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Showing posts from September, 2012

September in Paris Reading Challenge 2012

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September in Paris Reading Challenge 2012 was hosted by me. I'm aware of the following participants:
Martina of House of Bronze
Missy of Honey Bee's Attic
If there is anyone else that participated in this challenge please let me know in the comment section of this post.
Martina and Missy, please leave a link of any reviews you have of this challenge in the comment section of this post.
Thank you so much to those who participated! When I began this challenge I really did not think anyone would be joining me, but I'm so thankful to those who did!

The books I read for September in Paris Reading Challenge 2012 were:

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Annette Vallon, A Novel of the French Revolution by James Tipton
Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik
Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by Harriet Scott Chessman
Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran
The Siren of Paris by David LeRoy
The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynne Sheene


I'm tentatively pl…

Book Review: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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A Tale of Two Cities began as a serial story from April to November of 1859 appearing in a periodical, All The Year Round.
The following link is the original first page, courtesy of The Victorian Web. 

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way-in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
Opening paragraph in Book One of A Tale of Two Cities.

If time permitted and my readers would not become antsy-itchy for the post to end, I would go on and on about this b…

Book Review: Annette Vallon, A Novel of the French Revolution by James Tipton

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Before I begin this review I want to express how much I loved this story. Of all the books I read this month for September in Paris Reading Challenge 2012, this has been my favorite.
(I've not finished reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens).
Annette Vallon was the daughter of a physician. Her siblings were Marguerite, Etienne, and Angelique. The novel begins in 1785. Annette was sixteen and had just finished convent school. Her mother is in negotiations of arraigning a marriage. A music and dance instructor is hired for Annette. He is a rogue and Annette becomes a casualty. In 1789 Annette made a statement of belief that "the French Revolution began over bread". Rioting begins, uprisings, murders, looting, civil unrest. There are three estates: The third estate meant all French except clergy and nobles. Annette's family is apart of the third estate. During this period the young English poet William Wordsworth came to France. It was at a ball that he and Ann…

Book Review: Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland

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Mistress of the Sun is the story of Louise de La Valliere, (known in the book by her pet name Petite) who became the mistress of King Louis XIV of France, he was also known as The Sun King. As a young girl her father had taught her to ride a horse, her favored horse was Diablo. Diablo was a menacing temperamental horse, he was beautiful and grand. To me this was a foreshadowing of her future enamored feelings for and relationship with The Sun King. When she was a young teenage girl she went to work and live with the Duc d' Orleans and his family. She was waiting maid to his daughter Marguerite. After the Duc's death she went to live in the palace with his widow and daughter's. Her affair with the king began shortly after her arrival.
Petite had been in a convent before going to live with the Duc and his family. In the convent she felt safe and well-cared for. She'd hoped to continue to live there. Her mother and step-father had made arrangements for her to be a waitin…

Review: Paris To The Moon by Adam Gopnik

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In 1995 Adam, his wife Martha, and their young son Luke relocated from New York City to Paris, France. Adam had visited Paris as a youth with his family. His views at that time was as a tourist. As an adult living in Paris, he was quickly indoctrinated into a world that was shrewdly Parisian. Adam works as a writer for The New Yorker, his wife a film-maker.
Link for biography and articles on Adam Gropnik @ The New Yorker:
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/bios/adam_gopnik/search?contributorName=adam%20gopnik

 Positive Points:
Book gives a good description of an American living in Paris. What differences he sees, and his tactful impressions. Gives the different ideologies of Parisian versus American.  Grappling with availability of housing, food, delivery of products and services, the weather, social life. Negative Points:
Little depth. I see the outer exterior of the authors feelings. I drifted (speed read) a bit while reading the book. I do feel the book gives a reality (a down-to-e…

Update for Late September 2012

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I'm not a happy camper with Blogger today. I've had several challenges of creating posts that looked correctly when I first wrote them as well as in the preview. Things then appear and then reappear that were not there when I wrote them, etc. Heavy sigh!

