The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7815.The_Year_of_Magical_Thinking​

Joan Didion’s daughter, Quintana, is seriously ill and has spent the last few weeks in the ICU. Then one day, after getting home from visiting their daughter in the hospital, John Gregory Dunne (Joan Didion’s husband), collapses while having dinner. This book is about how Didion confronts her guilt, her loneliness, and her sadness. 

This is an eloquently written account on grief and mourning. Joan Didion confronts her emotions by researching psychological studies and medical literature. She wants to understand what the heck she is going through. It is raw. It is honest. It is introspective. 

You’d think a book about death and illness and its aftermath would be depressing. This book wasn’t though. At least to me, it didn’t read that way. Yes, I did feel for her. Her daughter spends months in the ICU in various hospitals in different states. And her husband died right in front of her. But the way Joan Didion attempts to rationalize her feelings tempered my emotions. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. 

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2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Prompt: a book about death or grief

Challenge update: 27/40(*50)

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Tag: Books I Own That I Haven’t Read… Yet

My buddy Sophski πŸ˜› @ Sophia Ismaa Writes tagged me in this. Basically you have to go through all the unread books you own and determine whether you’re still interested in reading them or not. Initially I thought it would be difficult because of all the books I bought last month. So I decided to cheat. Just a little bit. I mean, I bought the books recently so of course I’m interested in reading them. Right? Right. Besides, I’ve already talked about them before.

Okay, so taking out the hauled books from last month, I am left with only a handful of books. Apparently I’m pretty good at reading the books I own haha. 

Enough rambling, let’s get to it (book covers link back to their goodreads page).

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First up, is this book. I remember having to buy this book for a Religious Studies class in college. But I don’t think we even read it. I kept it though, so I guess I was interested in reading it at some point. Now… eh.

Verdict: Somewhat interested. It’s historical so it does appeal to me in that sense. 

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Ah, okay. So I’m low-key obsessed with Princess Diana. Who isn’t? And I bought this book when Borders had their big “going out of business sale”. It’s full of photographs and I can’t believe I forgot I owned it. 

Verdict: Definitely still interested. I was  flipping through the pages before I started writing this post.

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Sophia, you might like this one! “It is a psychology of women in the truest sense”. Confession time. I was planning to donate this book without having read it. My friend’s mom gave it to me when she was moving. And I judged the book by it’s title. Now, I’m finally reading the goodreads description haha. 

Verdict: Interested!

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Well, I was a young and ambitious student πŸ˜‰ . Yes, that is War and Peace. In Italian. smh. I bought this book one night while strolling through Palermo. It was 5 Euro!

Verdict: Still interested. Not in this copy though haha. I’m keeping it but I need to buy an English version.

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I bought this book right after I finished reading The Stranger. That was a great little novel and I was eager to read more by Camus. And then as luck should have it, I found this book at my library’s bookstore.

Verdict: Interested!

​I am also low-key obsessed with the Kennedy’s. It took me years to find this book. And it’s been years since I bought it. It is a highly-detailed account of President Kennedy’s assassination and the days following it. Please don’t judge me by this book’s condition! It looked like this when I bought it. 

Verdict: Insanely interested. Haven’t gotten around to it because it’s a looong read.

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I found this book at a bus stop! It’s a bit of a home-ec guide. There’s things inside like “how to make your own jam”, “how to tie a tie” and “how to waltz”. It’s pretty cool, from what I’ve seen.

Verdict: Interested. I don’t think it’s one of those books you actually have to sit and read. It’s a guide. I should acquaint myself with the subjects it covers though.

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My friend gave me this book haha. Her boss gave her this book and another. She kept the other. It’s a self-help book. That’s all I know about it.

Verdict: Not interested. But maybe one day I will be? 

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I bought this book only a few days ago. Since I haven’t mentioned it before, I figured it should go on this list. Now, I have seen the movie adaptation. But I didn’t even know it was based on a book until The Cozy Pages did a post on this books various covers not too long ago. (I’m not a fan of this cover though! 😦 )

Verdict: Interested! I kind of love the movie.

