Posts Tagged ‘re-read’

5th January
2014
written by Steph
casehistories

If only ebooks had nice covers...

Given that the site is newly raised from the dead, it somehow seems fitting that my first review is of Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. Not only is the book about a series of decades-old cold cases, it’s also a book I read many moons ago, well before this site ever existed and was one I had long left for dead. As a re-read rearing its zombie head, I probably couldn’t have picked a better book for a reboot if I had been trying. Case Histories is the first in Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series, which, to date, consists of four books. I am previously on the record as having a big girl crush on Atkinson  and loving her non-mystery fiction, and being far more ambivalent (though that might be putting it nicely) about her forays into whodunit fiction. Because I first read this book before I started writing reviews here, I don’t have any in-depth analysis or record of my thoughts on the book then, but I do remember that I was wildly underwhelmed by it and might even go so far as to say I did not like it very much at all. So why read it again if I found it so dull the first time round? Mostly because although I’ve been living under a literary rock for the past 16 months, I still keep up-to-date with some of the book world’s news and I’ve been reading a lot of buzz about my girl Kate’s latest book, Life After Life. I didn’t have a copy of that on hand, but I was able to get access to this and decided to test the waters to see if it was as disappointing as I remembered. (more…)
19th September
2011
written by Steph

I don’t have very many reading rules, but one rule that I have set for myself and that I have managed to observe for the past 3 – 4 years (read: ever since I made it up), is that I only ever read one Jane Austen book a year. Austen is one of my favorite authors, so it would be really easy for me to just read and review her over and over again, but that might get tiring for you guys, so instead, as a means of maintaining balance, I instead limit myself to one book by her each year. Admittedly, this rule also partially stems from my deep-seated fear of running out of Jane Austen novels, and is my attempt to ration them. The thought of living in a world where I have no new Jane Austen to discover chills me to the marrow of my bones. I do realize that since Jane Austen only published six full-length novels that this reading plan would only preserve me from my greatest fear for six years, BUT you’ll note that my rule says nothing about reading a new Jane Austen novel each year, so if I wanted to read P&P for the next decade, that’s totally kosher. As it is, since establishing my One Austen Per Annum rule, I have actually only revisited works of hers that I’ve already read. I still have Mansfield Park and Persuasion on the TBR pile, and even though I always claim that this will be the year that I finally try one of them, it never seems to work out that way. When Nicola over at Vintage Reads pointed out earlier this year that this was the 200th anniversary of Sense & Sensibility, that pretty much sealed the deal regarding which Austen I’d be cozying up to in 2011! My desire to do so was heightened after popping the Oscar award-winning film featuring Emma Thompson into the DVD player a few months back. In retrospect I think that perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to follow up the film with the original source material, simply because Emma Thompson’s adaptation is just SO good, and I couldn’t help but compare and contrast the two and I have to say, Austen’s version didn’t always come out on top. [Also, everything from here on out presupposes that you have more than a passing familiarity with the plot of S&S. Spoilers and in depth discussion ahoy!] (more…)
8th April
2011
written by Steph

For Laura: "Would you like a cream bun?"

Avid book bloggers know that a common lament throughout the book blogging world is the lack of time devoted to re-reading, given all the wonderful new books that are cropping up every day. With so many books frequently flooding into my own home, I know that I certainly have spent the bulk of my reading time in years past trying to make my way through the deluge of new books, rather than returning to old favorites. Of course, it’s not just well-loved books that I frequently mark as “to re-read”, but also books that challenged me or that I struggled with. Sometimes I finish a book that I expected to love and find that we just didn’t click. This can certainly be due to the book just not being my cup of tea, but sometimes I think that I simply wasn’t in the right space for that book, or that it might be one of those tricky ones that you can only appreciate after multiple readings. I am here to say that The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is definitely one of those books. (more…)
31st January
2011
written by Steph

"Oh my God!"

If The Catcher in the Rye is considered required reading for teens in high school, then I definitely think that A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole should be required reading for those at college and university. It’s not that Dunces’ central character (and some (where some = me) might argue, the titular character as well) is what Holden Caulfield would be at age 30, because truthfully there is only one Ignatius J. Reilly (and that’s a good thing)! But as I read through Dunces, I kept thinking that for all of its absurd twists and outlandish moments, there is a part of it that very much deals with being out in the real world and figuring out what to do with your time and yourself, and just making it through all of the bizarre curve balls life (or, as Ignatius would claim, Fortuna) has a way of throwing at you. (more…)
12th February
2010
written by Steph

[Apologies for the lack of updates this week - I've been RIDICULOUSLY SICK, and today was the first day since Tuesday that I haven't had an insane fever!] For the past few years I’ve been meaning to re-read The Catcher in the Rye, but never seemed to make the time to do so.  Then J.D. Salinger passed away on January 27, and I finally got the push I’d been needing.  Notorious for being a recluse who hated journalists and publicity of any kind, I figured re-reading the misadventures of misanthropic Holden Caulfield would be an appropriate tribute.  It may still have been more attention than Salinger himself would have liked, given that he never stopped writing but simply stopped publishing, but I still wanted to give the man his due. I can’t remember exactly when I first encountered The Catcher in the Rye, but I do know I was likely far too young to have been reading it; I’m sure I was around 9 or 10… what were my parents thinking?!?  I remember borrowing it from the library and being utterly enthralled by it. I don’t think I was a particularly angsty pre-teen, but I remember hungrily devouring Holden’s narrative and reverently cherishing the novel.  Evidently I loved it enough that my parents gave me a beautiful hard-bound copy for Christmas in 1995  - when I was 12 years old.  That’s the copy that I still read from today, and is the copy I’m sure I read from in Grade 11 English when we studied the novel.  At the age of 15, I think I was better placed to see myself reflected in Holden’s narrative, specifically his vitriolic rage against the phonies and the morons who pester him wherever he goes.  Again, I don’t think I was an especially angry teenager, but… I was still a teenager. Just so you understand my love affair with this book, I admit that as pretentious and uninspiring as it may seem now, in my final year of highschool the quote underneath my graduation photo in the yearbook was the following:
(more…)
7th January
2010
written by Steph
Check out my dreamy Folio society edition!

