August 9th, 2010

amy poehler

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28. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner - Much like the Sound and the Fury, I was expecting this one to be a lot better as well, oh well guess I'm not a big Faulkner fan.

29. The Hound of the Bakersvilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Loved it, very interesting. Kept you wanting to read more. I was surprised it was written in the early 1900's because the jokes Holmes made were still funny and everything was very easy and just an overall great read. Sherlock Holmes definitely lives up to reputation but I was surprised that Watson kind of had a bigger role.

30. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan - Eh, it was okay. I liked Nick and Norah better and pretty much any other John Green book better. Interesting story but kind of lost me towards the end. Just okay, I didn't love it but I didn't hate it.

Book 32

Title: Island of the Sequined Love Nun
Author: Chrisopher Moore
Topics/Themes: Humor, Zany

I had high hopes after Lamb but was disappointed. This book was a loaner and the owner warned me that it wouldn't be as awesome as Lamb so I tried to temper my expectations. It was funny, but just ok. It was compelling only because the story was so comically bizarre that you wanted to keep reading to see how it would unfold.

Funny, unusual, and entertaining, but not the non-stop laugh out loud awesomeness that is Lamb.

Book 77: The Captive Queen by Alison Weir

Book 77: The Captive Queen: a Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Author: Alison Weir, 2010
Genre: Historical Fiction. 12th century England-France.
Other Details: Hardback. 487 pages.

Although I've read a few of Alison Weir's historical biographies, this is my first encounter with one of her novels. Its focus is upon Eleanor of Aquitaine during the period 1151-1189, the years covering her passionate, turbulent relationship with Henry II of England. There is an epilogue set in 1204 as she lays on her death bed at the age of 82.

According to Alison Weir's notes at the end of the novel, this was a project that she first conceived when she was researching Eleanor's life for her 1999 historical biography, Eleanor of Aquitaine: a Life. As she had been drawn into a love of history through historical novels, she wished to use the novel as a way to fill in the gaps though taking pains to make it as authentic as possible "given a little dramatic license and the novelists informed imagination". Weir is clearly passionate about adhering to a high standard of authenticity and I felt that showed throughout the novel along with the affection and respect she obviously feels for Eleanor.

I consider Weir foremost a writer of historical biographies rather than a novelist, so she hasn't quite the skill of other authors in terms of establishing a strong narrative flow and characterisation, especially of supporting characters. This didn't diminish my pleasure in the novel or my appreciation for how Weir had approached her subject. There were parts which seemed very reminiscent of The Lion in Winter in tone and so no real surprise when Weir mentioned that play/film in her notes.

The only thing the book is really lacking is suggestions for further reading. Still, I would expect that most of Weir's readers would be aware of her earlier biography, which has ample sources. I have that biography on my 'to be read' list and did dip into it a few times while reading this.
Book Porn

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Book #43 -- Virgil, Virgil's Aeneid (translated by John Dryden), 427 pages.

Another one of the Harvard Classics series I'm working my way through. I surprised myself by *really* liking this. I'd never actually read the Aeneid before, although of course I knew the gist of the story. But usually I'm not too fond of the ancient Greeks and Romans. With this one, however, there were sections where, far from having to force myself to read it, I actually couldn't put it down, wanting to know what happened next. Sadly, I found the last bit the least enjoyable, where the long lists of 'who slew whom' started to bog down the actual plot.

Progress toward goals: 219/365 = 60.0%

Books: 43/100 = 43.0%

Pages: 12266/25000 = 49.1%

2010 Book List

cross-posted to 15000pages, 50bookchallenge, and gwynraven
El Corazon

197. The Texas Stories of Nelson Algren; 198. The Merchant of Venice

The Texas Stories of Nelson Algren
by Nelson Algren. Edited by Bettina Davis.

Started: August 3, 2010
Finished: August 9, 2010

I liked the mood and atmosphere conveyed in this collection of short stories set in the 1930s Rio Grande Valley more than I did most of the actual plots of said stories. 159 pages. Grade: B+
The Merchant of Venice
by William Shakespeare

Started: July 21, 2010
Finished: August 9, 2010

The anti-Semitic stuff is pretty revolting but I guess if you can overlook that as "just a part of the times in which this was written" then this was a reasonably enjoyable read. It had a coherent understandable plot and some very pretty individual lines at times. 25 pages. Grade: B-
Total # of Books Read in 2010: 198
Total # of Pages Read in 2010: 50,083