Sunday, March 6, 2011

Well, Hello, (Blogging) World

Photo Credit

I was doing so well with my bloggy New Year's Resolution to post at least once a week, but then I got OWNED by a nasty flu virus (I like to think it was a mild form of the bubonic plague) that made me miss work for an entire week. All of my fellow teachers out there know how ridiculous it is to try to come up with meaningful sub plans, so you know I was really sick if I stayed home for a whole week. Further proof I was really sick (aside from the fact that I couldn't really stand up or eat all week)? I didn't even want to THINK about a book for almost the entire time I was sick. And that, my friends, is serious. I am NEVER not reading, so to not read for almost five days was a pretty good indication of how icky I felt. Long story short, I finally recovered, but between playing catch-up, trying to grade all the meaningful things the students did while I was gone, and coaching and travelling with the speech team, there just hasn't been time to blog. There's barely been time to read!

Okay, on to the bookish bits! Thanks to said plague, I didn't get much reading done in February (I read three books instead of the eight that I read in January), so I'm going to do some mini reviews of the books that I've been reading in the last month.

I signed up for Laura's readalong of Jane Eyre and then promptly failed to post on any of the posting dates. This is okay, however, because Laura intended the readalong to be pretty loose and informal. I have read Jane Eyre before (see here if you would like the story), but it has been at least eight years since I have read it (that's a long time!). I picked up Jane Eyre when I was starting to feel alive again after being sick but wasn't quite back to normal. It seemed like the perfect comfort read at the time. Being eight years out from my last reading has lent great richness and joy to my current reading of Jane Eyre, and as it is one of those Books That Define My Life, I quickly realized that it would need more than one post. I'm thinking of making this week my unofficial Jane Eyre week: the new adaptation comes out on Friday, and I would like to finish reading it before then. So look for lots of Jane Eyre love this week!

The three books that I actually finished in February were part of Tasha Alexander's Lady Emily Ashton series. I found these thanks to how much I loved Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey mysteries, and I am beginning to think that historical mysteries, especially those set in 1800s England, could be a new genre love for me. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, And Only to Deceive, and I liked the next two that I read, A Poisoned Season and A Fatal Waltz. Reading A Fatal Waltz was especially fun because it is set in Vienna, and Lady Emily visited a lot of the places that I visited when I went to Vienna to visit my awesome friend Anne. While I enjoyed these and found them to be nice, fluffy distractions from the craziness of my everyday life, I couldn't help comparing them to the Lady Julia Grey mysteries, which are infinitely more inventive and entertaining. The third Lady Emily mystery, Tears of Pearl, confirmed my opinion that Lady Emily is a poor man's Lady Julia. I almost never give up on series, but I'm not sure if I'm going to read the last Lady Emily mystery. We shall see...

My most enjoyable read of February was A Tree Grow in Brooklyn. I actually listened to the audio of this book. I didn't particularly like the reader, but the story was SO GOOD that I couldn't stand to give it up. Eventually I got used to the reader, and everything was hunky-dory. The reason I enjoyed this book so much was because of the character of Francie. You know when you read a book and you find yourself? This happened for me with Francie, especially in the way that Francie loved to read. One scene in particular struck me as finding myself: early in the book, Francie takes her library book (she reads a book a day) and some favority candy out onto the fire escape of her apartment. She puts her pillow down, arranges her bowl of candy, and settles under the shade of the tree to read the afternoon away. I used to LOVE to do this when I was little. I particularly remember one Saturday (I'm not sure how I got away with this as Saturday was chore day...maybe I actually cleaned the bathroom in the morning like I was supposed to...) that I spent reading The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I read all day, curled up with my pillow on the floor of my bedroom, and I vividly remember having a bowl of pretzels that I ate while reading; I don't think I ate anything else all day. I loved the book, and I know I will revisit it. If you haven't read it, you MUST! I can't believe I went this long without reading it.

Finally, when I was thinking about what I wanted from this year in reading, I knew that I wanted to reread some favorites. So far, I have only reread one book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I read this again because of Angie's lovely review of the book, and it was just as delightful the second time as it was the first. I am currently rereading The Poisonwood Bible, another favorite, for my book club. My next reread will by Possession, which is a rich, wonderful, meaty novel by A.S. Byatt.

That's what February looked like for me. Let's hope for a better, flood-free March!


JoAnn said...

So glad you're finally feeling better... hope you manage to get caught up soon, too! I loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn when I read it a few years ago. My daughter, then a HS senior, read it immediately after I finished and loved it, too. Now I need to convince the other two to give it a try.

I've been away from my blog for a couple of weeks (preparing for then traveling to London), but plan to get back to it later this week.

Read the Book said...

Thanks, JoAnn! My goal is to have all my grading done before Spring Break (which starts next Wednesday).

I can't wait to hear about your trip to London!