2012 Challenges, 2012 TBR Challenge, American Lit, Book Review, Classics, Ernest Hemingway, Fiction

Review: Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway

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Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway
Final Verdict: 3.75 out of 4.0
YTD: 1

Ernest Hemingway’s Islands in the Stream was published posthumously and was expurgated by Hemingway’s wife.  A note in the preface states that she removed certain portions of the book which she felt certain that Hemingway would have eliminated himself (which begs the question: Why did he include them in the first place?).  Personally, I cannot stand when books are expurgated, particularly by friends/loved ones or editors who think they “know better” than the author.  That aside, the story is interesting and is much more like his later works, such as Garden of Eden than his earlier works.  This does make me believe that there were probably portions of the book that were rather sensitive and could have been very enlightening, particularly to those familiar with Hemingway and his tragic end.  The story is separated into three parts, including “Bimini”, “Cuba,” and “At Sea.”  Each segment explores a different time period in the main characters life, and also explores different aspects of his life and emotions.  There is one connecting thread throughout the three segments, which is family.  My personal favorite section was “Bimini,” where the main character is visited by his sons and lives with a close male friend.  Their relationship is incredibly interesting, especially considering the homosensual nature of it in contrast to the homophobic comments made by some of the characters (and by Hemingway himself, in real life).  The idea of “manly love” is certainly a main focus in part one, but suffers a bit in the second two segments, which are more concerned with grief/recover and war.

Thomas Hudson, the main character, and his good friend, Roger, are the best developed characters in the book, particularly in part one.  Thomas Hudson continues to develop throughout and his character is interesting to witness, as he struggles to grieve the loss of his loved ones.  Hudson’s sons, too, are delightful – not since Garden of Eden have I seen such lovingly, sincerely drawn characters from Hemingway.  In part two, “Cuba,” Hudson’s true love becomes a part of the story and she, too, is interesting and very similar to the woman in Garden of Eden, which leads me to believe that these two posthumous works might be his most autobiographical of them all.  The minor characters, such as the bartenders, Hudson’s houseboys, and his comrades-in-arms in part three, are all well-crafted, sound, and believable. 

One difference between Islands in the Stream and Hemingway’s other works is in the prose.  It is still raw, but not quite so sparse or bare as usual.  His descriptions are more flushed out, almost tortured at times.  There is a moment in the book where Hudson is fishing with his sons, and it is described in such detail (even better, in my opinion, than in Old Man and the Sea) and with such deep emotion that I actually found myself becoming thrilled and engaged – by fishing. Something I truly dislike.  That is the kind of magic Hemingway works with his words, his language, and his style.  It is brilliant, as usual, but, again, I found myself much more drawn to the first section than any others – it is an exposed nerve.

Personally, I try my very best to separate writers from their works; however, I do believe that, no matter how hard we try, we writers reveal bits of ourselves in our works.  Hemingway is known for his “masculine” prose – his ability to tell a story without much emotion, without much sap, without any flowery nonsense.  This leaves him, throughout most of his chronology, rather walled-off from his works.  In Islands in the Stream, however, as with Garden of Eden, I truly believe we see Hemingway exposed – there is a very sensitive, deeply troubled side to this man and that these books were published only posthumously speaks volumes to his relationship to them.  Islands in the Stream is a delicate exploration of love, loss, family and friendship.  It is a deeply moving tale of a man, an artist, fighting to wake up and live every day, despite his haunting sadness. 

Suggested Reading for:

Age Level: Adult

Interest: Family, Loss, Artists/Artistry, Friendship, Sorrow, War

Notable Quotes:

“Out of all the things you could not have there were some that you could have and one of those was to know when you were happy and to enjoy all of it while it was there and it was good” (99). 

“I kept waiting for truth and right to win and then somebody new would knock truth and right right on its ass” (147).

“Hell was not necessarily as it was described by Dante or any other of the great hell-describers, but could be a comfortable, pleasant, and well-loved ship taking you toward a country that you had always sailed for with anticipation” (195).

