Monthly Archives: June 2014

Book Giveaway

I am running my first giveaway!!! Summer Reading List

You can win any of the books on my Summer Reading List!  Take a look at all of the great books that I have recommended for my summer reading. Look over my list here:  https://bookbindersdaughter.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/summer-reading-list/

I will choose one winner on Saturday evening.  You can choose a hard copy of the book or an edition from your e-reader.  I will email the winner and you will have 3 days to respond or I will pick another winner.  Good Luck!

Enter Here: http://tinyurl.com/klm9lky

Thanks so much to everyone who entered.  The winner is: Kevin V.

Stay tuned for more great giveaways throughout the summer.  Happy Reading!

 

 

 

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Euphoria by Lily King

Euphoria“It’s that moment about two months in, when you think you’ve finally got a handle on the place. Everything clicks and it all feels within your grasp …at that moment the place feels entirely yours. It’s the briefest, purest euphoria.”

Nell Stone and her husband Fen are anthropologists studying tribes in the New Guinea region in the 1930’s.  The study of human cultures is still in its infancy and Nell and Fen are continually trying to find new and inventive ways of examining the tribes with whom they live.  Nell has published a book that has made her a pioneer in the field, but has also incurred the jealousy of her husband.  They have just finished living with and studying the Mumbanyo tribe when they meet up with Andrew Bankson, a British anthropologist.  Their meeting with Andrew is fortuitous because Andrew’s loneliness and tragic memories of the past have recently driven him to attempt suicide.

It is amazing that Lily King invented the world of New Guinea along the Sepik River for us in the 1930’s.  Each tribe that she depicts, the Mumbayno, the Kiona and the Tam, have their own distinctive cultures and rituals.  Through the anthropologist’s study of these tribes, the book becomes an interesting commentary on the morality, customs, social roles and sexuality of humans.  As Nellie, Bankson and Fen explore and try to learn as much as they can about the people they live with, they are forced to reflect on their own societies and mores.

This book is one in which you will make an emotional connection with the characters.  Nellie is inquisitive, strong and compassionate and she finds a kindred spirit in Bankson.  Fen, on the other hand, is jealous, petty, selfish and brutish.  They way that this trio of characters interact with one another is enthralling.  Bankson’s emotional and intellectual bond with Nell is a touching reminder that the simple act of human contact is all we need sometimes to make us feel hopeful.  Nell’s relationship with Fen reminds us that sometimes in life we make detrimental choices that having lasting effects.

I loved this novel and I highly recommend it.   Lily King has given us a brilliant piece of literature with EUPHORIA and I am not surprised that it has appeared on so many “must-read” summer book lists.

Let me know what you think of this book!  Leave feedback in the comments.

 

 

 

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Filed under Literature/Fiction, Summer Reading

Review of “I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You.”

Fun here without youRobert Haddon is a British artist living with his wife of 7 years, Anne, in Paris.  He has started to feel the proverbial “itch” that so many have described at this point in a marriage.  Robert and Anne have a 5 year old daughter whom Robert takes care of while his wife practices law at a firm in Paris.  Robert feels that his life has become routine and mundane.  He is even bored with his art career when the only things he can manage to sell are some oil paintings which he has no real passion for.

So when Robert meets Lisa Bishop, a sexy, American journalist, he is susceptible to her invitation to “dinner.”  When Robert begins his affair, Anne becomes suspicious and guesses that he is engaging in extracurricular activities.  Much to Robert’s surprise, Anne does not immediately kick him out and divorce him, even when she finds out the details of his affair.  However, their relationship is a far cry from what it was and Robert wonders if they can ever regain the happiness they once had in their marriage and in their life together.

There were several times throughout the book that I just wanted to shake Robert because he was acting like a complete ass.  But the thing is that he knew he was acting like an ass and he couldn’t quite figure out how to climb out of his funk.  This made for some funny and entertaining inner dialogue. The book also includes a couple of hilarious exchanges between Robert and a gay couple, Dan and Dave, who buy one of Robert’s oil paintings.  Their attempts to get him to meditate and drink Kombucha (a fermented tea) are comical.

There is also a serious side to this book which explores the themes of love, fidelity, redemption and forgiveness.  Anne is an intriguing character and the reader never quite knows if can ever forgive her husband for his infidelity.  It is hard to successfully execute witty writing that is also thoughtful but Courtney Maum has done it with resounding success.  I highly recommend I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN HERE WITHOUT YOU to anyone who is married, in a serious relationship, or is contemplating a union with another human being.

Up next is my review of “Euphoria” which has been on many “must-read” summer lists.  What are you reading this summer?  Leave a comment below!

