Somebody I Used to Know Review


Somebody I Used to Know
Somebody I Used to Know

Somebody I Used to Know is a mystery novel by David Bell. The main character, Nick, has been haunted for 20 years by the death of his college girlfriend. Even through his marriage, his wife says that he was still in love with Marissa, the girlfriend who died in a fire. So, as a divorced middle-aged man, Nick keeps busy working for the under-dog and playing basketball with his friends.

He lives a life of the status-quo, so to speak, until a young woman who has a strong resemblance to his long-dead girlfriend shows up in the grocery store of his small town. When he approaches her, she drops her groceries and runs. The rest of the novel unfolds as Nick, with the help of another college friend, who kind of disappears halfway through the novel, start to unwind the tangled web of the past.

As I read the novel, I thought it was a great start for a first novel. I thought that the author had a really good shot at going somewhere with his writing, if he kept on writing. I was shocked when I reached the end and read at the bottom of his biography that he was the author of several other novels. To be honest, his writing wasn’t what I expect from a seasoned author.

Characters, like the main character’s college friend, come and go with little explanation. There is little to no character development of anyone other than the main character. And finally, while the ending makes sense logically, it doesn’t make sense realistically. The motives assigned to the perpetrators were a bit far-fetched in my opinion, which is why I thought the author was new and would tighten his plotlines in the future.

While I don’t regret reading this novel, I don’t recommend rushing out to read it immediately.

You can pick up a copy of Somebody I Used to Know when it publishes on July 7, 2015.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of Somebody I Used to Know for review. All opinions are entirely my own.

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

 

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Top 10 Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015


My Top 10

Today I’m linking up with Broke and Bookish to talk about my Top 10 Favorite Books that I’ve read so far this year. Earlier this year, I was supposed to write about my favorite books from the past few years, but I limited it to the past year because, well, let’s face it, I didn’t read much after college. (I’m a terrible English major, I know…)

In no particular order, here are my top 10 favorites that I’ve read so far in 2015! (The titles are clickable to get to the Goodreads page!)

Astonish Me Title

astonish me

 

This wasn’t a light read, but it was thought provoking and interesting.

modern romance title

Modern Romance

Oh, wow. Stick around for my full review tomorrow, but it was hilarious, well researched, and informative.

 

Yes Please

yes please

Amy Poehler was hilarious and candid in this autobiography. Loved it.

Where All Light Tends to Go title

Where All Light Tends to Go

David Joy wrote a heart-wrenching and beautiful novel. I can’t wait to read more from him in the future.

dear daughter title

Dear Daughter

While Dear Daughter was no great work of literature, it was hysterical. I also think I read it at the right point in my life when I really needed something funny.

everything changes title

everything changes

I’ve read all but on Tropper novel. This novel, which was written earlier in his career, didn’t have the ambiguous ending that Tropper seems to be favoring these years, so I liked the cleaner, warmer ending.The Bookman's Tale Title

the bookman's tale

I read Lovett’s second novel, first. I backtracked and read his first novel, which I loved even more. In fact, it’s one of my favorite that I read this year!

Into the Tangle of Friendship Title

into the tangle of friendship

I don’t typically read non-fiction or memoirs. However, I picked up Kephart’s memoir on friendship because friendship is a topic that is near, or shall I say, very far, from my heart right now. I honestly enjoyed her reflections, especially on how she has wanted friendships that never turned into anything, watching her son make friends on the playground, or how she maintained friends throughout the years.

 

 

The Invention of Wings Title 2

The Invention of Wings

My first exposure to Sue Monk Kidd was The Secret Life of Bees, which I read for my Southern Lit class in college. When I picked up The Invention of Wings when I saw it popping up all over my Goodreads feed, I knew that I had to read it. I couldn’t put it down!