“He thought that on the ship he could come to some terms with his sorrow, not knowing, yet, that there are no terms to be made with sorrow.  It can be cured by death and it can be blunted or anesthetized by various things. Time is supposed to cure it, too. But if it is cured by anything less than death, the chances are that it was not true sorrow” (195).

“I drink against poverty, dirt, four-hundred-year-old dust, the nose-snot of children, cracked palm fronds, roofs made from hammered tins, the shuffle of untreated syphilis, sewage in the old beds of brooks, lice on the bare necks of infested poultry, scale on the backs of old men’s necks, the smell of old women, and the full blast radio” (241).

“There’s some wonderful crazies out there. You’ll like them” (269).

 

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2012 Challenges, 2012 TBR Challenge

2012 TBR Pile Challenge – Final Stretch!

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As we head into the final few days of 2012, I wanted to post briefly about the challenge and peoples’ progress, including my own.  Unfortunately, it looks like I’m only going to get through 11 of the 12 books I need in order to “Win.”  That’s still a win for me, though, as it’s 11 books that had been sitting on my shelves for ages that I’ve finally read!  I enjoyed most of them, too.

Here are the 10 that I’ve finished (I’m working on #11, Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway, right now):

1. Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo (Completed 5/18/2012)

2. Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway (Currently Reading)

3. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Completed 3/1/2012)

4. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Completed 2/5/2012)

7. Nova Express by William S. Burroughs (Completed 1/21/2012)

8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Completed 1/25/2012)

9. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (Completed 12/22/2012)

10. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Completed 1/12/2012)

11. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Completed 2/24/2012)

12. Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut (Completed 2/12/2012)

Alt 2. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (Completed 7/26/2012)

We do have some folks who have commented on the master post indicating that they are finished – outstanding!  Once the year ends and the 2013 challenge begins, I will be going back to check final lists & reviews, and all those who did finish and who met the challenge specifications will be entered to win the $50 Gift Card (Amazon or The Book Depository). 

Current Completers:

Jenny from Jenny & Kelly Read Books

Kelly from Jenny & Kelly Read Books

Laura at Devouring Texts

Karen of Books and Chocolate

Melissa of Avid Reader’s Musings

Bev at My Reader’s Block

Debbie at ExUrbanis

Avid Series Reader

Katzenjammer

A Hot Cup of Pleasure

Reading 2011 (And Beyond)

Rob at Loose Logic

Kathy 

So, we had 123 people sign-up for the 2012 challenge and, so far, 12 have reported as being finished. Oh, boy!   That’s certainly good odds for the prize!

 If you’re out there and you’ve finished your challenge, be sure to go back to the master post and leave a comment letting us know (or feel free to leave a comment on this post, too). 

If you didn’t finish – what kind of progress did you make?  1 of 12?  6 of 12?  Even reading one book is a step in the right direction, so if you gave it a shot – good for you!  Come back and join us in 2013 for another go!

I actually very much enjoyed almost all of these books, so it’s a shame that I had left them sitting on my shelves for so long. But that’s what this challenge is for!  Many of these (Gone With the Wind, The Woman in White, Cannery Row, and The Handmaid’s Tale) actually ended up being some of my favorite reads of the year – and maybe even of all time! 

Which books from your list did you love?  Which ones did you hate?  Looking forward to any in 2013?

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2012 Challenges, Events, LGBT, Literary Others Event, Read-Alongs, Reading Challenges

The Literary Others: An LGBT Reading Event (Sign-Ups)

 Welcome to the sign-up post for:

The Literary Others: An LGBT Reading Event!

October is LGBT History Month, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to host my second full-blown reading event, following the success of Austen in August.

I know my blog readers are an eclectic bunch.  We have lovers of literature and the classics and lovers of Young Adult fiction.  We have lovers of fantasy, science-fiction, poetry, and drama.  We have non-fiction readers, audiobook listeners, and those wacky dystopian fans!

Well, did you know that, across all these genres and media types, there exists a wide-range of very powerful, very entertaining LGBT material?  For many, this event could be an opportunity to read your very first gay classic; for others, it might be a time to re-read or re-visit favorite authors and share why you love them and their works so much. 

