Thursday, January 3, 2013

Coming up...Week 1 of 2013

Books to be Reviewed:

1.One Naughty Night by Laurel McKee

A hundred years has passed since the bitter rivalry between the St. Claires and the Huntingtons began. But in London, the feud goes on . . .

UNDER THE COVER OF NIGHT, NOTHING IS FORBIDDEN
Lily St. Claire will do anything for the family that saved her from the streets. With their support, the young widow has become the hostess of The Devil's Fancy, London's most exclusive gaming den. She's determined to restore the St. Claire family fortune, lost a century before to the despised Huntington clan. But a ghost from her past may be her ultimate undoing . . .

Lord Aidan Huntington is handsome and wealthy, with a taste for adventure and a reputation for wickedness. A gambler and a rake, Aidan can't resist a seductive woman with secrets - but one naughty night with Lily leaves him wanting more. As Lily is drawn into London's dark underworld by an old enemy, Aidan will risk everything to save the woman who has awakened his deepest desires.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Now a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant, and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer

Includes a new Afterword by David Mitchell

A postmodern visionary who is also a master of styles and genres, David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian love of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending philosophical and scientific speculation in the tradition of Haruki Murakami, Umberto Eco, and Philip K. Dick. The result is brilliantly original fiction that reveals how disparate people connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky.


The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti

Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with the knowledge that he can do nothing to save his Palestinian friends and family. Ruled by the Israeli military government, the entire village operates in fear of losing homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other. On Ichmad's twelfth birthday, that fear becomes a reality. With his father imprisoned, his family's home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to the dangers of war, Ichmad begins the endless struggle to use his intellect to save his poor and dying family and reclaim a love for others that was lost when the bombs first hit."The Almond Tree" capitalizes on the reader's desire to be picked up and dropped off in another part of the world. It tackles issues that many Americans only hear about on World News or read about at The Huffington Post, such as the Israeli Palestinian conflict, the scholasticide that is being imposed upon the Palestinians in Gaza and the current Gaza blockade. But even more, it offers hope.

The Metamorphoses by Ovid

Perhaps one of the most influential works ever written, "The Metamorphoses" is an epic and narrative poem by the Roman writer Ovid. Finished in 8 AD, this work, organized into fifteen books, combines a stunning arrangement of mythological tales that are masterfully connected by a theme of transformation, most often through love. Beginning with the world's creation, the poet utilizes unparalleled wit to describe the history of the world, incorporating the most commonly known Greek and Roman myths and legends of his time in a style both dramatic and mischievous. Ovid's often sensuous poems weave together the tales of Daedalus and Icarus, Pygmalion, Persueus and Andromeda, the Trojan War, and the deification of Augustus, frequently changing the human men and women into remarkable beings through magic that rivals the gods. The best known classical work to writers during the medieval period and influencing other great artists such as Shakespeare and Titian, "The Metamorphoses" is a work that will continue to endure and inspire throughout the ages.

What I'm Reading Now:


The Odyssey by Homer

The Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of everyman's journey through life.

"It recounts the story of Odysseus' return to Ithaca from the Trojan war and tells how, championed by Athene and hounded by the wrathful sea-god Poseidon, Odysseus encounters the ferocious Cyclops, escapes Scylla and Charybdis and yields temporarily to the lures of Circe and Calypso before he overcomes the trials awaiting him on Ithaca. Only then is he reunited with his faithful wife Penelope, his wanderings at an end."

Progress: I am reading Norton Anthology of World Literature Volume A, and I am on page 401 Book XV out of page 530 Book XXIV 




2.Two Sinful Secrets by Laurel McKee 

A hundred years has passed since the bitter rivalry between the St. Claires and the Huntingtons began. But in London, the feud goes on . . .

In this battle between enemies, passion will win.

Lady Sophia Huntington isn't what she appears to be. Born into a noble family, the impulsive, wild-hearted beauty has fallen on difficult times. Banished from her home, Sophia dreams of the day she can finally win her father's forgiveness and return to London. Until the sudden appearance of a suitor from the scandalous St. Claire family threatens to reveal her darkest secrets . . .

Dominic St. Claire vows to exact revenge upon the Huntingtons, who destroyed his family's fortune generations ago. His perfect target is the lovely but proud Lady Sophia. After using her to discover the Huntingtons' financial secrets, he will cause a great scandal by eloping— and then abandoning his bride. But his plot soon unravels when he finds his own heart ensnared—in a trap not of his own making.

Progress: I am on page 31 out of 352, and on chapter 2 out of 28 plus Epilogue 

Oleander Girl by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni 

From the bestselling author of One Amazing Thing, a sweeping, suspenseful, atmospheric coming-of-age novel about a young woman who leaves India for America on a search that will transform her life.Beloved by critics and readers, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has been hailed by Junot DÍaz as a “brilliant storyteller” and by People magazine as a “skilled cartographer of the heart.” Now, Divakaruni returns with her most gripping novel yet.

Orphaned at birth, seventeen-year-old Korobi Roy is the scion of a distinguished Kolkata family and has enjoyed a privileged, sheltered childhood with her adoring grandparents. But she is troubled by the silence that surrounds her parents’ death and clings fiercely to her only inheritance from them: the love note she found hidden in her mother's book of poetry. Korobi dreams of one day finding a love as powerful as her parents’, and it seems her wish has come true when she meets the charming Rajat, the only son of a high-profile business family.

But shortly after their engagement, a heart attack kills Korobi’s grandfather, revealing serious financial problems and a devastating secret about Korobi's past. Shattered by this discovery and by her grandparents’ betrayal, Korobi undertakes a courageous search across post-9/11 America to find her true identity. Her dramatic, often startling journey will, ultimately, thrust her into the most difficult decision of her life.

Progress: I am on page 42 out of 288, and on chapter 3 out of chapter 17

1. The Sword in the stone by TH White 

When 1st published in its entirety in 1958, T.H. White's masterly, incomparable, entertaining epic novel about King Arthur & his round table was hailed by critics as an instant classic. So it became; widely acknowledged as one of the definitive works of the fantasy genre, The Once & Future King is a retelling of the Arthurian legend that is at once both comic & political, enchanting & educational. While it works on one level as a highly entertaining saga of knights, battles, magic & heroes, the novel also presents a conscientiously researched historical interpretation of the round table as a civilizing force that brought England out of the Dark Ages thru the notion of chivalry. Divided into four books originally published separately which detail Arthur's boyhood, the building of his empire, his doomed friendship with Lancelot & his undoing thru the boy Mordred, White's novel reimagines several of these well-known characters in unconventional ways, painting Arthur as sweet & in many ways simple, Lancelot as a complex & deeply troubled man with an ugly face, & several older knights of the table as sympathetic or even comic Good Old Boys, blundering amiably around in creaky armor as they support their young king without entirely understanding him.

Progress: I am on page 17 out of 209, chapter 2 out of chapter 24

10. Password to Larkspur Lane by Carolyn Keene

Nancy’s inextinguishable curiosity leads her to another case, this time with Bess in tow. The detective speaks to a doctor who was kidnapped and blindfolded by a criminal in order to care for a young woman held hostage. Nancy’s mission: Connect the jumbled mess of clues to save a woman and catch a criminal.

Progress:  I am on page 11 out of 210, annd on chapter 2 out of chapter 20?











Books I'm reading lazily and will take long time to finish:

Life in Ancient Egypt by Adolf Erman 

The fullest, most thoroughly detailed account — including much material not found in more recent books — of domestic life, religion, magic, medicine, commerce, and much more in ancient Egypt. Many illustrations reproduce tomb paintings, carvings, and hieroglyphs.

Progress: I'm on page 79 out of 550, chapter 5 out of chapter 20 









Mythology by Edith Hamilton

The world-renowned classic that has enthralled and delighted millions of readers with its timeless tales of gods and heroes.

Edith Hamilton's Mythology succeeds like no other book in bringing to life for the modern reader the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths that are the keystone of Western culture--the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity from antiquity to the present. We meet the Greek gods on Olympus and Norse gods in Valhalla. We follow the drama of the Trojan War and the wanderings of Odysseus. We hear the tales of Jason and the Golden Fleece, Cupid and Psyche, and mighty King Midas. We discover the origins of the names of the constellations. And we recognize reference points for countless works of art, literature, and cultural inquiry--from Freud's Oedipus complex to Wagner's Ring Cycle of operas to Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra. Praised throughout the world for its authority and lucidity, Mythology is Edith Hamilton's masterpiece--the standard by which all other books on mythology are measured.

Progress: I am on page 92 out of page 315, chapter 5 out of chapter 23

The Greek Myths Vol I by Robert Graves

Endymion, Pelops, Daedalus, Pygmalion- what are the stories behidn these and the hundreds of other familiar names from Greek mythology- names that recur throughout the history of European culture?

In a two-volume work that has become a classic reference book for both the serious scholar and the casual inquirer, Robert Graves here retells the adventures of the important gods and heroes worshipped by the ancient Greeks.

Drawing on an enormous range of sources, he has brought together all the elements of every myth in simple narrative form, supplying detailed cross-references and indexes. Each entry has a full commentary which examines problems of interpretation in both historical and anthropological terms, and in the light of contemporary research. 

