The Sparrow – Midway Check-in

The Sparrow Read Along

I’ve already finished the book and my review posts soon but here is my midway check-in without any spoilers so I can be a good read-alonger and not be called a cheater cheater! Trish, just poking fun at ya.

1. How is The Sparrow matching up with your expectations going into the book? Are you surprised by anything?

I had no expectations going into this book and actually knew very little about the story but I must say, it took a me a very  long time to get into the story. From everyone’s comments, I expected to be pulled in a little quicker.

2. Do you feel the switching back and forth between past and present to be effective?

I am not a fan of jumping back and forth between past and present but I do feel it worked for this book. It felt a little cheater-ish to know up-front that something horrible happened and then not be told what for a very long time, but it did increase the suspense factor quite a bit by doing it this way.

3. Which characters do you want to hug and squeeze? Any you’d like to strangle?

I liked Anna and George a lot but I tired of Sofia and her uptight ways. I also did not care all that much for Emilio.

4. Any other thoughts? 

It was written some time ago but not all that long ago. I thought it was written in the 80s. I was way off there. It was written in ’96 and has a sequel, Children of God.

I can’t say too much more without giving stuff away so I’ll stop here. I can’t wait for the others to finish so I can discuss it with them. The ending. Oh, the ending. Gotta discuss it.

R.I.P. IX – Are you in?

RIP IX

I think a lot of us look forward to this “challenge” each year. I put challenge in quotes because even though I am the official loser at challenges, even I can do this one.

Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings has all of the details for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, but in a nutshell, this is what it’s about:

  • The event runs from September 1 – October 31
  • Read or watch movies that fall into the following categories:
    • Mystery
    • Suspense
    • Thriller
    • Dark Fantasy
    • Gothic
    • Horror
    • Supernatural
  • Have fun reading and watching
  • Share that fun with others

There are lots of different challenge levels to select. Heck, there is even a level for one book to be read. Like I said, anyone can do it. Here is what I am signing up for:

Peril the Second

Peril the Second. Read two books of any length that you believe fit within the R.I.P. categories. Post reviews on the review site. I am signing up for two books but will mostly likely read more.

Peril the Screen

Peril the Screen. This is for those of us that like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare during this time of year. It may be something on the small screen or large. It might be a television show or your favorite film. If you are so inclined, please post links to any R.I.P.-related viewing you do on to the Review Site as well.

There is also a group read planned for The Haunting of Hill House this month so be sure to check it out if that is something you’re interested in as well.

Hill House read along

And then after that read along, join ours (see below)! Because, there is always time for a read along with friends. Especially one that includes a creepy carnival setting. And guess what? You can count it towards the R.I.P Challenge.

What I plan to read:

Something Wicked This Way Comes button

  • Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. If you want to join the read along, click the image above for details.
  • Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (this one scared the heck out of Stephen King, hope I can get a copy)
  • The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (this may be a stretch but there is mystery, a hint of the supernatural, and I am getting creeped out while reading it)

What I plan to watch:

  • Halloween (I watch it every year. It is not Halloween without seeing it at least twice.)
  • Halloween II (Who can resist Jamie Lee Curtis limping around with that busted ankle?)
  • The Shining (Seen it, love it. Jack is the life of the party!)
  • (I need a new movie to watch, suggestions?)

If this sounds like fun (and it is), then head on over to Carl’s to sign up.

Spending Some Time With ‘The Sparrow’

The Sparrow Read Along

Everyone talks about this book and I’ve never been able to participate in the conversation because I HAVE NOT READ IT!

But, luckily, Trish has come to my rescue by hosting this read along! Yay! Here’s some info from Trish:

“If you missed the details, we will be reading The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell throughout the month of September. I’ll put up a midway (linky) post on September 15th and a finale (linky) post on September 30th. It’s not too late to join us for the readalong and feel free to pick up the book anytime during the month.”

To sign-up, go here.

Announcing the ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ Read Along

Something Wicked This Way Comes button

This is what happens when you talk-up scary books on social media. A read along is born! Sandy and I were talking about our Summer of King reads and scary books in general and somehow this book came up. I think I was looking up the scariest reads ever and Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes was on the list. I remember jotting down a few others as well but this one, this one I have NEVER read.

When I read the blurb for the book I immediate saw, small town, a carnival/circus like setting,  Halloween Eve and thought…YESSSSSS. Plus, for you busy folks, it’s a short read. (300 pages give or take depending on what version you pick-up).

Details:

-Hosted by Ti (Book Chatter) and Sandy (You’ve Gotta Read This!)

-The read along begins on October 1, 2014 and ends on October 31, 2014 (Halloween, muahahaha!)

-This read along will take place mostly on Twitter using the hashtag #EnterTheRingmaster. Use the hashtag to share your thoughts while reading. Search for that hashtag on Twitter to see what readers are saying.

-The book is short and broken down into three sections but with my Kindle version I don’t have page numbers so for those who want structure, here are some guidelines:

  • Finish Section 1 (Chapters 1-24) by Friday, October 10th
  • Finish Section 2 (Chapters 25-44) by Friday, October 24th
  • Finish Section 3 (Chapters 45-54) by Friday, October 31st

-On each of those dates, I will try to post a little update on the blog for anyone who’d rather chat there.

Sound like fun? I believe the book cover is being redesigned, at least, all of his other books have been redesigned so give yourself some time to either buy a copy or order it from the library so that you will have it for October. Right now, the Kindle version is very reasonable.

