My Top Ten Favourite Reviews

Top Ten Reviews

I sort of felt ridiculous typing the title since it’s been awhile since I’ve even put a review on the blog but, never fear! I do have many coming down the pipeline so it’s okay.  Really …..!  😉

Well, I decided to alter the Top Ten Tuesday topic a little and instead of my first ten reviews, I’m going to give you my favourite top ten.  Here goes …

My Top Ten Favourite Reviews on My Blog

1. Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietschze : this is by far the most popular review on my blog and (this will surprise you) probably the funniest one that I’ve written. Nietschze, while at times interesting, is nothing if not tedious and one cannot help poking fun at him.

Ecce Homo Caravaggio painting

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Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading This Year

Top Ten Tuesday Ten Books I Didn't Get To in 2018

Last week’s Top Ten Tuesday were books that I meant to read in 2018 but didn’t which is a looking back on the year, so how could I resist this weeks topic of ten books I’m looking forward to reading this year, which, of course, is looking forward.  It’s mostly better to look ahead than back. 😉  Actually, the topic is the ten newest reads I’ve added to my TBR list, but being somewhat of a non-conformist, I thought I’d change it up a bit.

While there will be one overlap from my last Top Ten Tuesday topic, I have mostly new choices in mind for this list.  Luckily I plan to read more than ten books this year!

  1.  Moby Dick by Herman Melville- yes, this is a repeat from my last list but who could resist this cover?!!  And Brona’s is having a read along in February …. isn’t she …..??
  2. How To Be A Friend: An Ancient Guide to True Friendship by Marcus Tullius Cicero – this one not only looks great but looks to be a relatively easy read which is not always the case with Cicero

Moby Dick Herman Melville

How To Be A Friend an ancient guide to true friendship Cicero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Books I Meant to Read in 2018 But Whoops!

Top Ten Tuesday Ten Books I Didn't Get To in 2018

So ….. books I meant to read in 2018 but whoops ….. Never mind Top Ten Tuesday for this topic; for me it should be Top Fifty.  But I will try to be considerate and in the spirit of not boring you to death and making your eyes glaze over, I’ll keep it to ten …… I think ……. 😉

So here we go!

  1. Crime and Punishment DostoyevskyCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  2. Moby Dick Herman MelvilleMoby Dick by Herman Melville
  3. Tevye the Dairyman and Motl the Cantor

 

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Top Ten Cosy Reads for Winter

source Wikipedia

Brrr!  After an unusually warm autumn, the temperature has dropped and today I woke up to a chilly -4ºC morning.  However, the sun is shining brightly and while there is a nip to the air, there is warmth in front of the fire and what better day to list my top 10 winter reads for those frosty days of winter.

1.  The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

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Books to Pull You Out of A Reading Slump

Well, I’m doing a little more reading lately but haven’t finished anything to post, so I thought I would participate in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday to keep some sort of momentum on this blog.

I don’t often get into a complete reading slump.  If I get bored with a genre, I will sometimes switch to another.  But I can IMAGINE the books I would chose if I actually did experience a full-on slump (perish the thought). So here they are:

1.  I Capture the Castle: what a funny, whimsical read.  Definitely a book to pull you in and lull you into an unique yet engaging story.

 

2.  Swallows and Amazons:  this is a children’s book but is sooo enjoyable to read as an adult.  Summer vacation, sailing, camping, and even a pirate.  What could be more fun to read?

 

3.  Pride and Prejudice:  one of my favourites.  I love the conflict that turns into harmony.  Definitely a book to grab your imagination, especially if you are interested in human nature.  Here is my review of the book.

 

4.  Three Men in a Boat:  get prepared to laugh uproariously.  Jerome outdoes himself with this story of three bachelors and their dog during their boating trip along the River Thames.

 

5.  Finn Family Moomintroll:  cute white hippo-like creatures, a beautiful Snork Maiden, and a magic hat.  What could tickle your imagination more than that?  Here is my review of the book.

 

6.  The Moonstone:  a crime is committed in an English country house …. a stolen diamond.  Where is the jewel and who is the thief?  Collins weaves a masterful piece of detective fiction.  Here is my review of the book.

 

7.  Jane Eyre: a little dark, nevertheless the story is so compelling and the life lessons so important (not the mention the romance) that it is one I just have to include!  Here is my review of the book.

