You Know You’re a Bibliophile When….

Vintage Open Book

You Know You’re a Bibliophile When….

…Your ideal date night with your significant other includes a trip to the bookstore.

…You just want to go buy a book. You may not know what that book is; you just know you want to buy a book.

…You may not use a flashlight to read under the covers now, but you have a Kindle with a backlight.

…You keep your book with you when you’re watching television so that you can read during the commercials.

…You don’t like to leave the house without a book in your purse/bag.

 

 

My Recent Book Finds (Hint: I hit a goldmine of good deals!)

Yesterday, I went to one of our local bookstores to look around. Whenever I go to bookstores, I always look at the clearance tables/shelves. Sometimes, there’s not much on clearance that interests me. Other times, there are multiple books I want to buy. Today was a goldmine day full of good deals —no, not just good deals…EXCELLENT deals. Look at this stack!

Book Finds 1-22-20

Ok. So for awhile I have been debating whether or not I wanted to attempt reading a Louise Penny book. I have had one of her books sitting on my shelf for a long time. It was a bargain priced book on the clearance table of a local bookstore and I bought it. But I had heard that you really need to read the Inspector Gamache series in order. So it’s just been sitting on my shelf and I haven’t been able to decide if I wanted to take the plunge and try this series. As a highly sensitive person (HSP), I am usually pretty hesitant to read crime novels and murder mysteries. For quite a few months now, I’ve been asking others what they thought of the Louise Penny Inspector Gamache books (they are wildly popular) and what the books are like. Yet, I still couldn’t decide if I wanted to try this series. Emma at Words and Peace finally convinced me to give them a try. And I am now reading the first book Still Life. So far I love it! Well, imagine how excited I was when I found not one, not two, but THREE hardback edition Louise Penny books in the Inspector Gamache series on clearance yesterday at the bookstore! I snatched them up rather quickly and bought them. 🙂 Add those to the other hardback book I already own and I now have the following 4 Louise Penny books in hardback!

Yes, I am just a wee bit excited about this…..I know that I’m just getting a handful of books in the series. But I was tickled to get any of them for such a cheap price because I looked into checking out several of the first few books in the series at my local library and a number of them had at least a 6 month wait. Eeeek! In fact, the copy of Still Life I’m reading is the ebook. The library wait was 6 months for it and Amazon had the ebook for $2.99 the other day. So I bought it.

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

Also in my stack of book finds is Victoria by Daisy Goodwin. My husband and I are fans of the current PBS series “Victoria” and so I thought this might be a book I would enjoy reading.

Celtic Tales of Magic and Enchantment by Liam Mac Uistin

Finally, the other book in my stack of book finds is Celtic Tales of Magic and Enchantment by Liam Mac Uistin. My husband and I both have Celtic roots in our heritage. We have read a lot about the land and culture. And we listen to a lot of Celtic music too. So I thought this little book would be fun to read!

All of these books in my stack of book finds are hardback editions and they were all $3-$5 each! $3-$5!!! Yep, I’m just a tad bit excited about that!

Now….where to put the books…hmmm……

I guess it’s time to rearrange the bookshelves to see if I can fit all these books somewhere. 🙂

 

The Iliad: Thoughts So Far

The Iliad Books

I read The Iliad by Homer last year and didn’t care for it. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve not been a big fan of epic poetry in general. Mainly, I think, because it can be more challenging to understand sometimes. I decided to go ahead and participate in Cleo’s read-along for The Iliad this year and read it again with hopes that I may get more out of it by reading it along with others.

In the picture above is the beautiful hardback edition of The Iliad and The Odyssey that I’ve had for several years. It is the Butler translation and is what I read last year when I read The Iliad. The other book is just The Iliad and is the Lattimore translation. I bought this translation because it is the one Cleo recommended. When I’m reading, I sit with my hardback edition open to the list of names given in the front of that book, while I read the Lattimore translation.

