Top Ten Tuesday: Summer To Be Read List

toptentuesdayIt feels nice to be making these lists again :) This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is our summer reading lists! I have a diverse line-up for the months ahead, including science fiction, some classics, young adult reads, and a rereading of some childhood favorites!

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir – I read so many phenomenal reviews for this book last year, and after seeing the recent trailer for the movie adaptation coming out in October, my husband and I both want to read this sci-fi adventure.

Harry PotterHarry Potter Series (1-3) by J.K. Rowling – My husband, who rarely reads, recently voiced interest in reading one of my all-time favorite series. We started Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone last week

senseandsensibilitySense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – For Austen in August this year I’m finally going to reread the first Austen novel I ever read. I also really want to watch the 1995 movie version again!

Jane Austen Book ClubThe Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler – Another book I’ve lined up for Austen in August. I absolutely adore the movie adaptation of this book, so I can’t wait to finally dive into the original version! I’m expecting it to be very different, but I hope to still enjoy it.

The Boy Most Likely To

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick – I’ve talked about my excitement for this spin-off before, but it’s finally almost here!

Jurassic ParkJurassic Park by Michael Crichton – This novel has been on my Classic Club list for a couple of years now, but since seeing the movie Jurassic World this past weekend, I really want to experience the book that created the franchise! I hear that it’s quite different from the films.

The Mysterious IslandThe Mysterious Island by Jules Verne – Every July for the past two years I have read a Jules Verne book to personally celebrate Bastille Day (the national holiday of France). This year I’ve picked The Mysterious Island to read!

War and PeaceWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – I started participating in a War and Peace Read-Along earlier this year, but I unexpectedly had to drop out halfway through. I’m hoping to finish this chunkster sometime this summer.

War and Peace Read-Along: Week 3, Books 4 and 5

76051-war2band2bpeace2bread-a-longThis week’s reading was so much more interesting! There was drama, dueling, death, rejected marriage proposals! I love 19th-century drama :)

Here are my answer’s to this week’s discussion questions:

1. Are you managing to keep all the characters straight in your head?
Yes, finally. The only one I had to look up this week was Denisov, because I was confusing him with Dolokhov. And the fact that I spelled their names right without looking them up is saying something!

2. Have your tactics that we discussed in Week One changed since beginning this book?
I’m no longer reading every night. Instead, I read larger portions so I can spend other nights doing/reading other things.

3. Aww, poor Pierre. Do we feel sorry for him or is it his own fault for marrying for lust?
I pitied Pierre a lot in the earlier books. I felt sorry for him and I sympathized with him, but as Books 4 and 5 progressed, I started getting fed up with him and his naivety. I mean, how many times is he going to let people take advantage of him?

4. Do you think Dolokhov will get his comeuppance – not only for sleeping with Helene, but for basically bankrupting Rostov?
But did he sleep with Helene? We don’t know! No one confirmed or denied it. And although he bankrupted Rostov, Rostov did nothing to stop it. He’s just as guilty. And I hope he follows through with his plan to reimburse his parents. I like Rostov more than some of the other characters, so I hope he does the right thing.

5. Who knew the FREEMASONS were part of War & Peace!? How do you feel about this?
Confused. The philosophical discussions go right over my head, and the induction ceremony felt so cult-like.

6. Do you think Tolstoy dislikes women as much as he seems to, or is it a form of satire?
Hmm…I think he satirizes all the characters, not just the women. Did Tolstoy dislike women? I haven’t done any research on it, so if he did, maybe I’m just not reading deeply enough into the novel.

“I am afraid my way of looking at the world is so opposed to yours that we shall not understand one another.” – Pierre

Are you reading along with us? How are you liking the book so far? I flew through Book 4; it was so intriguing!

War and Peace Read-Along: Week Two, Books Two and Three

War and Peace Read Along

Hanna from Booking In Heels is hosting a read-along of War and Peace through February, March, and half of April, and I am one of the bloggers crazy enough to join in! Honestly, it’s not as bad as I always imagined it would be, although it can be pretty daunting.

Unfortunately, I was behind in my reading for this past week! I think that can be attributed to the fact that this weekend I was busy doing Valentine’s Day festivities with my hubby (so totally more important that Tolstoy), but also…there were TONS of loooooong war chapters this week, am I right? It took me most of the week to get through Book Two because it was full of war strategies and history lessons. Book Three was much easier to get through.

