All sorts of bookish adventures!

Tag Archives: Best

As many of you know, I took a little break from blogging. Surprisingly, in that time away, I picked up a few new followers. Well, I’m back now, new friends and old, and I’ve changed my look, as you might have noticed. I love it!

Here’s some interesting (at least to me) background info on the look: I was directly inspired by the art print, “Someday, You’re Gonna” by Jordan Crane, which hangs in my kitchen. I wish I could commission Crane to do the artwork for my header, but what can I do? Use silly pictures of myself and the covers of a few of my favorite books, I guess.

Someday, You're Gonna by Jordan Crane

Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Since I have some new followers, and I’m returning after a long absence with a new drive, I thought I’d share some of my favorite posts that best reflect who I am as a blogger, and what you can expect to see here at Adventures in Borkdom. Many thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for providing the inspiration with today’s perfectly timed Top Ten Tuesday prompt!

1. Book Reviews

While I have been slacking in this area, a good chunk of Adventures in Borkdom is devoted to book reviews. When I put in the work, you can expect regular reviews on books of varying genres (I am a mood reader and like to read it all!) and I attempt to make these reviews as unbiased and professional as possible (when I might be biased, I make note of it in the review). I even created a rubric (feel free to use in your own reviews!) to make my methods of judgment transparent. Here are some examples of the positive review: Bleak House and The Waste Lands, the “meh” review: A Discovery of Witches, and the negative review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

When I don’t feel like putting in the work, you can expect posts full of mini-reviews: July Mini-Reviews

If you’re looking for more reviews, I post them up in the “Reviews” page at the top of the blog. *Coming Soon: Reviews organized by genre!*

2. Inspired Adventures

This is a new feature I started yesterday. It will appear twice a week (unless life gets in the way), and will center around a book I recently read, and an adventure or activity that I took part in that was directly inspired by the book. For example, after reading Hatchet, I took a hike in the mountains, and considered what aspects of the area would affect my survival if I were stranded there, à la Hatchet. Here is that post: Inspired Adventures: Hatchet and a Hike.

Upcoming Inspired Adventures include: Anne of Green Gables and Raspberry Cordial; The Return of the King and LARPing; and When You Are Engulfed in Flames and Quitting Smoking.

Check back on Thursday for this week’s second Inspired Adventure!

3. Bookish Featurettes

I enjoy writing posts on books that explore the various aspects of novels and reading in general. This is where I can really analyze certain literary/bookish areas without the limitations of a book review.

Some examples include:

4. Classic Authors: They’re Just Like Us!

These posts are biographical and discuss traits of a classic author that are surprisingly similar to either “us”, the everyday reader, or to the traits of modern-day popular authors. These ones are fun to read if you’re interested in a certain author, but don’t feel like getting bogged down by a long biography. I try to just give you the good stuff!

Examples:

Charles Dickens

Ernest Hemingway

J.R.R. Tolkien (posted over at Snobbery)

5. Fun Top Tens

Occasionally, I compile Top Ten lists that are connected to my reading preferences. I try to make these fun and somewhat informative. Typically, these directly derive from topics originating from the good folks at The Broke and the Bookish (like this post!).

A few of my favorites include:

Playing Hooky With Literary Characters

If Classics Were Set to Punk Rock

Oh Boy! It’s My Day to be a Girl! Here Are My Top Ten Book Boyfriends

The rest of my Top Tens can be found at the top of the blog in the page labeled “The Best”

6. Participation in Reading Challenges

This year, I signed up for a bunch of challenges. Not all of them have stuck (or, at least, I’m not attending to them right now), but I have seen a few of them through.

Two of these are

the horror- centric, annual Readers in Peril (RIP) Challenge, hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings

and

Charles Dickens Month, hosted by Fig and Thistle

7. Writings on Current Blogging Issues and/or My Views on Blogging

I don’t often dabble in blogging politics, but on occasion, I’ll come across an issue that I think needs addressing. Here’s a sample of what it looks like when I do:

When Blogging Gets You Down: A Letter to Bloggers (Big and Small)

I have also created a blogging manifesto, which pretty much spells out my views on blogging, and still holds true today: My Blogging Manifesto

8. “Best of” Lists

This shall be an annual event, and since I am only just approaching my one-year anniversary, I only have examples for 2011. Yet, you can expect to see daily posts, during the last week of 2012, that list my favorite books of 2012, broken down into genres. Here are two examples from last year:

Top Ten Books Read in 2011

Top Adult Contemporary and Young Adult Fiction Read in 2011

The rest of my “Best of” lists can be found at the top of my blog in the page labeled “The Best”

9. Readathons

I am a nut for readathons, particularly the big ones. This year, I took part in both of Dewey’s annual 24-hour readathons (held in October and April). I also held personal, impromptu readathons, which I chronicled on the blog.