I also bought a small notebook which you can see sitting on the top of the book stack above. As you can see, it’s a smallish notebook which I made a basic label for and added a little bit of washi tape to dress it up just a tad bit. I decided to try to find just one statement or passage to write down in the notebook for each book of The Iliad (the poem is divided up into books).

This idea was inspired by the War and Peace Read-along, hosted by Nick at One Catholic Life. Nick suggested posting a quote from each chapter of War and Peace on Facebook or Twitter as we read. I liked the idea of recording a quote or passage with each chapter and decided to do that in the form of a notebook instead of posting on social media. I think this has added to my reading of Tolstoy’s War and Peace so far; so I wanted to keep a notebook for The Iliad to see if it might add to my reading experience of it also. I also keep notes in the notebook as well. So it’s my little book of Quotes & Notes. 🙂 Here’s a close-up of the notebook:

The Iliad Notebook

So how am I doing with reading The Iliad at this point? Well….I have read the first five books so far and I can say that it is a bit easier this time around. However, I admit I still am getting confused some with all of the names and such. There’s a lot of names of people and places, along with a host of gods and goddesses.

I have to say that Cleo’s read-along and the discussion in the comments have been wonderful! These discussions have definitely already helped me have more interest in the book than I did when I read it last year. So that’s good!

First, I appreciate Cleo’s commentary in her posts. She sums up the books and I find that very helpful, especially if a book has been particularly confusing. Second, both Cleo and others participating in the discussion have brought up points that help me think on a deeper level about the story and help me see things that maybe I didn’t see as I was reading. This can go a long way in helping form more appreciation for the epic poem.

I will be honest and say that at this point, I still don’t *love* The Iliad. But even though some parts have still been tedious to read, I have found myself more interested in it because of being able to dig deeper, discuss themes and ideas, and even just the story line in general with the others in the read-along.

 

New Book Coming In The Hunger Games Series

 

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

If you read my 2019 reading wrap-up post, then you know I read The Hunger Games series this past year and gave the whole series 5 stars. I was beyond excited to find out a couple of days ago that Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games trilogy, is writing a new book for the series and it’s scheduled to release May 19, 2020! This new book is supposed to be a prequel to the series which takes place 64 years before the first Hunger Games book. The book is supposed to start at the reaping of the 10th Hunger Games. I wonder if we will find out any more about the first uprising. It will be interesting to see what will unfold in this book. I have already pre-ordered my copy and can’t wait until it arrives in the mail in May! You can bet I will likely be re-reading The Hunger Games series as soon as I finish reading the new book. 🙂

A Look Back At My 2019 Reading Year

Reading Stats 

84 Books Read (which includes books, short stories, essays and 1 book started in 2018 and finished in 2019)

Breakdown of Books
25 Children’s Books
21 Classics
14 Contemporary Fiction
24 Non-Fiction
4 Books Re-read

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Highlights from the Year

The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins – I gave all three books in the series 5 stars. This series is not easy to read. It is heavy, intense, and emotionally charging. But the writing is compelling and I didn’t want to put the books down. If you like the dystopian genre, I highly recommend these books. ~ 5 Stars ~

 

The Gown

The Gown by Jennifer Robson – If you are a fan of the Netflix series “The Crown” then you will most likely enjoy this book. The central event in this novel is the making of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown. If that sounds a bit boring, trust me….this book is anything but. The story centers on three protaganists and their lives over the span of several decades with the common thread being the gown and the women who help make it. Secret pasts, female friendship, loss, and dealing with the aftermath of war, this novel not only kept me turning the pages but also had me researching a bit about this event. ~ 5 Stars ~

 

Les Miserables Fahnestock and McAfee

Les MisĂ©rables by Victor Hugo- What can I say about this masterpiece of literature? Hugo’s writing was phenomenal. Hugo masterfuly weaves the stories of the lives of his characters amidst the backdrop of 19th century French culture and Paris in particular. Jean Valjean is probably one of the most well-known characters in literature and the novel itself is ranked among the greatest novels of all time. I want to put this book in people’s hands and say “READ IT.” ~ 5 Stars ~