Sign-ups

If you have a blog, click on Mr. Linky below, otherwise just leave me a comment.

Review: Sputnik Sweetheart

Sputnik Sweetheart

Sputnik Sweetheart
By Haruki Murakami
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780099448471, 2006, 224pp.)

The Short of It:

In true Murakami fashion, all of the elements are here. A love triangle, a mysterious protagonist known only as K, a beautiful setting and buckets of ennui.

The Rest of It:

It’s no secret how much I love Murakami but this book seemed the most balanced to me. The characters are strange and deep, in the way they usually are but not overly so and the conflict presented, happens to be something any reader can relate to.

Sumire, is this deep, untouchable writer-type who has the talent to write, but can’t seem to effectively gather her thoughts into anything more than just a few words on a page. She’s frustrated and shares her angst with her male friend, known only as K. He sees her potential but at the same time is blinded by his passion for her. Sumire is not interested in K as a lover. Instead, she meets an older woman by the name of Miu, and falls in love with her. Miu shares a very special friendship with Sumire, but does not want to be her lover. This rejection, throws Sumire into a deep well of despair and when Sumire goes missing while vacationing with Miu in Greece, Miu calls K to help find her.

So. Much. Angst. Oh, how I love angst!

These characters are torn between love and passion. They love each other and have passion for one another but the feeling is not mutual. As hard as this is for K, his concern over Sumire outweighs his frustration over the situation. He drops everything to find Sumire and in the process, realizes that some alternate universe exists and that the world as he knows it, will never be the same.

The beauty of this book is the writing itself. It’s delicate. Like taking tiny, measured tastes of a delicious pastry. So many people ask me which Murakami to read first. I am always torn because it really depends on your mood at the time, your tolerance for ennui and angst, etc. But this one would be great for anyone wanting to give Murakami a try. His books can be sexually explicit, but this was tame in comparison and the tone, mild.

Out of all of his books, this is one of my faves. I read this with a couple of other readers for #readingsputnik and it was just what I needed to jolt me out of the reading rut I was in.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

The Sunday Salon: Reading Sputnik, The Holidays and Good Coffee

Reading Sputnik

What a week. The last week before vacation is always super long, and this week was painful to get through. I COULD NOT wait for it be over. We had the normal stuff going on but with the holidays approaching, I was forced to buy a few gifts and I committed to donating some things so I found myself at the MALL after my dental appointment yesterday.

Oh my.

The mall was all decked out and crowded. I do not like crowds but I managed to get a premium parking spot (good timing) which  made me want to stay there longer and for a split second, I had it in my head that I’d do my shopping, all of it. Ha! Don’t worry though, I came to my senses quickly and picked up what I went there for and took off like a bat out of hell.

Right now, on this super chilly morning, I am enjoying cheese grits and some really good coffee while listening to Bing Crosby. The Otter Pup found a ray of sunshine to bask in, and the house is nice and quiet. We don’t have anywhere to go to today as I finished all my errands yesterday so today is all about relaxing.

Sunday Salon

What am I reading?

Nadia and I decided to read Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami this week. We were both hankering for Murakami’s writing so I put it out there for others and a few decided to drink the Kool-aid with us. We’ll be on Twitter off and on this week chatting about the book (#readingsputnik).

I just finished World War Z and will be writing up my thoughts on that one soon. Not sure what I expected exactly but I thought it was a tad tame. The Abominable by Dan Simmons is soooo good that I find myself savoring it a bit too much. It’s a library check out and I’ve already renewed it once. I have to finish it soon or risk an overdue notice. Eeep.

Do you find yourself gravitating towards certain kinds of books this time of year? The Abominable is all about Mount Everest so I am literally freezing my tush off every time I pick it up.

As some of you know I am off all this week and planning our annual Thanksgiving in PJs. BUT, this week my nephews are coming to visit. My one nephew is bringing his family which includes three sweet little girls so we will be visiting with them at some point after the holiday itself. The Girl is really looking forward to seeing them.

What am I cooking?

Another Sunday without any cooking. We are hitting a Mexican market later to pick up a Chicken Picnic which is rotisserie chicken (2), fresh tortillas, rice beans and salsa. Why cook when someone else can do it for you?

What am I watching?

Last night we watched Weird Science. It’s not the weekend around here unless we work an 80’s movie into the mix. Tonight is The Walking Dead but in between, I may watch a Christmas movie in there somewhere. Maybe, Love Actually. I ADORE that movie and isn’t Andrew Lincoln in it? Yes, he is the hunky guy with the signs, right?

I’m really in the mood to see Home for the Holidays with Holly Hunter, but I don’t own it and my DVR says it’s coming on the first week in December so I must wait. It’s the perfect movie to watch around Thanksgiving.  Crazy family, good acting and Robert Downey, Jr.

What are you doing today?

Impromptu Reading Plans – Sputnik Sweetheart

Sputnik Sweetheart

After mentioning that I had an itch to read Murakami before the year ends, Nadia from A Bookish Way of Life said she’d join me. We both have Sputnik Sweetheart sitting on our shelves so if you have it too and want to read it with us, we plan to read it over Thanksgiving break. It’s on the short side, 224 pages. No formal read along, just some fun reading to break up the rut I am apparently in.

Let me know if you are up for it by leaving a comment. I will use the hash tag #readingsputnik to talk about it.

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