Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I've Read the Most Books From


I wish I could spend the entire summer reading like I used to do, but it is what it is. Soon I will have a book update post for you, but since it is Tuesday, I will participate in Top Ten Tuesday again. This week's meme/list is to list the authors from whom you have read the most. Considering that I've read a bunch of longer series...I feel like that's cheating, but ehhh.

1. Carolyn Keene (60+ books)
     This isn't really a fair choice because I am not entirely sure Carolyn Keane was even a real person, but the simple fact remains that I read every single one of the original Nancy Drew books and then some.

2. Lemony Snicket (13 books)
     Just last summer I read the entirety of A Series of Unfortunate Events, so I would be remiss if I did not include Snicket.

3. J.R.R. Tolkien (8 books, I think)
     Really, The Lord of the Rings should count as only one book, but it doesn't to most people.

4. C.S. Lewis (11 books)
     I love Lewis. So much. I've read The Chronicles of Narnia more times in my life than I've read any other book. Plus his Space Trilogy is incredible. And his nonfiction. He's just amazing.

5. L.M. Montgomery (22 books)
     After falling deeply in love with her Anne of Green Gables series, my younger self read every other book by L.M. Montgomery I could find. She wrote more than I ever expected; my two favorite novels of hers, outside of the Anne books, are Magic for Marigold and Kilmeny of the Orchard.

6. Maud Hart Lovelace (14 books)
     Another series I fell deeply in love with when I was young was Betsy-Tacy. I have a serious thing for Victorian era books. And authors who could write about everyday things with such imagination.

7. Louisa May Alcott (10 books)
     I'm certain you are seeing a pattern here for authors that I've read the most. It helps that Louisa May Alcott and I share a birthday (as well as C.S. Lewis!). But how can you not like Little Women? I think my favorite of her books is Jack and Jill, though.

8. Brian Jacques (25 books)
     I will never forget my introduction to the creatures of Redwall Abbey. So many tears were shed over these books. And tears were shed again when Jacques passed away four years ago. He was brilliant and I wish he could still be writing.

9. L. Frank Baum (14 books)
     When I first went to find the original book The Wizard of Oz, I had absolutely no idea that Baum had written a whole series. Fourteen books later, I was way beyond obsessed. I love Oz, and not the Oz that the movie portrays. The book Oz is much more magical. Also there are other authors who have written more Oz books and I read most of those too; upwards of fifty books.

10. Lois Gladys Leppard (35+ books)
     Am I cheating by putting series here? I feel like I'm cheating. But anyway, I've read (I think) all of the Mandie mysteries. I ate these up as a kid, and I still remember a lot of the storylines. I am considering revisiting them since I know they aren't that long.


There are other authors whose books could be on this list, like J.K. Rowling and Jude Watson (author of the Jedi Apprentice and Jedi Quest series, which I loved, like, a LOT), but we will stop there because I hit ten. What authors have you read the most books from? Do you notice a pattern in the books you've read?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Far From the Madding Crowd


Ah, Thomas Hardy. Your prose flows so well that it's obvious to me why your works have stood the test of time. Far From the Madding Crowd was no exception. Well, I've only read one other novel by you, so I suppose I can't be the best judge. But I shall remedy that, perhaps next year. Anyway, the tale of Bathsheba Everdene and the men who (try to) court her is a rather timeless one.

In Thomas Hardy’s first major literary success, independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, the soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy, and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. One of his first works set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex, Hardy’s novel of swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships. (From Amazon.com)


I do not like to give much more than a summary-blurb in my reviews, because spoilers are no one's friend, which is why this time I used the Amazon description. But I have to touch on how easy to read this novel was. Yes, it took me a couple months, but that's only because I was reading it along with my friend and her mother so we had to take our time to stay together! There are many Great English Novels that are difficult to get into, but this is not one of them. And even with the dialogue, once I began reading it (in my head of course) in the accent Hardy was illustrating, it became even easier to understand. And his depictions of country life! Ah, how beautiful. Very pastoral.

This is a book I will have to revisit someday. There is also a film coming out this year, starring Carey Mulligan, who I like very much. I can imagine it won't be exactly like the book, but it's going to be a lush period drama of one of my new favorite novels so I seriously cannot wait.

