A Bibliophile’s Pile (48): More Christmas Reading

 Read

The Cricket on the HearthThe Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens (audiobook / library)
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My friend Tisha compared this story to an episode of Three’s Company, with its misunderstandings and well intentioned lying. I have to agree, except there are fewer laughs in The Cricket on the Hearth (I laughed exactly once, when Dickens described Caleb’s house as a pimple). This is just sugary sweet sentimentality. Yuck.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor (Once Upon a Dickens Christmas #1)12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep (audiobook / library)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The mystery is decent enough, but the romance is super sappy.

 

How Fear Departed the Long Gallery: A Ghost Story for ChristmasHow Fear Departed the Long Gallery: A Ghost Story for Christmas by E.F. Benson (physical / library)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This little taste of Benson’s writing has made me excited to started Mapp & Lucia! Deliciously creepy, witty, and touching!

Agatha Raisin and the Witches' Tree (Agatha Raisin #28)Agatha Raisin and the Witches’ Tree by M.C. Beaton (audiobook / library)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh, Agatha! All of the stale characters are here, getting into mischief, arguing, miscommunicating, etc. Alison Larkin’s voice is *much* better suited to this book than it is the Jane Austen!

The Theft of the Royal Ruby: A Short StoryThe Theft of the Royal Ruby: A Short Story by Agatha Christie (ebook / library / re-read)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A traditional Christmas read for me – I love Poirot so much, it doesn’t matter that I know the solution by heart!

 

The Tale of DespereauxThe Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (audiobook / library / re-read / with kids)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am extremely nervous to discuss this one at book club. I’ve heard lots of rumbling among the other mothers that this is too dark, depressing, violent, etc. It *is* all of those things, as are *many* of the best children’s stories. I believe that this story teaches empathy, forgiveness, and courage.

Journey to the Center of the EarthJourney to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (audiobook / library)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can’t find the edition I actually read – it was a digital audiobook from my local library. It was read by George Newbern, and he was wonderful! I definitely preferred this to 20,000 Leagues (which I read in high school and thought was unbearably dull). My son seems to have enjoyed it immensely (he actually read this B&N classics edition).

Challenges

GOODREADS

294 of 260

AGATHA CHRISTIE READ ALONGS

None

#shakeit2017

None

CLASSICS CHALLENGE

The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

BACKLIST READER CHALLENGE 2017

None

POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2017

None

A Bibliophile’s Pile (47): Bring on the Christmas Books

 Read

The Cracked Spine (Scottish Bookshop Mystery, #1)The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton (audiobook / library)
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I’m torn. I *loved* the characters, and the narrator was great, but the mystery was muddled, and the vaguely paranormal elements were odd.

 

I Capture the CastleI Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (physical / own)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, that just proves that my Bookstagram buddies aren’t infallible. Everyone (except Shell) raved about this book – it’s amazing, an under appreciated classic, Austenesque! Um, no.
While I agree that the basic story is very Austenesque – beautiful sisters in reduced circumstances, rich men moving into the neighborhood – it lacks Austen’s astute observation of human nature. Every single character is over the top, unreal, more caricature than character. Cassandra’s voice is witty, and often charming, but it’s not enough to carry the entire novel.
I was buddy reading with my friend Katie, but she felt these way I did, and decided to back burner the book until a later date. We’re going to re-read Persuasion in December – I’m so excited!

The Tenth City (The Land of Elyon, #3)The Tenth City by Patrick Carman (audiobook / library /with kids)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The last few chapters had us going, “What is going on?!” I’m ready to give this series a rest for a bit – bring on the Christmas books!!!

 

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (The Herdmans #1)The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (audiobook / library / with kids / re-read)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A yearly tradition in our house! Absolutely hysterical!!

 

Murder in the Mystery Suite (Book Retreat Mysteries, #1)Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams (audiobook / library)
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Absolutely ridiculous.

 

 

The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year inThe Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year in by Charles Dickens (audiobook / library)
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This story was wildly successful in its day – because it’s a social commentary on the specific time, place, and people of that day. Now it feels like a rehash of A Christmas Carol, except even darker.

Grab Bag: A Collection of StoriesGrab Bag: A Collection of Stories by Charlotte MacLeod (ebook / library)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Usually short story collections, even those written by a single author, are uneven, with a few great stories, and a few clunkers. Not so with this collection. There wasn’t a single bad story in the lot!

Challenges

GOODREADS

286 of 260

AGATHA CHRISTIE READ ALONGS

None

#shakeit2017

None

CLASSICS CHALLENGE

The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year in by Charles Dickens
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

BACKLIST READER CHALLENGE 2017

None

POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2017

None