Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August's Book of the Month

 

Hello Everyone! I chose the picture posted above because it reminds me of reading to my daughter Mareena when she was little. Every afternoon until she was about eight or nine years old, we would take one of her books that she wanted to read or that she was reading and we would curl up together on my big bed. 

We would spend an hour or so reading a chapter of her book, and then take a nap together. Her absolutely favorite author at that time was an English author named Enid Blyton. Ahh, nice memories... 

My picks for 'Books of the Month' will be decidedly more adult these days, but they will be from almost any genre. August's Book of the Month is:


Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel by Sheila Kohler
  Published as: Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel in December 2009
Publisher: Penguin


Birth Name: Sheila Kohler
Born: 13 November 1941 in Johannesburg, South Africa

Canonical Name: Sheila Kohler
Pseudonyms: None

Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel by Sheila Kohler was the forty-fourth book that I read in 2016. I have had this book on my TBR shelf since August 19, 2016 and it took me a total of eight days to read. This book is a definite keeper for me.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, August 29, 2016

So Ends the 'Summer of Rereads'!

Hello everyone! I hope that you're all just fine this morning - I certainly am! :) Anyway, I just wanted to give you an update on how I'm doing so far.

Okay, so for the past several days I just haven't been feeling all that well, but I seem to have recently turned a corner healthwise. Having said that, I haven't felt like reading anything too strenuous or thought-provoking - just light and mindless entertainment all the way! That means plenty of sudoku puzzles and jigsaw puzzles, as well as some of my favorite books and authors.

As I said just recently, I had finished three whole jigsaw puzzles as of Sunday, August 21st. Then, I finished another two jigsaw puzzles by Thursday night, August 25th. I have also been doing several crosswords and sudoku puzzles from the newspaper - approximately two puzzles (one sudoku puzzle and one crossword puzzle) a day since Sunday afternoon, August 21st!

So, I finished reading Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel by Sheila Kohler on Saturday, August 27th! It was a great book and I absolutely loved it, but since I wasn't feeling all that well; reading this book took slightly longer than I thought it would. After that, I picked up a book that I had read over three days in March of this year - While I Was Gone by Sue Miller. According to Goodreads, as of today - Monday, August 29th - I'm currently on page 67 of 265; or approximately 25 percent into the story.

Since my own copy of While I Was Gone by Sue Miller actually has 283 pages; reading 67 pages of the book means that I've read 24 percent of the story. Actually, I think I have only read two other books twice in the same year. I could never tell you what they were though, I can't remember - lol!!!

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sheila Kohler - Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel

44. Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel by Sheila Kohler (2009)
Length: 247 pages 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 19 August 2016
Finished: 27 August 2016
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap 
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 19 August 2016
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and Sheila Kohler is a new author for me.

The year is 1846. Somewhere on the outskirts of the industrial town of Manchester, a young woman cares for her critically ill father. Seated in a darkened corner of her father's bedroom, she begins to write the novel which will ultimately become a true classic. As she writes, Charlotte Bronte will be transported by her memories back to the cold, damp parsonage on the bleak Yorkshire moors of Northern England where she has spent her entire life.

It is while living in her father's parsonage that Charlotte Bronte received many of her literary influences. Indeed, the Bronte family seems to have been dealt so much tragedy through the years, that it is almost as if they all lived under some sort of a disastrous curse. In turn, Charlotte and her siblings used such personal tragedies as inspiration to write their own literary works.

A mother and two of her children die; a sickened father - without fortune - and hardened by the deaths of his wife and two eldest children, is left to raise his four surviving children to adulthood. A much-favored son is ultimately destroyed by alcohol and his addiction to opiates; and three strong, intelligent young women - facing impoverishment and eventual spinsterhood - seemingly have nothing more tangible to save them from their fate: nothing, that is, except their remarkable literary talents.

So unfolds a beautifully imagined tale of the Bronte sisters and the writing of the gothic novel Jane Eyre. Sheila Kohler's extensive research and wonderful imagination recreates the Victorian era world of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte - vibrantly bringing to life the indelibly-entwined rivalries of these three loving sisters and struggling young writers. At the center of this poignantly imaginative story is Charlotte Bronte and the writing of her novel Jane Eyre; and the overlapping narratives of author and heroine - including Charlotte's infatuation with a married man.

Delicately unraveling the powerful and inextricable connections between one of fiction's most enduring heroines and the remarkable woman who created her, Ms. Kohler's novel will definitely appeal to fans of historical fiction and, of course, the millions of readers who adore Jane Eyre.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Yes, I have read so much about the Brontes already, but in my opinion this book really brought everything that I learned into sharper focus for me. This was such a poignant novel; written from an entirely different perspective and I really came to understand how difficult it was for the Bronte sisters to follow their passion. I would definitely give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I Had to Put my Birthday Plans on Hold For a Little While!

Hello everyone! I hope that you're all just fine this morning - I certainly am! :) Anyway, I just wanted to give you an update on how I'm doing so far.