Far from the Madding Crowd (2015) Poster


Far From the Madding Crowd is definitely a five star novel. No ifs, ands, or buts. I mean, I'm biased towards English literature, but everything about it was just perfect.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Problems


I missed last week's Top Ten Tuesday meme, but this week's is one that I am so on board with: bookish problems that I have. Anyone who reads a lot is bound to have problems relating to their literary obsession, and I am no exception. I have a feeling most of my problems are the same ones that others experience.

1. I visit too many secondhand bookstores.
     It's true. They are my crack. I almost never can leave without an armful of old books. In fact, I was super proud of myself when I stopped in at my favorite place to find a copy of Far From the Madding Crowd, and managed to purchase only that book.

2. Library due dates.
     My mindset for the last (roughly) ten years since I began visiting the library on my own has been that it's a really good donation when I have to pay late fees...

     Let's see...I had three tall bookshelves in my room when I lived with my parents, and books still stacked up everywhere. And they overflowed my college dorm room. And since getting married and moving in with my husband, we still only have those three tall shelves, plus a couple short ones and more books than we want to admit. It doesn't help that we gravitate towards different types of books, too.

4. Reading too many books at once.
     Attempting to be a multi-tasker and get too many things done at once flows over into my reading habits. At one point last year I think I was technically reading seven books. It was ridiculous and it happens to me a lot. I also attempt to read, watch a movie, and do housework at the same time, which is pretty much impossible but doesn't stop me from trying.

5. Remembering I even OWN a Kindle.
     This is a difficult one for me. I'm a physical book kind of person, but having a Kindle has perks. But I never have it charged up and I refuse to pay for digital books so it's full of free classics which have tons of typos, no page numbers, and are generally too long for me to recall details since I can't easily flip back to look at something. I've probably read five or six books on it since I got it a couple years ago. My husband likes it, though.

6. Making time to read before I'm too tired.
     Maybe this is called "getting older" or "being an adult" but at any rate, I have lots to do during the day and I also try to catch up on my tv shows during the day when I'm working on housework, so then I'm rather exhausted by the time I settle in for the night and it's hard to concentrate on a book. I used to read for hours in the evening.

7. Sometimes I spend more time picking my next book than I do actually reading.
     GoodReads is a fantastic way to waste time, especially if you want to make your to-read list another thousand miles long. I love reading personal book blogs, too, but there comes a point when you have to actually pick up your book and read it, you know?

8. Social obligations.
     I'm an introvert, but I also like to see my friends and family. But I've discovered that the times I most want to have my nose in a book is when I'm at a social function. Maybe that's social anxiety? As soon as I walk in the door of a gathering, whether friends or family, I wish I had a book. It's like my security blanket, and I used to do this when I was younger and it was fantastic.

9. Not reading books I already own.
     At least half of the books on my shelves are books I've purchased in the last eight years or so, and I have not read most of them, which is hard to even admit. I even made a pact with myself this year to not go to the library unless I need a book for my Reading England challenge.

10. So many books, so little time.
     While there are a few genres that I avoid, I want to read everything else. It's a problem that all voracious readers have, and one that will never go away. My thirst for knowledge is such that it shall never be fully quenched. And that's a problem I really don't mind having. :)


There you have it, ten bookish problems. Do you have any of these problems? Or others that I have not mentioned?


Currently Reading: Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Reading England Challenge 2015

Reading challenges are something I love the idea of, but when I join them and try to put them into practice, I fall off the wagon so early on it's not even funny anymore. I either try to read too much, or I simply get distracted by another book or seven. This year, readers, this year will be different. This year is different. I have joined one challenge and am considering a couple more. I am holding myself to these challenges, because my word for the year is persevere. (Yes, I chose a word for the year, but I didn't blog about it yet. Oops.) All that being said, here is my intro post for the reading challenge I am most excited about this year, Reading England, from one of my favorite book blogs, Behold the Stars.

There are different levels to choose from, and the point is to read classics from England that are set in the different classic counties. No reading all books set in London, or Yorkshire, for example. I am starting with level one, which is to read 1-3 books, and hoping to advance to level two, which is to read 4-6 books. One of my friends and her mother are doing this challenge with me, so it'll be exciting to have discussions.

Level One:

1. Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy (Dorset)

2. Nicholas Nickelby, by Charles Dickens (Yorkshire)

3. Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell (Cheshire)

Level Two:

4. The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins (Cumbria)

5. North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell (Lancashire)

6. Lark Rise to Candleford, by Flora Thompson (Buckinghamshire)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and today's topic focuses on the classics. What are the top ten classics you can't believe you haven't read? This is a sore spot for me, because I like to pride myself on reading mostly older books, but sometimes it's just difficult to get into them and I give up and go for something a little less meaty, which has been quite often, especially since finishing college where I did more than enough heavy reading and analyzing! But here is my list, in no particular order. Most of these are on my to-read list for 2015, as well.

1. Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray
      To be honest, I have made it more than halfway through this book a couple of times. But I guess I'm not meant to be reading long and involved books on a Kindle. I just can't keep things straight when flipping back pages to remember things isn't really possible. I love the story, I just can't finish it. Now I have a hardcover copy of it and it's on my reading list for this year.

2. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
      Russian literature intimidates me, which might explain why I own an assortment of novels and have not yet managed to read any. This is a story that my heart wants so deeply to know and love, so it's time to crack it open.

3. The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu
      Having known about what is likely the world's first true novel since I was quite young, I am sincerely shocked I have not read Genji yet. I've even checked out a lengthy English translation with footnotes from the library at least three times. Never been the right moment, I suppose. As part of my quest to read more world classics, I'm going to get through this one. How can you not want to read a Japanese work written in the 500s and on top of that, penned by a lady-in-waiting at the imperial court?? (Thank you, Carmen Sandiego.)

4. Paradise Lost, by John Milton
      I have read excerpts of Milton in the past, and the absolute beauty of his words blew me away. Fairly certain I had a copy of this book sitting on my nightstand through most of high school and some of college. And yet I never really read it. I've read multiple translations of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy (which is one of my favorite works of all time), so there is no reason I shouldn't have read this beautiful work of art.

5. Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
      This might be my favorite musical of all time, so it is a genuine crime against myself that I have not yet read the book. Especially since The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of the first classics (other than English) that I fell in love with in high school.

6. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens
      I am woefully under-read on the works of Dickens, and I am actually ashamed to write that. But anyway, this is one of his works that I am most sad I have not read yet.

7. The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
      I include this for two basic reasons, one being that it's a tale that deeply appeals to me, and two being that I purchased a copy of this book in high school and I still haven't read it.

8. This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
      Considering that Gatsby is so good, and that many people have told me that his other novels are even better, I just don't know why I haven't read this yet.

9. Tess of the D'Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy
      There are multiple film adaptations of this book that I have seen, and yet I have not actually read the book. I don't have anything profound to say about this one, just that I'm surprised I haven't read it.

10. On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin
      So it's nonfiction, but many would lump this in with classics, I think. At any rate, it's been sitting on my shelf for a few years since I got a free copy, and I've wanted to read it for as long as I can remember.


I tried very hard to make sure my list wasn't all classics of English literature, which is partly in keeping with my reading plans for the year. Seems to me I did a decent job. What classics are you surprised you haven't managed to read yet?

Monday, February 2, 2015


The month of February began with a bang here in the upper Midwest. We were blanketed with a snowstorm for 24 hours here in southeastern Wisconsin, and I have to say, it's finally feeling like winter. In the month of January, I didn't get much reading done, as I was purposely using my time to marathon Friends after it appeared on Netflix. But now, it's time to list my planned books for the year. I have challenged myself to read thirty books, which is a smaller number than in previous years, but the books I have in mind for 2015 are mostly classics and kind of heavy reading. So, thirty books it is.

I do not have every single book planned out, but I have given myself some goals, which should help me to not get distracted too much.

  • Mostly read books I already own, but stick to my list if I go to the library.
  • Read a classic from each continent.
  • Read, specifically, an Italian novel, a Russian novel, and a Spanish novel.
  • Revisit Jane Austen's works, also finally completing Mansfield Park.
  • Read through the Bible in one year, which I am doing through the She Reads Truth app.
  • Complete level one of the Reading England challenge (more about that later).
These are my main goals for 2015, which I will flesh out in my next post. I have a few more goals that are not the top priority, but here are those as well.

  • Read at least one Japanese manga series, as well as a Korean one.
  • Read one modern novel by an ethnic woman author.
  • Revisit The Casual Vacancy, by JK Rowling, and finish it this time.
  • Read at least three nonfiction books.

As easy to read as YA novels are, I want to stay away from them this year. I'm not seriously even a fan of most of them as are most of the book bloggers I follow. That's not a cut against them, it's just an observation. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in English, and I need to continue to train my mind with good, meaty literature. Besides, my fluff reading has tended more towards manga, which is why it's on my secondary goals list. That stuff is a whole other type of reading, and I love the choices.


Currently Reading:
  • Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino
  • Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen