Sunday Morning Book Chats Part 6 – Minh from @cassandrale179

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Hello, and welcome to Part 6 of my Sunday Morning Book Chats! This week I am very happy to introduce you to one of the loveliest, kindest people I’ve must so far on bookstagram, Minh from @cassandrale179. An Asian international student who is planning on studying law and economics at university, Minh has a gorgeous account where she features loads of classic novels. Without further ado, let’s get started!

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Shannon Recommends: Art History Books (Part One)

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Hello everybody! 🙂 I’ve decided to start a new series of posts on my blog called Shannon Recommends, in which I’ll take one category/subcategory of books (i.e. literary historical fiction, 1920s classics) and recommend some books to you that fit in that particular genre. I’m hoping that this series will be a fun way to get some of my favorite books out to you in a shorter, faster format than full-length book reviews (because let’s be real here, full-length book reviews take a long time to write!!).

If you weren’t already aware, one of my biggest interests outside reading is art history. In particular, I love collecting and reading art history books, and I’m always getting requests on my Instagram account to showcase some of my favorite art history books. I have way too many to fit all in one post, so this will be Part One of a two or three part series (I haven’t decided yet) in which I tell you about some of my favorite art history books and what they look like. Without further ado, let’s get to the books! 🙂 Continue reading “Shannon Recommends: Art History Books (Part One)”

Man Bookering: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

my name is lucy bartonTitle: My Name is Lucy Barton

Author: Elizabeth Strout

Publisher: Random House

Pages: 191

Summary (from inside flap): A new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is cause for celebration. Her bestselling novels, brilliantly told, profoundly affecting, have illuminated our most tender relationships. Now, in My Name is Lucy Barton, this extraordinary writer shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all – the one between mother and daughter. Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

“This is a story about love, you know that. This is a story of a man who has been tortured every day of his life for things he did in the war. This is the story of a wife who stayed with him, because most wives did in that generation, and she comes to her daughter’s hospital room and talks compulsively about everyone’s marriage going bad, she doesn’t even know it, doesn’t even know that’s what she’s doing. This is a story about a mother who loves her daughter. Imperfectly. Because we all love imperfectly.”

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I am currently trying to read my way through the Man Booker long list for 2016. After finishing The North Water by Ian McGuire, which was extremely intense and rather disturbing, I wanted something a bit less taxing. The portrayal of a young woman’s relationship with her mother promised in the summary of Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton sounded like just the book, so that is what I chose as my second Man Booker read. Continue reading “Man Bookering: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout”

Sunday Morning Book Chats Part 5 – Mathilde from @relationsheep

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Hello readers! Can you believe that it’s already August? It feels like only a week or two ago that summer started, and now in just around a month school will be starting again! Where has the time gone???

Anyways, today is the seventh of August, which means that it’s time for Part 5 of my Sunday Morning Book Chats series. This week’s guest is the lovely Mathilde, a French university student who has been a part of the bookstagram community for two years. Her account, @relationsheep, is one of my absolute favorites, and I’m so excited to have her on my blog today. Without further ado, let’s get started!

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Man Bookering: The North Water by Ian McGuire

IMG_4445Title: The North Water

Author: Ian McGuire

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Pages: 255

Summary (from inside flap): Behold the man: drunk, brutal, and bloodthirsty. Henry Drax is a harpooner on the Volunteer, a Yorkshire whaler bound for the hunting waters of the Arctic Circle. Also aboard is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation and no better option than to embark as the ship’s medic on this ill-fated voyage. In India, during the Siege of Delhi, Sumner thought he had experienced the depths to which a man can stoop, but now, trapped in the wooden belly of the ship with Drax, he encounters pure evil and is forced to act. As the true purposes of the expedition become clearer, the confrontation between the two men plays out amid the freezing darkness of an arctic water.

The North Water is an interesting novel for me to sit down and write a review of because it’s not my usual sort of book, not by a long shot. For whatever reason, I tend to shy away from books about surviving in extreme conditions, long voyages by ship, or anything set in arctic environments, yet this novel has all three of those elements. Why in the world then, you may be asking yourself, did I decide to read The North Water by Ian McGuire? Why, the Man Booker long list, my dear Watson! Continue reading “Man Bookering: The North Water by Ian McGuire”

Sunday Morning Book Chats Part 4 – Jennifer from @thetirelessreader

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Welcome to Part 4 of my Sunday Morning Book Chats series, where each Sunday I sit down and chat with bookstagrammers about life, the universe and everything (okay, not quite, but you get the idea!). We’ve had three parts so far – Alison from @littlebookwormig, Saoirse from @xleptodactylous, and Ani from @boundless_being – and this week I’m very excited to welcome the lovely Jennifer from @thetirelessreader! 🙂

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My Birthday Book Haul: Dickens, Hamilton, GWTW, and More!

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Hello, hello, hello! I apologize for my lack of activity this past week; I had my orientation at university and, since I’m not one of those blogger who writes posts in advance, when I’m not home posts don’t get written (note to self – work on organization!). This book haul is my offering to keep the gods of book blogging appeased until I have time to sit down and write an actual review post. 🙂

For those of you who didn’t know, a couple of weeks ago I turned 18 (woo!) and to celebrate my family and I took a trip to Ann Arbor for the day to scour the bookshops there. This haul is a combination of the books I was given as presents and the books I bought myself while I was out shopping on my birthday. All of them look absolutely wonderful, however, and I can’t wait to dive in and get reading them! Continue reading “My Birthday Book Haul: Dickens, Hamilton, GWTW, and More!”

Sunday Morning Book Chats Part 3 – Ani from @boundless_being

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Welcome to Part 3 of my Sunday Morning Book Chats series, where each Sunday morning I sit down with a different bookstagrammer to talk about life, books, and how they got started. Our first guest was Alison from @littlebookwormig, last week we had Saoirse from @xleptodactylous, and this week we have the lovely Ani from @boundless_being!

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Sex, Drugs, and Show Business: The 50th Anniversary of ‘Valley of the Dolls’

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Title: Valley of the Dolls

Author: Jacqueline Susann

Publisher: Virago Press

Pages: 417

Summary (from first page): Dolls -red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight. For Anne, Neely and Jennifer it doesn’t matter, as long as the pill bottle is within easy reach. These three beautiful women become best friends when they are young and in New York, struggling to make their names in the entertainment industry. Only when they reach the peak of their careers do they find there’s nowhere left to go but down – to the Valley of the Dolls.

Valley of the Dolls is one of those books that I’ve known about for a while but I’ve never felt motivated to pick up and read. Truth be told, until a few months ago I didn’t actually know what Valley of the Dolls was about. I knew it was supposed to be quite scandalous, that it had a pink cover, and that I was 95% sure it was made into movie. It wasn’t until I discovered that this year, 2016, is the 50th anniversary of Valley of the Dolls (it was originally published in 1966), however, that I finally took the plunge and decided to buy a copy for myself and check it out (it does help that it came in the gorgeous Virago Modern Classics edition you see above.) Continue reading “Sex, Drugs, and Show Business: The 50th Anniversary of ‘Valley of the Dolls’”

A Hemingway-Inspired Reading List

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On July 21, 1899, a baby boy was born to a couple named Clarence and Grace Hemingway in Oak Park, Illinois. Named after Grace’s father, the young boy was called Ernest Hemingway, and he would grow up to become one of the greatest American writers of all time.

As one of the most notorious names in literature, Hemingway arouses a multitude of feelings among readers: some praise his genius, others detest him, while others just think he’s plain boring. Like him or not, however, you have to admit that Hemingway has left a profound impact on the way we think, write, and read literature. In honor of Hemingway’s 117th birthday this Thursday, I’ve put together a list of books for those who wish to celebrate the day by reading about the man himself, or just for those folks looking for a good bit of scandalous literary history (and let’s be honest, Hemingway’s life was full of scandal). Continue reading “A Hemingway-Inspired Reading List”