So, my birthday was on Monday, August 22nd. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I wasn't feeling all that well on Saturday night, August 20th. However, since I couldn't pinpoint exactly what was going on with me, I didn't want to take the day off from the radio show. So, Mareena and I went off and did the show, then we picked up some Chinese food to celebrate my birthday the next day.

The birthday plans were that Mareena and I would watch a scary movie as we ate the Chinese food for lunch. I woke up that Monday, and realized that I felt slightly sick - not nauseous, but I definitely had shivers and stomach pain. I don't believe that I got food poisoning or some other stomach bug - certainly not some diabetic episode - I just did not feel in the best of health. Since I want to enjoy watching the movie, we've decided to hold off on that part of the celebration until I feel much better.

Just to mention some of my birthday gifts: Mareena said she had gotten me a tiny clip-on book light that would allow me to read in bed whenever I want to; added to the four books that she had requested for me from Paperback Swap that she didn't want me to know the titles of - it turned out to be an excellent birthday surprise. The four books actually were: The Businessman: A Tale of Terror by Thomas M. Disch; A Dog's Purpose: A Novel For Humans by W. Bruce Cameron; When You Believe by Deborah Bedford and Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel by Sheila Kohler. While Mareena had put two books on my wish list and never told me, two of the books had already been on my wish list for some time but had just become available for request.

Our downstairs tenant and my good friend Pamela gave me a new radio and CD player to replace the one that wore out about six months ago. She also gave me a tiny wrought-iron bookcase that I still have to find a place to put somewhere. As regards my own reading, I just finished reading When You Believe by Deborah Bedford on Thursday, August 18th! Then, I immediately started to read Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel by Sheila Kohler the next night - on Friday night, August 19th! This was actually one of Mareena's 'just because' gifts for August.

Although I actually finished reading one of my birthday books and started another, I have managed to save my other two gifts for my actual birthday. According to Goodreads, as of today - Wednesday, August 24th - I'm currently on page 82 of 232; or approximately 35 percent into the story. Since my own copy of Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel by Sheila Kohler actually has 247 pages; reading 82 pages of the book means that I've read 33 percent of the story. So far, this book is very good!

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, August 21, 2016

So Ends the 2016 Olympics From Rio de Janeiro!

Hello everyone! I hope that you're all just fine this morning - I certainly am! :) Anyway, I just wanted to give you an update on how I'm doing so far.

It seems like the United States is doing remarkably well in the medal standings. As a matter of fact, as of Sunday night, August 21st - the last day of the 2016 Olympics - Team USA has won a combined 121 medals. Way to go!!!!

The problem experienced by the Brazilians with the sulphuric-smelling, green pools was finally solved. Apparently, the workers had initially set out to prepare the pool area and poured in chlorine. Then, someone else allegedly poured a double dose of hydrogen peroxide into the pool on Friday, August 5th! This completely neutralized the chlorine and caused algae to bloom in both pools on Monday, August 8th and then again on Wednesday, August 10th!

There was at least one more tremendous scandal that blew up during the last week of the Olympics. Unfortunately, this one involved four members of the USA Mens' Swim Team - particularly the recent Gold medal winner Ryan Lochte. Allegedly, Ryan Lochte and three of his teammates had left the Olympic village on Saturday night, August 13th. What was so disturbing about this scandal was that there already had been several muggings of other athletes that took place in the Olympic village.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, August 14th, Ryan and his teammate Jimmy Feigen went to the police and reported that all four of them had been forced out of their taxi and robbed at gunpoint by men with police badges. Apparently, Ryan told 'The Today Show' that one of the would-be police officers actually pointed a gun to his head and ordered Ryan to lie down. When he refused, the man cocked the gun and repeated his order.

What really made the scandal blow up, was that Ryan told his mother this story and she then repeated it to a radio station during an interview. The Brazilian authorities investigated the incident further and it was discovered that the men had actually embellished their police report, and they were charged with filing a false police complaint.

By this point, Ryan Lochte was already back in the United States, having flown home on Tuesday, August 16th. Jimmy Feigen was also out of the country, but soon contacted the police after a judge issued a search and seizure warrant for both his and Ryan's arrest. The other two teammates were stopped at the airport just before they were to board the plane to go home. After talking to the police, they both admitted that everyone was drunk, and had been detained by Brazilian security forces who claimed that they had done some vandalism.

The truth was that Ryan Lochte was apparently the drunken ringleader of the four teammates when they all went out partying on Saturday night, August 13th. Then the group allegedly stopped at a gas station to use the bathroom and Ryan Lochte trashed the place before everyone left. The gas station attendant detained the perpetrators and proceeded to call the Brazilian security forces.

After the security guards arrived on the scene - according to the remaining two teammates who spoke to the police - they were carrying guns and used them to detain the suspects until restitution was repaid to the gas station attendant. Needless to say, Brazil was angry that their country was being shamed in this way.

So, I have been doing several jigsaw puzzles out of a box of twelve that I had bought on Thursday, May 19th! As of Sunday, August 21st, I've finished at least three of the twelve jigsaw puzzles. Not too bad, I suppose.