Here are two posts reflecting my readathon participation:

October Read-a-Thon: And so it begins!

Post-It Readathon

10. The Person away from the Book

Finally, you will get to know the person that is separate from the books I read. Sometimes I write about what’s going on in my life:

She Was a Day Tripper…

Valentine’s Day?

A Slice of Crappy Life

and sometimes I feature the other interests and hobbies in my life:

Gaming:

TV

Movies

Cooking

———***——–

All of this, and writings I can’t foresee, will be featured here at Adventures in Borkdom. Obviously, if you want to know a bit more about me, the writer, check out my “About” page .

Thanks again for reading my blog and taking an interest in what I care about. I hope you enjoy what I put out there.


A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

• Hardcover: 211 pages

• Publisher: Scribners, 1964 (first edition!)

• ISBN:64-15441

• Genre: Memoir/Classic

• Recommended For: Anyone interested in descriptive memoirs, classic authors, “the Lost Generation”, and writing tips from one of America’s best authors.

Quick Review:

An excellent quick read that inspires the aspiring writer and paints a lovely picture of Paris in the ’20s. Really brings Hemingway down-to-earth and makes me want to try to re-read some of his novels (never was a fan).

How I Got Here: My sister is currently on her belated honeymoon in Paris, and one of her goals was to see all the sights that she read about in this book. Before she left, she insisted that I also read the book, thinking that it would be inspiring as a writing book. This books satisfies tasks for A Classics ChallengeEnd of the World Challenge, and the Award-Winning Challenge. It’s also number 72 on my list for The Classics Club.

The Book: Goodreads’ Synopsis

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

– ERNEST HEMINGWAY, to a friend, 1950

Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway’s most beloved works. It is his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein; tender memories of his first wife, Hadley; and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft. It is a literary feast, brilliantly evoking the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the youthful spirit, unbridled creativity, and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.

My Analysis and Critique:

I’ve written quite a bit about this book already, and I’m sure it’s obvious that I greatly enjoyed this book.

I was and am surprised that I enjoyed A Moveable Feast so much as I’ve never been a fan of Hemingway’s. I always considered myself in the Steinbeck camp–Hemingway’s style always felt cold to me. Maybe it’s his minimalist, lean style. However, A Moveable Feast was nothing but heart! I saw Paris through Hemingway’s eyes, I could hear every conversation he transcribed, and I could taste the delicious meals and wine he consumed.

The book is composed of the journal entries he recorded as a young man living in Paris in the ’20s, and this is apparent in his stream-of-consciousness style. It was very engaging. Hemingway reflects upon his favorite spots in the city, the start and dissolution of his friendship with Gertrude Stein, his true friends and his phony colleagues. He comes off as a jerk at times, but his writing reflects his youth, and is as forgivable as any youthful misbehavior.

A Moveable Feast is also full of writing tips from Hemingway, as he reflects quite a bit on his writing process, the obstacles that got in the way of his writing, and how he dealt with said obstacles. Any creative person would get something out of Hemingway’s tips. I would place this on the shelf next to my most-prized writing books.

Overall, I highly recommend this book for its wonderful descriptions of Paris, the lively characters that Hemingway reflects upon (including Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald), and the inspiration it stirs in my writer’s soul. A quick read and worth anyone’s time!

Check out my previous posts below to get a better feeling for the writing in the book!

Links:

A Moveable Feast and Paris in the ’20s

Classic Authors: They’re Just Like Us–Ernest Hemingway Part One and Two

Goodreads Reviews


I was always a goody-goody. Never skipped school until college. I didn’t even participate in Senior Skip Day in high school, which was all but posted on the school calendar.

However, if I were to play hooky, I’d want it to be a once-in-a-lifetime, memorable occasion. The following ten characters could surely make it a time I would never forget, or regret!

Bastian from The Neverending Story

1. Bastian from The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

Now, this guy knows how to skip school! Steal an awesome book from a bookstore, hide out in an attic (or storage room) full of blankets and candles, and literally get sucked into a good book. Plus, he brought supplies- an apple and PbJ, which he’s really good at rationing. I would love to skip a day of school so I could read with Bastian.

Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye

2. Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

I’ve always wanted to see New York! I could skip school and explore with Holden at my side…maybe I could even get him to lighten up!

Jake from The Dark Tower

3. Jake from The Waste Lands by Stephen King

I’m still reading The Waste Lands, and Jake just finished the weirdest day of skipping school–opening random doors in hopes of finding a desert, trespassing in vacant lots where he sees and hears trippy things, until he finally passes out in said vacant lot. I know it sounds like Jake might not be the best for a fun day, but he did hang out in a very cool bookstore. Plus, eventually his truancy is going to pay off when he finally finds the door he’s looking for! It would be awesome if I could skip school that day too!

Huckleberry Finn

4. Huckleberry Finn from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Just look at this guy! Skipping school so we can do some hunting and fishing, floating down the Mississippi, avoiding danger. I think Huck would be a blast to skip school with!

Alice in Wonderland

5. Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Falling down the rabbit hole and exploring Wonderland or another typical day at school? I vote hanging with Alice!

6. Bod from The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This kid desperately needs a pal! Particularly a pal who can keep him away from the goblins who’d love to steal him away and the psycho who murdered his whole family. He is pretty fun though, with a good imagination and he plays with ghosts in a graveyard. I could skip a day of school to hang out with him.

Anne of Green Gables

7. Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Now, I know that Anne would never skip school! She’s almost as big of a goody-two-shoes as I am when it comes to school. But, if she did, we would have some fun! We could hang out at the Lake of Shining Waters, imagine ghosts and goblins in the woods, and gossip a bit about Josie Pye!

Harry, Ron, Hermione, Harry Potter series illustration

8. Harry, Hermione, and Ron from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Skipping school with this crew could mean butter beers, hiding under Harry’s invisibility cloak, and standing up to rotten Slytherins. Or getting some sleuthing work done. Either way, it would certainly be a worthy excuse for skipping school!

Ponyboy Curtis and Johnny Cade The Outsiders

9. Ponyboy and Johnny from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Awww, these cutie pies could use a reassuring voice when they hide out in the abandoned church. I could’ve helped them cut and color their hair so that it didn’t turn out so bad, help them read Gone with the Wind, and fixed them some real food other than bologna sandwiches. Or I could just spend the day giving them hugs and kisses, which is what they so desperately needed!

10. Pippi Longstocking from Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Man, this girl is crazy! Check out the spotted horse on her doorstep! If you skip school, head over to Pippi’s house…she can make anything fun and wild!

This is in response to the Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish.

 


Tonight’s the night! Season 5 of Mad Men premieres on AMC at 9:00! Two hours!

While I haven’t had to wait as long as other fans (I only just started watching seasons 1-4 in November), I am still very excited to see what’s happening to my favorite characters!

So, today I will be gearing up for the premiere by watching some of my favorite episodes from the past seasons (all previous seasons are streaming on Netflix). These favorite episodes include:

-Warning: Don’t Click on These if You Haven’t Watched the Show–Synopses Contain Spoilers!-

“A Night to Remember” Season 2: Episode 8

“Six-Month Leave” Season 2: Episode 9

“Meditations in an Emergency” Season 2: Episode 13

“Out of Town”: Season 3: Episode 1

“My Old Kentucky Home”: Season 3: Episode 3

“The Grown-Ups”: Season 3: Episode 12

“Shut the Door. Have a Seat.” Season 3: Episode 13

And most, if not all, of Season 4 (definitely my all-time favorite episode “The Suitcase” and the finale).

Other Mad Men Links That Have Me All Worked Up!

While watching the last two episodes of The Walking Dead (also on AMC), I loved these Mad Men trailers that link up my two favorite shows! Check ’em out!

and my personal favorite

“and drinks like Hershel used to…” my favorite line!

Book Riot has posted a couple of bookish posts on Mad Men. First, there’s “Recommended Books for the Characters of MAD MEN”. Then, there’s also “Nonfiction for the Life and Times of MAD MEN“.

There’s a lot of reading being done on Mad Men. Flavorwire has compiled “The Definitive ‘Mad Men’ Reading List” for any fans who want to read along. Also, they’ve pulled together a 1966 playlist to act as soundtrack for this season. Check it out!