On one hand I feel I've done well in reading and reviewing for my challenge---September in Paris Reading Challenge 2012. I've read and completed 5 books (the 5th will post Saturday @ 8 a.m.). I have one more review to write Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland (6th book for challenge).
I have 5 more books I wanted to finish: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (half-way finished), Annette Vallon A Novel of the French Revolution by James Tipton (almost finished), The Greater Journey Americans In Paris by David McCullough (have not started), Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (will finish before end of 2012......I hope), and an e-book of short stories---Paris Stories a New York Review Book by Mavis Gallant (am half-way …

Review: Then Again by Diane Keaton

My sister mailed this book to me and it arrived on Wednesday, I began reading it that afternoon, and finished reading the book Thursday evening. It's a quick read. Interesting. A peek into the world of Diane Keaton both her life before acting, acting career, her mother's Alzheimer's, and current life raising children. It is not a gossip expose on any particular person that has been in Diane's life, I was grateful for that. She does mention those few men she'd had relationships with, but no horror stories, no tid-bits of inappropriate bashing. It is apparent from the book Diane is a up-beat, positive, hard-working, doesn't take her celebrity life seriously, manages her wealth maturely, is independent, and appreciative. I like her. Of course she placed in the book what she wanted the public to "know". I accept that. I don't need to "know" everything.

Diane was the eldest child born to Jack and Dorothy Hall. She and her younger siblings w…

Review: Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by Harriet Scott Chessman

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Impressionism is my favorite type of artwork. Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, and Edouard Manet are well-known artists of this art movement.
For a definition of Impressionism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism
Why do I love this type of art? It provokes emotion in me. It arouses "all" my sensory. I want to visually see it, touch, smell, taste it. I guess this sounds strange?

I came across this small book in the local library, I had to read it as apart of my September in Paris Reading Challenge.
The book centers around the time that Lydia Cassatt was painted five times by her younger sister Mary Cassatt. Lydia is ill with Bright's disease, a kidney disease. Lydia---known in the book as Lyd, and her sister Mary---known as May, live with their parents in an apartment in Paris, France. The time period is 1878 to 1881. During the course of the book Lyd looks back on her life in America, her family, her…

Book Review: Madame Tussaud, A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran

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Madame Tussaud was born Anna Maria Grosholtz (known as Marie in the book). Her mother is Swiss. Her father was a soldier and died from wounds after fighting in the Seven Years' War. After her father's death they moved to Paris. She has three brothers that are in the Swiss Guard. The family speaks both French and German. Marie learned to sculpture and cast wax replicas of people from a man named Philippe Curtius. It was Curtius that gave Marie's mother a job as housekeeper when they arrived in Paris. Marie has a talent for this art, she also has a talent for business which includes commercializing the product and sales. For the 18th century she was rarity, a women with independent means. The book begins in 1788 and the rumblings of a revolution are in France. The people have become incensed by the wealthy, aristocratic, flamboyant, royal household. The people are seething with anger, animosity, and venomous hatred. Marie meets Rose Bertin the official dressmaker of Marie A…

Book Review: My Cousin Caroline---Book Six From The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins

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This is the first book I've read in The Pemberley Chronicles. It is book six in the series.
The main character is Caroline Gardiner and she is a cousin of Elizabeth Bennet Darcy. Her father has a lucrative business. She has two brothers named Richard and Robert, a sister named Emily.
Colonel Fitzwilliam is an "amiable and obliging man." He was stationed in India and Ceylon, he has recently returned to England. Fitzwilliam is the cousin of Mr. Darcy. He is several years older than Caroline, but after becoming reacquainted with her he is smitten.
Caroline is a lovely girl, intelligent and wise. She is an introspective person. She is polite and expresses herself well. She is a jewel in her father's eyes. She has been educated in both the fine arts, languages, reading, and the caring and functioning of a home.
The book begins in the Autumn of 1817. Elizabeth and Darcy have been married three years.

