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Persuasion Readalong — Sign Up Post

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From Unputdownables:

Some Facts About the Read-a-Long:

  • You do not have to be a book blogger to join.
  • We will be reading the book in January (four weeks), with the first discussion happening on Friday, January 4th/ the book is  roughly 235 pages (depending on which edition you read) so that’s roughly 59 pages a week; about 8 pages a day.
  • Don’t be intimidated. We will be going at a slow pace and discussing the book throughout our reading. The discussions are quite fun, and make the reading process very enjoyable!

What is Persuasion about?  

Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love? (via Godreads.com)

***

The following is the reading and posting schedule for this read-a-long. Please note, we will be reading roughly 59 pages per week (about 8 pages a day). Because it is always easier for us to stop at chapters (rather than on page numbers, because of different editions), I’ve had to round to the nearest chapter each week. Please look at the week’s page amount to best plan your reading in order to keep up.

Schedule:

Beginning Friday, December 29th and ending Friday, January 25th. 

READING SCHEDULE:

Week #/ Where to Stop (For example, in week one STOP and place your bookmark at Volume One Chapter IX.)

Week One/ Volume One, Chapter IX
Week Two/ Volume Two, Chapter II
Week Three/ Volume Two, Chapter IX
Week Four/ The End

POSTING SCHEDULE:

Post #/ date discussion post will be up on blog:

Start up Post/ Today!
Week One/ January 4th
Week Two/ January 11th
Week Three/ January 18th
Week Four/  January 25th (Final Review)

** Please don’t forget to come to this blog each week to share your thoughts in the comments section of the weekly Read-a-Long discussion (see below for more information).**

How it Works:

  1. Each week, on Friday, I will post my thoughts about the week’s reading. You will have from Friday through the following Thursday to post yours. If you are stuck on what to comment about, you can respond to my post or others’ comments. Regardless, you MUST check in each week (two weeks without a response and you will be taken off of the list — see below for details on why). You may have only one “off week” (which may not be the last week of reading for obvious reasons) and still be kept on the list, but you must let me know in the comment section by saying something like, “This is my off week — I am catching up!” Please note that, in order to be counted, your offering to the discussion must be about the current weeks’ reading, not about past weeks. ***For all week’s discussions please refrain from posting ahead, even if you have read ahead, as to not spoil the book for others***
  2. As these Read-a-Longs grow, so do the amount of people who participate – yay, all the more fun!!! Also, all the more keeping track of who is still reading. As you know – if you have been absent from discussion for two weeks, you will be removed from the list. However, now, in order to get back on the list, you need to a.) Have missed no more than two weeks of discussion, b.) Let me know you would like to be on the list again, and c.) Consistently be part of the discussion for the next two weeks after requesting to be put back on the list. Am I trying to be mean? Absolutely not! I LOVE having you all read a long. It is, however, a lot of work to keep track of who’s still reading. To keep taking names off and putting them back on the list becomes tedious. Most importantly though, consistency is good for the group; we tend to get to know each other through discussions and rely on the conversation to keep us reading. Since I don’t do these read-a-longs to gain followers (I do them because the benefit of reading certain books with a group of dedicated people is often superior to reading them alone), I prefer to have a committed group – even if it is smaller. Reading with undedicated people is worst of all, which is why I care less about numbers and more about dedication to the book and the discussions. (Bonus! At the end of each read-a-long, those who have completed the entire read-a-long are eligible to be entered into the giveaway that correlates to the book… another reason why it is important for me to keep up with who is reading.)
  3. If you are a blogger, feel free to post a link to your blog if you are posting about each of the each week’s reading. If I, or other readers, have extra time we will gladly try to visit your blog; however, you must make sure to share your thoughts here on this blog, and be part of the main conversation or your comment will not be counted. This is to make sure that our conversation is easily accessible to everyone who is reading, and also to keep it from becoming disjointed.
  4. Comments from the previous week’s reading will be closing Thursday afternoon(before the next discussion takes place on Friday). If you would like to be part of the discussion, please remember to comment before then.

I must join this one, even though I just read Persuasion this last year.  It’s my favorite book of all time, I love rereading it and finding a new perspective or a new favorite line.  Plus, rereading a favorite is a great way to start my 2013 reading.  Would you like to join me?  Jump on over to Unputdownables to sign up!

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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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The Importance of Being Earnest Readalong

Very excited about this one from Unputdownables.  Check it out and join us.

Some Facts About the Read-a-Long:

  • You do not have to be a book blogger to join.
  • We will be reading the book in August (first three weeks), with the first discussion happening on Friday, August 3rd / the book is 54 pages (paperback, Dover Thrift edition) so that’s roughly 3 pages a day.
  • Don’t be intimidated. We will be going at a slow pace and discussing the book throughout our reading. The discussions are quite fun, and make the reading process very enjoyable!

