Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Picked Up on a Whim

toptentuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is about books I’ve started reading without knowing what they’re about beforehand. This is something I rarely do. Normally I read a book’s synopsis and several reviews before committing to read a book (my reading time is that valuable to me!), but I was able to find some pleasantly surprising impulse reads to share with you today, as well as a few disappointing ones.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Picked Up on a Whim

Wives and Daughters

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell – I started reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s final novel a few months after I finished North and South. I didn’t know anything about it, not even that Gaskell never finished it! But if you’ve seen my review of it you know that I loved this novel, and the miniseries. I’m still dying to know how Gaskell would have finished it, though.

meanttobe

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill – I can honestly say that this is the novel that got me into Young Adult literature a few years ago. I found it through the digital library while searching for similar books to Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments. Both book are now two of my favorites.

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I actually thought this was another book when I picked it up. I’m kind of glad that I didn’t know anything about Me Before You before I started reading it because I may not have wanted to put myself through so many heart wrenching emotions (who am I kidding? I love when stories make me cry!).

Persuasion

Persuasion by Jane Austen – Jane Austen has been my favorite author for a long time, but I hadn’t known anything about Persuasion when I randomly decided to read it while on a road trip a few years ago. It’s one of those books that was incredibly hard for me to put down. I didn’t want to be antisocial sine I was on a trip with a lot of friends, but I definitely spent a lot of time reading (and daydreaming) about Persuasion for the beginning of that trip. I love that a 200 year-old book can still have that affect!

thewonderofallthings

The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott – This is a book I happened to se on a shelf at the library and decided to check it out even though I had never heard of it before. I think I liked the cover. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator’s voice bothered me at times, but surprisingly that didn’t keep me from enjoying the book. I still think about the ending sometimes, actually.

5290225_origThe Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare – I had an awesome 8th grade English teacher who introduced me to Shakespeare. We read Hamlet and As You Like It, the latter of which we also got to see performed at our local performing arts center. After falling in love with the Bard I decided to read something on my own and randomly picked up The Taming of the Shrew, and that’s when I also found out that it’s the inspiration for 10 Things I Hate About You. I need to reread the play now that I can understand it better. I hope I still like it!

510yzqD6ukL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_ The Princess Bride by William Goldman – I had seen the Princess Bridge movie when I was younger but only remembered that it had a happy ending. When I was a teenager I picked the book up at Barnes and Noble and it was one of those rare occurrences when I actually began reading it as soon as I got home. I was completely shocked by it though, because I thought it had a happy ending and then Wesley DIES. Of course it really does have a happy ending, but I was beginning to think the movie had deceived me.

Here are 3 disappointing books I happened to read on a whim…

15793306Servants’ Hall by Margaret Powell – Originally I was looking for Upstairs Downstairs when I came across this memoir at the library. Unfortunately, despite the fact that it was the basis for one of the love stories on Downton Abbey, I really couldn’t get into this book.

15815333The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – I saw this book at the library one day and remembered that I had added it to my TBR a couple of years ago, but I couldn’t remember why. Sadly I could not enjoy Wolitzer’s writing style and this book became a DNF after 75 pages.

Judge_and_Jury_by_James_PattersonJudge and Jury by James Patterson – Someone gave me a few books to borrow while I was living in France and this was one of them. It was probably my first crime novel and definitely the first book I’ve read by James Patterson. I was really into Judge and Jury until I reached the ending. I did not like the way Patterson wrapped up everything. It was very anti-climatic.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From

toptentuesday

It’s time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish :) This week’s topic is about authors we’ve read the most books from. I have quite a varied list: some classic authors, a few YA authors, and even a children’s book author.

Top Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books From

Ann Brashares – I’ve read 5 of her books: the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series plus Sisterhood Everlasting.

Jane Austen – I’ve read all 6 of Austen’s completed novels: Sense and SensibilityPride and PrejudiceEmmaMansfield ParkNorthanger Abbey, and Persuasion.

Lee/Elle Strauss – I’ve read 6 of her books: ClockwisePerception, Sun & Moon, Flesh & BoneHeart & Soul, and East of the Sun.

