Life Lessons from the Musketeers

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I wrote this review a few years ago on my old blog, but I thought I’d repost it because I really loved this book. 

After years and years of trying to convince myself I didn’t need to read this book because I already knew the storyline, I finally buckled and picked up this timeless classic….I was blown away.

I do admit, it took me a long time to finish this The Three Musketeers. It’s a story I knew so well before I picked it up, so I thought it would be a piece of cake, but this book is so long and is has so much more depth than the “main” story.

I went in waves while reading, I had periods of being completely hooked for days, using every spare moment to read another paragraph, page, or chapter, only to then slump into a dry spell of not wanting to pick up the book and having no interest at all of what happens to our four bold protagonists. When this happens to me, it’s usually because the author goes off the plot and gives long explanations of history and background of the area and I loose my motivation to continue, but here it was different because Dumas does not do that often, and when he doesn’t it’s not for an extended amount of time–for the most part, he stays on plot. The only logical reason I can think of for my on-again, off-again, relationship with this book, is that since it is such a long book, and it has a very complex plot with many different crucial players, it takes a long time to read it right, and after going a couple of weeks with the same story, and then realizing I had only made a small dent in the book, I needed to give my brain different type of entertainment for a couple days before getting sucked into the book again.

Now I can proudly say I have conquered this book, and I am so happy that I can honestly say that I love the story of The Three Musketeers. 

I will not go through and bore you with a critic over the whole book, and frankly, I don’t think I could give it a proper critic after only reading it once, especially since I read it leisurely and not educationally. There is so much going on that it would take a couple reads to analyze all the different moving parts and how Dumas weaves them perfectly together. However, what I will do it take a few of my favorites quotes from the book and tell you briefly why they stood out to me.

1.

“Oh, I see you prefer peregrination. That’s well madame; and there is an old proverb that says, ‘Traveling trains youth.’ My faith! you are not wrong after all, and life is sweet. That’s the reason why I take such care you shall not deprive me of mine.”

This quote is said by Lord de Winters to the infamous lady known throughout the story simply as Milady. She is truly evil. Lord de Winters says this as he is holding Milady captive in England and giving her the choice of exile or a trial. Now, she has quite a past, so a trial would mean the worst for her, so if she has the choice, she would choose exile, even if the thought of that is as bad as death to her.

I like this quote because it could have been said by a number of characters in the book and still be relevant. All the characters either grow tremendously in the storyline or we learn of their past growth that led them to where they are when we meet them, and they all hold true to the proverb Lord de Winters speaks of, “traveling trains youth.” Furthermore, this book is all about self-preservation in the most direr of situations, so the second part of the quote rings true to most of the characters, “That’s the reason why I take such care you should not deprive me of mine.”

Putting the plot of the book aside, I felt personally attached to this quote the moment I read it, because I saw it as a justification of the life I’m living now. “‘Traveling trains youth.” I’m constantly asked why I took a year in Europe, why I travel so much, what I’m planning on doing with my life, and why I made the “unorthodox” decision not to get a career right out of college, and more often than not my answer is rewarded with a sigh or an eye role. Even when in Europe or on my travels, I find many people who think my year as an Au Pair or my job as a nanny, as a waste of time. What I wish people would understand is that I’m still young–I look young, I think young, I act young…I’m young. I didn’t take a year in Europe to run away from a career, I went there to take advantage of my youth, to do things that I can’t do when my youth leaves me, and as Dumas puts it, I went there to train, and I continue to train in my travels. Train for the rest of my life, give me experiences that I could never have unless I put myself out there, on a limb, in a place I had only dreamed of going before.

2.

“Within six months, if I am not dead, I shall have seen you again, madam–even if I have to overturn the world.”

This is said by the Duke of Buckingham to Anne of Austria, the Queen of France. This love affair was one of the saddest because it was doomed from the start, yet the Duke, truly infatuated with the Queen, never abandoned his love for her, nor did he ever do anything intentional to harm her, politically or emotionally. Yet, this quote,  like my first one, could be said by many different characters in the book and no one would doubt it’s sincerity. This book continues to go back to the theme of doing anything and everything for the one you love. If nothing else remains true in this novel, the truth of undying love remains solid through the entire thing.