 

the fellowship of the rings          the two towers

The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien – These two are part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy which is made up of three parts; the third part being The Return of the King.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

~ From The Fellowship of the Ring (p. 55)

This statement has to be counted amongst famous lines in literature. I read that The Lord of the Rings is one of the best selling novels ever written. And I can see why. Tolkien managed to create a whole world that readers can get lost in. Memorable characters, excellent story writing and development, and scenery you can picture in your minds eye, Tolkien created a fantasy adventure masterpiece. I started out ranking these as 4 stars; but as I reflected on them I realized these are totally 5 star reads. So I promptly changed them to 5 stars.

I don’t know why it took me so long to finally start reading this series. My husband is a long-time fan of Tolkien and especially this series as well as The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. I read The Hobbit towards the end of 2018 (which I also changed to 5 stars) and read The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers this year. I can’t wait to read the final part The Return of the King. I can see why Tolkien is seen as the father of the modern fantasy genre. ~ 5 Stars ~

 

the daughter of time

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey – This is the first Josephine Tey book I’ve read. You can read my review of it HERE. ~ 4 Stars ~

 

The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C. S. Lewis – C. S. Lewis said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” Lewis’ Narnia series is one of those series of classic children’s books that is well-written and can be enjoyed by all ages. We did this series as a family read-aloud starting towards the end of 2018. We read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Horse and His Boy, and Prince Caspian towards the end of 2018 and finished the rest of the series at the beginning of 2019. So for 2019, we read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle. My favorite in the series is definitely The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; but all the books are good. We also watched the movies that were made of three of the novels after we read them and that was especially fun!             ~ 4 Stars ~

 

the-enchanted-april

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim – This was a re-read for me. It held up as a re-read and I loved getting lost in the novel as much as I did the first time. You can read my review HERE. ~ 4 Stars ~

 

The Bookshop on the Shore

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan – I’ve only read three Colgan books now and I describe them as Hallmark movie meets Gilmore Girls. I really enjoyed The Bookshop on the Corner. So when The Bookshop on the Shore came out this year and some of the characters from The Bookshop on the Corner were in it, I knew I wanted to read it. It did not disappoint. ~ 4 Stars ~

 

Lost Roses

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly- This historical fiction novel is the story of Caroline Ferriday’s mother, Eliza Mitchell Ferriday. Caroline Ferriday was a champion for victims of World War II and is the center of Kelly’s historical fiction book Lilac Girls which I have not read yet but plan to read soon. I don’t often buy brand new releases in hardback; but this is one I did and I am glad. At the back of the edition I bought is a whole section where the author talks about her research and it includes a number of pictures. As with The Gown, this novel kept me turning the pages and spurred me on to researching more. ~ 4 Stars ~

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What were some of your favorite reads in 2019?

First Reading Projects of 2020

I am anxiously awaiting for January 1st to arrive. Why? Because I have some really fun reading projects I can’t wait to start.

Japanese Literature Challenge

First up is a different type of challenge. One where you don’t have a certain number of books or certain titles you have to read. It’s the Japanese Literature Challenge hosted by Bellezza. I first came across this challenge at my friend Silvia’s blog and thought this would be a reading project I would like to join. You can read more about this challenge HERE.

 

Right now, I have several titles in mind for this:

  • The Makioka Sisters by Jun’IchirĹŤ Tanizaki
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (a re-read)
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

My plan is to focus on just one title first. If I get around to the others then great! I decided on The Makioka Sisters as my first read. I have bought the book and it is waiting on the shelf for me. 🙂 However, it looks like there might be the possibility of a read-along for this in March. So, if that’s the case, I will start with a re-reading of The Remains of the Day by Ishiguro. I’ve been wanting to re-read this book so this is the perfect time to do that!