This is Where I Leave You title

this is where i leave you

This is Where I Leave You was the first Tropper novel that I read. I picked it up because the movie version was star-packed. Once I read the novel, though, I was confused about how it would translate onto the screen, since the novel is mostly introspective. In my opinion, it didn’t translate well, despite the excellent work by all of the actors and the fact that Tropper wrote the screenplay. So, I highly recommend the novel over the movie. But, watch the movie if you have two hours because the star-studded film was still kind of fun.

What have been the best novels you’ve read so far this year?

 

 

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Summer Reading Challenge Results

 


Summer Reading Challenge Results: Seriously, Sarah?

I would like to thank Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life for hosting a twice a year reading challenge. Last winter was my first participation, in which I I read everything within a month! It took two months this time, but I liked it because it pushed me to read books that I had meant to read or books that had been on my “I would like to read one day… maybe…” list outside of my comfort zone!

Here are the final results!

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey (The Women of the Real Downton Abbey #2)

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

I was definitely disappointed in how much it overlapped with the first book in the series. If I could give half stars, it would be 2.5 because it wasn’t terrible, but there wasn’t anything earth shattering in the WWII research, of course, and there wasn’t even much detail on the clothes, manners, or things that I found fascinating in the first book.
Those things were mentioned, but inconsistently. It felt like if the author needed to fill some space, she’d throw it in there, instead of focusing on it.

Pages: 368


10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before. (Just go to a shelf and pick a book based on the cover, the title, whatever you want!)

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

Lessons from Madame Chic

I picked it up as a book that I had never heard of before. It seemed interesting. While it would be really easy to make fun of, I still didn’t mind it terribly. I did think it was interesting to read about an entire society of people who live with “capsule” wardrobes. [I’ve never been to France and cannot vouch for the validity of any of the book.] I hardly have one, but my closet has been whittled down due  to the fact that I’ve lost weight, so a lot of clothes went upstairs because they were too big and don’t need that many different outfits anymore, anyway.

Pages: 283


10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you’ve had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.)

The Black Album

The Black Album

I purchased this novel with the short story at the end back in 2010 or 2011. I really bought it for the short story. I read that. So, for the summer reading challenge of reading something that’s been on my shelf for 2 years, I chose this novel.

Pages: 320


10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014.

We Were Liars

we were liars

I have heard a lot about this novel. It won a Goodreads award, of course. I haven’t read anything similar like it in a long time, so I did enjoy it. I was a bit (and still confused) why the main character called her friends “The Liars” from the very first, but I’m sure that’s a spoiler. I read the Kindle version fairly quickly. It was short, interesting, and very trendy.

Pages: 227


15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you.

Don’t Try to Find Me

don't try to find me

Decent coming of age/young adult novel. Don’t buy the publisher’s advertising. Nothing like Gone Girl/Reconstructing Amelia. Not innovative at all. This novel did fulfill a summer reading challenge requirement, which was a plus, since it was an easy read.

Pages:  384


15 points: Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.)

Ruth
Ruth

Why so many sad stories for the Victorians? Hardy? Wharton? Stop it. I liked this right up till the end. Ruth, I love you.

Pages: 499


15 points: Read a book with “light” or “dark” in the title. (Or “lightness” or “darkness.”)

Where All Light Tends to Go

Where All Light Tends to GoI’m really glad that I took a chance on this novel. I did need something with “light” in the title for a reading challenge, but when Audible recommended it, it seemed to be the perfect Southern Lit book for me. I can’t wait to read more from David Joy in the future.
I have to say that the novel seemed all too heartbreakingly realistic. Joy did a great job writing beautifully about the messy side of life in the rural South.

Pages: 260


20 points: Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title.

Jamacia Inn

jamacia inn

Ehh, this has to be my least favorite du Maurier novel, and I love her novels. It was predictable and kind of cheesy.

Pages: 320


20 points: Read a book with an animal on the cover.

A Civil Contract

a civil contract

This novel, by an author that I obviously like, was read for the Summer Reading Challenge to fulfill the category for a novel with an animal on the cover. I listened to the version with the horse on it!

a civil contract animal cover

Pages: 320


25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books.