When I started reading this, I didn’t think it would be as focused on love as it was. I mean, I knew it had romantic sub-plots, but I did not think the plot would focus primarily on the love affairs of the Musketeers and their close companions. I think it can be argued that love is as great of a theme as friendship, even though I believe most would categorize this book in the “power of friends” category quicker than the “power of love” category, especially with the whole “all for one and one for all” thing the Musketeers have going on.

While many of the relationships in this novel revolved around an affair of some sort, the love remained beautiful to the reader because of the way the characters truly still believed in love, and the purity of love. It was clearly a different time and culture when this story was placed, and in the novel marriage was definitely more of a political and social relationship then a romantic one, but the the idea of love was still strong and Dumas did a beautiful job of portraying the power that stands behind it.

3.

“You are young,” replied Athos; “and your bitter recollections have time to change themselves into sweet remembrances.”

This is the last line in the book, before the epilogue, and I found it to be a beautiful ending to this tragic story. I don’t want to ruin any of the details, but this book doesn’t have the happiest of endings–it’s not completely sad, but it’s also not a Disney ending. But this quote, spoken by the always wise Athos, pushes away the sadness and allows room for the reader to see the potential of a happy future–what a beautiful thing to do for your readers.

I guess I can add this to my reasons for holding onto my youth: giving myself time to change bitter moments into happy memories. As Athos says this, the reader understands how much he desires to have this time back–time to change all the hurt he suffered into, at least, a memory less painful. But we, as readers, also understand that Athos is unable to do this, and even though the cause of his unhappiness is gone, he will never fully recover from the hurt and pain put upon him. He is unmendable. His friend, however, one he views as a brother and life-long companion, still has time to put all that has happened behind him and forgive, and Athos, being the eldest of the group, wants to make sure his brother does not fall onto the same bitter path that he chose many years prior to the story.

The theme of forgiveness is not as visible as the theme of vengeance in the book, but the final advice from Athos seems to lean more towards it than towards anything else. He is a man who held onto his hatred and his pain as tightly as he held onto his bottles of Spanish wine. He was unable to let go of the events in his past and they tore him apart emotionally, spiritually, and physically. He understands this pain eats him alive, but unwilling to forgive, he allows it to consume him. While, on the outside, he is the strongest (mentally) of the musketeers and their unofficial leader, he knows he is too weak to fight his own pain.  Nevertheless, his final advice, his final warning, gives the reader a shed of hope that his younger, fresher companion will not follow in his footsteps of living in the past, but step forward, forgiving and refreshing his past, so it becomes a power to push him forward, instead of a weight keeping him in behind.

All of us, young and old, can benefit from this final quote from Athos, remembering that life keeps moving and we can either stay bitter and angry or we can move forward with “sweet remembrances.”

The Three Musketeers is timeless. While not as fast paced as most modern day novels, it packs a punch that is full of every theme a reader could ask for. Dumas adds humor to a drama, and romance to a sword fight, and while there are many new adventurers to admire in literature, there aren’t many who compare to the classic characters of Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan.

 

*This is not technically apart of my Classics Club challenge, but it definitely works with the theme. If you want to see the other books on my challenge list, click here. If you want to learn more about the classics club, click here

T5W: Book Themed Events 

I usually don’t do the Top 5 Wednesday tag, but when I saw the theme, I couldn’t resist, mainly because I already had my 5 ideas. 


1. The Great Gatsby: This is a pretty popular theme for a party, but like the roaring 20’s, it never goes out of style. I mean, c’mon, everyone loves to look dapper while drinking gin, right? Maybe that’s just me 😉 

2. Sherlock Holmes/Agatha Christie: a good Murder mystery party is always a good idea. As long as it’s planned out well, these parties can be really fun!

3. Brideshead Revisited: ok, this theme isn’t actually based on the book, but more on the title. You know how we women (sorry, guys, I’m leaving you out of this one) have to buy dresses for all the weddings we go to and the ones we are in? Well, I think there should be “Bridesmaid Revisited” parties, where women get together and have a chance to wear the dresses they’ve only worn once. It could be a really fun cocktail party or dinner party, where you get dressed up just because you already have a dress! 