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Review: Journey by Moonlight and Agostino from NYRB Classics

A few months back I read Stoner by John Williams.  I was so moved by this book that I did a little research and found that it was a reissue of this book by the New York Review of Books.  I was very eager to find more books like Stoner and I was pleased when I found so many fantastic books available on their website.  Many of their titles are translations of literature into English. You can read more about their unique titles on their website: http://www.nybooks.com/books/about/

I have recently read two more wonderful titles in translation from the New York Review of Books.  I received advanced copies of both of these titles from the publisher through Edelweiss.  The first novel, translated from the Hungarian and originally published in 1937,  is entitled Journey by Moonlight. The novel begins when Mihaly and Erzsi are on their honeymoon in Italy. Journey by Moonlight They are accidentally separated when Mihaly takes the wrong train and this physical separationfrom Erzsi mirrors Mihaly’s mental separation from reality.  We are brought on a journey through Italy and through Mihaly’s many mental states: he vacillates among many moods which include anxiety, depression, paranoia, euphoria and numbness. Throughout his lone journey he encounters some of his childhood friends from Budapest that make him terribly nostalgic for his youth.  He really can’t go home and face the mundane life of working in his father’s firm and dealing with his family.  He feels that he is trapped in Italy but really has no plan or purpose for being there either.  The author also writes the story from Erzsi’s point of view at several times in the narrative.  Erzsi, once left on her own, is also forced to make important decisions about her life and future.

There are so many interesting aspects to this book that it is difficult to truly do it justice in a brief review.  The characters, although they tend to make stupid and impulsive decisions, are fascinating nonetheless.  The way that the author simultaneously explores major themes such as love, relationships, and death throughout the narrative is truly an amazing literary feat.  JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT is a fascinating study of the human mind and I highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates true literary genius. For more on this book and where to preorder here is the link on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20176024-journey-by-moonlight.

The next book is entitled Agostino and is a translation from the Italian that was first published in 1944.  This brief Agostinostory is a bold and daring peak into one boy’s transition from boyhood to adulthood.  The author tackles some taboo and Freudian issues through a brief period of time in Agostino’s life.  Agostino is a 13 year old boy who is vacationing at a beach with his mother, whom he still views with innocence at the beginning of the story.  His mother starts to take boat rides with a man and Agostino grows very jealous.  When Agostino starts to hang around with a rough gang of older boys they clue him in to the possible sexual relationship his mother is having with her gentleman friend.

This book has so many complex layers in its few pages.  Agostino struggles with fitting in among his peers, his blooming sexual awareness, and his changing relationship with his mother.  He is left frustrated at the cruel nature of this transitional period in his young life.  I highly recommend AGOSTINO to anyone who wants to experience a true coming of age story that is realistic and eye opening. For more information on this title and where to preorder here is the link on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18666080-agostino

Up next on my reading list from the New York Review of Books is the The Mad and The Bad and Tristana.  What classics are on your reading list?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

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Summer Reading List

Welcome to my new book review blog!  I am very excited to share with you my picks for Summer reading.  I have included books from many different genres and I think everyone can find something that appeals to them!  Each title includes a link to my full review of the book on Goodreads.

1. Literary Fiction:

All the Light We Cannot See by A. Doerr    

Two unlikely worlds collide in this novel set during WWII.                                                          

All the light we cannot see

 http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/900822612  

 

Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof

One of the best books I have read this year.  A great beach read!

Small Blessings

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/955417734

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

If you love books and are a book person this one is for you!

The storied life of a.j. fikry

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/930038631

 

2. Young Adult:

Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal

A novel about coming of age in 1960’s New Orleans

Dollbaby

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/941801504

 

3. Mystery:

I Love You More by Jennifer Murphy

Three wives and one dead husband appear in this intriguing mystery

I love you more

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/937922492

 

4. Historical Fiction:

The Queen’s Exiles by Barbara Kyle

The writing and the plot set during Elizabethan England in this book are simply amazing.

The Queen's Exiles

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/908183316

 

Neverhome by Laird Hunt

A story of the civil war through the eyes of a female soldier.

Neverhome

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/949864500

 

5. Classics:

Stoner by John Edward Williams

The all time best-selling book of the New York Review of Books.  Everyone needs to read this book!

Stoner

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/811501584

 

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

If you are a fan of Austen then you should also read Gaskell.

North and South

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/852193782

 

6. Short Stories:

The Professor and the Siren by Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa

Translated from the original Italian, three very different and interesting stories.

The Professor and the Siren

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/852193782

 

7. Biography/Memoir:

The Phantom of Fifth Avenue by Meryl Gordon

An incredible story about a reclusive millionaire.

Phantom of Fifth Avenue

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/923041434

More Complete review coming soon on Fresh Fiction:

http://freshfiction.com/user.php?id=40210

 

8. Travel/Adventure:

Walking the Amazon by Ed Stafford

Ed Stafford walks the entire length of the Amazon, and survives!

Walking the Amazon

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/811519280

 

9. Romance:

Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway

A romantic tale that proves you can find love even after tragedy.

Pride prejudice and cheese grits

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/941277759

 

10. Jane Austen/Pride and Prejudice Fan Fiction:

Longbourn by Jo Baker

This book gives us a peak into what goes on below stairs among the servants.

Longbourn

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/918778365

And there you have my summer reading list!  If you would like to suggest anything please feel free to comment.  Also head on over and look at my Goodreads shelves for more great reads.  Thanks for visiting!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Classics, Historical Fiction, Literature/Fiction, Short Stories, Summer Reading