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1)

maisie dobbs #1

Solid 3.5, so I’m rounding up, since I rate everything a 3!
I put it down a few times, so it wasn’t as compelling as I would have liked, but I’m kind of burned out on books that take place during the World Wars.
The “mystery” wasn’t as much of a mystery as I would have liked, but I think it introduced readers to the main character and her background, nicely. I intend on reading the next book in the series!

Pages: 309 / At least 11 novels in the series


25 points: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long.

The Way We Live Now

the way we live now

Sorry, Trollope you could have cut this book by at least 1/4. However, I still liked it.

Pages: 1024


30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it’s worth the most points!)

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

I chose this novel because it has alliteration in the title. It was the shortest one I could find – I am kicking myself for reading Dear Daughter before the start of the challenge! It was funny and fit. Not to spoil a book that came out 20 years ago, but I don’t think the ending was very realistic, but I’m not a professionally trained counselor.

Pages: 369


 

Now, I’ll have to read books from my other challenges and maybe a few of my fun books from my Summer Reading list… or even some from my Spring Reading list!

 

 

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My Top 10 Summer Reading List 2015 Picks


Summer Reading List 2015 from Seriously, Sarah?

I have been letting reading challenges dictate a lot of my reading choices, and likely, I probably still will. However, if I were to disregard all challenges, these would be the 10 novels on my Summer Reading List 2015! These aren’t the latest, greatest, or even classic beach reads. Just 10 books that I’d like to knock out this summer.

Don’t forget to stop by the bottom and let me know what you’re reading this summer, so I can get a few more ideas!

Linking up with Broke and Bookish for Top 10 Tuesday.

Second Life

second life

I know the reviews on Goodreads aren’t great right now, but I loved the author’s first novel so much that I absolutely want to read this one. I picked this one up on Audible since my credits were piling up.

The Book Thief

the book thief

I’ve had this novel sitting on my shelf for awhile. And by sitting on my shelf, I mean, I have the audio. It’s kind of long, but I really want to listen. I know that it’s supposed to be a wonderful novel. I will finally get to it!

How to Talk to a Widower

how to talk to a widower

I think this is the last Jonathan Tropper novel that I need to read. I have at least enjoyed, if not loved, every novel that I’ve read by him. I can’t wait to read it this summer. Actually, I listened to all of the other novels, but this was the only one that I picked up in paperback instead, so it will be interesting to read. I had a harder time listening to some of the novels because the narrator was the same guy who did Atlas Shrugged and a bunch of other novels.

How to Be Both

how to be both

I always like to peruse the Man Booker prize long list and this novel caught my eye last year. While this novel seems a little dense, I do think it seems interesting. It seemed too confusing to listen to, so I’m going to try to read the ebook. We’ll see how that goes.

The Invisible Circus

The Invisible Circus

I thought that A Visit from the Goon Squad was one of the most innovative novels that I had ever read. I picked up a used copy of The Invisible Circus and can’t wait to read more of Egan’s work. I was able to get this one through Paperback Swap (I think…) so I’ll see how reading, rather than listening goes, first.

The Nightingale

the nightingale

This newly released novel definitely caught my attention. I picked up an audio version.

The House at Riverton

the house at riverton

This is a Kate Morton novel that I haven’t read, yet! I have decided that I will read this one. My mom listened to the audio and loved it, so I decided to listen to it. After this, I will still need to read The Distant Hours. Oh, and her new release this fall!

Modern Romance

modern romance

Who doesn’t love Aziz Ansari? I can’t wait to read his take on modern relationships. They confuse me. I still don’t know how I ended up married. Insert over-medicated joke

Call the Midwife

call the midwife

My aunt and lots of other people have gushed about this novel. So, I guess I will read this over the summer!

Last Night in Montreal

last night in montreal

I absolutely loved Station Eleven, so I picked up some used novels by the same author. I hope to read some, including Last Night in Montreal over the summer.