So, for this event, the goal is to read as many pieces of gay literature as you want/are able to, during the month of October.  Biographies, audiobooks, and re-reads count.

What is LGBT?  LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender.  For the purposes of this event, “LGBT” works will refer to those which are written by a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender author, or to those works whose major themes/characters are LGBT-centric (Books with a gay protagonist, books dealing with homophobia, poetry by a lesbian, stories where a character is dealing with gender identity issues or changes, etc.). 

I will post throughout the month on different subjects related to the study of LGBT literature and theory, as well as my own reviews of the LGBT books I finish.  I will also be offering giveaways, and I am hopeful that some participants will be interested in writing guest posts or hosting giveaways of their own, to make this more interactive.

If you are going to participate, then simply plan to read books by gay writers, or books whose primary themes/characters are gay/lesbian, etc.  Below are a few representations of LGBT works within the many possible genres.  This list is by no means comprehensive, it is simply a starting point.

Literature & Classics

  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
  • Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
  • The Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
  • Maurice by E.M. Forster
  • Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
  • At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill

Contemporary Fiction

  • Oranges are not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
  • Annabel by Kathleen Winter
  • In One Person by John Irving
  • Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
  • Rain God by Arturo Islas
  • Memory Mambo by Achy Obejas
  • Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja
  • A Son Called Gabriel by Damian McNicholl
  • The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst

Young Adult

Science-Fiction/Fantasy

  • Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman
  • Jumping off the Planet by David Gerrold
  • Shadow Man by Melissa Scott
  • Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey
  • Huntress by Malinda Lo
  • The Last Herald Mage series by Mercedes Lackey
  • Counterpoint (Songs of the Fallen series) by Rachel Haimowitz

Poetry & Drama

  • Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein
  • Angels in America by Tony Kushner
  • Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  • The Complete Poems by Sappho
  • The Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson
  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  • The Satyricon by Petronius

Non-Fiction/Memoir

  • Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (graphic novel)
  • Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde
  • A Boy’s Own Story by Edmund White (semi-autobiographical)
  • Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
  • The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault
  • Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria E. Anzaldua
  • Mississippi Sissy by Kevin Sessums
  • The Persian Boy by Mary Renault (historical fiction)

Explicit/Erotica (Literary)

In the meantime, if you would like to host a giveaway or provide a guest post, please: CLICK HERE

And if you want to sign-up to participate in The Literary Others Reading Event, simply leave a comment on this post saying YOU’RE IN! Maybe include some of the books you hope to read, too.  I plan to read Shine by Lauren Myracle, Howl by Allen Ginsberg, and Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman.   

Please also post the button somewhere on your blog (in an announcement post or in your blog’s side-bar) so that we can spread the word, gather excitement, and encourage participation.  It goes without saying that this is meant to be a positive, fun, and educational event, so bigotry of any kind will not be tolerated.

Sign-ups are open from now through October 10th.  If you sign-up after October 10th, you can still absolutely participate, but you may not be eligible for some of the early giveaway prizes. 

To Share/Discuss on Twitter, Use Hashatag #OthersLitLGBT

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2012 Challenges, Austen in August, Blog Post, Events

Austen in August: Master Post!

Welcome to the Master Post for Austen In August! This is a one-month event focused on all things Jane Austen, including her primary texts, any re-imaginings of her works, biographies, critical texts, etc.  In early July, I announced sign-ups for the event, and was very surprised by the overwhelming response from all different types of readers & bloggers! I know many of you, like me, have been anxious to get started – so thank you all for your interest, for signing-up, and for spreading the word. 

I have a lot of things planned for this month-including giveaways, guest posts, and, of course, my own reading and reviewing of Jane Austen works. First, let’s talk logistics.

At the bottom of this post is a “Mister Linky” widget. Whenever you review a book or write a post related to the event, please link it on this master post. Please include the title or subject of whatever your post is AND your blog name in the “Name” section of the link. It should look something like: “Master Post (Roof Beam Reader).” This will ensure that all the links are in a similar format, and that others will know what your post is about before they click on it. I will make sure that the button on the right side of my blog will take you to this post. Please make sure to only link-up your posts on this main list!