What is The Importance of Being Earnest about?  

Oscar Wilde’s madcap farce about mistaken identities, secret engagements, and lovers entanglements still delights readers more than a century after its 1895 publication and premiere performance. The rapid-fire wit and eccentric characters of The Importance of Being Earnest have made it a mainstay of the high school curriculum for decades. (via goodreads.com)

Interesting tidbits about the author, Oscar Wilde:

Born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin, Irish writer Oscar Wilde is best known for the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and the play The Importance of Being Earnest, as well as for his infamous arrest and imprisonment for being gay.

For more information and several videos, visit Oscar Wilde’s page on the Biography website.

Also – fun fact – his house in London has just been put up for sale! See the article inThe Telegraph.

Schedule:

Beginning Friday, August 3rd and ending Friday, August 17th.

READING SCHEDULE:

Week #/ What to Read:

Week One/ Act One
Week Two/ Act Two
Week Three/ Act Three

POSTING SCHEDULE:

Post #/ date post should be up on blog:

Start up Post/ Today!
Week One/ August 3rd
Week Two/ August 10th
Week Three/ August 17th (Final Review)

** Please don’t forget to come to this blog each week to share your thoughts in the comments section of the weekly Read-a-Long discussion (see below for more information).**

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Books

 

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Macbeth by Shakespeare

Title: Macbeth

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre: Classic Play

Pages: 204 (Cliffsnotes complete edition)

Rating:  5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Shakespeare; Support Your Local Library

This is only my second time reading Macbeth; the first time was way back at the beginning of college.  In review the play, I think it has grown on me.  The political intrigue and psychological elements have become favorites.  I really enkoyed tracing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s gradual downfalls.  Lady started out cold and merciless and eventual commits suicide over her guilt.  Macbeth starts with guilt and gradually grows more cold and calculating.  I love seeing the resversal of roles.  I find it fascinating how many people suspect Macbeth of Duncan’s murder and yet fail to do anything until the very end of the play.  I really emjoyed this one.  Can’t wait until next month’s selection: Henry V (new read for me)

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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The Great Gatsby Readalong — Wrap-up and Review

Title: The Great Gatsby

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Publisher: 1925

Genre: American Classic

Pages: 205

Rating:  5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Back to the Classics – 20th Century; Read Your Name – F

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

Week 1 (Jan. 6 Pages 1-45)

Are there any characters whom you are relating to yet? If so, which one and why? I am also liking Jordan Baker.  She’s the mysterious, but seemingly independent woman in the book.  Daisy is not real, she’s an idea, and as such, she’s not a particularly relatable character.  I get the feeling unlike Daisy, Jordan sees the world around her, warts and all.  She’s not swayed by the glitz and glamour.

During the party that Tom holds in Manhattan with his mistress, he breaks her nose. I’m interested in how Fitzgerald plays this into the book.  I think this incident is to show the kind of man that Tom is.  He’s used to being in control, having people do everything he wants.  Because Nick is the only new person to the party, he mentions the event.  But I think rest of the party goers ignore it as a common occurence.  I read this more as characterization than a comment on the culture. 

On page 38 of the print edition, (after Nick had gotten in the elevator with Mr. McKee) it says:

…I was standing beside his bed and he was sitting up between the sheets, clad in his underwear, with a great portfolio in his hands…

…then I was lying half asleep in the cold lower level of Pennsylvania Station…

Did something happen between Nick and Mr. McKee? It’s possible.  Fitzgerald strikes me as the type of man living in France and America in the 1920s that might have been open to the possibility.  More likely, I see this as a show of excess and disconnect with some of the characters.  Mr. McKee is trying to break into the East Egg society and will try to make associations with anyone.  Because of his being brought to the party by Tom, Nick is a potential networking (I know 21st century word, but it still applies) connection and possibly client. 

At the end of this week’s reading, Jordan and Nick are taking a self-guided tour through Gatsby’s house when they come upon a gentleman in the library.

 I found it interesting that the gentleman has somehow already pegged Gatsby. This is something I did not realize when I was younger  (that he was called out so early in the book)… We get lots of great references to Gatsby, his character, his past, his future, before we even meet him.  I love how Fitzgerald sets the read up with this image of Gatsby and then we get to meet James Gatz…  It’s a great reversal.