4. A Moveable Feast: This one again is purely based off the name. We had a party like this in college and it was so fun. One house hosts cocktail hour and appetizers, the next hosts salads, the next holds the main dish, and next hosts dessert. This makes a usual dinner party fun and exciting! You can add or takeaway courses depending on the size of your party! 

5.  Around the World in 80 Days: For this party everyone would represent a different country. If you want games at the party you could have an Olympics theme as well. Otherwise you could have everyone bring a food or drink from the country they represent. 

Now, I really want to throw a themed party! Happy Wednesday, everyone! 

Carve the Mark

30117284.jpgCarve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Rating: ★★.5 // Can I wake up now? 

Favorite Line: “I saw, for the first time, how thin the line was between fear and love, between reverence and adoration.”

Review:

Ummph. This book was hard to get through.

Summary (via GoodReads)

In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.
The Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

Carve the Mark is Veronica Roth’s stunning portrayal of the power of friendship — and love — in a galaxy filled with unexpected gifts.

Apparently I live under a rock because I had no idea this book had a lot of controversy until I was in the middle of reading it. I usually try to avoid spoilers of books I want to read and therefore I don’t read reviews, I just look at ratings. The rating on GoodReads was around the 4 star area, and Veronica Roth is a talented storyteller, so I figured it was good. Halfway through I was still struggling to get into it, so I looked up some reviews to see if others had this problem (this is usually my tactic to see if I should stick it out or drop it). And that’s when I found all the negative comments.

Most of the negativity was about the book being racist and about how Roth addressed chronic pain (the main character has chronic pain). I can see the racist part because the whole book pits one race against the other (the races aren’t based on skin color necessarily, but more on country of origin). One race is the powerful and bad race, while the other is the good and beat-down race. With the two main characters, the one with the power to inflict pain has dark skin and the one who brings her comfort has light skin…yes, there are racist tones in this book. I do not think, however, Roth was intentional about racist undertones, my suspicion is that she only intended to add more diversity but did not realize she was making it racist by doing so–this mistake should have been discussed and corrected by her editors before publication.

The chronic pain is a major plot point, but since I have never had chronic pain I really don’t feel qualified to address the subject, or critique the way it was portrayed. All I know is that it is hard to properly portray things that you have not experienced, especially when everyone experiences it differently, and I’m sure she was trying to portray it the best she could, but apparently it was not accurate, and she should have done more research.

Ok, now with those two out of the way, let’s talk about the book. I found this book extremely boring. Honestly, I think I need to stay away from YA novels for awhile–almost all the ones I have read in the last 2 years have bored me and/or aggravated me. Maybe I’m just reading the wrong ones, but maybe it’s just not my thing anymore.

The main problem with this book was that it was a character-driven action book, but the characters were bland and the action was all over the place it made the plot hard to follow. I can’t tell if the plot was too complex or not complex enough, but I almost think there were just too many changes to the plot. Same with characters, all of the sudden there were tons of characters that came back in that I had completely forgotten about, and they introduce a whole different aspect of the plot. It was all very jumpy.

The characters, as I said, were bland. There wasn’t a single one I felt any affection for, which is extremely rare for me because I’m pretty empathetic, and I tend to attach to other people’s situations easily. One main problem, I believe, were the character’s names…they were all bizarre. I mean, can’t we have a dystopian/futuristic/sci-fi book where characters have names like Jim, Bob, and Katie? I understand the book needs a sense of distance because it’s set in space, but even Star Wars had a Luke and Ben, so I think a normal name every once in a while would be ok.

Speaking of space. I really forgot this was in space several times throughout the book. I was also confused about how the space would was set up, or even how the different planets work. Mainly, the world building could use some more work, or at least some more explanation.

Positive parts:

ummmmmm…well, I am giving it more than one star, so I have to have something positive….ok, well, I did like the idea of the currentgifts. I thought it was clever to have a world where some people are granted gifts from the current (an powerful energy source that really isn’t explained very clearly…it’s just there), and I think that idea is very intriguing.  Also, the cover is pretty bomb.