What is on your Summer Reading List 2015?

Don’t forget that you can be my Goodreads friend here!

You can read reviews from my prior review roundups here.

 

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Summer Reading Challenge from Semi-Charmed Kind of Life


Well, I finished the winter reading challenge in just one month, but I’m not feeling as confident about this summer reading challenge (thanks Kristen…) and also, I just had to put a bunch on hold at the library and they had a waitlist. Unfortunately, they also have to come from other counties. I even had to pick books based on what I had access too. Boo.

Summer Reading Challenge

This reading challenge is hosted by Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life. I really enjoyed participating in my first challenge because it pushed me to read some new books!

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.
The Pursuit of Love, Nancy Mitford [Paperback that I own and have been meaning to read.]

10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before. (Just go to a shelf and pick a book based on the cover, the title, whatever you want!)
Well, I’ll have to pick one out when I go to the library!

10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you’ve had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.)
The Black Album, Hanif Kureishi [I purchased this book in 2011 with every intention of reading it, but I only read the short story that was included at the end of the edition, so it’s time to read the actual novel! The edition I have is actually longer because it includes the short story.]

10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014.
We Were Liars, E. Lockhart I don’t read many young adult novels, so I’m looking forward to this! [I put the audio and hardback on hold at the library. Both have long waitlists. Going to have to see which comes in first!]

15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you.
Yes Please, Amy Pohler [I just picked this one up from the library on audio and was going to read it anyway! If We Were Liars doesn’t come in quick enough, I may move it up to the above category and read another novel because there are plenty of authors who would be new to me!]

15 points: Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.)
Home, Marilynne Robinson [I have had this one on audio, waiting to be listened to for awhile. Gilead was so much to process, so I was putting this off, even though I loved Gilead and I’ve had Robinson’s latest on hold forever at the library. So long that they added a “cancel if not fulfilled by” date…]

15 points: Read a book with “light” or “dark” in the title. (Or “lightness” or “darkness.”)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera [I have heard of this book a lot, but don’t know much about it, so no spoilers!]

20 points: Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title.
A Passage to India, E.M. Forester [I almost read this for the winter challenge – I forget the category. I have the Audible version waiting.]

20 points: Read a book with an animal on the cover.
The Civil Contract, Georgette Heyer [The Audible version that I has shows a person riding a horse on the cover.]

25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books.
Of course, I just finished the 5th book in the Dublin Muder Squad series, which would have fit perfectly… ahh…
Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs, #1), Jacqueline Winspear [My mom read this book and recommended it. She let her best friend borrow her copy. I am trying to use up my paperback swap credits and just delete my account, so I grabbed a copy on there a few months ago. So, it’s sitting on my shelf!]

25 points: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long. — Submitted by winter finisher Kristen from See You in a Porridge.
The Way We Live Now, Anthony Trollope [I really have enjoyed most, if not all, of Trollope’s works, and this one has been on my TBR list for a long time. So, perfect chance! I snagged it on the cheap off of Audible using my how to save money on Audible versions of classic books, which you can read here.]

30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it’s worth the most points!)
Daniel Deronda, George Eliot [This is a LONG one… so I picked it up off of Audible.]

Happy reading!

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Categories: Reading
Reading Challenge Update {Vol. 3}


I’ve been taking some time for my health (not that it’s helping, but I think the pressure to write would make it worse), but I thought I could take time to update my reading challenges! [I did grab a “summer” picture from after I cut my hair last year to update my profile. Spring cleaning?]
Reading Challenge Update Vol 3

A few weeks ago, I updated my audiobook challenge, which I already surpassed. I’ve listened to a few more, but you can see which ones I had listened to here.

You can read my last update from last month here. I noted the changes below!

reading challenges update

For the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge, I’ve read 4 out of 12 books:

Dark Places: A Novel, Gillian Flynn
Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, DH Lawrence
Cousin Kate, Georgette Heyer
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson

That’s two more book since last month!