As regards my own reading, I just finished reading When You Believe by Deborah Bedford on Thursday, August 18th! Then, I immediately started to read Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel by Sheila Kohler the next night - on Friday night, August 19th! This was actually one of Mareena's 'just because' gifts for August.

Since my birthday is coming up very soon as well, she decided to request a book about the story behind the writing of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. She knows how much I love reading anything about the whole Bronte family - and most especially the Bronte sisters: Charlotte, Emily and Anne. So far, I'm not that far into the story but I have high hopes that it will be very good.

According to Goodreads, as of today - Sunday, August 21st - I'm currently on page 10 of 232; or approximately 4 percent into the story. Since my own copy of Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel by Sheila Kohler actually has 247 pages; reading 10 pages of the book means that I've read 3 percent of the story. Here's hoping that I get into the story fairly quickly.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Deborah Bedford - When You Believe

43. When You Believe by Deborah Bedford (2003)
Length: 288 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 16 August 2016
Finished: 18 August 2016
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 13 August 2016
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed His Other Wife: A Novel by the same author in the past.

Lydia Porter loves everything about teaching at Shadrach High School. She enjoys working with children and loves being able to shape their young minds in her position as the School-to-Careers Counselor. Lyddie especially loves everything about Charlie Stains - the school's very popular wood-working teacher.

As a matter of fact, Lydia truly believes that God answered her lonely prayers when big-hearted Charlie came into her life. And although she hasn't told a soul about it, Charlie has even given her an engagement ring. Lyddie may have waited for a very long time to find her happiness, but she is definitely looking forward to a delightful future with Charlie Stains.

However, she has recently become very concerned about one of her students - a bright, pretty, and popular sophomore by the name of Shelby Tatum. Shelby has always been a good student, but lately she seems to be deeply troubled by something. She has become less outgoing and her grades have begun to slip ever so slightly.

Convinced that the girl's problems go beyond just the typical teenage angst, Lyddie eventually confronts her - only to have Shelby make an unimaginable...and utterly devastating allegation. The distraught girl says that an adult - a teacher at the school - has been sexually abusing her, and that she's terrified of what he will do if Shelby tells anyone. While her story seems horrendously plausible, Lyddie is astonished to learn the name of Shelby's alleged abuser - Charlie Stains.

Suddenly Lydia is faced with the hardest decision of her life. Now she must, by law, report the teenager's charges - regardless of her own personal feelings. What happens next will ultimately challenge everything Lyddie holds so dear to her heart: her love; her resolve to discover the truth; and her belief in the power of faith to comfort, redeem, and heal.

This is actually the second book that I have read by this author and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. This was quite an intriguing story for me, and I definitely wanted to see how it would develop. While I believe that this would be classified as an inspirational romance - as well as contemporary fiction - I really appreciated that the romantic elements were treated so respectfully. I would give this book a definite A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Maeve Binchy - Silver Wedding

42. Silver Wedding by Maeve Binchy (1989)
Length: 419 pages 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction 
Started: 9 August 2016
Finished: 16 August 2016
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 12 December 2012
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

A silver anniversary is always an occasion to celebrate, and for Desmond and Deirdre Doyle this celebration is no less special. As the Doyles prepare to commemorate the twenty-five years of marriage they have shared, their closest family and friends gather around them in remembrance of such a happy time. However, it is also a time fraught with tremendous uncertainty.

The Doyles face an uneasy moment of reckoning as their friends and family members begin to arrive for the festivities. So much time has passed for all of them, and so much has changed. The couple may have prepared themselves for anything; but they can only hope that everyone has come ready to celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Everyone has certainly come to congratulate the happy couple, but each person seems to have also brought their own personal baggage to the party.

First to arrive are the three Doyle children: Anna, Helen, and Brendan. Their hapless daughter Helen is still struggling with her vocation to become a nun. Having reached a crossroads in her life, she plans on making her final decision at her parents silver anniversary. Their rebellious son Brendan prefers a life of solitude spent on the family farmstead in Ireland, rather than living with his parents and sisters in London.

Desmond's best man - Frank Quigley - was once his very best friend, but is now Desmond's boss. Deirdre's bridesmaid - Maureen Barry - is now a successful career woman, looking forward to opening a London location in her chain of fashion boutiques. Father James Hurley - the priest who married the couple - arrives to the silver anniversary carrying his own guilty family secret.

Yet it is her parents silver anniversary that will prove to be a time of ultimate transformation for the Doyles' eldest daughter, Anna. She is the person tasked with the seemingly impossible: navigating through the troubled waters of the past and smoothing out ruffled relationships. For only Anna can confront their tarnished lives and find a truth strong enough to draw them into a circle of love that might nourish, protect, and finally heal them all.

As I have probably said many times before, Maeve Binchy was such a remarkable author. This was actually the second time that I have read this particular book, yet it still felt like a fresh story to me. In my opinion, Ms Binchy created so many memorable characters; as well as poignant and emotionally-driven stories. This was just another one of her many delightfully written books and I would give it a definite A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight