- This is my first experience reading the Little House series. In each one of these books, it always amazes me how simple yet complicated life is for the Ingalls family. Simple because they don't have many of the issues that face us in the 21st century. Complicated because you couldn't just run to the grocery store if you forgot an ingredient. Now that they're settled in South Dakota in a growing town it will surely be easier, but it's still hard to imagine living that life.
- All of the books in the series are basically the same. They tell the story of a year in a new place and everything they needed to do to survive. Sure, there are variations based on what new place they are living in, but the basics don't change. That's probably part of what makes this series so beloved, especially for those who read it as children. You can escape to life on the prairie over and over.
- As Laura gets older, she's showing a lot more personality, which is fun to see. She's a tomboy, always ready to head outside and explore. It's nice to get to know her.
- Why don't they talk about anything sad? In between these two books, Mary went blind and, according to the family tree in the front, they had a little brother that was born and died - yet is never mentioned. I'm guessing skipping over the details of these events (or the event entirely) was a conscious decision Laura Ingalls Wilder made as she was writing. Perhaps she thought people read these books for their feel-good nature, not for reality. I guess I'd rather know the truth of what happened to their family, but maybe that's just because I'm reading the books as an adult.
I never got a chance in April to share my thoughts about On the Banks of Plum Creek, which was the April read for the Little House Read-Along. So I thought I would write up my thoughts for both books this month.
So Michigan has crazy weather. Last Sunday, it snowed (yes, in the middle of May!). This Sunday, it was 70 degrees and sunny. Which means it is finally the right weather for going on walks and reading in the sun. About time!
My Recent Post
What I Read Last Week
Among the Gods by Lynn Austin (I finally finished the series two years after starting it, although I don't know what took me so long. I absolutely love Lynn Austin's Biblical fiction. She does a phenomenal job of bringing the Bible to life.)
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (I probably would never have read this book - I'm not one for Austen spin-offs - but it sounded like a good audiobook to try. It was a good mystery.)
What I'm Reading Now
The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller (What's better than books about books?)
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger (Where has this series been all my life?? And it is awesome as an audiobook.)
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (I'm reading this favorite on my phone, which I don't read from very often. It will probably appear on this list for a few weeks as I work my way through it.)
What's Coming Up Next
Goal: Fifteen pages per day
Number of days it took to read War and Peace: 91
Number of times I missed my goal and had to make it up the next day: Two (I'm pretty proud of this.)
Number of pages read: 1,361
Number of years since my first attempt at reading War and Peace: 18
Number of times I had to refer to the list of characters: A lot
Favorite character: Lively Natasha, before the melodramatic love affairs
Random thing I learned by reading War and Peace: Russia didn't adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1918, so the list of dates at the beginning of each section had an "old date" (what Russia followed) and a "new date" (ten days later, which the rest of the Western world followed).
Number of times I fell asleep while reading: I have to be honest here. It did happen a few times.
Number of times I wanted to keep reading beyond my daily 15 pages: I'll be honest here, too. This also happened several times. It was occasionally hard to put down.
Which sections did I like better - the war-focused ones or the peace-focused ones? Peace, for sure. The peace sections focused on several aristocratic families and their social lives. The Jane Austen lover in me preferred stories of love and social engagements to the sometimes confusing descriptions of battles. I've never been one for war books, so my preference really isn't that surprising.
Am I glad I read it? Absolutely! I've been trying for so long, and I am very proud of myself for accomplishing this goal.
Will I read it again someday? Um, no. I'm quite satisfied with once.
Would I recommend it? It depends on what kind of reader you are. If you love classics or Russian/Napoleonic history, you would probably enjoy this book. I did learn a lot about this time period of Russian history, and it's always fun to learn as you read. It's definitely a time commitment (although reading it little by little worked surprisingly well). And it's not a book for everyone, although I did find it a much easier and less dense read than I expected. Would I recommend it? Hey, if you're interested, give it a try. Why not?
So much bookish fun this past week in the blogging world - Bout of Books, BEA, and Armchair BEA. If only I could have participated in it all (one of these years, I will get to BEA!). I chose to participate in Bout of Books because readathons are awesome. Between audiobooks and making reading a priority during my downtime, I read a lot more this week than I expected to! You can check out my update post here.
What I Read Last Week
The High King by Lloyd Alexander (The Chronicles of Prydain are awesome. You should read them, if you haven't already. Or reread them, if you have!)
The Giver by Lois Lowry (I haven't read this since I was a kid. It was interesting to see how little I actually remembered of the story.)
Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (And I haven't ever read any of the companion novels to The Giver. I am remedying that now!)
Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman (A really fascinating look at how Jane Austen has become so ingrained in our culture.)
What I'm Reading Now
Three books at a time! That never happens to me!
Among the Gods by Lynn Austin (The last book in a Biblical fiction series that I've been wanting to finish for a long time.)
Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James (My audiobook. Turns out that when you have a baby, there are all sorts of times when an audiobook works better than a physical book!)
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (An ebook on my phone. Ditto for this. And I just wanted an excuse to reread it for the bazillionth time.)
What's Coming Up Next
The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller (I've been waiting to get my hands on this one for a long time. So excited to finally read it!)