For reading 52 Books in 52 weeks, I surpassed the challenge. At the time of writing, I’ve read 62 books this year! Finished!


 

Audiobook Challenge:

For the Audiobook challenge, I said that I would aim for 30-50 this year. So far, I’ve read/listened to 50 audiobooks. Finished!

Update: As of June 2015, I’ve listened to almost 70 audiobooks this year!


 

For the I Love Library Books challenge, I am aiming to read at least 24 books from the library. So far, I’ve read 27 library books. My last update, I was only at 8 books. I’m definitely making progress because I FINISHED!

For my Classics Reading Membership Challenge, which I started on December 24, 2014, and gave myself 2 years to read 50 books, I’ve read 32! My anticipated list is here, but it is definitely subject to change!

So far, I’ve read:

The Awakening, Kate Chopin
Little Men, Louisa May Alcott
Daisy Miller, Henry James
Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell
The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, DH Lawrence
Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
Adam Bede, George Eliot
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Tales of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer
The House in Paris, Elizabeth Bowen
The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
Wessex Tales, Thomas Hardy
The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
The Professor, Charlotte Bronte
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
Cousin Kate, Georgette Heyer
The Woodlanders, Thomas Hardy
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John le Carre
Venentia, Georgette Heyer
Charity Girl, Georgette Heyer
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
The American, Henry James
The House of Mirth, Edith Warton
The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins
Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor
The King’s General, Daphne Du Maurier
Sprig Muslin, Georgette Heyer

You can read a round up of a some of my reviews here! I’ll be updating again in a few months.

Finally, for this year’s Back to the Classics Challenge, I’ve read the following books for the following categories:

A 19th Century Classic — any book published between 1800 and 1899: The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins (1859).

A 20th Century Classic — any book published between 1900 and 1965. Just like last year, all books must have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify as a classic. The only exception is books that were published posthumously but written at least 50 years ago.): The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner (1929).

A Nonfiction Classic. A memoir, biography, essays, travel, this can be any nonfiction work that’s considered a classic, or a nonfiction work by a classic author: In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (1965).

A Classic in Translation. As in last year’s category, this can be any classic book originally written or a published in a language that is not your first language. Feel free to read it in its original form if you are comfortable reading in another language: Madam Bovary, Gustave Flaubert (1857).

A Classic by a Woman Author: The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton (1905).

A Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title. First name, last name, or both, it doesn’t matter, but it must have the name of a character. David Copperfield, The B rothers Karamazov, Don Quixote — something like that. It’s amazing how many books are named after people: Adam Bede, George Eliot (1859).

A Classic Novella — any work shorter than 250 pages.  The End of an Affair, Graham Greene (1951).

So, I added one more category. Seven down and five to go!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads or read short reviews of what I’ve read every month here!

 

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Moving Audiobook CDs to Mobile Devices

Moving Audiobook CDs to Mobile Devices
moving audiobooks

If you are like me and love audiobooks, you may have discovered how great it is to have them be portable. I love Audible because they automatically download to my iPad, plus I can increase the speed up to two times the regular speed. However, I read so many books (you can read how to get classic books on the cheap and apply the same principle to other books, too), that sometimes I just need to get audiobook cds to put them onto my iPad. You can pick them up with 2 credits on paperbackswap.com or lots of other places. I would love if I could fit them on my phone, but it’s really full! So, you’ll be able to see at the bottom how I manage my iPad because it’s also kind of full, too!

Step One: Import CDs

01 white oleander import FINAL

Even if you are importing a bunch of cds from one box, they won’t always be consistently titled with the author or album. Some might be missing the information all together. Some are consistent in how they name the tacks, but others are not. I used to care and make the titles all match the albums, like 01a, 01b, and so on, but then I realized later that I could just sort by date added, so I let that go to save time.