Overall, I do feel sorry for Roth and all the backlash she is getting, because, after reading the book, I do not think she was intentional in offending anyone, and all of it could have been avoided had she done more research, had a focus group, had an editor who caught things like this, really anything except what she did. It’s a shame though because there are a lot of negative reviews from people who haven’t even read it, they’ve just heard negative things about it…rule of thumb people, read it before you bash it. There may be some people out there who like this book…I’m assuming big YA fans could really like this book, I am just not one of those people (just how many people think classics are the biggest bore ever, and I’m over here rereading Frankenstein for fun).

Ok, rant over. This book was a miss for me, but check it out if you are into YA, Space, unique cultures, unexpected friendships, and overcoming tyrants.

If you want to purchase the book, you can do so here on my affiliate Book Depository page (for a discount).

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Give me more…

Per usual Top Ten Tuesday is brought to us by The Broke and the Bookish, the fabulous blog that orders us around every week (and we love it) ;). This week the topic is Ten Things On Our Reading Wish List: what I want more of in books.

I decided to focus on historical fiction for this post because it’s one of my favorite genres. My all-time favorite are WWII books, but as there is not a lack of those, I’ve picked 10 other Eras or topics that I would like to learn about.

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  1. The Vikings!!!!: (sorry about the exclamation points, vikings make me super excited). In college my all-time favorite class was Viking Literature–it was amazing. The literature from that time period was fantastic and I would love to see it rejuvenated
  2. Pre-Russian Revolution: It’s no secret that I adore Russian literature, but I want more! There aren’t very many new fiction books about this era, and I think they could be very interesting and captivating.
  3. The Egyptian Empire: Pharos, Cleopatra, Egyptian gods, hieroglyphics, giant pyramids…there is so much material for great historical fiction.
  4. The Martyrs: There are so many martyrs in the christian faith and they all have their stories. I would love to see them told as straight as possible (much like the movie Silence or The Mission).
  5. The Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs: I loved learning about the empires of Central and South America before colonization happened, but I have not found decent fiction about those time periods, and I would love to read them.
  6. Captain Cook’s adventures/other famous explorers: I recently went to New Zealand and learned way more about Captain Cook then I thought I would. His life would make for some awesome historical fiction, the guy was pretty fascinating.
  7. The Ancient Chinese dynasties: I really don’t know enough about these dynasties to know which ones are the most interesting, which is why I would love to see more historical fiction about them. China has such a rich history, there has to be plenty of stories to uncover.
  8. The Rwandan Genocide: This is not a fun topic to read about, nor to think about, but it is important. I have heard many talks by a beautiful woman named Immaculee Ilibagiza, and she talks about her survival during the Rwandan Genocide. However, she is not the only one and the others, and the ones who didn’t survive, deserve to have their story told. If anyone is interested about reading Immaculee’s book, it’s called Left to Tell, and it’s beautiful.
  9.  Authors: I love historical fiction about authors. I think it’s so fun to get into famous authors minds and explore their work by exploring them.
  10. Constantine and Charlemagne:  There are tons of historical fiction books about the Holy Roman Empire, but there are not a lot about the two most famous of emperors of that era: Constantine and Charlemagne. I became super interested in Charlemagne when I went to Aachen, Germany and saw the Cathedral he built and the Charlemagne museum…the man really liked gold things….anyway, their lives were super cool and they both helped form Europe into what it is today, so I would love some Historical fiction about these two.

 

There you have it, my historical fiction wish list! Thanks for reading, and make sure to comment your TTT link so I can read your bookish wish list!

A Gentleman in Moscow

29430012.jpgA Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Rating: ★★★★★ // Instant Classic

Favorite Line: “If a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.”

Reveiw:

Oh boy this book is amazing. I could read this book all day, and I did not want it to end.

“A king fortifies himself with a castle,” observed the Count, “a gentleman with a desk.”

Summary (From GoodReads)

A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

This book has depth, like bottom of the ocean depth. It spans about 30 years, never leaves the Metropol hotel, except in stories told by outside characters, and yet makes you feel like you were brought all over Russia, and even all over the world. Having such a secluded setting sets up for a boring book–I mean who wants to read a book where the character literally never goes anywhere? But instead Towles is able to amplify the setting and use it to expand the ideas and the characters in the book. By the end the Metropol seems like a home and a safeguard, and not a luxury hotel.