[spoilers below for Books 2 and 3 of War and Peace!]

The biggest happenings in Books Two and Three are the marriage of Pierre and Helen (ugh), Marya’s rejection of Anatole (YES!), and the Battle of Austerlitz, where the Russians suffer a huge defeat.

1. Do you feel that the tone of the novel has changed this week? Has that affected your enjoyment?
Book Two was sooooo long and honestly I got pretty tired of all the war descriptions. I was longing for Book Three because they included several “gossipy” chapters (that’s what I’m calling them from now on since they feature the two-faced gossipy characters) where some more interesting plot points unfolded. But the last half of Book Three brought us back to the war front, but at least it was a tad bit more exciting.

2. Do you feel comfortable telling other people that you’re reading War & Peace?
Absolutely. I just don’t like being applauded for reading it. Yeah, it’s a big personal accomplishment for me, but I’m not reading it to be impressive. I’m reading it because I genuinely want to.

3. How do you feel about Helene and Pierre’s marriage? Happily ever after or mildly doomed?
Totally doomed. I was practically yelling at Pierre to open his eyes and realize how badly Prince Vasili was playing him. But now that they’re married, I would love for it to work out. I just don’t think it will.

4. Should Marya have married Anatole or should she have stayed at home with her father?
As much as I dislike Marya’s father, Anatole is a huge egotistical jerk. I love Marya; even though she’s naive as anything, she’s also pure of heart and completely selfless. I’m holding onto the hope that one day she’ll marry someone who is actually honorable (is that an impossible hope? DON’T TELL ME!)

“My vocation is to be happy with another kind of happiness, the happiness of love and self-sacrifice.” – Marya

5. Andrei has featured in a lot of the war-related chapters so far. Do you think he’ll ever make it to military greatness?
I am now a quarter of the way through this novel and I STILL don’t know how I feel about Andrei. I don’t necessarily like him, but I don’t dislike him either. I think he could be a great military figure, but will he succeed in that? *shrugs*

Ok, I hope this week’s chapters are more captivating than last week’s were! How are the rest of the Read-Alongers doing??

War and Peace Read-Along: Week One, Book One

I recently heard about a War and Peace read-along hosted by Hanna at Booking In Heels and since I know this novel will be much easier to read with a group of other bloggers than it would be to read it on my own, I have decided to participate!

As you can see, it is a two-and-a-half month-long event, so we only have to read 1-2 books a week (there are 15 plus 2 epilogues), which is doable.

This week we read Book 1, and since I have never read anything by Tolstoy or any other Russian novelist, it took a lot of effort to keep track of all of the characters (there are plenty), as well as figure out how to even pronounce their names.

[spoilers below for Book 1 of War and Peace]

The main plot points that take place during Book 1 are the death of Count Bezukhov, the legitimacy of his son Pierre (who is then able to receive the Count’s inheritance, much to the shock of the rest of the family), and the deployment of Prince Andrew.

  1. What pre-existing ideas did you have about War and Peace?
    I expected it to be long and boring.
  2. On that note, is it as bad as you’d expected?
    While it is long (1,000+ pages), it isn’t boring. At the same time, not much has happened either. So it’s interesting that it’s able to keep my attention.
  3. What strategies are you employing? (e.g. reading in short bursts, using your Kindle on your commute, taking notes about the characters…)
    I printed out a list of characters (8 pages long!) because there are so many and it’s hard to keep track of who is who. At this point, only a handful of the characters are familiar to me–when I see Princess Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya (isn’t that a mouthful?) or Pierre or Prince Vicili, I know who they are. But most of the characters are completely unknown to me.
    I’m also reading a specific number of chapters per night (~4) so that helps keep me on track and the chapters are fairly short so I can take breaks.

    War and Peace

    Keeping my 8-page list of War and Peace characters handy!