You can give every album same title and a different disc name or you can name them things like White Oleander [Disc 01], White Oleander [Disc 02], and so forth. Again, that’s personal preference.

021 white oleander rename FINAL

 

Create a Playlist: By Artist or Album

If you have multiple books by a single author, you may want to sort by album, or you can do this anyway.

white oleander create smart playlist FINAL

Personally, I name all of my audiobooks “Audiobook – Name” for consistency purposes. It makes them easier to find, plus keeps them out of my music playlists.

04 white oleander rename playlist FINAL

After naming the smart list that I created, I sort by date added, so that the first track or the first album is first and down the line, then copy to play order. This can be accomplished by sorting, right clicking on the playlist on the lefthand side bar, and clicking “copy to play order.” This is important so that you listen to the book in order!

Creating Podcasts:

This is what will allow you to speed up your playing speed! I select everything in the smartplaylist and change it from music to podcast! You cannot listen at a faster speed in iTunes, but you can on an iPhone or iPad. My example will be on my iPad because my iPhone is full of pictures, but I’m too lazy to move them. Playlists are important if your device is nearing full/you have more audiobooks than your device can hold.

05 white oleander change to podcast FINAL

If your device is nearly full, instead of syncing all podcasts, just check sync “selected playlists.” Then you can check the ones you want to listen to next and that will fit on your device!

06 white oleander sync playlists FINAL

When you use Podcasts, you can change the playspeed and sleeptimers. Also, don’t forget to play your book through the playlist!

change play speed

I think the best part about putting it on a portable device is that I can move it around the house with me, plus, I can play it in the car or use headphones. I don’t have an auxiliary cord in my car, so I use one of those cool cassette adapters. It works great!

Do you like audiobooks?  Do you prefer e-readers? Paperback?

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads here!

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Top Ten Authors On My Spring TBR List


I’m linking up again with Broke and Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday! It’s a perfect time for me to share my top ten books to read this spring!

What's on my To-Be-Read list for the Spring!

Instead of sharing just 10 books – because I’m not super great at choosing what to read next – I am going to share 10 authors that I intend on reading, plus the books they’ve written that I’d like to read!

edith wharton name

I need to read The House of Mirth for a reading challenge, but the other novel seems interesting, too.

edith wharton

The House of Mirth
The Custom of the Country

Emily St John Mandel name

I absolutely loved Station Eleven, so I can’t wait to read more books by St. John Mandel.

emily st john mandel

Last Night in Montreal
The Lola Quartet
The Singer’s Gun

stephen king name

Joyland was my first Stephen King novel. It was a great read. Of course, I’ve watched a ton of movies based on his novels. Now, I’m ready to read more of his novels.

stephen king

On Writing
11/22/63

jodi picoult name

I’ve never read any Picoult novels, but a lot of my friends lover her. I have two friends that have entire bookshelves dedicated to all of her novels that they own, so I guess it’s time to take the dive.

jodi picoult

Plain Truth
House Rules
The Storyteller

Jonathan Tropper name

This is Where I Leave You is now in my top favorite novels of all time. I can’t wait to read way more Tropper novels!

jonathan tropper 2

The Book of Joe
How to Talk to a Widower
Everything Changes

Anne Lamott name

anne lamott

Bird by Bird
Traveling Mercies

Georgette Heyer name

I definitely won’t get to all of these, but they’re on the list…

georgette heyer 3

Cousin Kate
Cotillion
Venetia
The Corinthian
Lady of Quality
The Unfinished Clue

Beth Kephart Name

beth kephart

Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir
Into the Tangle of Friendship: A Memoir of the Things That Matter
Ghosts in the Garden: Reflections on Endings, Beginnings, and the Unearthing of Self

jojo moyes name

I’ve loved every Moyes book that I read. I can’t wait to read more. P.S. Who is so excited for her new novel this fall?!

jojo moyes

One Plus One
The Last Letter from Your Lover
Honeymoon in Paris
The Ship of Brides
other novels

These are just some random books that I’ve been wanting to read; some of the novels fulfill some reading challenges!