Count Rostov is an amazing character. As said in the description above, he is isolated for being an aristocrat, in particular an aristocrat who does not want to conform to the Bolshevik ideals, and even in isolation, he attempts to maintain the way of life he has always known. Rostov is extremely intelligent, witty and well-educated. His education shines in his discussions with the guests of the Metropol, and his intelligence shines while dealing with the staff of the Metropol, which changes dramatically throughout his time there.

We also see a soft side of Rostov in his friendship with Nina, a young Russian girl who also lived in the Metropol with her family, and later with Sofia, Nina’s daughter. He turns into a father/grandfather figure to these girls and we see a proud man buckle and soften at the hands of two young girls. Towles makes the change gradual, and therefore believable, but he also rightly keeps some sense of pride in the count, which allows him to maintain his world view and his way-of-life. The count never ceases to be a gentlemen, even under house arrest.

“Manners are not like bonbons, Nina. You may not choose the ones that suit you best; and you certainly cannot put the half-bitten ones back in the box. . . .”

Through his hotel window the count sees his beloved Russia change into something unrecognizable to his eyes. He discusses philosophy and politics with the guests and staff of the Metropol and we, the readers, get a rare glance into how the aristocrats (at least those that survived) saw the Russian revolution. Despite what one might thing, Rostov did not seem entirely against the revolution, although he was not a firm supporter, but he did have philosophical arguments about many of the changes it brought in.

One particularly humorous disagreement he had about “new Russia” was brought on by the belief in Soviet Russia that all must be equal. One night while dining he ordered a bottle of wine that he thought would be especially good with his meal. The Maitre d’ then informed him that he could not choose different types of wine based off name, but he could only choose white or red. Outraged that he wasn’t getting the wine he asked for (his aristocracy never really wore off) he demanded to see the cellar. There he found, to his disgust, that all the labels had been taken off of the wine, making all the wine equal, and therefore could only be served as white or red. The count was not amused.

“A bottle of wine was the ultimate distillation of time and place; a poetic expression of individuality itself.”

I cannot praise Towles enough for his writing in this book. His characters and setting are phenomenal; everything he describes is precise, accurate, and said with importance. There never seems to be a bit of information out of place and every scene is built to play a larger role.

This book has humor, philosophy, politics, love, romance, adventure, suspense, and lots of informations about good food and wine.  Out of all the books I have read this year, this one ranks the highest. Not only does it fully capture the culture and ideals of a time period, but it brings in everlasting themes that all humanity can relate to.

“After all, what can a first impression tell us about someone we’ve just met for a minute in the lobby of a hotel? For that matter, what can a first impression tell us about anyone? Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or a brushstroke about Botticelli. By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration—and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.”

*buy it here on Book Depository on my affiliate page for a discounted price!

Poem of the Week: The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken
-Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Greek Gods Book Tag

I was tagged by Angelica @ The Book Cover Girls to do this brand new tag, The Greek Gods Book Tag, made by the fabulous Zuky the BookBum.

Rules:

  • Pingback to Zuky’s post
  • You can use Zuky’s graphics if you like, but you don’t have to if you don’t want
  • Tag as many people as you want, but please, share the love

 

ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS – YOUR FAVORITE BOOK

4934.jpgThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I will argue, and I have, that no greater fiction book has ever been written. It’s 800 pages of pure genius, and the story is just amazing. It’s not light reading at all; it’s hard work, and you can’t just read it casually–no you need to sit down, book and drink in hand, and read with focus and purpose.

This is the type of novel where I really wonder how the heck someone wrote something like this. Everything is so real in this book, and reading it makes you feel more alive yourself. // Buy Here

“Above all, avoid lies, all lies, especially the lie to yourself. Keep watch on your own lie and examine it every hour, every minute. And avoid contempt, both of others and of yourself: what seems bad to you in yourself is purified by the very fact that you have noticed it in yourself. And avoid fear, though fear is simply the consequence of every lie. Never be frightened at your own faintheartedness in attaining love, and meanwhile do not even be very frightened by your own bad acts.”