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Another book I recently bought. My friend owns a copy and wants us to read it together. 

Verdict: Hesitatingly interested. I’ve seen the movie but I didn’t really like it?
 
* I should mention that I did leave some books out. Ethnographies, school texts, stuff like that *​ 

I TAG: Anyone and Everyone that wants to participate!

You know, as I was digging through my books I realized there are a few that I know I read, but could not remember one single detail about. That will probably be a post for another day haha.

HAPPY BLOGGING! πŸ™‚

Nancy Drew (#27): The Secret of the Wooden Lady by Carolyn Keene

Finally! A decent Nancy Drew!! Phew!

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Nancy and her friends are helping Captain Easterly obtain proper ownership of the boat the Bonny Scot. The current owner of the ship is willing to sell the boat to the captain, but he doesn’t have the deed to it. Nancy’s job is to track down the true owner. But while in Boston searching, intruders board the Bonny Scot. Who they are, and what they want with the boat is another puzzle Nancy has to figure out.

This mystery was a wonderful read. It was pretty straight forward with no unnecessary subplots. There is a healthy dose of action and Nancy is always cool and collected.

I learned quite a deal about boats. A topic I know nothing about haha. The role of a boat’s figurehead I did know. Thanks to this book. This is one of the Nancy Drew stories I actually remember reading as a kid. All of the story’s details were forgotten. Except for that one little tidbit.

Loved this mystery! The Nancy Drew slump is over! Yay!! πŸ˜€ 

A QUICK SIDENOTE:

Book originally written by: Margaret Scherf

Revised by: Priscilla Baker-Carr

I would like to give a huge THANK YOU!! to OfMariaAntonia for reminding me that this series was ghostwritten by multiple people. She pointed out that perhaps I have a preferred ghostwriter, which would explain why some of these mysteries are simply not to my liking while others are. From now on, I will be keeping track of the people who wrote these stories. I’ve been looking back at the first few books and their writers and she may be on to something!! I’ll keep you all posted! πŸ™‚ 

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK!! Friendships and all their nuances. A shy girl coming into her own. I’m such a sucker for these types of stories.

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Sloane and Emily are best friends. When summer arrives, Sloane and her family have disappeared. Emily has no idea where her friend might be, but then Sloane mails her a to-do list. Hoping that completing the list will lead her to her friend, Emily embarks on an unexpected summer adventure.

I listened to the audiobook version and was enthralled. Suzy Jackson did a wonderful job emoting Emily’s feelings. I could feel her loneliness and understand where she was coming from. It’s difficult to fill a void when you’ve made your friend your world. And I know what it’s like to let fear consume your life. But Emily, with a little help from her friends (ha!), manages to come out of her bubble. 

This book made me incredibly happy. The story is predictable. (I could foresee the ending miles away). But I enjoyed listening to Emily tackle Sloane’s list. One thing I didn’t like, is how everything Emily says starts with “oh, um…”. I understand that she doesn’t have the best social skills. But really? I have yet to meet a shy person that begins almost every sentence that way.  

Okay, it is a perfect light summer read. Now I really want to go on a roadtrip, so there’s that. Maybe I should make my own list… Oh! And hello Frank Porter! πŸ˜‰ 

In a well-ordered universe, I would spend my summer rereading this book!!!

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2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Challenge update: 26/40(*50)

Prompt: a book with song lyrics in the title 

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Memoria de Mis Putas Tristes (Memories of My Melancholy Whores) by Gabriel GarcΓ­a MΓ‘rquez

When I read the opening line of this novella, I was hesitant to continue reading because I was so sure it would be like Lolita. Thankfully it wasn’t. 