The Bookman’s Tale, Charlie Lovett
Still Alice, Lisa Genova
Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose, Flannery O’Connor
To the North, Elizabeth Bowen
Death of the Heart, Elizabeth Bowen

I guess, if you read my 10 Book Problems that I Have, you’ll understand why this list is SO LONG.

What I Read small

Don’t forget that you can read my previous book reviews and literature posts here, plus add me as a friend on Goodreads here!

spring to read

 

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Categories: Reading
Love Jane Austen? 10 More Books to Read!


So, I’m a big Jane Austen fan. No secret! I’m linking up for Top Ten Tuesday to share ten books like another book or author. Recently, I shared psychological thrillers like Gone Girl. Today, I’ll be sharing a few books to read after you’ve read all of the Jane Austen novels. Some are classic, some are written in the same style, but others are contemporary. I hope you’ll find a book or two that you’ll like!

Disclaimer: I have only read one novel that was based on the plot of an Austen novel. It was one of the worst books I’ve ever read. Other people who do enjoy novels based on Austen plots even disliked it, too. I just chose a bad place to start. So, this list is not a list of books based off of Austen’s plots.

Love Jane Austen 10 More Books to Read!

Here are 10 books that I would recommend for you, if you’re a Jane Austen fan!

classics

Jane EyreCharlotte Brontë

books like jane austen

This classic novel is mandatory reading for Jane Austen fans!

Middlemarch, George Eliot

books like jane austen

Middlemarch takes place in the upper-class society of the town. George Eliot, who was actually a woman writing under a man’s name, explores many of the same themes as Austen. She writes about the importance of marriage to the right person, money, and social status. Definitely a must read for someone who has exhausted all Austen novels.

A Portrait of a Lady, Henry James

books like jane austen

While this book takes place a little later in history, the main character, Isabel Archer, could admired by a Jane Austen fan. The novel is a tangle of love and indecision. I will say that it is a much heavier read than an Austen novel.

Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell

books like jane austen

This novel had me laughing out loud! Gaskell has written many novels, but this is my favorite. It’s nice, short story about the women living in a small town named Cranford. They don’t have a lot of money, but they like to keep up appearances for each other out of tradition. Some of the funniest moments come when there is a mysterious robber in the town and the women have to take care of each other.

Georgette Heyer:

Heyer began publishing thrillers during the 1930’s and continued to write novels of all genres through the end of her life. She published a total of 48 books, with the final novel published posthumously. If you are looking for books like Jane Austen, her Regency Romances are the perfect fit for you!

The Grand Sophybooks like jane austen

If you are new to Georgette Heyer, I recommend starting here. This novel is laugh out loud funny! I don’t normally use publisher’s synopses in my posts, but I thought it would be the easiest way to explain the novel. Basically, Sophy is fun and full of life, but her rich family members are not. The rest of London society doesn’t seem to be very fun either:

When Lady Ombersley agrees to take in her young niece, no one expects Sophy, who sweeps in and immediately takes the ton by storm. Sophy discovers that her aunt’s family is in desperate need of her talent for setting everything right: Ceclia is in love with a poet, Charles has tyrannical tendencies that are being aggravated by his grim fiancee, her uncle is of no use at all, and the younger children are in desperate need of some fun and freedom. By the time she’s done, Sophy has commandeered Charles’s horses, his household, and finally, his heart.

Arabella

books like Jane Austen

Again, this Regency Romance is hysterical. Arabella is the daughter of a poor clergyman whose wife comes from a family with a lot of money. His wife saves her money for Arabella’s entire life, so that she can send the very beautiful Arabella to London to stay with her Godmother for the season, with the hope of making an eligible match that will help the rest of her sisters get married.

Arabella, who is slightly naive, but very smart, starts her journey off with a mistake that causes calamity for the rest of the novel. You have to read the novel to find out if that mistake can possibly lead to love!