 

8.  To Kill A Mockingbird:  A fabulous book.  Just read it!

 

9.  The Hobbit: an adventure shared with friends.  Tolkien’s writing is magic.

 

10.  And finally …… Henrietta’s War: humorous vignettes from a small Devonshire village during WWII set in epistolary form.  It gives a light-hearted view of a very serious subject yet does so with insight and thoughtfulness.

As I finish my list, I realize how difficult this question is to answer and how personal this list would be for everyone.  And it also depends WHY you are in a reading slump.  Have you been reading tomes and need something lighter?  Or have you been reading fluff and need your mind challenged?  Or have you been over-reading and simply need a break?

My problem lately is that I have so much going on and feel so scattered that my reading reflects my life; I pick up a book, read a bit, then pick up another book, read a bit, etc.  If anyone has a remedy for this problem, I’m all ears!

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books That I Could Read Forever

Yes, I’m aware that it’s not Tuesday.  But since I’ve been sooo lacking in reading time lately AND so busy with working and such, I thought when I had a moment I’d participate in the last Top Ten Tuesday and that moment came TODAY!  This theme is so interesting and I’m excited to pick my top ten …

What would happen if I was being sent to a deserted tropical island by myself and I could only chose ten books to take with me?  Which ones would I choose?  Right now, I’m not entirely certain, so let’s find out!

1.  The Bible

 

 

2.  The Iliad

 

3.  The Divine Comedy

 

 

 

4.  Jane Eyre (my Review)

5.  The Brothers Karamazov (My Review)

 

6.  Paradise Lost (My Review)

 

7.  Hamlet (My Review)

 

8.  War and Peace (My Review)

 

9.  Metamorphoses (My Review)

 

10.  Montaigne’s Essays (My Reviews)

 

The last choice I’m not entirely sure about.  While I love reading Montaigne and his thought process, I don’t always necessarily appreciate his viewpoints.  And C.S. Lewis would have to be in there somewhere too.  Sigh!  So hard to choose just ten!

Upon review, most of my choices seem rather angsty, with death and war and heavy philosophy (don’t we love Dostoyevsky?).  I think I need to do another list with lighter reads to take to my tropical island.   So this post will be continued …….

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Historical Novels for School

The Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday’s theme is something “schoolish” so I’ve chosen to pick my top historical fiction books for children.  Generally, I’m rather choosy with my history book choices (even non-fiction), trying to avoid any books that are speculative or modernized or too coloured with the author’s opinions.  With that in mind, here are my top picks, books that are well-researched and are able to transport the child back to the time of the novel and give them not only a good understanding, but a permanent connection with an event or person.  These books are all excellent!

 

1.

 

 

Cyrus the Persian (Review)

Cyrus the Persian follows the life of the Persian king and also gives insight into the Jewish captivity in Babylon.  It’s a unique story and one that stays with you long after it’s over.

2.

The Spartan
A confession ….. I haven’t actually read this book yet, but many people have told me how wonderful it is.  I’ve read other books by Caroline Dale Snedecker and she’s an excellent author; her stories are well-researched and masterfully related.  This book tells the tale of a soldier who survived the battle of Thermopylae and mentions historical figures such as Militiades, Aeschylus, Aristides, Leonidas and Pindar.

3.

The Ides of April (Review)

A murder mystery that gives the reader a taste of ancient Roman life and details of the historical characters of Thrasea Paetus, Emperor Nero and Seneca.

4.

 
Detectives in Togas

No historical events or characters are portrayed in this novel, I must admit, but it is funny!  It does give an interesting picture of ancient Rome, its environs and culture.

5.

The Forgotten Daughter (Review)

What a wonderful book about slavery and cruelty and perseverance and forgiveness. Snedecker’s research is impeccable and she creates a character that is both complex and sympathetic.  I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

6.

 

Johnny Tremain

A story set during the American Revolution, the reader becomes part of The Boston Tea Party, the midnight ride of Paul Revere and the Battles of Lexington and Concord.  An unforgettable story!!

7.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
Based on the story of Nathaniel Bowditch, a sailor and mathematician who created the American Practical Navigator.  Sound boring?  Not at all!  It’s a fascinating story of adventure.
8.
The Story of Eli Whitney
Get to know one of the most famous inventors of the 18th century.  His invention of the cotton gin was fraught with troubles yet he displayed a character of perseverance and generosity.  A great read!
9.
Madeleine Takes Command
Based on the true story of Madeleine Verchere, a fourteen-year-old girl who, along with two younger brothers, held off an Iroquois attack on their fort while their parents were away.  Set in French Canada in the 1690s.
10.
The Winged Watchman
Set in occupied Holland during World War II, we meet the Verhagen family who live in a windmill called The Winged Watchman.  A hidden Jewish child …. a downed pilot …… what could be more exciting?  This book is a treasure!