HERA: QUEEN OF THE GODS – A BADASS FEMALE CHARACTER

70286248.jpgThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

How can you not love Liesel Meminger, the main character of The Book Thief? She’s bold, she’s courageous, she’s loyal, she’s smart, and she has a kind heart. She may not be bad-ass in the traditional sense of the phrase (she fight’s no pirates, nor does she lead an army), but she stands up to most evil of enemies and stays brave in the face of perilous danger. She is a true bad-ass. // Buy Here

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

JANUS: GOD OF BEGINNINGS – YOUR FAVORITE DEBUT(S)

ncThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I fell in love with this book, and I was shocked when I heard it was her debut novel. The magic is beautiful, the setting is fantastic, and the characters are highly memorable. A fun little fact about this book, Morgenstern wrote it while participating in NaNoWriMo…so keep your heads up future writers, you can do it!  // Buy Here // Review

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

ATHENA: GODDESS OF WISDOM – YOUR FAVORITE NON-FICTION BOOK

Unbroken_by_Laura_Hillenbrand_(cover).jpg

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

This story is amazing and it had me hooked from start to finish. This harrowing story of a pilot captured in the Pacific during WWII will pull at all your heartstrings, and make you hope and pray that it is actually only fiction. It’s a tremendous read. // Buy Here

 

“In a single, silent moment, his rage, his fear, his humiliation and helplessness, had fallen away. That morning, he believed, he was a new creation. Softly, he wept.”

APHRODITE: GODDESS OF LOVE – A BOOK YOU ADORE AND RECOMMEND EVERYONE READ (OTHER THAN YOUR FAVORITE BOOK!)

JA-P.jpgJoan of Arc by Mark Twain

I recommend this book to EVERYONE! I’ve read it twice, both times while I was in France, and it has brought me to tears both time.

The oddest thing about this book is that it was written by Mark Twain. He is probably the last author I would pick to write a book about Joan of Arc, but I’m so happy he did. He claimed this is his best book, and it is his favorite of any he wrote. He spent 12 years researching for this book and 7 years writing it…it’s truly amazing. // Buy Here

“Consider this unique and imposing distinction. Since the writing of human history began, Joan of Arc is the only person, of either sex, who has ever held supreme command of the military forces of a nation at the age of seventeen.”

HADES: GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD – AN EVIL BOOK YOU WISH DIDN’T EXIST

12898.jpgDeath of a Salesman by Author Miller

Ugh. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to read this play, and every time it has driven me crazy. There is really nothing I like about this play, but for some reason every American Literature professor believes we have to suffer again and again and again by reading it. I’ve had people explain to me over and over again why it’s a classic play, but I still cannot understand. // Buy Here

“Be loving to him. Because he’s only a little boat looking for a harbor.”

POSEIDON: GOD OF THE SEA & EARTHQUAKES – A BEAUTIFUL & GROUND-BREAKING BOOK

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Night by Elie Wiesel

While this book is groundbreaking as a personal story of a holocaust survivor, it was also groundbreaking for me because it was the first WWII book I had ever read. It opened my eyes and my heart to these stories–since then I’ve devoured every WWII book I’ve come across (as you can probably tell since there are 3 on this list). This was the first book that made me cry, and I really believe it changed my life.  // Buy Here

 

“I am not so naïve as to believe that this slim volume will change the course of history or shake the conscience of the world. Books no longer have the power they once did. Those who kept silent yesterday will remain silent tomorrow.”

APOLLO: GOD OF THE ARTS – A BEAUTIFUL BOOK COVER

18143977.jpgAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Mesmerizing cover, enchanting book. The cover got me reading this book, but by the first chapter the words had hooked me. I found this book so wonderful, and honestly who can resist that beautiful blue cover?!? //Buy Here // Review

 

 

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”

HYPNOS: GOD OF SLEEP – A BOOK SO BORING YOU ALMOST FELL ASLEEP

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Yes, this book is ground-breaking and everyone should read it. However, it was really hard for me to get through. I’ve said this many times, I have a hard times with memoirs, and that apparently doesn’t change even when it is a culturally important memoir like this one. // Buy Here // Review

 

“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill,
of things unknown, but longed for still,
and his tune is heard on the distant hill,
for the caged bird sings of freedom.”

