FIRST CHAPTER, FIRST PARAGRAPH: Giovanni’s Room, by James Baldwin

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First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday is hosted by Bibliophile By the Sea!

James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room is part of the classics challenge I am doing this year (and spectacularly failing at, but I still have time to catch up). The edition I have is part of Penguin’s Great Loves series that contains twenty volumes of love. The back cover of this says “Love can be dishonest.” In Giovanni’s Room, when David meets the sensual Giovanni in a bohemian bar, he is swept into a passionate love affair. But his girlfriend’s return to Paris destroys everything. Unable to admit to the truth, David pretends the liaison never happened – while Giovanni’s life descends into tragedy.

I stand at the window of this great house in the south of France as night falls, the night which is leading me to the most terrible morning of my life. I have a drink in my hands, there is a bottle at my elbow. I watch my reflection in the darkening gleam of the window pane. My reflection is tall, perhaps rather like an arrow, my blond hair gleams. My face is like a face you have seen many times. My ancestors conquered a continent, pushing across death-laden plains, until they came to an ocean which faced away from Europe into a darker past.

Have you read this? What did you think?

FIRST CHAPTER, FIRST PARAGRAPH: Lolly Willowes, by Sylvia Townsend Warner

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First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday is hosted by Bibliophile By the Sea! I’m also cheating a little bit this month by posting more than the single line that functions as the first paragraph.

Lately I’ve been really interested in what is published by New York Review Books, and I came across Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes in a bookstore. It’s about a single woman living at the beginning of the 20th century who decides, in middle age, to live alone, out of her brother’s house and away from polite society. John Updike’s blurb on the back reads “This is the witty, eerie, tender but firm life history of a middle-class Englishwoman who politely declines to make the expected connection with the opposite sex and becomes a witch instead.” Perfect for Halloween! 🎃

When her father died, Laura Willowes went to live in London with her elder brother and his family.

“Of course, ” said Caroline, “you will come to us.”

“But it will upset all your plans. It will give you so much trouble. Are you sure you really want me?”

“Oh dear, yes.”

Caroline spoke affectionately, but her thoughts were elsewhere.

Pokémon Go Book Tag

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I stumbled across Aentee’s Pokémon Go Book Tag and decided immediately I wanted to do it, because I’ve been totally obsessed with the app (I even caught some in the Bahamas!)! I don’t know who to tag specifically, but if you want to do it, tag, you’re it!

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I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember, but the books that really got me wanting to read more beyond what was given to me were the Dear America books! Does anyone remember those? I was in the fourth grade when I read the first one, and I used to get them through the Scholastic book orders. They were fictional diaries of girls in different periods of history, and I was obsessed. I read the first three in that series over and over and over.

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Jane Eyre, to nobody’s surprise. I’m going to read the rest of the Brontë works in this year and the next because I need to know more of their inner lives after reading Claire Harman’s biography of Jane (and her siblings).

pokemon-tag-03-zubat Maybe A Song of Ice and Fire? I’ll read them all eventually, maybe once Winds of Winter is released or something. Otherwise, there are several series/books that I avoid not just because I see it everywhere but because I have no interest in ever reading them for personal reasons.

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I don’t have a specific answer for this because it’s in a lot of stuff I’ve enjoyed, but I’ll read nearly anything that has a Beauty and the Beast/forced cohabitation and oh look we’ve fallen in love trope. I don’t know why but it gets me every time. It’s seen in stuff like Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, and Robin McKinley’s Beauty/Rose Daughter.

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Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive series. Those books are literal bricks, okay. I haven’t finished the rest of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series for this reason, too.

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Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station was the last book to keep me up past my bedtime. I had to know more about those data vampires and where he took the characters in the world he created. Dracula, when I first read it years and years ago, kept me up out of sheer horror.

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Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester. Yvaine and Tristran Thorne. I have more but these are my top three!

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I blazed through Pierce Brown’s Red Rising! I really enjoyed the world building. It wasn’t a new concept, but I thought it was well-executed, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy!

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I WANTED TO SAY HARRY POTTER UNTIL I STARTED READING THE CURSED CHILD. (I’m still excited for Fantastic Beasts, though, not gonna lie.) So… let’s just say I’ll read all the Star Wars and Star Trek spin-offs until the end of time. Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath is so much fun!

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Some of these aren’t “new” debuts, but I haven’t read them yet: Brittany Cavallaro’s A Study in Charlotte, Paula Lichtarowicz’s The First Book of Calamity Leek, Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, and Paige Orwin’s The Interminables!

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NEIL GAIMAN. I also have (decidedly) not read everything of his yet because I always want there to be something of his that’s always new to me.

