Book Review: “Bonjour Tristesse” by Francoise Sagan

Aug 26, 2015 by

Book Review: "Bonjour Tristesse" by Francoise SaganIts the 1940s in France, Cecile is a seventeen year old girl spending the summer at a seaside villa with her father and his (current) girlfriend.  Her mother died when Cecile was very young, making her handsome father, Raymond, a very young widow; having a new girlfriend every few months is not unusual.  Ever since Cecile came home to him 2 years ago from the convent school – they have been partying together and having a great time.  Now away with one of his girlfriends, Raymond invites another woman to come stay with them too.  This new woman, Anne, was a friend of Cecile’s mother’s, and Cecile is quite taken with her.  Until Raymond throws over the girlfriend for Anne and Cecile begins to fret over the possibility of losing the lifestyle she shares with her father.  All of this while she is developing a relationship with the handsome guy next door – who is almost ten years older than her.

I found this novella purely by accident and was compelled to read it one Sunday afternoon.  Cecile is kind of a spoiled rich-kid brat who has almost an incestuous love for her father.  She is very young and naive, and yet is surprised to find herself attracted to the guy next door as he isn’t of her father’s age.  She is just so lonely for his attention – he doesn’t ignore her – but he does give plenty of attention to young pretty things that grab his attention for a month or two.  For such a short book, that honestly reads quite light and breezy, it really holds a surprising depth.  Now that I’ve read up a little bit about this – the author was just eighteen herself when this was published – and that really adds to the authenticity of the main character.  This was a glorious find!

Also, not that it means much, but I love this cover.  Isn’t it wonderful?

*****
Bonjour Tristesse
by Francoise Sagan
Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2008.  First Published 1955.
160 pages
Source:  Library
*****

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Announcing…. Back to the Classics Challenge 2013!!

Dec 26, 2013 by

Announcing.... Back to the Classics Challenge 2013!!

You asked for it….   so here you go!  I am now formally announcing the Back to the Classics Challenge 2013!!  This is the third year in a row for this challenge, and I hope that you are ready!
I am making a few small changes this year, including requiring less categories to complete.  Wait, did I say *requiring*?  Yes, I did.  This year will feature 6 required  categories that all participants must complete.  Then, I will have additional categories that those super-motivated participants can choose to complete if they’d like.  All reviews must be linked on the appropriate pages again, and those will be listed on the left hand side of this page.  When you’ve finished, you will also need to link a wrap-up post.  Everyone who completes the 6 required categories and the wrap up post will be entered to win a $30US Amazon.com gift card or choice of book(s) from The Book Depository.  Any one who completes 3 categories from the optional list will earn one additional entry into the prize drawing.  Any one who completes all 5 categories from the optional list will earn two additional entries into the prize drawing.
  • All books must be read in 2013.  Books started prior to January 1, 2013 are not eligible.  Reviews must be linked by December 31, 2013.
  • E-books and audio books are eligible!  Books can count for other challenges you may be working on.
  • If you do not have a blog, you may link your review from Goodreads or other publicly accessible online format.
  • Please sign up for the challenge using the linky below BEFORE SEPTEMBER 1, 2013. Please link to your sign-up announcement post (if possible/applicable)
  • You do not have to list your books prior to starting the challenge, but it is more fun that way 🙂  You can always change your list at any time.  You can read the books in any order (including mixing in the optional categories at any time)
  • You can decide to attempt the optional categories at any point (you can also bow out of the optional categories at any point as well).
  • Please identify the categories you’ve read in your wrap up post so that I may easily add up your entries for the prize drawing!
 