The book is a chronicle of Caroline's life, both her siblings and …

Autumn 2012 Reading Challenges

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Challenge One:
House of Bronze is hosting a Romance in Autumn October-November Reading Challenge.
For this challenge I plan to read:
Poetry by John Keats, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Blake.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Challenge Two:
O @ Delaisse is hosting a Gothic Fiction Reading Challenge for the month of October.

For this challenge I'm joining option number two and will be reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
Of course both of these books over-lap with other challenges I'm apart of. If time permits I'll add more books to these challenges.

Challenge Three:
Jean @ Howling Frog is hosting Gothic October Reading Challenge.
I will be reading The Italian by Ann Radcliffe for this event.

Challenge Four:
Seasons of Reading is hosting a Fright Fall Read-a-Thon October 1-7, 2012.
I'll be reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley for this challenge.

Challenge Five:
My own reading challenge I'm host…

Book Review: 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

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The year is 1946. Silvana and seven year old Aurek leave post war and now communist Poland, and emigrate to England to be with husband Janusz. Janusz came to England during the war, he has decided to stay. He finds a home to rent, furnishes it, paints and puts up new wall-paper. Janusz works to prepare the house for the family he's not seen in six years. Silvana and Janusz both realize it has been many years since they've seen each other and feelings change; the traumatic events Silvana has lived through has certainly changed her. Their minds are a swirl of past memories: when they were first together, when they married, when Janusz left, and how the war has affected them. Her world, her focus, her survival, has only been for Aurek. 
The opening line began with, "The boy was everything to her." (Page 1). Those six words express the entire book. She existed only for his sake.
Janusz was isolated from the bombings, starvation, homelessness that affected Silvana in P…

Book Review: The Siren of Paris by David LeRoy

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Novel begins early summer 1939.

Marc Tolbert was born in France, but raised in America. As a young man in his early twenties he left his parents, sister, and the American life for Paris, France. His family had hoped he'd become a medical doctor. Marc wanted to be an artist. He attended art schools in Paris. He met Marie, a model-poser for art classes. Their relationship developed. Later Marc went to work at a government office in Paris. While Marc is living out his dream in Paris, Nazi Germany is moving across Europe: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Belgium, and then France.  Although he attempts a dramatic escape, Marc stays in his beloved Paris.





The Siren of Paris moves back and forth in time, from 1967 to 1939, then back and forth through the years of World War II. Most of the story is during the war years.

Positive Points:
I was given a panoramic view of the citizens of Paris desperately trying to leave the Nazi German invaders. This included the many America…

Book Review: The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene

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For the month of September I'll be reading a few books----my pile of books is growing----with the theme of Paris. As long as the books story is in Paris whether they are there for the entire time or for a brief period, whether it's fiction or non-fiction, the book will be okay to be added to this challenge.
I love France, I love Paris, I hope to travel back to France again someday. I visited the Normandy area in the fall of 1999. This includes Cherbourg, Caen, St. Lo, and St. Mere Eglise. We visited the American cemetery for D-day Veterans. We also visited the beach that was named Omaha Beach. This beach is where my own father stormed ashore 6th of June 1944.

First on the list of books for this reading challenge is The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene.
Published by Berkley Books 2011
368 pages
Historical Fiction/World War II/Nazi Party/Germany/France/Paris/September in Paris Reading Challenge 2012/Romance

The year is 1940 and Claire Harris Stone age 29 lives in New York C…

Reading Challenge for First Week of October 2012

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I plan to read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I shopped at Barnes and Nobles last night and bought a new copy (don't know where my original copy went.) I love this story, so it will be a re-read for me.
I don't reader horror, thrasher type books. I do enjoy reading a suspenseful story. I also love dark, gloomy, well-written, edge of the seat type stories and Frankenstein has it all!