Check out my dreamy Folio Society edition (purchased with my own $$$)!

I have a confession to make: I love Jane Austen.  Ok, ok, that is no surprise to anyone who has read at least three posts (probably even the cooking ones) here at S&TI! or engaged me in about 5 minutes of conversation, but it’s such a fundamental part of who I am that I think it bears repeating.  Truth be told, however, that wasn’t my confession.  My real confession is this: I love Jane Austen, but I have always secretly felt that Northanger Abbey was one of her lesser works.  The thing is though, I’m human so, rare though it is, I do occasionally make mistakes.  Consider this prior notion of mine to be one such error. I first read Northanger Abbey during the summer of 2005 when my friend Laura and I were backpacking around Europe and the UK.  I can’t remember where I got the copy I read, only I know I didn’t bring it with me, so I must have found it at one of the hostels we stayed at and took it along for a train ride or two.  Prior to reading the book (or perhaps concurrently), Laura and I visited the Jane Austen costume exhibit that was going on in Bath and part of the exhibit involved a quote from Mr. Tilney about muslin and various other fabrics and dressmaking which caused Laura and I to turn simultaneously to one another and mouth the word “GAY!” before collapsing into a fit of giggles. True story.  So anyway, while I read the book and knew it was a spoof on the popular gothic novel of the time, I really walked away with the strong perception that Henry Tilney was a huge fop, hardly deserving of the title of Austen hero, and that was about it.  There was nothing wrong with Northanger Abbey – it wasn’t a bad book – it just got catalogued in my mind as sort of a limp, less significant Austen novel. (more…)
6th September
2009
written by Steph
But you know what's not rotten?  This book!

But you know what's not rotten? This book!

Ok, so I understand that whole “different strokes for different folks” idea – books that I love will not necessarily be universally loved by everyone else, but I have to say, when it comes to Jasper Fforde, if you love reading and you love books, then I kind of can’t compute how you wouldn’t enjoy his Thursday Next books.  And I know that you people exist out there, and have read things where people said that they just couldn’t get into The Eyre Affair, and while I of course respect that whole DSFDF principle I outlined above, I just don’t understand how you can NOT like these books.  And especially the people who say that they didn’t really find them funny, because whenever I read a Jasper Fforde novel, I am equal parts enamoured by him and hella envious because he is SO clever and witty and well-read that I can hardly stand it!  And I have seen him two or three times in person at book signings and I can tell you that he is exactly the same way in person (except add charming to the mix) and it is maddening!  I don’t know – I guess it is like how there are some people out there who don’t think Arrested Development is the funniest show ever created, when that is not even a matter of opinion but purely fact (Simona, I know this includes you, but I think it is a testament to my commitment to our friendship that I overlook this HUGE flaw on your part… At least you have finally read Harry Potter (and loved it!  Also critical!) 😉 ). (more…)
11th December
2008
written by Steph
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

Is there anything better to read than a Harry Potter book when one is laid up in bed sick with the flu? Not according to my immune system. For the past few days, I’ve been struggling with itchy ears, congested chest, and overall body aching so intense that my symptoms would fall well in line with some of the more choice curses found throughout the Potter series. Now is not the time to struggle with dense and delicate prose. No, instead, I need a heaping helping of adventure and fast-paced excitement. Which makes my choice of the final book in the Harry series a pretty good one, and as far as home remedies go, an enjoyable panacea as well. Warning: Do not read on if you have not finished reading the HP series. I definitely discuss plot details after the jump! (more…)
10th December
2008
written by Steph
Oooh... gilded edges!

Oooh... gilt edges!

After my last reading disaster, I decided I needed to read something that would sooth me. All of the unread books on our shelves seemed vaguely sinister, as I suffered from the whole “once bitten, twice shy” affliction of having tried a new author and it blowing up horribly in my face. I lead a busy life and do a lot of non-pleasurable reading as a graduate student, so when it comes to books I read in my limited spare time? I want to enjoy them. Sometimes I make allowances for books that are not necessarily going to make it onto my list of desert island reading if they’ve attained “classics” status, as generally in these cases even if I wouldn’t necessarily deem the reading of said books pleasurable, I can often at least appreciate the merit in those books and have a better understanding of their place in the literary canon. But having been burned, I wasn’t looking for challenge. No, I was looking for a good read that would cleanse the palate and let me venture into the wide world of books anew. I had been considering rereading Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows for some time, as it is the only book in the series that I have only read once (that day being when it was released, as I attended a midnight release party in downtown Toronto with two very good friends, and then hightailed it home because my father was driving me back down to Nashville the next day… yes, I had purposely delayed my return so as to ensure I got the UK/Canadian edition of the book.). Lately a few snippets of the plot had been swirling around in my head, and I realized that I was a bit unclear on how certain storylines/issues were tied up, and as I don’t have a penseive, I’d just have to reread the last book. But then I saw HBP sitting next to DH on the shelf, and I realized that I’d only read it twice AND that movie is due out next year, so maybe I ought to warm up to DH so I’d be in the appropriate mindset to join Harry & co. on their final quest. (more…)