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Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. It seems like everyone and their mother’s read it, and it’s going in different directions than some of us probably hoped for, but I still like it, and I’m super excited for Empire of Storms!

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Uh… Patrick Rothfuss’s Door of Stone or whatever it’s called. The third book in the Kingkiller Chronicles. WHERE IS IT.

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I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith as part of an Instagram read a long a while ago, and I loved it so much more than I expected to! I don’t know why I thought of it as a stuffy book and avoided it because of that, but I was surprised at its breadth and depth and magic.

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The Sandman Omnibus Silver Edition. Because OMG.

 

(And if anyone’s wondering/curious, I caught my first Tentacool and Magikarp in Nassau.)

TOP TEN TUESDAY: 10 Books I’d Buy if Given a Fully-Loaded Gift Card

Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is all about those books you’d buy immediately if someone gave you a massive gift card to your favorite book store. This is barely touching the tip of the iceberg, but the following are the ones I’d buy today!

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The Sympathizer – Viet Thanh Nguyen: This has been featured on tables at work even before it won the Pulitzer, and I keep seeing it around Twitter and Goodreads, and because I try to read award-winners, this one’s on the list.

The Romantic Egoists – Matthew J. Bruccoli: I’m entirely fascinated by the Fitzgeralds’s lives and photographs of eras gone by are one of my favorite things, so why wouldn’t I want a photo scrapbook of their lives!? I also want it for research purposes.

My Best Friend’s Excorcism – Grady Hendrix: It’s set in the 80s, all of the chapter titles are 80s songs, and it was recently featured on a “What to Read After Stranger Things” list so yes, please, I need this in my life.

Penguin’s Little Black Classics: I have the box set of the first 80, but I’m a collector and a completionist, so I’d get the rest and this totally counts as one.

The Truth According to Us – Annie Barrows: Family secrets that a writer uncovers while on a project for the New Deal’s job in the Federal Writer’s Project? That sounds like something right up my alley. Plus I rarely see anything in historical fiction set in West Virginia.

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Amy Snow – Tracy Rees: Someone on Goodreads called this a mix between Dickens and suffragette, and it’s historical about the relationship between two women with letters and secrets. And it’s a debut novel that apparently won some search for the next big novel in the UK? I forget what it’s called, but all of it sounds interesting and I need it now.

The Dark Forest – Liu Cixin: I read the first of this trilogy for my science fiction book group (which got rescheduled and I couldn’t attend the rescheduled meeting), and I really enjoyed it. It’s Chinese sci/fi, and I really enjoyed reading about traditionally sci/fi topics and tropes from an entirely different perspective and history. I think the third is being released in hardcover later this year!

The Beast Within – Emile Zola: Honestly, this is just the first in the Pocket Penguins series Penguin’s released this year (and will be releasing in the weeks and months to come). I’ve already ordered one (oops), but this will probably be the next on my list of things to-buy (and the rest, like the Little Black Classics. Why must Penguin release all of the things I want??).

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Illustrated Edition) – J.K. Rowling: I don’t know why I don’t have this yet…

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo: So, I’ll admit, I’ve had the ARC of this for a long time. But I want the hardcover because the black edged pages are  so pretty. I also didn’t want to read this until I read the Grisha trilogy, and now that I’ve read the trilogy, I can give myself the go ahead on this, right?

What’s on your list?

Top Ten Tuesday; Spring 2016 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) features our Spring 2016 TBR! I chose the five books I have left to read from Netgalley and five books I chose out of my TBR tin! The first five are from my Netgalley dashboard. I want to get to that 80% threshold, and I’m going to do it this spring!

  1. The Swans of Fifth Avenue – Melanie Benjamin
  2. Love, Lies and Spies – Cindy Anstey
  3. Once Upon a Dream – Liz Braswell
  4. Grayling’s Song – Karen Cushman
  5. A Stolen Kiss – Kelsey Keating
  6. The Great Mortality – John Kelly
  7. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  8. Blameless – Gail Carriger
  9. A Secret Atlas – Michael A. Stackpole
  10. Flappers – Judith MacKrell

I’m actually really pleased with the five I picked from my TBR tin! I have the Penguin Drop Caps copy of Jane Eyre to read (even if I’ve already read it, it’s time to read it again!), and I’m in the planning stages of writing something involving a young girl from the Twenties, so Flappers will fall into some of my research! I tried reading the first in Disney’s Twisted Tale series but didn’t like it, so I’m hoping I like Once Upon a Dream based on Sleeping Beauty!

What’s on your Spring 2016 TBR? Have you read any of these?