THE CATEGORIES:
The Required Categories:
  1. A 19th Century Classic
  2. A 20th Century Classic
  3. A Pre-18th or 18th Century Classic
  4. A Classic that relates to the African-American Experience – This can be an African-American author, or a book relating to slavery, civil rights, or African-American culture.
  5. A Classic Adventure
  6. A Classic that prominently features an Animal – This can feature animal characters or animals in the title (real or imagined)
Optional Categories:
    A.  Re-read a Classic
   B.  A Russian Classic
   C.  A Classic Non-Fiction title
   D.  A Classic Children’s/Young Adult title
   E.  Classic Short Stories – collection must include at least 3 short stories by the same author, or at 
                                              least 3 stories collected together by genre, time period, etc.
As in years past, I just want to take a moment and let you know that especially for the purposes of this challenge, I do not subscribe to any set definition of a Classic. I think that anyone looking to participate in this challenge already has their own personal definition that works best for them.  If you are choosing to include a title that you feel may be questionably described as a Classic, please just explain your position in your review.
As always, I hope you have fun with this Challenge!  Good Luck!
Sign up here:
1. Sarah Reads Too Much 38. Amara @ Amara’s Eden 75. Kirsten
2. Annette @ Impressions In Ink 39. Courtney @ Chaos Theory 76. Lady In [email protected] My RandRSpace
3. Sha Re Kay @ Lost In Kudzu 40. Kristin @ Lukten av Trykksverte 77. Sarah @ Coffee & Tea
4. Tanya @ Mom’s Small Victories 41. Samarpita Sharma 78. t It An IUm Apr Il
5. Adam Stone 42. Elida 79. Whitney (She Is Too Fond Of Books)
6. James McShane 43. Hanna @ Booking In Heels 80. Christine @Buckling Bookshelves
7. Maggie Reed 44. Susan @ Reading World 81. Shan
8. Bill Jones, Jr. 45. Jim @ Several Four Many 82. Matt @ Matt’s Book blog
9. Beth 46. Brandyn @ Going for Goldilocks 83. Irish @ Ticket to Anywhere
10. Allie @ A Literary Odyssey 47. Anastasia @ Birdbrain( ed) Book Blog 84. Indiana Jane
11. Adam @ Roof Beam Reader 48. Heather @ Capricious Reader 85. Julie @ Books Are Portable Magic
12. Hezzy 49. Mary Beth @ Research Boring? Not in My Book 86. Dana @ School For Us
13. [email protected] Tale of Three Cities 50. Jean @ Howling Frog 87. Leah Smith
14. Gina @ Book Dragon’s Lair 51. Summer Wathen 88. Ape the Grape
15. Sue Wargo 52. Manno 89. Logan E. Turner
16. Fanda @ Fanda Classiclit 53. Elida @ My first, my last, my everything! 90. Kimberly @Inspirefly
17. Melisa @ Surgabukuku 54. Jo Anne Isgro 91. Morwen
18. Wendy Kirkland 55. TFrances @ Ms. Buff’s Blog 92. Chrissi
19. Erica @ Ink Spots and Roses 56. Becky @ Becky’s Book Reviews 93. Asha @ Asha’s Literary Corner
20. Aliene Believe 57. Alyssa @ ACReads 94. Lisa @Bibliophiliac
21. Cat @ Tell Me A Story 58. Amanda Sue 95. Emily @ Classics and Beyond
22. [email protected] Reader’s Block 59. Story 96. [email protected] Carrot and the Reader
23. Christina 60. Heather @ Ex Libris 97. Leah @ Japan Journal
24. Arenel @ Slightly Cultural, Most Thoughtful and Inevitably Irrelevant 61. bmwheelon 98. Karen @ Books and Chocolate
25. Monica @ Between The Pages 62. Pia @ Kulturkroken 99. The Reader
26.  nica @ A Thousand Lives 63. Hannah @ once Upon A Time 100. Retha @ Bible Fascination
27. Joyful Reader 64. Dalene @ A Date with a Book 101. Maenad
28. Darlene @ Darlene’s Book Nook 65. Gretchen 102. Andrea
29. Melissa @ Avid Reader’s Musings 66. Rob @ Loose Logic 103. Mabel Jane
30. Andi @ Random Thoughts of a Scriboholic 67. JaneGS – Reading, Writing, Working, Playing 104. Laura S.
31. Geoff @ The Oddness of Moving Things 68. Ashley @ The Bibliophile’s Corner 105. Beverly Stuart
32. Melissa @ Must Read Faster 69. Melissa @ Jayne’s Books 106. Alexis
33. Rachel @ Resistance is Futile 70. Kristina @Kristina Yarn 107. Alexis @ Lexi Swoons < 3
34. Risa @Breadcrumb Reads 71. Alouette 108. Col Reads
35. Alpa @ 1 More Page Please 72. Kristi @ Books and Needlepoint 109. Chimpini
36. Alyssa @ The Reader’s Refuge 73. Srivalli 110. veronica
37. Lindsey @ Babies, Books, and Beyond 74. [email protected] Mogul Diamonds 111. You’re next!
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Audio Book Review: “Animal Farm” by George Orwell

Aug 26, 2013 by

Audio Book Review: "Animal Farm" by George OrwellMan, I love this book.  Even the first time I read it in English class years ago – I loved it.  I mean, it is pure genius.  I love this cover too…  Even though I downloaded the audio from my library and didn’t get to see it firsthand, the graphic is good enough here.  It certainly doesn’t make much question as to what the book is about, does it?

If you somehow are not familiar with the story line, Animal Farm is a tale based in the Russian Revolution, only instead of human Russians overthrowing the governing party – it is the British animals of Manor Farm.  These animals cast out the drunken leadership of Farmer Jones and his wife and assume control, renaming the property Animal Farm.  They begin to rule themselves with a very pure idea of socialism, and seven governing principles (among them “Four legs good; Two legs bad”).  But it doesn’t take long for the pigs to rise above the other animals, and for Comrade Napoleon to become the overall leader.  The pigs become increasingly more corrupt, and the uneducated masses of other animals allow it until, finally, the pigs even start to resemble the humans they replaced in the first place.

The way the characters are developed is fascinating.  To watch the pigs slowly transform themselves into “more than” the rest of the animals is something to behold.  The way they manipulate the others, and how we can see humans do the same thing even now is just genius.  I think my favorite character of all is Squealer the Pig.  He is the one who spreads the propaganda and further’s Napoleon’s cause and influence over the animals.  I love the way he just changes history and gets the others to believe him…. believing more in him than their own memories.  Is this a good (as in positive) character?  Not at all – but I admire his boldness.  Whenever the text announced Squealer’s presence in a scene, I’d smile because I knew something interesting/appalling/crazy was about to happen.  And I could picture him hopping from feet to feet while he was spinning his tales.

I’m so glad I experienced this one again…  I remembered it as being good, but I had forgotten just HOW good it really is!
*****
Animal Farm
by George Orwell
Narrated by Ralph Cosham
Blackstone Audio, 1999.  First published 1945.
Source:  Library
—–

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Book Review: “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf

Jul 26, 2012 by

Reading Mrs. Dalloway involved learning a lesson that I didn’t expect.  I went into it flippantly, even though I had been warned that Virginia Woolf was difficult.  But I have read authors that some consider difficult and made it through…  I thought I knew more than I did.  I mean, it is a small book, and I assumed it would be a quick read no matter what.  I knew some people loved Woolf, and I hoped I would find an enjoyable story in it.  After all, it was a day in the life of a woman planning a party… how difficult could it really be?

Yes.  I thought that.  Can you see me cringing with that admission?  I can’t believe that I tried to debase Woolf, not to mention women in general (and I am a woman!) to that level.  I am not even going to get into all the terrible things that I’m thinking about myself right now, for thinking so simply.  For not realizing the scope of what that initial assumption could mean in a general sense.  Like I said, I am a woman (though I’ll safely assume that this applies to men as well) and I am perfectly aware of how much and how often my mind wanders throughout any given day…. subject to subject, to the past, and curious wonderings about strangers I see on the street….  I guess I never expected that true mind stream of thought could be captured so eloquently on the page.

It takes some getting used to; and I certainly had a hard time with it at first.  Thankfully, I received some great advice which really helped me let loose my usual reading style and ride the stream of consciousness flow of thoughts and ideas.  (Read the post and comments linked HERE if you are interested in the discussion)  The two hardest concepts for me to wrap my head around were that there isn’t much plot and that not every little detail matters.  It also helped to read some passages aloud, so I could grasp where the point of view changed.  While this is a day in the life of Mrs. (Clarissa) Dalloway, we also see into the minds of different people in her life or at least touch her life and day and thoughts in some manner.  I’d say that the first quarter of the book is an exercise in adjusting to this literary writing style.

And this style is extraordinary.  It is innovative.  Simple and complex all at once.  You don’t have to like it or enjoy it to see and appreciate the importance of it.  I’d imagine that re-reading this would be almost necessary to pick up on the subconscious thoughts embedded in the stream of consciousness…  It is going to take me a bit before I will be able to do that though.  This was so far out of my comfort zone that I am going to need to be gentle to my mind for a bit and read something light (and with more plot!).  I am not put off by Woolf though, and I still have Orlando on my Classics Club list.  But I will be better prepared to give her and her writing a proper go from the start next time.  I should also add that an annotated edition might have been helpful in my case!

*****
Mrs. Dalloway
by Virginia Woolf
Harcourt, 1998.  Originally published 1925
194 pages
Source:  Purchased Used
*****
Links for Purchase:


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Challenge Link-Up Post: Reread a Classic

Jan 26, 2012 by

Announcing.... The Back To The Classics Challenge 2012!

Please link your reviews for your Reread a Classic here.  This post is only for the ReRead category.  If you do not have a blog, or anywhere you post reviews publicly on the internet, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comment section.

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Challenge Link-Up Post: Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction

Jan 26, 2012 by

Announcing.... The Back To The Classics Challenge 2012!

Please link your reviews for Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction here.  This post is only for the Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction category.  If you do not have a blog, or anywhere you post reviews publicly on the internet, please write your mini-review/thoughts in the comments section.

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