girl from the Ghetto.

TSS – 8 August 2010

Books  read this week – reviews pending:

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier & The Color of Heaven by Kim Dong Hwa

Posts this week:

Fat Cat and Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

Currently reading:

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Happy Sunday!

TSS – 25 July 2010

Currently reading:

Am I picking books based solely on their cover colors?  Possibly.  How about setting?  Also possible.  It’s been unbelievably hot and both of these books have quite chilly atmospheres, plus their cool blue covers.  I’m dreaming of cooler times.

Books reviewed this week:

I think I liked this one?  But I really have no idea.  I can’t tell if I have no feelings about it or ambivalent ones.  But other folks have loved it.  Click the photo to read my full review (if you can call that list a review…).

Things posted at At the Bridges this week:

Going somewhere?:

Welcome to Parismina!  We save the turtles.
We conserve nature… it is our future.

I might be going here in October.  I originally thought I would be going to Spain, but I’m beginning to lean toward a volunteer experience in Costa Rica, Peru or the Galapagos Islands!

Happy Sunday!

TSS – 18 July 2010

I always think of summer as the finish line.  I am done with school, I have countless hours to read by the pool, on the beach, or just on my couch in the air conditioning.  Every winter and spring this is my mantra – just get to summer, you’ll be reading more then.  But the truth of the matter is that I never read more in the summer than I do in the winter and I always end up baffled by why this is.  I suppose it’s really not so complicated though.

This summer, I have the first full time job of my entire life.  I don’t think I noticed because the job I had last summer was so mentally demanding that it felt full time and I often ended up working from home when I wasn’t in the office.  This summer my job is so much fun, though occasionally stressful, and even though I’m working really long hours, I love it.  I come home and by the time I work out, eat dinner, spend some time with the people I love, I’m exhausted.  I end up going to bed around 10:30 every night, with little time for anything else.  This doesn’t leave much time for reading, unfortunately.

I have found a little time each day to pick up a book though, so I am reading, just slowly. In the mornings I read Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier while work is very quiet for half an hour.  After 7, all the kids arrive and I can no longer read until I get home.  Usually I try to read some more in the day, but some days it just doesn’t happen.  And you know?  I’m totally okay with that.  I don’t really have anymore blogging commitments now that my round of Nerds Heart YA is up and I’ve just been enjoying the leisurely reading.  It’s really what summer is supposed to be, right?  Nothing telling me what to read or when to read, just the pleasure of reading what I want when I get a few minutes.

You know what I have missed though?  Continuously blogging.  With no books to review, I’ve struggled to come up with posts that fit into Regular Rumination.  Though I have not shied away from writing about my personal life here in the past, the posts I’ve wanted to write simply haven’t fit into what I have created as Regular Rumination’s standard.  I know that I could change that in an instant, but honestly I really felt like for the posts I wanted to write I needed another blog.  I used to write in a journal daily, but have lost that as the years went on.  Now I have started a new blog, it is called At the Bridges and it will be a completely personal blog.  If you’re at all interested, I’d love for you to stop by.

Starting At the Bridges was greatly inspired by an email I received a week or so ago from Vicki at So Very Vicki.  She had really enjoyed my letter to Elizabeth Strout that I used as a review for Olive Kitteridge and asked if she could reprint it (with credit, of course).  At first I was wary, it seemed like a strange request!  But I thought, let’s check out Vicki’s blog and see.  I loved it!  It was a complete and total inspiration.  She is wonderful and the things she posts about are simply divine.  (One of my favorite words is joy too, Vicki!)  The things that Vicki had to say about Regular Rumination and my review of Olive Kitteridge were so amazing to hear.  She’s really wonderful, so please go check out her blog!

I made it my goal at the beginning of the year to find the simple, joyful things in life every day.  With school and exams and commuting, that was difficult and I eventually gave up on that.   Vicki has inspired me to start that over again.  I really feel like I should record the wonderful things that are happening, and even the not so wonderful ones, so I have them somewhere.  Everyone needs to be reminded now and again that there is joy in this world and we encounter it every day.  I won’t lie, I have my melancholy moods, but slowly reminding myself to enjoy what is beautiful about each day has been remarkable the past few days.

So enjoy your summer reading and enjoy the wonderful things that life has to offer!