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An elderly man wants to celebrate his 90th birthday by having sex with a young virgin. That was the opening line, in a nutshell. (You see why I paused?) Anyway, this man calls the local madame and gives her his request. Through her, he meets 14 year old Delgadina. (Not her real name). And so on his 90th birthday he wakes with Delgadina by his side. Except he doesn’t have sex with her. They continue to meet for about a year, with Delgadina remaining a virgin because pretty much all that happens is the old man watches her sleep. His infatuation with her grows though. But an incident happens that forces him to go months without seeing her. And although he is in peak health, the old man begins to die of love for her. 

Throughout the story, the old man recounts tales of his past sexual exploits. We also get a glimpse into his everyday life. He writes a column for a local newspaper. And when his feelings for Delgadina begin to grow, he starts to publish love poems(?) that everyone takes to be nostalgic musings. 

I read this novella in the original Spanish text. The language was beautiful. Gabriel GarcΓ­a Marquez’s genius shines through. But. But my Spanish reading skills aren’t that great. 

I decided to challenge myself by reading this in Spanish. I don’t really use my native tongue that often. I’ve read only one book in espaΓ±ol, Retrato en Sepia (Portrait in Sepia) by Isabel Allende, and it took me months to read. I had the same problem then as I had this time around: focus. It took me a while to get my mind to concentrate and make sense of what I was reading. It’s not easy to transition from one language you use 24/7 to one you unfortunately don’t use often. β€‹
This is a 112 page story. What should have been a quick read, took me a few days to get through. So I would say I understood about 85% of what I read. That is how terrible my Spanish is. I really need to work on that. I might have to reread this in English sometime in the future because I feel there are some ideas I didn’t quite grasp. Which bothers me. 

Overall, I did enjoy the novella. It wasn’t what I was expecting. Which is a wonderful surprise. Not surprising? I need to spend more time reading books in my native language. Sigh.

A Double Dose of Nancy Drew #2

Once again, two Nancy Drew stories. Bear with me my peeps. 

Nancy Drew (#25): The Ghost of Blackwood Hall by Carolyn Keene

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 Nancy Drew is asked by a reluctant woman, Mrs. Putney, to help her find some missing jewels. Nancy happily agrees to do so. But what starts out as a simple missing jewelry case develops into so much more. Amidst ghostly appearances and dire warnings, Nancy and her friends attempt to stay ahead of the criminal gang.

Didn’t like this book. This time it was the characters that put me off. Mainly Mrs. Putney. This gullible woman is taken in by a scam and when Nancy tries to warn her, she is incredibly rude. How dare you. This girl is doing what she can to help you find the missing jewels that you foolishly lost and you treat her like crap. Nope. I’m done with you. I quit putting up with people’s BS a long time ago. (Can you tell this woman got under my skin? Haha).

Anyway, the mystery in and of itself was pretty intricate and well thought out. This case also briefly took Nancy, Bess and George to New Orleans. So we see a bit of the city as the girls sightsee, which I really enjoyed.

Oh, and Togo appeared! Hallelujah!! I’ve been wondering where this dog went since he first and last appeared in book #14. He plays a pretty significant role as he helps Nancy sniff out clues in the woods. He even helps track Nancy down when she goes missing for a bit.

Overall a good mystery with awful characters. 

Now, on to the next one!

Nancy Drew (#26): The Clue of the Leaning Chimney by Carolyn Keene

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Nancy comes across this mystery when Bess’ cousin, Dick Milton, has antique Chinese pottery stolen from his store. Nancy offers her assistance in helping track down the thief and stumbles across another mystery. This one, involving the disappearance of two Chinese nationals. Through many obstacles, Nancy and her friends manage to solve the cases.

The main mystery was actually interesting. Nancy works alongside a detective in New York for a hot second. And there is a plot twist at the end that managed to surprise me. Also, Togo reappears again. (Yay!)

Also, while Nancy is in New York, she visits her Aunt Eloise. The book then mentions how after Nancy’s mom passed away, Aunt Eloise considered moving to River Heights to help Mr. Drew raise her. But Hannah was doing such a wonderful job and Aunt Eloise had work engagements, so she decided to stay in New York. This is a detail that hadn’t been revealed before which I thought was interesting.