Progress: I am on page 53 out of page 370, chapter 13 out of chapter 104


Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz

The first anthology of Jewish mythology in English, Tree of Souls reveals a mythical tradition as rich and as fascinating as any in the world. Drawing from the Bible, the Pseudepigrapha, the Talmud and Midrash, the kabbalistic literature, medieval folklore, Hasidic texts, and oral lore collected in the modern era, Schwartz has gathered together nearly 700 of the key Jewish myths. The myths themselves are marvelous. We read of Adams diamond and the Land of Eretz (where it is always dark), the fall of Lucifer and the quarrel of the sun and the moon, the Treasury of Souls and the Divine Chariot. We discover new tales about the great figures of the Hebrew Bible, from Adam to Moses; stories about God's Bride, the Shekhinah, and the evil temptress, Lilith; plus many tales about angels and demons, spirits and vampires, giant beasts and the Golem. Equally important, Schwartz provides a wealth of additional information. For each myth, he includes extensive commentary, revealing the source of the myth and explaining how it relates to other Jewish myths as well as to world literature (for instance, comparing Eves release of evil into the world with Pandoras). For ease of use, Schwartz divides the volume into ten books, Myths of God, Myths of Creation, Myths of Heaven, Myths of Hell, Myths of the Holy Word, Myths of the Holy Time, Myths of the Holy People, Myths of the Holy Land, Myths of Exile, and Myths of the Messiah.

Progress: I am on page 6 out of page 523, chapter 7 out of chapter 670

Future Books I will read:

3. Night Thunder's Bride by Karen Kay

When lady’s maid Rebecca Cothern journeyed westward, she never thought to leave her mistress’s side. Yet as Katrina Wellington completes her own journey with White Eagle, Rebecca waits at Ft. Union under the protection of Blackfoot warrior, Night Thunder.

Despite what she’s been told about the wild nature of the native tribes, Night Thunder is different. Kind, gentle, honorable to a fault…and handsome in a way that makes her breathless for his next touch.

Though Night Thunder relishes stolen moments with the beautiful white woman, circumstances dictate that he should keep his distance. Until she is stolen away in the night, and he discovers he cannot simply ride into the enemy camp, kill the guilty and sweep her to safety. The thieves are vengeful malcontents from his own tribe, which leaves him only one way to save her from the worst kind of violation.

He must claim that she is his bride. Not only that, she must willingly bare all—heart, soul and body—to claim him as hers.

Pages: 692 (digital reader, Sony)

Chapters: 25

The Court of the Lion by Eleanor Cooney, Daniel Altieri 

In a magnificent age of exotic splendor and blackest treachery, the sun set on the mighty T'ang dynasty

In the 8th century, the great Emperor Hsuan-tsung arose from the flames of chaos and terror to rule the majesty that was China- a vast and mysterious domain of witches, artists, concubines, poets, and assassins. But by the year 738 AD, tragedy upon tragedy had unhinged the beloved Son of Heaven, setting loose the jackals in the Court of the Lion: Li Lin-fu, the evil Chief Minister, discretely gaining power through intrigue and murder...An Lu-shan, the sadistic barbarian general, who played the royal bufon while plotting his master's downfall...Yang Kuei-fei, the beautiful Precious Consort, whose hunger for decadent erotic pleasures could destroy a dynasty. And the fate of the T'ang throne rested in the hands of one trusted advisor: the eunuch Kao Li-shih- he who had sacrificed his manhood to become the second most important man in Imperial China...and would sacrifice his life to save a glorious kingdom. 

Pages: 1001

Chapters: 26 plus a foreword, an epilogue and afterword 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Two misfits. One extraordinary love.

Its 1986 and two star-crossed teens are smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love- and just how hard it pulled you under. 

Pages: 325

Chapters: 58 plus a possible prologue






Why we are here; Mobile and the Spirit of a Southern City  by Edward O Wilson and Alex Harris

Entranced by Edward O. Wilson 's mesmerizing evocation of his Southern childhood in The Naturalist and Anthill, Alex Harris approached the scientist about collaborating on a book about Wilson 's native world of Mobile, Alabama. Perceiving that Mobile was a city small enough to be captured through a lens yet old enough to have experienced a full epic cycle of tragedy and rebirth, the photographer and the naturalist joined forces to capture the rhythms of this storied Alabama Gulf region through a swirling tango of lyrical words and breathtaking images. With Wilson tracing his family 's history from the Civil War through the Depression when mule-driven wagons still clogged the roads to Mobile 's racial and environmental struggles to its cultural triumphs today, and with Harris stunningly capturing the mood of a radically transformed city that has adapted to the twenty-first century, the book becomes a universal story, one that tells us where we all come from and why we are here.

Pages: 220

Chapters: 2 chapters maybe, plus introduction and A Sense of Place

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