It's Bout of Books week! (And I'm finally able to get my update post up on Wednesday.) Even though the post is late, I have been doing a surprising amount of reading this week. Here's how it's going:
Number of pages read: 80
Time spent listening: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Books I'm reading: The High King by Lloyd Alexander (physical book); The Giver by Lois Lowry (audiobook)
Number of pages read: 217
Total pages read: 297
Time spent listening: 3 hours
Total time spent listening: 4 hours and 10 minutes
Books I'm reading: The High King by Lloyd Alexander (physical book); The Giver by Lois Lowry (audiobook); Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (ebook on my phone)
Number of books finished: One (The Giver)
Number of pages read: 67
Total pages read: 364
Time spent listening: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Total time spent listening: 6 hours and 40 minutes
Books I'm reading: The High King by Lloyd Alexander; Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (audiobook); Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Total number of books finished: Two (The Giver & The High King)
Number of pages read: 98
Total number of pages read: 462
Time spent listening: 2 hours and 25 minutes
Total time spent listening: 9 hours and 5 minutes
Books I'm reading: Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman; Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry; Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Total number of books finished: Two
Number of pages read: 88
Total number of pages read: 550
Time spent listening: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Total time spent listening: 10 hours and 35 minutes
Books I'm reading: Jane's Fame by Claire Harman; Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry; Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Total number of books finished: Three (The Giver; The High King; Gathering Blue)
Number of pages read: 100
Total number of pages read: 650
Time spent listening: 55 minutes
Total time spent listening: 11 hours and 30 minutes
Books I'm reading: Jane's Fame by Claire Harman; Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James; Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Total number of books finished: Three
Number of pages read: 93
Time spent listening: 50 minutes
Books I'm reading: Among the Gods by Lynn Austin; Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James; Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Total number of pages read: 743
Total time spent listening: 12 hours and 20 minutes
Total number of books finished: Four!! (The High King; The Giver; Gathering Blue; and Jane's Fame)
Overall, I read a lot more than I expected, mostly thanks to audiobooks. I was surprised by how much listening time I got in, and I didn't even listen more than I would on a normal week. Hooray for multi-tasking while reading!
Yay, it's Monday and I'm reading - and posting about it! It feels so good to be blogging again. Hopefully the little guy continues to give me some time to do so!
My Recent Posts
My New Little Bookworm (the reason for my temporary hiatus)
Books I Read in April (because I got a few in there)
Bout of Books 16 Sign-Up (because why not)
What I Read Last Week
Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman (This was a great book, even if you're not a parent - but especially if you are!)
A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny's Story by Brenda Ashford (This was a delightful memoir, especially as an audiobook. It sounded like it was narrated by Julie Andrews.)
By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
What I'm Reading Now
The High King by Lloyd Alexander (The last of my Chronicles of Prydain reread. Sniff. . .)
The Giver by Lois Lowry (My current audiobook)
What's Coming Up Next
It's Bout of Books this week! So here is my stack, along with a few audiobooks. Of course, I will probably only get to a small fraction of this, but something is better than nothing!
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Read-a-thons are one of my absolute favorite things about the book blogging world. Which is why I participated in Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon, even though I had a tiny baby to take care of. That actually went better than I expected. So a week-long read-a-thon should be no problem. Bring on the multi-taskable audiobooks!
So despite having a newborn baby in the house, I did read some books in April! Here's a recap of my amazing April reads:
Winter by Marissa Meyer (This was AWESOME! And major thanks to my husband, who turned pages for me while I nursed my little guy. Every bookworm needs a husband like this!)
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion (My book club read The Rosie Project in April, and I figured that was a good time to check out the sequel.)
On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Trying to stay caught up with the Little House Read-Along. Each one of these I read, I enjoy them more and more.)
A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (I have finally discovered a place for audiobooks in my life! They are extremely useful in life with a little baby. And Flavia was perfect as an audiobook.)
Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander (The Chronicles of Prydain are awesome. I really need to reread them more often.)
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall (This series just gets better and better. I think they have officially made it onto my must-buy list now.)
Things have been pretty quiet here on Smiling Shelves recently. That's because we had a new arrival at our house last month!
Life has been pretty unpredictable (hence the lack of posts here), but it's starting to settle down into a routine-like thing. Smiling Shelves will soon be up and running again, though I don't think my previous 4 posts a week will be possible. But I'm still reading (and reading to my little guy), so I'm sure there will be plenty to post about. Thanks for sticking with me on Smiling Shelves as I discover this whole new reason to smile!
As you may have guessed from the silence here on Smiling Shelves, my little guy showed up a few weeks ago (more on this in a post next week). Life has been just a bit crazy since then, but I am still determined to participate in this readathon!
Most of my participation will be on Twitter, since that's easier than jumping on the computer. You can follow me to get my update posts - @SmilingShelves. I'm planning to update this post at the end to see just how much (or little) actual reading I got done today.
Happy Readathon, everybody!
Here's what I read:
Pages read: 198
Books finished: One (On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder)
Audiobook listened to: Two and a half hours (A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley)
All in all, I'm pretty pleased. Keeping up with Twitter made me feel still involved, even if I didn't get tons of time to participate. I did discover that there's nothing better than reading with a sleeping baby in your arms, though!
My name is Julie, and I own a lot of books. As in, they are stacked on the floor because I've run out of room on the shelves. And those shelves? There are so many books on them that they smile -- not sag; smile. This blog will cover book reviews and all manner of other bookish things.
You can contact me at email@example.com.