One extra thing that I kept thinking about while reading is Fitzgerald’s beautiful descriptions of the characters.  We see Tom early one described as having “two shining, arrogant eyes” and “a body capable of enormous leverage–a cruel body” (11).  Daisy gets a similar treatment with “her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it” (13)  <– such a contradiction, yet perfect for her character.  But my absolute favorite is the first glimpse of Gatsby “Something in his leisurely movements and the secure position of his feet upon the lawn suggested that it was Mr. Gatsby himself, come out to determine what share was his of our local heavens” (25).  Just gorgeous writing!

Week 2 (Jan. 13 Pages 46-90)

What do we think of Nick at this point (if you already know the story, please don’t give ideas based on facts beyond this point)? What do you think we are supposed to think of Nick at this point? I am going to second the comments made by several people with Nick’s line “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known” (pg. 64).  This just makes me think he is dishonest.  But in Nick’s mind, he’s the only honest one of the bunch.  He’s the objective observer of this glamorous life.  In his mind, we’re supposed to like and relate with Nick.  Personally, I think he’s completely deluding himself by thinking as an “outsider.”  He’s a part of the group.  But this might be a reflection of Fitzgerald’s mindset at the time.  He’s an outsider (but not really).

But I can still read the gray names, and they give you a better impression than my generalities of those who accepted Gatsby’s hospitality and paid him the subtle tribute of knowing nothing whatever about him.
– page 61

 Do you think Gatsby deserves/needs his sympathy? Why did Fitzgerald decide to include that quote at this time… as we are just getting to know Gatsby better (in the present tense of the story)? Gatsby is the tragic lost hero.  He’s the little boy lost.  He’s the embodiment of the disillusionment felt after World War I.  We see an entire Lost Generation wrapped into one package.  Every time I’ve read this book, I feel sorry for Gatsby.  He has no real substance to his person.  There’s no one to give him direction or ground him.  He’s floating through the glitz and glamour, but nothing’s real.  We see this in all the conversations he has with Nick.  There are bits of realness, but then Gatsby lapses into what he thinks Nick wants to hear. 

Are you starting to not trust Gatsby or does this make him seem more cunning and powerful? (references to his Mafia ties) Neither.  He’s little boy lost.  He’s not taking advantage of these “opportunities” in a malicious way or a cunning and powerful way.  I see it more as he doesn’t know what to do.  People propose plans, he goes along with them.  I guess this plays into my feeling sorry for him. 

Did anyone else feel the anxiety and embarrassment when Gatsby and Daisy were reunited at Nick’s? This whole scene is excruciating. obviously Gatsby and Daisy were young and in love once, but that time has passed to everyone but them.  They still act like unsure teenagers around each other; not acknowledging the time and events that have happened since their last meeting “Five years next November.”  I want to slap these two silly.  Tell them they both made bad choices, but must live with the consequences.  To me, this is the most aggravating scene in the entire book.

Week 3 (Jan. 20 Pages 91-135)

 I see here that Gatsby is almost trying to punishing Daisy. It’s as if he wants to say, “look at me… look at what you’ve missed out on.” Later in the reading, we realize he is trying to have her understand that he is powerful and rich. What is worrisome is the length he goes to trying to prove this, along with the depth of his insecurity.  To me, Gatsby is the ultimate insecure man.  He came from nothing, but feels like he has to prove something to everyone around him.  He desperately wants to be in the “in crowd.”  He thinks money, wealth, and possessions will do it for him.  And he’s trying to show Daisy all of this.  I want to grab Gatsby and knock some sense into him.  All around, he’s a tragic figure in my mind. 

And the plot thickens… What if he hadn’t found needy, old Dan Cody… what do you think he would have done to turn himself into Gatsby? Do we think he did it for Daisy, or would he have used her to do it if needed? If not for Dan Cody, I think Gatsby would have gotten involved with those shady characters sooner.  And he wouldn’t be helping run the deals, but probably the runner.  Daisy was a symbol of what Gatsby wanted.  She’s a tool, nothing else.  He believes that he loves her, but she’s not real. 

“‘Her voice is full of money,’ he said suddenly. That was it. I’d never understood it before. It was full of money — that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it…” (p. 120). What does a voice full of money sound like? I absolutely love this line…  It makes Daisy real and not real at the same time.  She’s a person, but stands for the entire East Egg lifestyle.  She is money and power and wealth and influence.   
 
Was it interesting to anyone else that Tom (having spent the least amount of time with Gatsby) is the first to suspect that Gatsby is a Bullsh*&ter? I agree with some of the previous comments.  Tom has nothing to gain from Gatsby, so he’s less likely to become enamored with him.  (And yes, I think Nick is completely enamored with Gatsby)  Plus, he has been in the East Egg lifestyle his entire life.  I imagine that he’s come across up and comers like Gatsby often.  I would think that Tom was smart enough to see how those people wanted to use him and his assets.  

And on the subject of cocktails….  I have to agree with Fitzgerald.  Gin is the way to go.  I usually go with a gin and tonic, but Gin Rickeys are also beautiful cocktails.  J can’t stand gin (he likens it to drinking PineSol), but I love it, the aroma, the taste, the non-hangover I have the next day.  It’s the best alcohol. 

Gin:

Gin, bathtub or otherwise, was extremely popular in the 1920s. Gin Joints and Speakeasies abounded. Often, your gin would be served in a teacup in case of a raid!  Gin was a favorite of Fitzgerald, and this was his absolute favorite drink, the Gin Rickey:

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • Top with club soda
  • Lime wedge
  • Pour gin and lime juice into a chilled highball glass filled with ice cubes. Top with club soda, and stir gently. Garnish with lime wedge.

Week 4 (Jan. 27 Pages 136-End)

 The ending always gets me.  It seems so pointless, so sad, so melancholy.  From a literary perspective, I appreciate the ending.  It fits Fitzgerald’s atmosphere and tone.  But a little part of me always wants Gatsby to live, Daisy to leave Tom, and Nick to find his place in the city.  I guess I’m just a sucker of happy endings.  Oh well…  It’s still a beautiful novel and one of my all-time favorites.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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The Great Gatsby Readalong — Sign Up Post

From Unputdownables:

The following is the reading and posting schedule for this read-a-long. Please note, we will be reading roughly 45 pages per week (about 6 pages a day). Unfortunately, there are not very clean breaks (i.e. ending at chapter breaks) this time, so we’ll always be ending in the middle of chapters… feel free to read ahead if you are on a roll, or at least read to the next natural breaking point. That said, please note that not everyone will be doing so, and I ask that you do not comment on things that happen outside of the scheduled reading (i.e. no spoilers, please). Thanks!

Schedule:

Beginning Thursday, December 29th and ending Friday, January 27th.

READING SCHEDULE:

Week #/ dates :: Place in which to STOP

Week One/ December 29- January 5 :: page 45
Week Two/ January 6- 12 :: page 90
Week Three/ January 13- 19 :: page 135
Week Four/ January 20- 27 :: page 180 (The End)

POSTING SCHEDULE:

Post #/ date post should be up on blog:

Start up Post/ Today!
Week One/ January 6th
Week Two/ January 13th
Week Three/ January 20th
Week Four/ January 27th (Final Review)

How it Works:

  1. Each week, on Friday, share your thoughts about the previous week’s reading. If you are stuck on what to comment about, you can respond to my post or others’ comments. Regardless, you MUST check in each week, even if to say you are behind in the reading
  2. Feel free to post reviews of the each week’s reading on your own blog (if you are a blogger), and to visit each other’s links. If I, or other readers, have extra time we will gladly try to visit your blog if you also leave a link to your post about this book. However, please make sure to share your thoughts here on this blog, as this is where the main conversation will be happening.

 I joined today.  The Great Gatbsy is one of my all-time favorite books.  I haven’t reread it in about 3 years, so I think now is the time.  Now I have to go home and find my copy.  I wonder if it’s in the grey tub, or the blue tub, or the bookshelf???  Hmmm… this could be interesting!

For purposes of the readalong, I will be commenting solely on the website each Friday.  Once the book is completed, I will post a complete review of the books and my thoughts to the discussion posts.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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Read-A-Long Madness

I found these two awesome read-a-long events for August and just had to join.  They’re both rereads, but one’s from my favorite author and the other is my favorite series.

First up from Bread Crumb Reads:

“Sense & Sensibility” Read-along in August!

How this Works
The novel is divided into four parts. For each part there will be an update/discussion post every Thursday. Those who intend blogging, are welcome to. On the other hand, no one has to blog. There are no obligations of any kind. Simply read and have fun with others like you!^_^ 

Date for Read-along
1 August 2011 – 31 August 2011

Discussion Schedule (every Thursday):

  • 11 August – discussion of Volume I
  • 18 August – discussion of Volume II
  • 25 August – discussion of Volume III
Note: Each volume is less than 150 pages each, in case you’re wondering.;)
Second comes from Pretty Deadly Reviews:
It’s time to kick off the Harry Potter Read Along!
If you haven’t all ready, it’s time to crack open our dusty old copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

It’s time to kick off the Harry Potter Read Along!

To celebrate the first day of what is sure to be total awesomeness, I’ve decided we all need to be sorted. It’s the very first thing Harry experiences, and I thought it should be fitting that we take the ride with him.


Which Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?

I figured I would either be a Griffindor or a Ravenclaw.  I’m okay with this sorting.

Wish me luck on both read-a-longs!

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Books

 

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