HERMES: MESSENGER OF THE GODS – A BOOK YOU SPED THROUGH

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The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy by Penelope Wilcock

I actually didn’t know this book was a trilogy until I was reading it because all the editions have all 3 books in 1. Regardless, I sped through this book(s). It’s close to 600 pages, but the story is so intriguing and captivating, I couldn’t put it down. It follows a group of monks in an English monastery, which sounds like an extremely boring topic, but it really is good. Just writing about it makes me want to pick it up again! // Buy Here

“As he rested in the great hollow shell of tranquility and light, listening to its silence, it dawned upon him that ‘empty’ was the wrong word for this place. It was as full as could be: full of silence, full of light, full of peace.”

I tag: alwaystrustinbooks // bookescapadeblog // bently @ bookbastion // Lyndsey’s Book Blog // sydneysshelves // readinaflash // bookloversblog

Thanks again to Angelica for the tag and to Zuky for creating this awesome tag! It was a fun one to do!!

Friday Five: Laugh until you cry (TV edition)

It’s Friday!!!

After being away last weekend for a bachelorette party, this week seemed to go especially sloooowwww. Now, at last, it is finished and I have a free weekend ahead of me. Usually I spend my free weekends reading/coffee shop hopping/playing with my nephews/catching up with friends, but like I said, it’s been a long week and I think some binge watching may be in my near future.

I’ve been in a TV slump lately, as I haven’t found another show to start it’s really a shame. There are a ton of new dramas that are decently good, but I really need a new comedy. They are my favorite to binge because they don’t require my full attention, yet they can support my full attention if need be. Yet, I really haven’t been hooked on any new ones, therefore, I have a few favorites that I always go back to, and they never fail me.

1.Psych

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Gosh this show is amazing. I was so sad when they ended it (even though it was time), and I was completely devastated when they took it off Netflix. It’s been months since they did, and I’m still very very angry about it.

If you aren’t familiar with the show, you need to be. It follows Shawn and Gus, two best friends who decided to start a Psychic Consultation Business, and their biggest client is the Santa Barbara Police Department. The catch is that neither of them is actually psychic, Shawn is just extremely observant and Gus is basically forced against his will to go along with it. It’s hilarious and the character development is AMAZING!

2. The Office

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This one is my all-time favorite TV show. I think I could actually watch it all day and never get tired of it. The humor is spot on, the romance is adorable, the pranks are amazing, and the hilarity never ceases. It’s a perfect comedy. Also, if I never find my personal Jim Halpert, I’m suing NBC for false hopes.

3. Parks and Recreation

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Very similar to The Office, just more quirky and silly. Ron Swanson is my spirit animal. I love the characters in this show, and how they grow with the audience is wonderful. I really can’t make it through an episode without cracking up.

4. 30 Rock
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There was a time when The Office, Parks and Rec, and 30 Rock were all current shows on NBC…those were the real glory days. 30 Rock is one of those shows where it starts off a little weird and crazy, but ends by being one of the cleverest shows on TV. Their last season was literally about NBC crashing their own network by canceling their best shows–trolling at it’s finest. Tina Fey is an excellent writer and actress, and the other characters are so absurd they will bring you to tears.

5. The Grinder

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Watching this show is like having a delicious cake set in front of you, and after taking a wonderful bite, you go in for a second one only to find that Fox has stolen your cake from you because they don’t know a good thing when they see it. The Grinder is so flippin’ funny, and I really do not understand why it was canceled after one season. It’s absurd.

Staring Rob Lowe, it follows an actor who recently quit his TV show because it wasn’t “real enough”. After quitting he moves back to Boise to find himself, and he ends up crashing at his brother’s house. It was there he realizes he wants to join the family business, which is a law firm. With only his career of being a lawyer on TV as his credentials, “The Grinder” successfully turns the law firm upside down, and drives his brother crazy. It’s smart, witty, sarcastically funny, and good natured. I wish it could come back for more seasons (I’m looking at you Hulu or Netflix).