Whenever you link a post, you will become eligible to win the giveaways that I will be hosting here throughout the month.  The only way to be entered for these prizes is to make sure your posts are linked-up here (this includes reviews of the books you’ve read, commentary on Austen topics, giveaways, or any other posts directly related to this event).

There are also going to be quite a few giveaways hosted by participants of the event (thank you for your generosity!).  Specific details for each of these giveaways may be different, so be sure to read the rules on those giveaway posts carefully and enter if you are interested!  For any of the giveaways, here or at other participants’ blogs, you will need to be pre-registered (before August 1st) for this event in order to win.  

Our first giveaway is hosted by the oh-so-generous Allie of A Literary Odyssey!  Allie is really starting us off with a bang – head on over to her blog to see what I mean! 

Alright, I think that’s it! I hope you are as excited as I am! Let’s go get our Jane on!  

The first book I’ll be reading is Sense & Sensibility – what’s yours!?

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2012 Challenges, 2012 TBR Challenge, Atheism, Book Review, Fantasy, Humanism, Philip Pullman, Uncategorized, Young Adult

Review: The Golden Compass (Northern Lights) by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Final Verdict: 3.75 out of 4.0

YTD: 27


Plot/Story:
4 – Plot/Story is interesting, believable and impactful.

The Golden Compass (also known as Northern Lights and/or His Dark Materials, Book 1) is the first in the world-famous fantasy trilogy by English writer Philip Pullman. This book won the Carnegie Medal in Literature in 1995, then was named the “Carnegie of Carnegies” in 2007, after a public vote on the best Carnegie-winning books of the past 70 years.  The first impression one gets while (and after) reading this book is that it is not a typical Young Adult fantasy novel, though it is often described as such.  Author Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great) described Pullman as being an author “whose books have begun to dissolve the frontier between adult and juvenile fiction.”  This is certainly true with The Golden Compass.  The story tackles deeply philosophical themes and widely cherished traditions, putting its main character, Lyra, in direct conflict with two powerful schools of thought: Christianity and Humanism.  Though the main character might be a child, the dangers are very real; indeed, some scenes are shockingly adult in nature.  Largely an adventure story, Lyra finds herself companion to Gyptians (gypsies), armored bears, witches, and clockwork spies.  She sets off to save a friend of hers, who has been captured by “the Gobblers” and, along the way, learns more about the world and herself than she could have ever imagined. 


Characterization:
3 – Characters well-developed.

The only somewhat disappointing element to this largely enjoyable and thought-provoking story was its characterization.  While there are absolutely a wide-range of characters, including those of different species, different political and philosophical viewpoints, and different temperaments, none of them (with the exception, perhaps, of Lyra’s parents – who might somewhat surprise the reader, in the end) are expressly or purposely developed, including Lyra.  For some reason, it is hard to connect with Lyra, except, perhaps, in the moments when she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, are at risk of separation.  Perhaps this is intentional, considering the major conflict in this story is the idea of intercision – the separating of a youth’s physical body from their daemon, the animal aspect indicative of their soul.  In general, though, the interaction between characters was believable and interesting.  One of the most fascinating elements of the story is the relationship between humans and their daemons – Pullman truly captures what a special relationship this is, and creates certain rules that are never expressly spoken (such as the fact that all daemons are the opposite gender from their humans), but which add wonderful layers to the story and the fantasy world overall.


Prose/Style:
4 – Extraordinary Prose/Style, enhancing the Story.

After reading The Golden Compass, it is safe to say that this series may become my second-favorite “YA” (I use that descriptor very cautiously) fantasy series, after Harry Potter.  This is partially because the story itself is deep, interesting, and unique, but also largely because of how well it is written.  Pullman’s style is refreshing – it comes across as serious and important, which is sometimes lacking in the fantasy genre, particularly in fantasy for younger readers (Tolkien, Salvatore, etc. excluded).  What is genius about the prose and language is that it somehow manages to match the tone of the story, which is complex and dangerous, while also keeping in mind the youth of its main character.  Pullman has created a beautifully vivid, well-imagined world, where multiple-universes are possible, and his talent for translating that world onto the page and into the readers’ minds is superb. 


