Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On the Nightstand: The Premier Edition

Good Morning Humble Readers...

I hope you all are having a great week.  I'm totally digging the Bloggity Summer Camp that's being led by Calliope of Creating Motherhood.  It's been a ton of fun so far and we're only a few days in.  There's still plenty of time left, so sign up!  (My Summer Camp post for today will be up a little later)

But this post is something different.  A few posts ago I mentioned a couple of regular features that I wanted to institute here at the hobbit hole (the first being 'Foodie Fridays'), and this is the second.  Once a week, probably on Wednesdays, I will post about what books are on my nightstand and what I think of them.  This will not only help my bloggity mojo, but keep me reading as well.

Today's edition is going to be a little on the long side, but I've recently finished or started several books.

Helen Keller's Teacher by  Margaret Davidson (4 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes)
This was a favourite of mine when I was in fourth grade, and then miraculously I just happened to see it at the library on a reshelving cart, and I couldn't resist picking it up.  This was probably the closest thing to the first biography I ever read.  The story of Annie Sullivan, the woman who broke through the darkness that Helen Keller lived in, is told in an age appropriate manner.  I remember it was the first time I ever read about tuberculosis, the Irish potato famine, and poor houses.  Re-reading it now, as an adult, I was surprised at how the mental images that I had as a child when I read this book came flooding back.  A great story of over-coming obstacles. 

DogTown: Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation & Redemption by  Stefan Bechtal (3 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes)
I was really excited when I saw this book on the shelves at 'my' store.  I loved the show 'DogTown' about the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah.  The show chronicles the stories of dogs that have been rescued from the direst of circumstances (dog fighting rings, puppy mills, and death row at other shelters) and are given all the medical care and rehabilitation they need to hopefully find their forever homes.  And if they aren't able to be adopted out, then they will have a forever home at Best Friends.  The thing with the book that I found very disappointing was that it was all stories that I had already seen as a fan of the show.  There were a few added details, but it was just an expensive hard-cover repeat.  Really the only bonus for me is knowing that part of the proceeds of buying the book go to Best Friends.

How To Woo A Reluctant Lady by Sabrina Jeffries  (4 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes)
I really love Sabrina Jeffries.  She's a great author, and she writes in one of my favourite genres... historical romance.  Granted, her books are a little closer to bodice-rippers than other historical romances I read, but they are fun and light.  This one is the third in the Hellions of Hampstead Hall series, where 5 siblings are forced to seek out marriage partners or lose their inheritance.  Set in regency England, the story was a tad formulaic, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. 

Fall of Giants by Ken Follet  (5 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes)
I love this book!  I'm not quite finished it yet (about 200 pages out of 1000) but I am enthralled.  This is the first in his Century Trilogy.  The story begins in 1914, and follows four or five families from Wales, England, Germany, Russia, and the US through the lead up to and the duration of World War One.  I will admit, although I knew the basics, I have been fascinated by the political events that led to the start of WWI, as well as all the other contemporary political issues (women's suffrage, the Russian Revolution, etc) and am so enjoying how Follet has woven a great story around these events.  I'm excited to see how he handles the rest of the 20th century.  I know that not everyone enjoys these epic historical sagas, but I think they're great. 

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley  (4.5 out of 5 hairy hobbit-toes)
Alan Bradley is one of my favourite newer authors.  It doesn't hurt matters that he's from my hometown!  This book is the third in the Flavia De Luce Mysteries series.  Flavia, a precocious trouble-making 11 year old, has a habit of finding dead bodies around her tiny village in late-1940s England.  This time around, a travelling Gypsy fortune teller is found mortally injured in her caravan and Flavia manages to get herself wrapped up in the case.  Meanwhile, the family situation becomes perilous as they are in danger of losing their crumbling family estate.  These books are all funny, smart, and I think they would be a great read for anyone 9 to 99.  (The first two are called Sweetness At The Bottom Of the Pie, and The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag... CHECK THEM OUT!!!)

Waiting in the wings... The Independence of Miss Mary Bennett by Colleen McCullough and Standing In the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg. 

What are you reading these days?


  1. I just finished reading "The Life and Times of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot, which was very interesting and I recommend it. I also recently finished "Little Princes" which I found to be better than "Three Cups of Tea" (especially after finding out Greg Mortenson lied about most of his book!!) "Julie and Julia" was very funny and light hearted and I hadn't seen the movie (still haven't!) In June I read "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" by Salman Rushdie which I just love, love, love. The kids did too which makes teaching it even more fun! Highly recommend this fantastical adventure! As of late I just started "Into the Wilderness" which is akin to the "Outlander" series so I hear....I think that's about it....LOL. Sorry to take over your comments! Thanks for sharing your books! I love books! :)
    p.s. Kindle or Kobo????

  2. I picked "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett to read for my last book club. I am totally lame and didn't finish my own pic! (lugging the book around made me really want a Kindle, too). I am very grateful for online summaries which allowed me to fake my way through our discussion :)

    I seem to really like period books so I'll definitely be picking up that series to read (and I'll actually read it!)

  3. I just finished Eat Prey Love by Kerrelyn Sparks. I love her very unique take on the vampire mythology and her books have a lot of humor woven throughout them...and, the title was too delicious to resist.


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