Today’s Book – is a new book

I’m reading Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff, actually I’ve been reading it for the last week.  It’s good, very good, but life’s been hectic so I haven’t spent much time it.  Due to my unexpected reading delay, I thought I would instead talk about a new book I bought — Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks by Juliet Eilperin.

Confession time.  I heart sharks.  I just do.  I don’t know why.  On a trip to St. Thomas a few years ago, my husband and I went on a kayaking day trip and I was disappointed at not seeing a shark when we stopped to go snorkeling at a wreck.  The wreck was a small speedboat so don’t be too impressed with me.  Anyway, the barracudas were interesting and the tropical fish were very pretty but no sharks.  While packing up and getting ready to head back our guide said, “Oh, look, a shark.”  I dropped my paddle and kayak, ran back in the water, and got a glimpse of the said shark.  It was a nurse shark.  It’s wasn’t big, it wasn’t all that scary either, but it was a shark.  Smiling, and very thrilled with my shark encounter, I picked up my kayak and got in for the trip home.  My husband made fun of me all the way back, “Who runs in the water after a shark?”  Hmm, I do.  True story.

So this week I give you my summer reading, Demon Fish.  My perfect beach book.  🙂

Today’s Book – Actually Several

Since it’s June 30th, I thought I’d take a look at what I’ve read so far this year and mention a few of the books I loved.  As it stands, I managed to read 50 books in the first six months of this year and finish 47.  Three were DNFs and that’s about right for me.  I don’t abandon many but a few don’t make it all the way to end each year.

January

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill – A solid ghost story with excellent creepiness factor.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – A nice addition to the vampire inundation we’ve been under.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – A new to me author in the beginning of the year and one that’s made it onto my favorites list already.

February

The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick – I adore her writing and this was another satisfying read.

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach – Another author I adore.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – Possibly the best book I’ve read in a long time.

March

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen – She entranced with Garden Spells and did the same with this one.

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis – Funny science fiction; I have plans to read several more of her books before the year ends.

April

Un Lun Dun by China Miéville – Love him.  Read this book and you’ll love him too.

A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin – See Un Lun Dun.

May

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – Oh Miss Jane, you never fail to impress me.

The Map of Time by Félix J. Palma – Excellent companion for the long plane ride to Ecuador.

June

The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn – My first time with this series but not the author; I’ll be buying more this year.

The Postmortal by Drew Magary – Excellent read and the kind of strange fiction that I love to dive into.

Read anything great you’d love to share?  My TBR list is not nearly long enough!  Actually, it is, but I’m willing to add more.  🙂

Today’s Book – The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy lately, not unusual for me but since I downloaded a bunch of classics to my Nook over the past few weeks, I thought it might be time to take a look at one.  The Woman in White won out, mostly because 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea popped up as 1,098 pages on my Nook and I didn’t want a book that long right now.  I have George RR Martin’s A Storm of Swords waiting for me and though I love a good chunkster, I wanted something slightly more manageable.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to spend much time with this tome but I am enjoying what I have been able to read.  It’s got a dark, gothic feel to it which is good since I’m sure to come off the fantasy high someday soon.

Having skipped over Collins many times even though people have said good things about his books, and especially this one, I’m somewhat surprised to find myself liking it.  Collins’s association with Charles Dickens, an author I have yet to appreciate, kept me away in fear that I would be stuck in Dickensonia.  Thankfully, that’s not the case.

I searched for a video to share but didn’t come up with anything interesting but I did find this excerpt from an audiobook produced by the BBC.

Today’s Book – Prophecy of the Sisters

Usually I reserve Thursdays for talking about the book I’m currently reading but I thought I’d do something different today and talk about a book I want to read.  OK, there are a lot of books I want to read so this was actually slightly difficult in terms of narrowing the list down but you will all be happy to know I managed to succeed.

The book is the Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink.  The book was released in 2009 so it’s not a new addition to my list but one I have glanced over a few times and wondered about.  I did a little searching…young adult book about sisters, one good, one evil and a looming prophecy that involves tattoos, death, and secrets.

More about the book is here and below is a book trailer I found.  I think this one may make its way up the list.

Today’s Book – The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn

This is my first Lady Julia Grey book, and yes, it’s book five.  I’m not, absolutely not, the type of person to read books out of order and I kept meaning to get myself to the library to pick up the first in the series and then, obviously, I didn’t or I wouldn’t be here this morning talking about book five…  While browsing NetGalley, I saw this one and decided to jump in and live with the annoyances that come with starting a series late.

It’s been all good.  I read The Dead Travel Fast last year and liked it but everyone kept saying her Lady Julia Grey novels were the best.  I have to agree.  This is a fun read.  I was worried about missing backstory but there’s enough here to keep me from getting confused but it is making me want to read more of the series so maybe that trip to the library will happen after all.

I made an attempt to find a book trailer but one hasn’t been done for this book yet, however, I did find this December 2010 interview where she talks about the series.  It does focus on the book Dark Road to Darjeeling but she makes some interests comments about her work in general I thought it worth sharing.

Today’s Book – Livia, Empress of Rome

I read non-fiction much slower than fiction so I’m not surprised to find myself less than 100 pages into Livia, Empress of Rome two days later.  While I’m enjoying the book, it can be at times slightly hard to follow.  It’s not the author’s fault either since records of Roman women, even the ones that marry emperors, were not kept with any regularity.  The story is told through the men in her life, which is interesting, but at times frustrating since a good deal of the time you’re left reading about a man whose role in Livia’s life was minimal but their meeting was the only way to mark the passage of time in her life.

Roman lifestyles, marriage in particular, are fascinating to read about and slightly disturbing.  Women are used as pawns, not to say they didn’t have a say in who or when they married (most didn’t but in households where a marriage was based on love, some thought may have been given to the daughter’s wishes but it would have been unusual) but most of the time are traded easily as property which is how most if not all are thought of.  For instance, Livia’s second marriage to Octavian (Emperor Augustus in later years) happens while she is pregnant with her second child from her first husband.  Of course, out of courtesy, Octavian waits to marry her until after she gives birth.  A few days after she has the baby, they marry and the child is returned to Livia’s first husband as was the custom when a man marries a woman pregnant with another’s child.  Crazy.

What I’m enjoying most is not necessarily the information about Livia, she is an interesting person though, but the background on Roman life.  Debauched is a good description this early on but not the only one that can be used.  I’m sure I’ll have more when I get to the end of this one.