Additional Elements: Setting, Symbols/Motifs, Resolution, etc.
4 – Additional elements improve and advance the story.

The trilogy is perhaps best known as the athiest’s answer to C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series.  Pullman, a self-described “agnostic atheist” and Humanist told The Washington Post in an interview that the trilogy was not created “to offend people;” instead, he saw them as “upholding certian values that . . . are important, such as life is immensely valuable and this world is an extraordinarily beautiful place.”  He went on to say that he thought “we should do what we can to increase the amount of widom in the world.”  Ultimately, Northern Lights is the entryway for these ideas – a pursuit of knowledge, a questioning of traditional doctrine and authority figures, and a commitment to one’s self and one’s own personal growth and development.  We see these ideas at work in the main character, Lyra, especially in her bold individuality but also in her devotion to her daemon, Pan, and in her willingness to listen and to learn (if not always to obey).   


Suggested Reading for
Age Level: 13+
Interest: Fantasy, Multiple Universes, Atheism, Humanism, Spirituality, Independence, Good & Evil


Notable Quotes:

“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”

“That’s the duty of the old,’ said the Librarian, ‘to be anxious on the behalf of the young. And the duty of the young is to scorn the anxiety of the old.”

“Human beings can’t see anything without wanting to destroy it. That’s original sin. And I’m going to destroy it. Death is going to die.”

“Being a practiced liar doesn’t mean you have a powerful imagination. Many good liars have no imagination at all; it’s that which gives their lies such wide-eyed conviction.”

“Men and women are moved by tides much fiercer than you can imagine, and they sweep us all up into the current.”

“We are all subject to the fates. But we must act as if we are not, or die of despair.”

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1001 Books, 2012 Challenges, 2012 Classics Challenge, Book Review, Classics, Classics Club, Elizabeth Gaskell, Fiction, Literature, Victorian, Victorian Celebration

Review: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Final Verdict: 3.25 out of 4.0

YTD: 21


Plot/Story:
3 – Plot/Story is interesting & believable.

Cranford tells the tale of an oft-overlooked portion of Victorian population, the middle class.  Many novels of the Victorian era focus exclusively on the aristocracy or on the poor; Cranford, however, is similar to Austen’s Northanger Abbey, in that there are a few upper-middle or upper-class characters, but the primary characters are struggling just to survive in that solidly middle zone (or even in the lower middle-class). The ladies of Cranford put on airs, so as to seem far more dignified and “to do” than they really are. Part of the charm of the novel is witnessing these ladies hold fast to rules of decorum and propriety which would be best suited for lords and nobles, but seems rather out-of-place in their suburban neighborhood.  The story itself revolves around Miss Matty, a single middle-aged woman who is left to fend for herself, after her sister passes away, and their friend, Miss Deborah, who is narrating the story and who hopes to find a way to care for Miss Matty, when she is unexpectedly ruined, financially.  There are minor mysteries and slight intrigue, all of which are blown out of proportion by this community of old hens.


Characterization:
3 – Characters well developed.

The main character of this novel is not any one particular person, it is the community of Cranford.  The most interesting action takes place in coordination with various individuals or groups of individuals who come together throughout the tale – be it interactions between Miss Matty and her sisters (polar opposites in many ways) or between Miss Matty and her maid (who she has no real idea how to command), or between certain of the members of the ladies’ circle – be it Mrs Jamieson, the “Lady” of stature and leader of the group, or the poor Hogginses, who become outcasts for love (but perhaps not permanently).  The relationships between the members of this inner-circle are interesting and hilarious enough to watch, though there is very little growth or change from any of them (certain minor growths are hinted at, after Miss Matty’s fall, but nothing spectacular).  Still, this keeps the story realistic, on the whole.  The addition characters external to the group, such as the mystic-man and his family and, near the end, a long-lost family member of one of the ladies, also adds an interesting layer or two to the story, because it forces the group and individuals to react in their own (and in their collective) ways to new stimuli.