Then, for those of us planning to really celebrate the return of Mad Men, there’s tips and recipes for throwing a Mad Men premiere party. I think I might try out Joanie’s famous Ginger Snap and Roger Sterling’s Party Nuts!

Can you tell how excited I am? So excited! Just wait until you see how excited I am for the premiere of Game of ThronesI’m gonna be nuts!


I’m excited to announce that I will be joining The Classics Club, a very goal-oriented group started by Jillian at A Room of One’s Own. I decided to join because mainly I just wanted to compile a list of books that I knew I would want to read, and with a deadline it’s more likely to happen. Also, I might want to take the GRE in Literature test again (I didn’t do as well as I would’ve liked eight years ago) and so I’ve compiled my list based off of the most often tested works of literature.

So, here is a list of 71 books that I would like to read in the next five years. It’s possible, right?

This books are listed in order from most often tested to least likely tested on the GRE.

–Goal Date to Finish: March 15, 2017 (five years)–

Note: * denotes a re-read

1. Paradise Lost by John Milton

2. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer*

3. Collected Works of Alexander Pope

4. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift*

5. The Tempest by William Shakespeare

6. Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe*

7. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

8. The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser*

9. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

10. Collected Plays of Sophocles*

11. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

12. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens*

13. A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

14. Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw

15. The Republic by Plato*

16. Collected Works of John Keats*

17. Volpone by Ben Jonson*

18. The Iliad by Homer

19. The Way of the World by William Congreve*

20. Howard’s End by E.M. Forster

21. The Preface to Shakespeare by Samuel Johnson

22. Don Juan by George Gordon, Lord Byron*

23. Everyman by Anonymous*

24. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

25. Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth*

26. Collected Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley*

27. Pamela by Samuel Richardson

28. Tristram Shandy by Laurance Stern

29. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

30. Collected Works of T.S. Eliot

31. As You Like It by William Shakespeare*

32. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

33. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

34. Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory

35. Hard Times by Charles Dickens

36. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

37. The Poetics by Aristotle

38. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Anonymous*

39. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray

40. A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

41. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

42. The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster*

43. Collected Works of Dylan Thomas

44. Don Quixote by Cervantes

45. Dubliners by James Joyce

46. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

47. Tartuffe by Moliere

48. Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O’Neill

49. Collected Works of George Orwell

50. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

51. Richard II by William Shakespeare

52. Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding

53. Collected Works of Sylvia Plath

54. Collected Works of Emily Dickinson

55. The Aeneid by Virgil

56. Evelina by Frances Burney

57. Candide by Voltaire*

58. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

59. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

60. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

61. The American Language by H.L. Mencken

62. The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper

63. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

64. Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe

65. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

66. The Stranger by Albert Camus

67. Endgame by Samuel Beckett

68. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett*

69. The Bible by Anonymous

70. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

71. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker

 

 So, here’s to wishful thinking! Surely I can take a chunk out of this list within the next five years…


Recently, I was looking at my shelves on Goodreads and was surprised by the sheer amount of fantasy novels I have read or want to read. I have never really noticed what a huge fan of the genre I am, and I guess I have been for a really long time. Here are my favorites books and serials in the genre, most of which are pretty much everyone’s favorites.

the hobbit

1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

3. The Kingkiller Chronicle series (written so far: The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear) by Patrick Rothfuss

A Game of Thrones Song of Ice and Fire George R.R. Martin

4. A Song of Ice and Fire series (five written, two more to go. Hopefully, they’ll be published before the end of this decade!) by George R.R. Martin

The Gunslinger audiobook by stephen king

5. The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

6. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

7. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

8. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

9. The Talisman and Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub

10. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

What Is Glaringly Absent from This List:

Here are some books I am most definitely planning on reading, as I believe they are essential for any fan of the fantasy genre.

1. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

2. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

3. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

4. The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

5. Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

6. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

7. The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula. K Le Guin


The History of English Literature by Perry Keenlyside; narrated by Derek Jacobi and Cast

• Audiobook: 0 pages

• Publisher: NAXOS Audiobooks, 2001

• ISBN: 9626342218

• Genre: Nonfiction–Literary History and Analysis

• Recommended For: Anyone looking for a quick overview of the entire history of English Literature, from Chaucer to Ishiguro, in an easy listening audiobook format.

Quick Review: Quick and easy listening to a very, very brief synopsis of the history of English literature. Highly recommended for its quick access to authors and tidbits of English history that one might have forgotten or overlooked. Is also brilliantly read by Jacobi and the rest of the cast, who read snippets from the classics expertly.