  4. How are you getting along with your translation?
    The Kindle version I’m using is great. Much better than lugging around a printed book. They’ve translated the French segments, but since I speak French that wouldn’t be a problem for me. (Side note: this also aided me while reading Jane Eyre. I think every reader should learn French; you never know when you’ll need to translate book dialogue!)
  5. Most and least favorite characters?
    Favorite character: So far I like Princess Mary (I think she also goes by Maria?). She seems sweet.
    Least favorite: By far, Princess Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya is my least favorite. She reminds me of those women who just butt into everything that doesn’t concern them. I wonder if I’m the only one who feels this way?
  6. How do you feel about the way women are treated in the book?
    I feel that they are looked down upon; their opinions are condescended and they are often criticized by the male characters (and even other female characters).

“I am a woman, and you think we are all stupid;” – Princess Katishe

If you’re interested in reading along with us, it’s not too late to join! Click here for the schedule.

Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Authors I’ve Never Read

toptentuesdayYay! I haven’t done one of these in months!

Here are 10 popular authors I have not yet read, and yes, some of these I do feel ashamed about, but most of these authors are on my TBR list so that should count for something, right??

Top Ten Popular Authors I’ve Never Read (in no particular order)

Stephen kingStephen King – I know…he’s “The Master”. I honestly don’t know why I haven’t picked one of his novels up yet, but rest assured that there are plenty that I do want to read, including The Long Walk. One of his novels I don’t fancy myself reading is The Green Mile, because…tears. Although I haven’t read a single King novel, I’ve seen many movie adaptations, and The Green Mile is on my “Top 5 Movies That Make Me Bawl” list.


john greenJohn Green – Only recently have I gotten into contemporary authors. I’ve always been more of a classics girl, but there are a few John Green novels I’d like to read someday. The Fault in Our Stars is on my TBR list, but I’m saving that for when I’m feeling rock-solid. I can already tell this is the type of novel that will just hang on me for weeks–maybe months–after reading, and though I do love tear jerkers, I don’t think my fragile heart can handle TFIOS at the moment.


rick riordanRick Riordan – Okay, I’m cheating a bit here. I have started the Percy Jackson series, but I didn’t even finish the first chapter, and not because I didn’t like it, but because I was trying to read it in French. I only learned this after starting the book, but there is a special tense in the French language called passé simple and it is used only in books or to tell specific types of stories. So it took well over an hour to read as little as I did because I had to keep looking up practically every verb. BUT, I will not be thwarted in my desire to read Percy Jackson. I’m just going to procrastinate a little until I learn passé simple…

jodi picoultJodi Picoult – I don’t know why I haven’t read one of her novels yet, especially since I think I’d enjoy them. One in particular that I’ve had on my TBR list is The Storyteller. Does anyone recommend it?



victor hugoVictor Hugo – Arguably the most famous French author, I have been putting Hugo off for multiple reasons, namely being the fact that I’d really like to read him in French, but my level is just not high enough to do that. One of my goals this year is to read Les Miserables in French, or at least attempt to, so hopefully I can cross Monsieur Hugo off my list soon! And then I can finally watch the latest Les Miserables film (yes, I am one of those book-before-movie people).

leo tolstoyLeo Tolstoy – Another author on my TBR list for this year. I’m itching to read Anna Karenina and War and Peace, and I haven’t heard any mixed reviews for Tolstoy like I have for Hugo, so hopefully that compels me to dig into his novels sooner rather than later!


kurt vonnegutKurt Vonnegut – I think the reason I have yet to tackle a Vonnegut novel is because he intimidates me for some reason. I think it’s the satire. But, one of my friends recently recommended him to me so I will take that as reason enough to read one of his novels…someday.



oscar wildeOscar Wilde – If any Wilde books had been assigned reading for school I definitely would not have to include him on this list. But no The Picture of Dorian Gray or The Importance of Being Earnest for me. As a graduate of English Literature, however, I feel that Wilde is definitely a must-read. I know I’ve been missing out.


carl saganCarl Sagan – I’ve known about this beloved Sci-Fi author since I was a little girl. My dad loves him, and I personally adore the film Contact and can’t wait to read it one day.



jd salingerJ.D. Salinger – I’m not exactly sure why, but I have never been interested in reading Salinger. I will give The Catcher in the Rye a read one day though. It’s been on my TBR list for a while, but only because I’ve constantly seen it on must read book lists. Can anyone talk Salinger up a bit to make me more interested in reading him?

Which popular authors have you personally never read? Do any of yours make my list? (Please say yes!)