Prose/Style:
3 – Satisfactory Prose/Style, conducive to the Story.

While I found Gaskell’s language fluid and engaging, and her prose easy to follow and certainly well-constructed, the story itself seemed somehow rushed at times, possibly due to a disconnect or disjointedness in the narrative’s construction.  In the beginning, particularly, it was easy to get a bit lost – hard to remember, exactly, who the characters were and what their relationships were to one another.  The narration pulls itself together eventually, with minor slips here and there right through to the end, but all-in-all, the sense of humor and lightness of the story is matched in its prose, which makes for an enjoyable reading experience.


Additional Elements: Setting, Symbols/Motifs, Resolution, etc.
4 – Additional elements improve and advance the story.

What is most appealing about this novel is its close scrutiny of a segment of the population that seems relatively left-out of popular Victorian literature (particularly the Canon).  Viewing life through the eyes of the lower-middle and typical middle-classes is somehow exciting, because it is uncommon – after all, what could be interesting about the “average” class?  The town of Cranford, though, is one steeped in tradition – taken seriously, yet not quite.  The narrator, certainly, seems to find the strictly regimented rules of society rather amusing, and with good reason.  In addition to the examination of class and society, though, are explorations of family, international relations, friendships, economics and world/local trade.  For such a small and seemingly simple book, Cranford and its ladies definitely surprise.


Suggested Reading for:
Age Level: High School+
Interest: Victorian Literature, British Middle-Class, Family, Friendship, Love/Romance

Notable Quotes:

“I’ll not listen to reason . . . reason always means what someone else has got to say.”

“She would have despised the modern idea of women being equal to men. Equal, indeed! She knew they were superior.”


–Cranford is book #120 completed for the “1,001 Books to Read Before You Die” Challenge.

–Carnford is Book #3 completed for the Victorian Celebration.

–Cranford is Book #3 completed for The Classics Club.

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2012 Challenges, Andrew Smith, Andrew Smith Event, Blog Post, Blog Tour, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Don't Miss It Monday, Giveaway, Giveaway Hop, Giveaways, Victorian Celebration

Don’t Miss It Monday!

Hi, Folks!

I’m not typically one for monthly or weekly “recap” posts, but there is SO MUCH happening at RBR.net this month and this summer, that I thought it would be a good idea to put it all together in one post and remind everyone about what’s going on.  I’m including some major events that are taking place here at RBR.net, as well as some big events hosted elsewhere, but in which I’m participating (I think many of you might want to get involved in these as well!). 


Andrew Smith Summer Event

Register for the Event HERE.

Enter to win a copy of July’s book, Stick, HERE.

Participate in Week 1 Discussion of In the Path of Falling Objects HERE.

Why Join?: Andrew Smith’s books are CRAZY good and terribly under-appreciated. Giveaways, interviews, guest posts, group discussions, and more!


Catherine Ryan Hyde Event

Hosted by: Roof Beam Reader & Shooting Stars Mag.

Sign-Up to Join the Pay It Forward Giveaway Hop HERE (Closes June 20th; Event June 23-30).

Why Join?: This event is all about showing appreciation to our blog readers/subscribers, by giving away some of our favorite things!

Purchase a Book or Spread the Word to Win Awesome Prize Packs HERE (Deadline June 23rd).

Why Participate?: The author is amazing and the prize packages are crazy!


A Victorian Celebration (June & July)

Hosted By: Allie of A Literary Odyssey.

Register to Participate HERE.

Why Join?: Lots of great giveaways, guest posts, etc. Plus, tons of good reading!

Enter to win a copy of North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell HERE (Ends June 8th).

Books I Plan to Read:

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, The Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain, The Haunted House by Charles Dickens, Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, and The Warden by Anthony Trollope (Plus Middlemarch by George Eliot and The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens, if I have time).


Other Items of Note

Join the Literary Blog Hop HERE (Closes June 20th; Event June 23-27). Hosted by Leeswammes.

Random Acts of Kindness June Event HERE. Hosted by Book Soulmates.

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