Top Ten Spring Books

Ah, Spring!  The word is familiar but I think that I’ve forgotten what it looks like considering our rather chilly winter this year.

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

However, today it’s very rainy and 9 C which is much more normal, so it’s not so difficult for my brain to contemplate the coming of flowers and sun and warmer temperatures. Now as for books, let’s see what I have slated for this much anticipated time of year as I participate in another Top Ten Tuesday from the Broke and the Bookish.

Source Wikipedia

Books for Spring!

1.

The History of the Peloponnesian War
by Thucydides

Following on the heels of Herodotus’ The Histories, this is the second book in my The Well-Educated Mind history project.  I loved Herodotus so I’m looking forward to this one!

2.

The Republic
by Plato

I must admit, I cannot wait to read this!  Am I crazy?  Perhaps, but the only work of Plato I’ve read is The Apology and I loved it.  I think he and I will become fast friends.

3.

The Last Chronicle of Barset
by Anthony Trollope

I’m shocked at the thought of completing my Barsetshire project.  I’m halfway through The Small House At Allington, so I hope by the end of spring to complete the whole thing.  Woo Hoo!

4.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll

This is the read-along for Amanda at Simpler Pastimes’ Classic Children’s Literature Event for April, which I’m highly anticipating.  It’s been at least a decade since I joined Alice in her adventures and I’m looking forward to it.

5.

Finn Family Moomintroll
by Tove Jansson

Ah, I love my family of Moomins and all their fun friends.  It will be so special to revisit this children’s classic, perhaps my favourite of all the children’s classics. Another book for the Classic Children’s Literature Event.

6.

Red Sails to Capri
by Ann Weil

I’ve read this once before and remember being impressed with the uniqueness of the story, which combined engaging fiction in an historical setting.  I’m definitely interested in a re-read.

7.

The Alexandria Quartet
by Lawrence Durrell

Oh, how painful!  I’ve started this book and I really enjoy Durrell’s writing but the subject matter is certainly NOT uplifting and it’s been dragging on.  I know that I’ll still be reading it in spring.  Sigh.  Wish me luck.

8.

Dead Souls
by Nikolai Gogol

No promises, but I’m going to try to add this one to my reads.  I must get a move on with my Russian literature project.

9.

The Dream
by Emile Zola

Oh my!  I started the Rougon Macquart series ages ago and have stalled after book number 4.  The Dream or Le Révè is supposed to be excellent, so what is preventing me from starting?  Focus, which right now is on other books.

10.

Mary Barton 
by Elizabeth Gaskell

Will I, won’t I?  Will I, won’t I?  I feel that I’d like to read something by a woman author such as Gaskell or Eliot or Brontë, but I’m not too specific about the book.  Mary Barton might be my first choice but we’ll see.  Spring brings change and this list could change as well! 🙂

Top Ten Books of 2016

Todd’s Warehouse, Stonegate, York
Henry Cave
source ArtUK

The last Top Ten Tuesday of the year from The Broke and the Bookish asks us to name our top ten favourite reads for 2016.  Of course, I thought I’d participated in this end-of-year meme every year but when I looked back, I could only find a post for my Top Books From The Last Three Years.  Sigh!  I guess it’s better late than never to start!

Reading A Book
James Tissot
source Wikiart

Sadly, I did not meet my reading goal of 60 books this year, reading only 45.  However, there is a silver lining in the cloud; I read more pages than last year and I have a number of HUGE books that I’m still working on (think, The Faerie Queene, Don Quixote, The Gulag Archipelago, etc.) so no, I’m not weeping tears of regret.

So without further ado, here is my top ten list for 2016, set up as Brona did, to build the suspense.

10.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

I think I’ve read this trilogy about 8 times.  I just love it!

or
The Man Born to Be King by Dorothy Sayers

I had to include this play and what better place than with Tolkien, Sayers friend and contemporary.  Her impeccable research into the life and times of Jesus, along with her detailed direction for this play was amazing.  An excellent read!

9.