Frederica

books like jane austen

Frederica and her  siblings go to London for the social season, in order to give younger and beautiful sister a chance to make a good marriage. Frederica is a witty character who believes herself. But when they are introduced to London society by their distant “cousin” Lord Alverstoke, Frederica is amazed to finds herself, unknowingly, falling in love. Likewise, Alverstoke, a cold aristocrat, finds himself thoroughly beguiled by Frederica and her young rascally brothers.

 

Contemporary

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen

books like jane austenWhile I wouldn’t say that this novel is based on any Austen plots, I do think that it’s obvious from the start (and Lovett says in interviews) that the main character has her own Darcy and Wickham-esque to deal with. I thought that I noticed this as I read the novel, but wasn’t sure. After I read the novel, I did a quick internet search!

Lizzy and Jane, Katherine Reay

books like jane austen

Normally, I don’t go for inspirational fiction, but this book was a fun read. All of the Jane Austen references will make a fan’s heart skip a beat. Also, I think I learned a lot about cooking during the novel, too. You can check out my full review here!

 

If you were counting, that was actually only nine books! Instead of giving you a tenth book, I’ll give you a few authors to make sure that you check out:

  • Any of the Bronte sisters
  • George Eliot
  • Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Wilkie Collins
  • Louisa May Alcott

And, if you want to watch a movie, here is a great list of Austen plots turned into contemporary movies!

Linking up with Broke and Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday!

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Categories: Reading Tags:
Reading Challenges Update {Vol. 2}


Recently, I gave an update on my reading challenges. I fear that I signed up for so many that I can’t completely keep track of them or link up my progress.

Reading Challenges Update Vol. 2: February

 

You can read my first update from last month here. I noted the changes below!

reading challenges update

For the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge, I’ve read 4 out of 12 books:

Dark Places: A Novel, Gillian Flynn
Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, DH Lawrence

I didn’t make any progress in February! 🙁

For reading 52 Books in 52 weeks, I am way ahead of schedule. I have read 31 books so far this year (at the time of writing)!

For the Audiobook challenge, I said that I would aim for 30-50 this year. So far, I’ve read/listened to 23 audiobooks. Almost there!

For the I Love Library Books challenge, I am aiming to read at least 24 books from the library. The majority of the books I read are from the library, used, free on Kindle in the public domain, or from publishers for reviews. So far, I’ve read 8 books! I only had 2 last time, so I’m making progress.

And finally for my Classics Reading Membership Challenge, which I started on December 24, 2014, and gave myself 2 years to read 50 books, I’ve read 17! My anticipated list is here, but it is definitely subject to change!

So far, I’ve read:

The Awakening, Kate Chopin
Little Men, Louisa May Alcott
Daisy Miller, Henry James
Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell
The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, DH Lawrence
Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
Adam Bede, George Eliot
I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Tales of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer
The House in Paris, Elizabeth Bowen
The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
Wessex Tales, Thomas Hardy

Finally, for this year’s Back to the Classics Challenge, I’ve read the following books for the following categories:

A 20th Century Classic — any book published between 1900 and 1965. Just like last year, all books must have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify as a classic. The only exception is books that were published posthumously but written at least 50 years ago.): The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner (1929).
A Classic in Translation. As in last year’s category, this can be any classic book originally written or a published in a language that is not your first language. Feel free to read it in its original form if you are comfortable reading in another language: Madam Bovary, Gustave Flaubert (1857).
A Classic with a Person’s Name in the Title. First name, last name, or both, it doesn’t matter, but it must have the name of a character. David Copperfield, The B rothers Karamazov, Don Quixote — something like that. It’s amazing how many books are named after people: Adam Bede, George Eliot (1859).
A Classic Novella — any work shorter than 250 pages.  The End of an Affair, Graham Greene (1951).

So, I added one more category. Four down and eight to go!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads or read short reviews of what I’ve read every month here!

 

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Categories: Reading