Sunday, August 30, 2015

Gearing Up...

*Total side note* Do you watch Big Bang Theory? Well there's an episode (sorry can't remember anything from it) where Sheldon tells Leonard that when Bell invented the telephone, he recommended answering with Ahoy. So, let's try that for a while and see if it works.

Well it's that time of year again: new semester.  I've got my classes and books and most of my supplies and I've got the new semester jitters.

Beyond the nerves, I am getting excited about school. During summer I missed not learning and I actually have a very nice campus so I missed walking around.

So, (raise your coffee, mocha and tea) here's to a brand new semester and shoving more knowledge in my ruddy pumpkin head!  : )

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Song of Achilles

This book is absolutely amazing!
The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

Here is my review from goodreads:

Ok, so I finished this book a few hours ago (and haven’t been able to read anything since). I’ve thought hard about my review, not because I want people to like it, but because I’m trying to do justice to this amazing book. I can’t remember how I found this book, but I am so grateful I did. I don’t know how to describe my reaction to this book…I love it (duh), the writing is beautiful, the characters are so full and real, the pace was good (not too fast, not too slow), Miller wove in mythology and Homer’s epics well.....But more than all parts, the book just…resonates.
I’ve read the Odyssey and I’ve read bits of the Iliad for school, including scenes with Achilles and I’ve learned about Classical mythology. So, I’ve got a good idea of the myths and Achilles’ story. All of that being said, I’ve met an entirely new person/character in this book (technically two). This Achilles is not the one I imagined from the Iliad and I’m so happy I got to know some version of Patroclus more. And more wonderful still was watching their relationship develop, strengthen and deepen. Their relationship is so…good. To me, it’s so real and genuine and honest. They know the best and worst of each other and never once does it change how they feel towards one another. I’ll admit I was afraid that their relationship would come across as unbelievable and wouldn’t work. That is not the case. Theirs is true love and it works…will always work.
As for the plot and pace of the novel, both were wonderful. I love having rich details in novels, especially historical fiction novels, and Miller did not disappoint. From everything I’ve learned of ancient Greece and from everything I’ve read, the book’s culture rang true. As for the plot, if you know anything about the Iliad you already know the ending, and if you know anything about Achilles’ you probably know his fate. This being said, I was anxious and tense to find out what happened. I was really curious how Miller would tie in her story to traditional myths and poems and she did an amazing job.
The ending kind of broke my heart because it was done so beautifully and the emotion was so real. I’ll admit that though I love books and I can get lost in them, I very rarely cry (I think Harry Potter is one of the only series to have caused tears…and there are some things that cannot be forgiven J.K….but I digress), but between the final scenes and the ending, I was sniffling.
Ultimately my review is trying to say that this book is amazing and I can’t recommend it enough. I’m very interested in reading more by Miller, but I can’t help but think that my connection and journey with Patroclus and Achilles will be my favorite.
My only complaint: I have no idea what to read now. Seriously, I’m still dazed and I think that’ll last for quite a while…..we are talking about an immortal story after all.

~ Happy Reading ~

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Dovekeepers


I've got a truly wonderful, amazing book to share. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman is amazing and left me speechless (a not-too-easy feat) and even now I'll have random thoughts about the book, remembering some scene or other.

I first found out about this awesome book from the tv special earlier this year. I loved the special and when I realized it was a book by Alice Hoffman (author of many books, including Practical Magic) I was intrigued. I asked my friend, who is a regular Hoffman aficionado, about the book. She said it was amazing. I decided to try it out over summer break.

Now, I'll admit that I haven't been a fan of all Hoffman novels I've read. I started with Skylight Confessions and I did not like it. I could not connect with the characters at all. Then I moved onto Practical Magic. That movie is one of my all-time favorite movies (I mean I really love it!!!!!). I thought I'd like the book just as much. Well, it's still very true that you shouldn't compare books and movies. I liked the book quite a bit, but it was very different from the movie. I also started another one, but quit about 50 pages in.

So, now you're probably wondering why I'm recommending one of her books? Well, The Dovekeepers is completely different. I loved it. The characters captivated me and Hoffman created them in such a way that I built a connection with all of them, especially Yael. I learned about Masada very, very briefly in a class a few years ago, so I was very interested to read a novel that depicted this event and time period.

You can definitely tell that Hoffman did her research (and not just because she includes a bibliography...YAY!!!) in all the small details and the authenticity throughout the novel. I really enjoyed reading about Ancient Jewish history (despite all of my history classes, I haven't really had much in  this area). And all of this research and character development comes on top of Hoffman's incredible mastery of words.

............................................ok, now for the's a great, wonderful, amazing book...But this is not a happy-go-lucky time period. Things were especially bad for women and one scene in the book captures this in heart-breaking and infuriating detail. And if you know even the tiniest bit of the story of Masada, then you know what's coming.
Second But....I love Hoffman's writing in this book, but it is distinct and different and it might not be for everyone.

Bottom line this book is really good and I can't recommend it enough! Oh, did you want a picture amidst all this text? ;)

The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman