Saturday, February 20, 2016

Jan-Feb Book Roundup

Looking for some books to check out? Looking to procrastinate from that assignment you were supposed to start yesterday? Looking for some pretty pictures of book covers?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions (and even if you didn't) then you are in luck! I'm taking a break from obsessing over the new Hamilton soundtrack (okay, who are we kidding, I'm literally listening to the album as I write) to list off the books I've managed to read since the semester started. I found that writing posts like these help me better remember what books I've read and how I felt about them. 

Today, I have two categories of books-- one autobiography and several historical fiction novels for you to peruse. So, without further ado...


The Only Pirate At The Party 
By Lindsey Stirling and Brooke Passey 

Lindsey Stirling is my favorite violinist-- she is a YouTube celebrity whose videos have millions of views. She mixes the traditional sound of a violin with hip-hop and other fun genres. Anyway, when I found her autobiography as an ebook from my library I downloaded it. It was a quick read and really interesting. I enjoyed reading about her life and struggles to make it as a musician. 

Historical Fiction

With romance!
Dawn on Distant Shore 
by Sara Donati 

This is actually a sequel to a novel I've written about before. It follows the struggle of a frontier family as the father discovers he has very powerful Scottish relatives who want to use him as a pawn in the complex religious and social struggles in Scotland. The cover looks rather cheesy, I know, with all the talk of 'epic romance', etc. However, I found the story captivating, and difficult to put down. I can't wait to go get the sequel-- the story is starting to shift to the next generation and I'm excited. 

With murder! 
India Black 
by Carol Carr
This a fun story of a prostitute who runs a brothel and gets involved in saving the British government from a political scandal. I enjoyed the twist on the normal Victorian murder mystery novel. There was only a minimal love subplot which I liked because nothing felt forced. That being said, these Victorian murder mystery novels are becoming a bit repetitive; I don't know if I'll pick up the sequel. 

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir 
by R. A. Dick
This novel wasn't historical fiction when it was written in the 40's. I saw the 1947 movie a while ago and ever since I learned it was based off a book I wanted to read the book. This was a short novel and a quick read. Recently widow'd Mrs. Muir and her two children move into a house on a bluff overlooking the sea. The house also happens to be haunted by its former owner, a salty sea captain. It was a good story, and I like to sprinkle in diverse books into my bookshelf, as I don't often read books from the 40's. I used the inner-library loan to get this book, which is one of my favorite things to do. For those of you who don't know, you can request just about any book, as long as some library in the US has it, and the book will be shipped to your local library. For me, the entire thing costs 50 cents which is a crazy bargain! 
My next in the series of "novels that inspired great films" will be the novel which inspired Foreign Correspondent (1940) which is one of my favorite films. It was based off the stunningly imaginatively titled Personal History by Vincent Sheean. 

That's it! That's all I've managed to read this semester. If I wait until the semester is over to compile a book list I'll inevitably forgot what I read at the beginning. I just made it through the first exam week-- I had to proctor and grade 300 exams for the class I TA on top of having three assignments of my own due, and halfway through the week was my birthday. 

Which means I'm 23! I toyed with the idea of writing a nostalgic/predictive post but suffice it to say, I've entered the realm of boring birthday numbers-- no one counts down the days till their 24th birthday ;) 

Now, I'm back to learning every word to every song on the Hamilton soundtrack. It's a new (off?) Broadway musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton and it's surprisingly absolutely amazing. For the record I think I would kill it at playing Eliza. But alas, my future is in a lab and not the stage. 

Thanks for reading!  

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