The Iliad Read-Along

Starting January 1st, Cleo at Classical Carousel is hosting a read-along for The Iliad by Homer. I have already read The Iliad and didn’t really care for it. Epic poetry is not a favorite genre of mine…..However, I am going to try to read it again with Cleo’s read-along but I’ll be reading a different translation this time. I hope that with a different translation and Cleo’s read-along that I will be able to get more out of The Iliad this time around. 🙂 You can check out the Introductory post HERE and the schedule for the read-along HERE.

And that’s the reading projects I’ll be starting off my 2020 reading year with. I am participating in another read-along in March hosted by my friend Silvia. But I’ll talk about that when we get closer to March. 🙂

Do you have any reading project plans for the first part of 2020?

Considering My Classics To-Be-Read List – What Would You Add?

It’s that time of year where many are looking back at their reading year and evaluating what books worked for them and what books didn’t. Also, it’s a time of year where many are looking to the next year and considering what they might want to read, what reading challenges and/or read-alongs they might want to participate in, etc.

Right now, I’m thinking over my Classics TBR list and trying to decide if there are some titles I’d like to prioritize for 2020. As I consider my TBR list, I will be going through it, seeing if it needs updating, etc. I would love to hear what books on my TBR classics list you’ve read that you highly recommend and why (of course no spoilers please 🙂 ). Also, if there is a title not on my TBR list that you highly recommend, please tell me! I’m always looking for good books to read so I’d love to hear about your must-read books. I consider any book 50 years or older in the classic category.

The Novel Reader by Vincent Van Gogh 1888

“The Novel Reader” by Vincent Van Gogh (1888)

Here is my classics list as of right now. I’m pretty sure I need to update this list to add a couple more titles that I wanted to add. I’ve added some comments here and there in this list. 🙂

  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens – I already plan to be reading this in 2020.
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell – I read this in high school, but I want to read it again.
  • The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton – I also have a small collection of short stories from the Father Brown series by Chesteron.
  • Emma by Jane Austen – When I tried to tackle this one a number of years ago, I didn’t finish it. It felt so wordy at the time. I want to try to read this again at some point. Currently, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Austen novel. But I’ve only read two to date. 🙂
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontĂ« – Right now, this is on my priority list for 2020.
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  • Our Town by Thornton Wilder
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather
  • The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  • Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes
  • Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
  • Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien
    • The Return of the King (This is the only one left in the series that I need to read)
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – I’m currently reading this right now.
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck
  • The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
  • The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – Another Austen title I need to read.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky – I started this a LONG time ago and only have about 1/4 of this book left to read. It’s a priority book for me to finish in 2020.
  • Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  • The Warden by Anthony Trollope
  • A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
  • Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
  • Our Friend Manso by Benito PĂ©rez Galdos
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
  • The Wonderful O by James Thurber
  • The Makioka Sisters by Jun’ichirĹŤ Tanizaki – I will be reading this in 2020. More about that soon.
  • A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich

So, what are your must-read classics? Are there any books on my list that you’ve read that you highly recommend? What about classics not listed that you highly recommend?

 

My Own Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

For 2019, I started out planning to do the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge as I normally have the past several years. But then I ended up deciding not to and set my own reading goals – i.e. my own reading challenge – and just go with that. It is now December and this past week I have been looking back over my own reading challenge to see how I did. But I also thought it would be fun to see just how many categories I may have completed in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge without purposefully trying to. What I found was that I actually completed more categories with the Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge than I did with my own. Huh. Interesting.

So anyway, again this year I don’t plan to officially participate in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. And I am not going to create my own reading challenge either. However, the reading goal I had the last year or two of reading widely, I still plan to practice. I notice that I tend to read a variety of books anyway. But I’d like to still try to make sure I fit in some poetry which I didn’t really accomplish this year like I wanted.