 

Ok, there you have it! If you have any comedic suggestions, please let me know, or I promise you I will be watching The Office for the umpteenth time ;). Happy Weekend, everyone!

 

A Star Wars Book Tag

Happy May the 4th Be With You Day!!

Well, I decided to make a book tag today in honor of Star Wars Day. I don’t think this tag has been made before, I’ve seen some other Star Wars tags, but not any like this one.

There aren’t really any rules of you want to do this tag, just pingback to me so I can read your answers!

So, without further ado:

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away….


I. The Phantom Menance: A book (or series) you pretend not to like but secretly do (guilty pleasure). 

Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riodan. I’m an adult, these book are for children, I’m an adult, these books are for children…maybe if I keep telling myself that, I’ll one day believe it 😉

II. The Clone Wars: An emotionally powered YA novel.

Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler. I read this series in high school, and I finished it in 3 days, which is shocking for me because it’s close to 700 pages–I was totally captivated! I reread some of it a few years ago and I was cracking up because it was so emotional and drama filled, not at all like something I would like now.

III. The Revenge of the Sith: A Trilogy with a tragic end.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I really had a hard time with Mockingjay and the ending just devastated me.

IV. A New Hope: Your favorite classic.

I have so many favorite classics it’s really hard to choose, but for this one I’m going to say A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

V. The Empire Stikes Back: An action packed adventure.

The Shades of Magic Series by V.E. Schwab. I haven’t yet read the third one, so this might be premature, but the first two are non-stop action!

VI. The Return of the Jedi: A trilogy with a wonderfully satisfying ending. 
I’m gunna have to go with my favorite trilogy, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. This ending just feels right. You’ve gone on a long, hard journey full of suffering and doubt, but at the end there is peace.

VII. The Force Awakins: A new book that feels like an old friend. 

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Oh this book warmed my soul. It really felt like I was sitting down with a friend and having a nice long chat.

VIII. The Last Jedi: A sequel you can’t wait to read.

I don’t think she has a title for it yet, but I can’t wait to read the next book in the Ember in the Ashes series. I was delightfully surprised by how much I enjoyed this series.

Bonus: Rogue One: your favorite spinoff

I don’t read a lot of spinoffs, but I did read Finn by Jon Clinch, and I really enjoyed it. It is about Huckleberry Finn’s father and it is very interesting.
There you have it, kids, my first ever book tag!  If you love Star Wars and love books, I would love for you to do this tag! Just remember to pingback to me or this post so I can see your answers!!


The Joy Luck Club

7763.jpgThe Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Rating: ★★★★ // Surprising and charming 

Favorite Line: “We are lost, she and I, unseen and not seeing, unheard and not hearing, unknown by others.”

Review:

What a beautiful book. Honestly, I was not expecting to like this book, I don’t really know why I had low expectations, perhaps it was because I remember not being impressed by one of it’s excerpts I read in an American Lit. classe–who knows, but I really was expecting to be bored. I was not bored…it was precious.

The Joy Luck Club begins with a young Chinese-American woman, who takes her mother’s place at the mahjong table after her mother passes away. With her are three elderly chinese woman, all immigrants to America, and they reveal a secret about her mother that she never knew. It was then she realized she knew very little of her mother, and her realization made the other three woman reflect on their own relationships with their daughters. What follows are short stories in the voices of the daughters about their mothers and their relationships.

This book shows the difficulty of immigrating to a new country. The successes, the failures, the joys, and the false hopes. We see the older generation trying to maintain their culture, all while hoping their children are fully emerged in the American culture. This is a struggle many cultures see and many immigrants go through, but rarely is this struggle put into words as wonderfully as Amy Tan manages to do.

The stories are charming and thoughtful, and while they show the Chinese culture (something I’m not very familiar with) they also show the connection all humans have–we all have stupid fights with our mother, we all have times when our families embarrass us, and we all have people who mean the absolute world to us. It shows connection while showing differences; it shows the individual while showing humanity as a whole.

This book takes only a few hours to read, and I highly recommend it.

You can buy it here on Book Depository at a discounted price!

*I read this book for the Classics Club Reading Challenge. Check out their page to find out more! To see my full list, click here!