But boy, what bothered me about this story was how they kept referring to Mr. Soong, the owner of the missing artifacts, as “the Chinese“. And it wasn’t the characters that referred to him in this way. It was the narration. The Chinese sat down. The Chinese said this. The Chinese said that. It happened so many times, it frustrated me. How difficult is it to refer to him by his damn name?! A sign of the times, I guess. 

Anyway I got a nice pottery lesson. I now know more about the history of clay than I have ever wanted to know. 

Ugh, too many terrible Nancy Drew stories lately. When will this awful streak end? 

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Another children’s book. Um, I never read this as a kid. I didn’t even realize it was a kid’s book at first. And a classic one at that. 

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This book focuses on four different characters: Toad, Water Rat (Ratty), Mole, and Badger. They are animals with human characteristics who have wild adventures. It is a tale full of morals and friendship. As a children’s book it is great. The pacing was a little slow at times, but I did like the illustrations. 

Now, confession time. There is an attraction at Disneyland called Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It’s this crazy, jerking ride where you go around on a little car and things pop up at you out of nowhere. I always thought this ride was based on Frog and Toad. Apparently I was wrong. It’s based on this book. Consider my mind blown. Next time I ride this, I’ll know exactly what the heck is going on haha.

A story full of heart. I liked it. Although I must say, Ratty, Moley, and Badger are better friends than me. I would have given up on Toad a long time ago. I guess there are lessons an adult can still learn from a children’s book. 

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2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Prompt: a book with a weather element in the title

Challenge update: 25/40(*50)

3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge: Day 3

A final thank you to Emily @ Emily’s Escapist Books and Reading for tagging me! This has been incredibly fun!!

RULES:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers each day

​Quote Brought to You by:

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I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again

– F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

One of my favorite quotes ❀ It pierces my soul!

I TAG:

ELLY. V

PERFECTLY TOLERABLE

PUFFLEHUFFLE KITTEH READS

No pressure to participate! 

Happy blogging everyone! πŸ™‚

3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge: Day 2

Once again, thank you to Emily @ Emily’s Escapist Books and Reading for tagging me! Let’s get to it! 

RULES:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers each day

Quote Brought to You by:

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It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.

      Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

It is the opening line of A Tale of Two Cities that is often quoted. But to me, the closing line of the novel is the one that has always struck me. It’s so eloquently beautiful coming from Sydney Carton’s lips. It gets me every time. 

I TAG:

FICTION NO CHASER

MERV READS

THIS IS ONE FOR THE BOOKS

No pressure on anyone to participate! 

Happy blogging everyone! πŸ™‚

3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge: Day 1

Thank you to Emily @ Emily’s Escapist Books and Reading for tagging me in this! I’ve seen this tag floating around, and I’m happy to be taking part in it! (Even though it’s taken me forever to get to. My bad). 

RULES

  • Thank the person that nominated you
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers each day

Quote Brought to You by:

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The indifference of the People is the opportunity of the despot. It is as true as that the whole is greater than the part, and the maxim is so old that it is trite – it is laughable. It is neglected and disused for the sake of some new ingenious and complicated theory, some wonderful scheme of reorganization, the fact remains, nevertheless, simple, fundamental, everlasting. The People have but to say ‘No’ and not the strongest tyranny, political, religious, or financial, that was ever organized, could survive one week. 

     – Frank Norris, The Octopus

(The emphasis is all mine).

A long quote but one that really gets me thinking. Even though it is referring to a struggle between farmers and a railroad union, the sentiment behind the words is still relevant. Especially in today’s society. 

I TAG:

BIONIC BOOK WORM
FLYING PAPERBACKS
THRICE READ
No pressure on anyone to participate!

Happy blogging everyone! πŸ™‚