In 2020, I do have plans to participate in some read-alongs as well as a Japanese Literature Challenge (which I will post about soon). Other than that, along with my reading goals, I am leaving my reading year wide open to read books I am drawn to, maybe tackle some more books I feel would be good for me to read, work on my ever growing TBR list, participate in read-alongs that might come along throughout the year, etc. In essence two words:  reading freedom. 🙂

I will say though, I do plan to print out the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge and put it in my reading journal to have for reading inspiration if needed. And I’ll probably check back with it at the end of the year to see if I ended up completing any of the categories unintentionally like I did for this year’s. 🙂 (You can see the 2020 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge HERE.)

Anyway…here’s how I fared with my own reading challenge for 2019. Then below, just for fun, I’ll show the books I read this year that ended up fitting in categories for the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2019 Reading Challenge.

2019 simply reading challenge graphic

A Non-Fiction History Book:  The New World by Winston Churchill

A Non-Fiction Science Book: Didn’t complete

Book of Poetry:  I did read a children’s book of poetry but I didn’t get a general book of poetry read like I’d hoped (like a specific poet or a poetry collection)

Book about Poetry:  I never made it to starting the book I bought for this category. Maybe in 2020….

Essay Collection: How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen, The Clothing of Books by Jhumpa Lahiri

A Play:  She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith

Memoir or Biography: Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl (I read others, including one I’m currently reading on St. Nicholas.)

Two Books from My Own Shelf:  Well, The New World by Winston Churchill counts for this since this series has been on my shelf for a number of years. Also, The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

Two Classic Literature Books:  This was easy! I read more than two! Among them are Don Quixote by Cervantes, Les Misérables by Hugo, Murder on the Orient Express by Christie

Re-read a Book I’ve Already Read:  I re-read more than one including The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim, and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

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And now for what I read that fit the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge categories.

2019 modern mrs Darcy Reading Challenge

A Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read:  The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey,
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

A Book about a Topic that Fascinates You:  How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen

A Book in the Backlist of a Favorite Author:  Well, I’ve read other books from favorite authors but unfortunately I read earlier works first so that the follow ups I read were published later (For example, the Narnia series – read them in order)

A Book Recommended by Someone with Great Taste:  Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Gown by Jennifer Robson (These are just a few. There were other books I read that were recommend by other readers that have great taste.)

Three Books by the Same Author: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games, Catching Fire,  Mockingjay
Also, the complete Narnia series by C. S. Lewis except for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which I read at the end of 2018

A Book You Chose for the Cover: Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly – I’m counting this because the cover drew me to the book and then I read the description and it sounded really good!

A Book by an Author Who Is New to You:  I’ll See You In Paris by Michelle Gable, The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (there are a number of books I could list here….)

A Book in Translation:  Don Quixote by Cervantes, Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

A Book Outside Your (Genre) Comfort Zone:  Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

A Book Published Before You Were Born: The Enchanted April  by Elizabeth von Arnim (this is another category I could list quite a few for….)

I’ll be back soon with a look at my favorite reads from this year.

Books and Timing

I believe timing can definitely be a thing with books.

Sometimes we can read a book that just isn’t clicking and we set it aside. But then later on, that same book might end up being exactly what we need to read. Timing.

I believe we can pick up a book randomly and it turns out to be the perfect read at that moment. Timing.

Les Misérables turned out to be the right book at the right time for me. I wanted to share a bit about the impact reading Les Misérables has had for me.

Vincent Van Gogh book and flowers

“Blossoming Almond Branch in a Glass with a Book” by Vincent Van Gogh

My mom was given a terminal diagnosis in 2018. Towards the beginning of this year her health began to decline even more. Then around the beginning of August, her health began a more steep decline which resulted in the need for Hospice care. We were by her hospital bedside when she passed away in late September.