While not technically a book, but a lecture, C.S. Lewis brings to light some unique ideas and questions with regard to a play that has been studied to death.  It’s also the top viewed post on my blog, quite a feat considering I only read it this year.
8.
The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore

Thanks to Cirtnecce for introducing me to Indian history and this most wonderful writer during her read-along.  I will definitely search out more of Tagore’s works.

7.
The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

I’ve read this biography now twice and loved it equally each time.  I’m continually blown away by Merton’s insight into life and the human condition.  Yes, I’ll read it again!
6.
The Oresteia by Aeschylus

Adultery, murder, betrayal, power, oppression, escape, judgement …..  What more could one ask for in a book?  The Oresteia delivers it all, yet with many lessons that are as applicable today as then.  Aeschylus is one of my new favourites.
5.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Ah, I just love this book!  Read for Hamlette’s read-along my enjoyment of it was stretched out over months and I enjoyed reading it so much as this measured pace.  My fifth read of it and just as good as my first!

4.

I don’t know why the brilliancy of Tolstoy amazes me.  I didn’t expect much of this short novella, but Tolstoy managed to capture the last days of Ivan with such poignancy …. his thoughts, dreams and regrets.  The message was universal with many insightful ideas to ponder, as well as touching the heart.  Tolstoy is a genius!
3.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I hadn’t read this novel for decades and with this re-read I wondered how I could have been so short-sighted.  I absolutely loved it.  My wish is to read it every year.  Lee captured her characters, life experiences and the effects on their development so brilliantly.  I don’t think I could ever read Go Set A Watchman after this.

2.
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Wow, I struggled while reading this book.  I felt like I was swimming in a maze of ideas and philosophies that were quite over my head.  Luckily I just kept reading.  It was only when I finished that everything started to come together and I could appreciate what a masterpiece this book is.  I know that I still haven’t grasped even half of what’s there, and I can’t wait to read it again …… and again, and again, and ……

1.

I almost gave The Brothers Karamazov number one position but surpisingly, even to me, I chose to give it to Ovid.  While Metamorphoses was shocking and at times gross, the effort and aptitude of Ovid’s work couldn’t be ignored.  His stories stick with you and somehow get into your soul.  Bravo, Ovid.  I wouldn’t want to know you, but your poetry is sublime!

A Top Ten Summer ~ Which Books?

I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday in awhile AND I haven’t posted in awhile, so today is the perfect day to do both.  The Broke and the Bookish are asking us what books we will be putting in our beach bags this summer.  Usually this question would be a breeze for me, but I’ve been so stunned by The Faerie Queene, mentally I don’t seem to be able to get past it.  Soooooo, I’ll list some of the books I’m reading at the present and then try to add others that might appeal to a summer reading schedule.

1.

The Faerie Queene

I love and dread this work at the same time.  Right now, I’m in a rut with hardly any time to give it the needed attention but I intend to plug along and finish at some point.

2.

Jane Eyre

Hamlette’s read-along of this great classic has just begun.  The pace is very measured and allows the participant to really dig deep into the text.  Lots of summer fun!

3.

The Gulag Archipelago

The final book of my The Well-Educated Mind Biographies project.  Do I read the complete book or an abridged work?  I can’t decide!

4.

Framley Parsonage

Argh!  I’ve been trying to get through my read of the Barsetshire Chronicles for two years!  I stalled on this book (#4), but I started it again recently and was more engaged with it.  I hope to say that I’ve finished it by the end of the summer.

5.

The Home and the World

I believe that I’m reading this with Cirtnecce to commemorate India Independence Day (Aug 15th), if I’m not mistaken.

6.

Don Quixote

I’m reading this with Bookstooge on Booklikes beginning in the month of August.  This will be a re-read for me and I’m looking forward to it.  August seems like it will be the only relaxing month for me this summer.

7.

The Histories 

I add this one to the list with a heavy heart.  I am dying to read it, but really, do I realistically think I’m going to be able to get to it with all the other books that I’m reading?  I doubt it.  But hope always springs eternal with me and …… well, I just might get to it.

8.

Henry V

My Shakespeare challenge has been a pitiful failure so far.  I’m embarrassed.  So I’m determined to read at least one Shakespeare this summer.  If I can get Henry V read, I will have completed the Henriad!

9.

A Doll’s House

Another read with Cirtnecce.  At least it’s short.  I’m looking forward to it.

10.

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes

A wild card choice.  Why not?  It sounds relaxing and not too mentally taxing.  Just what the doctor ordered!