A Bibliophile’s Pile (5): The One Good Thing About Being Sick – More Time to Read

A Bibliophile’s Pile (as in TBR pile) is a new feature for 2017. It’s going to be very similar to my Mini Review posts, but instead of theming each post, I’m just going to list what I’ve read in the past week. Easy peasy.


Murder on the Bride's Side (An Elizabeth Parker Mystery, #2)Murder on the Bride’s Side by Tracy Kiely (physical book / library)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoy the Austen references (just winks and nods, rather than entire plot points), and I liked how Elizabeth’s inside knowledge of / history with the Matthews family gave her insight that the detective couldn’t have. I like Elizabeth herself, but I often want to shake her! She is too clueless about her own personal life.

Killer CocktailKiller Cocktail by Tracy Kiely (physical book / library)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This series is great fun! I absolutely love Nic, Nigel and Skippy. I figured out a few clues before Nic and Nigel, had some wild theories of my own, but ultimately failed to guess the killer’s identity.

A Night DividedA Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen (audiobook / library / with kids)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A bit slow to start, but a nail-biter by the end! Excellent supplement to our study of the Cold War.



Tales from Shakespeare: As You Like It by Charles and Mary Lamb (audiobook / library / with kids)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As You Like It is fine, but I prefer Shakespeare’s other comedies. It feels like a first draft of Twelfth Night.


The GoldfinchThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (audiobook / library)
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My gut reaction: Ugh, I want my 32.5 hours back!

Longer review later. Maybe.

Okay, a few more thoughts: I’ve seen numerous reviewers call The Goldfinch Dickensian, and it is. The huge scale of the novel, the interesting and intricately drawn characters, the look at the seedy underbelly of life, the coincidences, the *entire plot*. Yet, there’s very little goodness, and even less humor, to balance it. Dickens could write about *horrible* things, and yet his novels end on a hopeful note. The Goldfinch is unrelentingly depressing.


Also, there’s a HUGE plot hole. I have kids and I’ve made a will. If I felt that my children’s father (my husband) wasn’t a fit parent, I would sure as heck have made alternate arrangements in my will for my children’s care. If Theo’s mother could make financial provisions for him, WHY didn’t she appoint a guardian?!

Absolutely TrulyAbsolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (audiobook / library)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was on my radar because I’m a big fan of Amy Rubinate’s narration. I was hesitant though, because I didn’t love The Mother Daughter Book Club. Then, Gillian, aka @thesunnylibrarian on Instagram, recommended it. I’ve been looking for recs from librarians for the Popsugar challenge, so I went with it. SOOO glad I did! Truly Lovejoy, and her friends and family, are delightful! I love the way Truly categorizes everyone she meets as a bird, her Sudoku obsession, and her curiosity. She bumbles around in typical Cozy mystery heroine fashion, getting into scrapes, but since she’s only 12 it actually makes sense, lol.



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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt




A book recommended by a librarian – Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick
A novel set during wartime – A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
A book that’s more than 800 pages – The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Mini Reviews (11) – Shakespeare for Children

The kids and I have been studying Shakespeare since September. We start with E. Nesbit (easiest to understand), continue on to David Timson (more detail), and conclude with Charles and Mary Lamb (most original Shakespeare).

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children by E. Nesbit
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Shakespeare Stories by David Timson
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Here are my mini reviews for each version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, and Romeo and Juliet.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

E. Nesbit – The language isn’t as Shakespearean as the Lamb version, but that makes it easier for children to understand.

Daivd Timson – This version contains more details than either Nesbit’s or Lamb’s. It is easy to understand AND includes plenty of the original lines.

Charles and Mary Lamb – I, personally, love this version as it uses a fair amount of Shakespeare’s own language. My children, however, were still pretty confused as to what was going on. A Midsummer Night’s Dream has a complicated plot and is based on confusion, so it’s no surprise that they found it hard to follow.

Twelfth Night:

E. Nesbit – I had to explain the story to my kids after reading it. It IS pretty confusing.

David Timson – The kids said this one was easier to understand (although that could be because they’re already familiar with it now). I appreciate that this version included the Malvolio plot.

Charles and Mary Lamb – Easy to understand but still retaining Shakespeare’s charm. Why do the versions for kids usually leave out the Malvolio plot?

Romeo and Juliet:

E. Nesbit – This version is clear enough for youngsters to understand, without being overly graphic. I talked with my children afterward about how this story is NOT a great romance. It is a cautionary tale to adults who hold grudges for no good reason.

David Timson – The retelling is decent, although my son pointed out that Romeo’s fight with Paris was eliminated. I had to deduct a bit for the giggle inducing sound effects on the audio – squeaky, smacky kisses, as well as gurgling noises when the lovers drank their various potions.

Charles and Mary Lamb – It’s been awhile since I read this version or saw Shakespeare’s play. I had forgotten the part about young ladies pretending not to love their lovers (so that’s where P&P’s Mr. Collins got the idea!). This is a beautiful story, but NOT a great love story. As my son so wisely pointed out – they don’t even know each other!