I couldn’t read much of the week after my mom died. In fact, I didn’t read at all that I remember. And if you know me, you know how much books are a part of my life; so for me not to read at all is pretty huge. As the grief poured upon me, I found myself wanting to get swept away in an epic book saga. Enter the novel Les Misérables.

Les Misérables provided me with a world I could get lost in as the grief began to sweep over and through me. There were moments when I didn’t want to put the book down. And there were moments when I had to put the book down and I cried. There’s one particular section of the book that really hit me hard.

In the Fantine section there was a particular part that was especially hard to read – the part where Fantine’s health declined and then she died. I knew the story from having watched the various movie productions. Therefore, I knew Fantine was going to die. What I wasn’t prepared for was how even more emotionally wrenching it would be to read about her physical decline after having just lost my mom. There were a few chapters where as I read the chapter I would start crying and have to set the book down and do something else.

Another part that broke my heart was towards the end of the novel when Marius sends clear signals to Valjean that Valjean is no longer welcome at he and Cosette’s home. Marius didn’t want Valjean around Cosette. Then Valjean’s health started going downhill. Months ago, as my mom’s health was declining and she was given only months to live, the one thing she wanted the most was to have her family around her and family to be with her when she died. To read all of this turn of events in the novel for Valjean in feeling like he was no longer being welcomed to visit Cosette, his only family in the entire world, it broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. His health was declining, and all he wanted was to be near Cosette.

The Reader by Fragonard

“A Young Girl Reading” by Jean-HonorĂ© Fragonard

Some people might say that maybe I shouldn’t have been reading that book right at that time; but I disagree. This book has been an important read for me at this time. Sometimes, when we’re in need of healing, or when the healing process is overwhelming, books can help — not just to escape, but to look beyond ourselves. To somehow place ourselves in a panorama of others. To know we are not alone.

And sometimes the stories we find in books, in their own unique way, help us through; and then we look back at that reading experience and realize that the book somehow had its place in helping us in our healing (or grieving) process. Maybe the story brought forth tears when we needed to cry; maybe the book gave name to emotions we had no name for; maybe reading the book gave us another avenue to process what needed to be processed in our healing journey; maybe the book helped us laugh when we desperately needed to. Maybe the book helped us know we weren’t alone in our journey…that others knew how we felt.

I believe that Les Misérables has had its place in my journey right now. It helped me by giving me a world I could immerse myself in while my grief has been hard. It also became the impetus for me to begin writing on my blog again. Coming back to my blog after not posting on it in so long, trying to get back into the swing of writing in this space, and focusing some of my time on immersing myself in the world of Les Misérables and writing about it, these things have helped me so much. A needed reprieve as I grieve.  And while I am still grieving the loss of my mom, Les Misérables will always hold a special place in my heart as the first book I was able to immerse myself in after my mom passed away. The right book at the right time.

Have books helped you at hard times in your life?  

What Are Your Favorite Classics for Women?

The other day, I was reading a post over at Modern Mrs. Darcy titled 25 must-read classics for women. I found this to be an interesting list; and I have actually read seven of the titles listed. But it got me to thinking:  what classics have I read that I would consider a favorite classic for women? Immediately one title came to my mind which was not on that list:  The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim.

the-enchanted-april

The Enchanted April is a perfect example of a character-driven novel. This book is not focused on fast-moving plot lines. This is what I call a quiet novel. The novel is focused on four women who live in England and initially don’t know each other. They all decide to share the expense of renting an Italian villa in Italy for the entire month of April. Each has their own personal reasons for getting away. But they all have one reason in common:  to get away from their day to day life. By the end of the month, they have all become good friends. This holiday helps them each to learn more about themselves, helps them grow personally, and also starts them on the path of needed healing in their lives. It’s a story about love, relationships, personal growth, and restoration. This is a good read any time of the year. But because of its setting – April and Italy – this is a perfect book to read in the springtime.

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Do you have any favorite classics you would recommend for women to read? Tell us what they are in the comments and why you recommend them.