How I Got Here: I was returning a book to the library, and decided that I wanted an audiobook for the car. There wasn’t much of a selection, but then I spotted this title and decided it would be perfect for my driver’s short attention span.

The Book: Goodreads’ Synopsis

The remarkable story of the world’s richest literary resource, the story telling, poetry, the growth of the novel and the greatest histories and essays, which have informed the language and the imagination wherever English is spoken.

My Analysis and Critique:

This audiobook was perfect for my quick drives to and from work each day! Each track focuses upon one writer from a certain time period, providing a bit of history of the author and the world around them, and then usually providing a reading of a snippet of one of their most notable works. So, usually, I could learn about three to five different authors and works on a one-way trip to my work, and not have to think/listen too hard.

Each disc is also separated into two to three different literary movements/time periods. Being a history, the text obviously moves chronologically. Thus, it is set up as thus:

Canterbury Tales

1. The Age of Chaucer (Middle Ages: Chaucer, Gower’s Sir Gawain, The Bible, and Langland’s Piers Plowman)

2. The End of Chivalry (Mid 15th Century: John Lydgate, Mallory, and Skelton to Sir Thomas More’s Utopia and Le Morte D’Arthur to Wyatt’s love lyrics and Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer)

Queen Elizabeth; The Faerie Queene; Elizabethan Age

3. Triumphs of Oriana (Elizabethan Age: Spenser, Raleigh, and Sydney to the trio of Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Jonson, and the poetry and essays by Donne and Bacon)

William Congreve The Way of the World Restoration

4. Puritan’s Progress (Restoration: religious metaphysical poetry by Herbert and Vaughan; Cavalier poetry by Lovelace and Herrick; the epic works by Milton; Marvell; Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress; the first English novel in Defoe’s Moll Flanders; Dryden’s poetry; and finally, Congreve’s The Way of the World)

Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift

5. The Augustan Age (Age of Enlightenment: Pope’s poetry and essays; Swift’s satirical Gulliver’s Travels; Samuel Johnson’s criticism and Dictionary; the novels of Fielding, Richardson, Sterne, and Smallett; and Gray’s “Elegy on a Country Churchyard”)

The Eve of St. Agnes by John Keats

6. Romantic Revolution (poetry by Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge; Shelley’s Gothic Frankenstein; Austen’s novels; and the poetry of Shelley, Byron, and Keats)

7. Faith and Doubt (The Victorian Age: Dickens; the rise of children’s literature and the detective novel; the Brontes; Arnold’s “Dover Beach”; the novels of George Eliot; poetry by Tennyson, Rosetti, and Browning; the works of Kipling)

Modernism War Literature

8. The Age of Anxiety (Turn of the century/wartime: Hardy’s novels; Houseman’s poetry; the works of Henry James (?!); Conrad’s Heart of Darkness; Wells’ science fiction; controversial D.H. Lawrence; the war poetry of Wilfred Owen; the Irish writers Yeats, Shaw, Wilde, and Joyce; Woolf’s To The Lighthouse; the satire of Evelyn Waugh; Orwell and Huxley; and the poetry of Eliot and Auden)

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

9. Post-War, Post-Modern(Multitude of voices and styles, as genres mesh: Cecil Day Lewis; Keith Douglas; Dylan Thomas; Ivy Compton Burnett; Jean Rhys; Doris Lessing; Muriel Spark; Iris Murdoch; William Golding; Angus Wilson; Anthony Powell; Kingsley Amis; Philip Larkin; Ted Hughes; J.G. Ballard; Salman Rushdie; Kazuo Ishiguro; Carol Ann Duffy)

While obviously this text is just a brief skim, a tiny overview of the great expanse of British Literature, I appreciated it for its providing me with some authors and works that I need to check out in the future. I also appreciated that it flowed so nicely together that it sounded like a story–the story that is English literature.

I also relished the lessons learned on the evolution of the novel, as well as the information provided in the Post-War, Post-Modern section (I am shockingly poorly read in modern literature! This needs to be remedied!)

Overall, I highly recommend this to anyone interested in gaining some insight on the history of English literature and listening to some classics read expertly by various voices. I’m not sure how easy this audiobook is to come by, as I just happened upon it at my library, but if you can find it, I recommend it!

Links:

Goodreads Reviews