J. K. Rowling – I’ve read (and re-read) all 7 books in the Harry Potter series.

Karen Witemeyer – I’ve read 7 of her novels: Short-Straw BrideA Tailor-Made BrideTo Win Her HeartHead in the CloudsStealing the Preacher, Full Steam Ahead, and A Cowboy Unmatched (which is really a novella).

L. M. Montgomery – I’ve read all 8 Anne of Green Gables books. I still want to read her other books as well!

Laura Ingalls Wilder – I’ve read her 9 Little House on the Prairie books.

Nicholas Sparks – Every now and then I go through a Nicholas Sparks phase ;) I’ve read 9 of his novels: Dear JohnThe Lucky OneSafe HavenThe RescueThe GuardianA Bend in the RoadThe Best of MeThe Choice, and The Longest Ride.

William Shakespeare – I’ve read 14 of his plays: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice, and Richard II (plus dozens of his sonnets).

Dr. Seuss – loved Dr. Seuss growing up (and I still do), and even though I couldn’t give you the exact number of books by him that I’ve read, I know it’s more than 14 :)

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2014 Reads

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is all about the best books we read in 2014! I am very happy that my Top Ten is filled with so many classics! It’s not surprising, because I love classics and they usually fill up about half of what I read, but this year I read so many young adult books that I wasn’t able to read as many classics as usual. I guess this just means that I picked a few really good classics ;)

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

robinhood secondchancesummer muchado sisterhoodeverlasting littlewomen

10. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle: Robin Hood, my love <3 Your tricks and mischievous ways never fail to entertain me :)
9. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson: This book made me bawl like a baby, and only the best books can make me do that. This was the third Morgan Matson book I read, and before that I was already convinced that I’d preorder her future books because they’re that good.
8. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare: Usually I prefer Shakespearean tragedies, but Much Ado was so funny and suspenseful that I found myself really enjoying it despite its “shallowness.” The recent film version is great as well.
7. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares: I just read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series for the first time this summer, and I loved the four sisters so much! When I went to read this 5th, more adult book, I knew it was going to be a lot different from its predecessors. It’s darker and sadder, but also so much fuller than the other four books. Several chapters made me cry, but not just out of sadness. There’s one scene in particular involving my two favorite characters that is giving me butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it <3
6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: The beloved March family! I so wish I had read this book as a young adult. It would have gone well with Anne of Green Gables, but in any case I loved it so much when I read it earlier this year. And of course, the Winona Rider/Christian Bale movie is spot-on. I could watch that all day, AND it’s a Christmas movie so that means I will be watching it soon!

 

tokillamockingbird sinceyouvebeengone meanttobe NorthandSouth attachments

 

5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This is one of those classics that is usually assigned in school, but it wasn’t for me, and after reading it I totally wish it had been! But maybe not, actually, because there’s always that dreaded assigned reading curse that can destroy books for us =P It doesn’t matter what age you are, this book will touch your heart.
4. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson: This book is perfect for summer reading. It made my heart smile with giddy happiness and it’s a Morgan Matson book so obviously it’s amazing.
3. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill: This book was so cute! I seriously could not put it down. I love books that mix in multiple communications platforms, and this one deals a lot with texting mishaps. Plus, if you love travelling, especially to the UK, you’ll love this one. The whole book takes place in London and Lauren Morrill makes you feel like you’re actually there. I’ve been dying to see all the places that were mentioned in the book ever since I read it.
2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: I just finished this book a few days ago and I am still on the book hangover. Some people might think it’s weird to rave about a book that’s been around for over 150 years, but right now all I want to do is rave about North and South. The last time I felt like this was when I read Jane Eyre for the first time last September. My best friends can attest to it, I talked their heads off about that book (but I even converted my BFF into liking it after she HATED the movie!).
1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: This has been my favorite read of the year so far. I’ve talked about it so many times, I don’t know what else to say besides IT’S WONDERFUL!

 

There you have it! That was a lot easier than I thought it would be, actually. I rated all of these books 5/5, and there were around 6 other books I also gave a 5 star rating this year. It’s been a good reading year for me :)

 

What has been your favorite read of the year?

Shakespeare in the Spring: Much Ado About Nothing

07. Craft, Kinuko Y. - Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
First Performed in 1599
Classic/Play
Format: e-book; 116 pages
Also From This Author: Romeo and JulietHamletMacbeth
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: 5/5

Firstly, Happy Birthday William Shakespeare! I’m a few hours late but not by U.S. time ;)

I thought an appropriate way to celebrate would be to gush about how much I enjoyed Much Ado About Nothing, which I read for the first time last week :) After reading and posting about Macbeth, it was nice to dive into something much more light-hearted and uplifting.

Like several of Shakespeare’s comedies, Much Ado follows the trials and tribulations of two couples; Claudio and Hero, the sweet-tempered ones, and Benedick and Beatrice, the witty ones who always seem to be at odds with each other. Although there is one main conflict that seemed rather malicious, we automatically know that since it’s a comedy, we have no need to fear any worse case scenarios. Spoiler alert: there’s a happy ending.

The things I enjoyed the most about this play were Shakespeare’s quippy one-liners, of course, but also the characters, who very much reveled in teasing and playfully tricking one another. One of my favorite scenes was Act II Scene III, when Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato, knowing that Benedick is hiding nearby, create this elaborate lie that Beatrice is in love with him. Immediately afterwards, Hero, Margaret, and Ursula discuss the same lie while Beatrice is eavesdropping, and by the middle of the third act, our two witty rivals are smitten.

“Therefore let Benedick, like covered fire,
Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly.
It were a better death than die with mocks,
Which is as bad as die with tickling.” Hero, Act III scene I
( I just loved the death by tickling line!)

There were several smile-inducing moments for me in Much Ado About Nothing. I’m a sucker for those Pride and Prejudice type romances, and I couldn’t find any flaws in Benedick and Beatrice as their relationship went from bitter rivals to loyal lovers. In other Shakespearean comedies, I feel that the romantic relationships are shallow; Benedick and Beatrice’s love felt much more plausible and long-lasting to me.

muchadofilmJoss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

I had been eagerly wanting to watch this recent film adaptation by Joss Whedon since it’s release in 2012, but of course I wanted to actually read the play first. The film itself is word-for-word Shakespearean dialogue so if you haven’t read Much Ado or you aren’t very familiar with the Shakespearean tongue, you may have some difficulties in following along. BUT, many of the actors do a phenomenal job of reeling you in, even if you don’t know what the heck is going on.

For starters, Nathan Fillion (from Firefly and Castle), plays the moronic Dogberry (essentially a detective/sheriff who thinks too highly of himself despite the fact that half the time he doesn’t even know what he’s saying) and he had me laughing out loud so often, especially during this little coat mix-up scene:

dogberrygif

Love the T-Rex arm!

He did a great job at portraying the pure ridiculousness of his character.

Another scene that really moved me was the almost-wedding scene, when Claudio outs Hero in front of all the guests as being unfaithful. All of the actors were very convincing, and I felt more saddened by that scene after watching the film than I had from simply reading the play.

Also, after finishing the movie I began listening to this song from the soundtrack on loop. The lyrics are all Shakespeare, but the tune is catchy and fun to sing along to :)

I haven’t seen Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 version of Much Ado About Nothing, but it is on my to be watched list. It features Emma Thompson so I have no doubt that I’ll enjoy it.

There you have it! Hope this post encouraged you to read Much Ado About Nothing! And if you have already read it, what did you most enjoy?

Shakespeare in the Spring

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April is National Poetry month (at least in the U.S.) and I think it’s the perfect month for it. Spring has arrived; the flowers are blooming and the birds are perched in trees cheerfully chirping. This season is just asking to be spent reading romantic poetry in a park, isn’t it?

Another reason April is the perfect month to be called Poetry Month is because it is the presumed month in which William Shakespeare was born (April 23rd also marks the anniversary of his death). Shakespeare was the author of my absolute favorite play, Hamlet, and I believe I also have him to thank for sparking my interest in poetry to begin with (Byron helped as well). Therefore, to celebrate Poetry Month as well as the life of the world’s most influential writer, I have decided to spend the next four weeks reading and blogging about the three Shakespearean plays I have on my Classics Club List. I like to combine reading challenges and events so I can cross books off of my TBR list :)

So check back later this week for my thoughts on Macbeth, but for now, tell me: What is your favorite Shakespearean work (be it play or sonnet)?

Happy Sunday!