November 8, 2011

Update, and What I'm Reading

It seems a lot has been going on lately. I haven't blogged as much as usual lately, and I feel bad about it!

I've been hoping for early snow this year, as I've been more excited for the fall/winter seasons this year. Last week, my wish was granted. After weather in the 70s all week, temperatures plummeted Tuesday night, and it snowed 14 inches by Wednesday mid-morning. The next day it was 50 and then back up to 70s again, until this last Tuesday night the exact same thing happened, except not as heavy and destructive. Welcome to Colorado! Generally when we have a forecast of 3-6 inches of snow, we are lucky to get enough to cover the grass and sticks around past the afternoon. This time, we got double or three times more than expected. It was wet and heavy with incredible packing power (perfect for making forts and snowball ammo for kid snow days), but unfortunately the trees and power lines couldn't handle this massive dumping of powder from above. A third of the town was without power for more than a day (some places up to three days), and our phone line was cut. We (and about everyone else in town) lost huge branches and entire trees, because they hadn't yet lost their leaves, and the weight was just too much. The second snow didn't do much damage, but a few more branches fell. All the havoc out there happened, but it was covered in a beautiful blanket of snow :-)

Also, I was sick. It had been coming on a few days before the first snow, but I thought it would pass. Instead, about 11:30 on snow day central, I went back to bed and could not muster the energy to do anything until after 7, when my fever finally broke. I didn't even want to get up to look for medicine, so when my boyfriend got home to take care of me, he scrounged around for some. All we had is some Dayquil that expired in 2003. EIGHT YEARS AGO. I think it's time to go shopping, yikes!

We also had a busy weekend that week. Bar Friday, hockey game Saturday (GO EAGLES), and a movie on Sunday night. Which film, you ask? The Three Musketeers.

A brief history:
Once upon a time a movie came out about a book. It had a man who'd played Jesus in it (Jim Cavezel, if anyone was curious), and The Time Machine Guy (Guy Pearce), so a girl's mother bought it and took it home. The movie was The Count of Monte Cristo, and though neither of them knew it was based on a book at the time, they both loved it. Fast forward several years. The girl grows up and becomes a book blogger/enthusiest, and finds out a bit about Alexandre Dumas. Although she has wanted to read his work, she has been intimidated by the size and length of his books. The Count of Monte Cristo was always at the top of her list, with the Musketeers a scant second. Though she found an adorable edition one day she couldn't pass up. Then, she saw the movie.

All in all, I liked the film. Seemed much more steampunk that it probably should have been, and it was a typical modern action movie (think Sherlock Holmes esque). But I didn't believe the movie had the story right AT ALL. I mean, it's called the THREE Musketeers for a reason, right? This conundrum running through my mind-the sabotage (I thought) of a great story, motivated me to finally pick it up.

So far I'm about 200 pages in, but I realized as soon as I picked it up that I was wrong.

I LOVE this book. I'm telling you guys, I didn't expect to. Nothing about the story or description or times ever really interested me. So I'm glad I saw the movie - otherwise I don't' think I'd have caught on quite as fast (which is grounds to quit reading early on for me, in big books such as these). Also, I'd have NEVER pronounced D'Artagnan correctly, I took Spanish, not a lick of French.

One drawback, I know NOTHING of French history. I will try to read a bit of that on the side, but I plan on doing more than one post on this book, since it will take me awhile to read (it's only a few pages less than a thousand). I think finishing a book of this length (which I can't actually remember ever doing), will boost my confidence to tackle more larger books. Believe me, I have enough door-stops on my shelves to fuel my reading for probably two years (if that is all I read...and even then, maybe up to five years! I have a lot of books!).

Hope you guys will bear with me while I digest this one, and maybe next time read a big 'un with me :-)

Hope you are all well, keep reading, and I'll see ya next time :-)

November 6, 2011

R.I.P. Challenge Wrap-Up

October has faded, and we're now into another November, which means the R.I.P. Challenge has come to an end.

This was my first year participating, and I kind of took a loose approach to it. I did read several books that fit into the challenge's parameters:

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (audio)

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (audio)

The Gunslinger by Stephen King (Dark Tower I)

The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King(Dark Tower II)

As I've posted before, I think reading books set in the same season/mood as you're in can not only enhance the story for you, but also emphasize your surroundings - which is why I absolutely wanted to include myself in a challenge based on that same principal. I had fun, and really enjoyed the books I read in the last two months. I look forward to participating again next year :-)

November 5, 2011

Reread: This Book Is My Best Friend

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Historical Fiction

The fact that I went back and read this book for a second time is significant for me. I'm not usually a big re-reader. Though I think that is changing. I've started getting 'cravings' for good books I've read. Some stories are just magical. 

Each time I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I took my time. The book is a collection of letters, and each one stands alone as something special, something to treasure. In a time of instant communication, reading a book told entirely through letters is incredibly refreshing and reminiscent of a slower (seemingly) more meaningful time. Very sentimental. While I cherished reading the letters, I mourned after I finished each one, because I knew that the book does eventually end...and while it has a complete and lovely ending, I still find myself wanting more. There were several dramatic points in the story, and 'plot twists' per-se, though I never found myself truly surprised by anything that happened (except perhaps by Isola's mysterious letters *wink*wink*)

The story captured me immediately and completely. We follow a woman of thirty-ish, Juliet Ashton, who has worked as a journalist during WWII in London. Now that the war is over, she wrote a book, and is at a loss now, of what to write for her second one. Scrambling for ideas, and feeling terribly war weary, she receives an unexpected letter in the post. The letter is from a man, Dawsey Adams, from Guernsey who has happened to end up with a book that used to be hers. He is writing explaining his love for the book and the author, asking her politely if she would be able to get him in touch with a bookstore where he may order more books by Charles Lamb. Juliet is delighted and sets to work right away, but their friendship has already started. She is intrigued by something he mentioned in his letter, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and asks how in the world something as such came about. The letters fly back and forth between Dawsey and Juliet, Juliet and her dear friend Sophie, Juliet and her publisher, Sidney, and various members of the literary society, as she becomes acquainted with them. Juliet decides she is going to write an article about the occupation of the channel islands by the German's, using her new friends in Guernsey as sources of real facts and little known events. Without realizing it at first, the letters serve as Juliet's beacon of light that help her pull out of her war weary slump. She finds herself falling in love with the people through their correspondence, and you can't help but fall for them yourself. 

The author's splash vivid personalities and humorous situations against the backdrop of post WWII England. Each and every character in this book has a personal and devastating experience directly related to the horrors of the war, though they have tried desperately to bring out the best in things and keep their spirits shining brightly. 

This book is about and between good friends, it makes you feel good to read it. You feel like one of them (hence the title of this post). When I finished, I almost turned to the beginning of the book to read it again. Seriously. It's been about a month since I read it (I know, it's taken me forever to get around to this review), and writing about it again makes me want to read it. It's an absolutely perfect book to read if you're feeling lonely - while you read it, I promise you won't be anymore!

This book is no-question one of my favorites. I think it is a 'modern' classic, in it's own right. Not only does it capture the mood and some lesser known events of World War II in England, it lets you in to some beautiful character's hearts and minds. I've read this book twice so far, but I'll be reading it again...and again and again.