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Book Club: December

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The snow is currently falling outside my window, and with the Alaskan mountains as the backdrop it is hard to tear away from the beautiful sight of the remote rugged terrain of Alaska. For the month of December I wanted to keep up the theme from last month of going back in time, and with this novel we will be heading back in time to 1946, when the second world war was ending, and a new beginning emerged.

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows takes us back in time to 1946 in London, where a young author named Juliet Ashton is looking for a new subject to write about. While she is searching for a new subject to write about she comes across a letter that sparks her imagination, and even inspires her next book. The letter she had found is from a man that is from the island Guernsey, the man had found Juliet’s name inside of another book that was written by Charles Lamb, and wanted to speak with her.
As Juliet and her new correspondents continue writing to one another, Juliet begins to learn about their society, a society that is eccentric and worldly. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was found at the spur-of-the-moment, when they were discovered after breaking curfew, the society had become an alibi for all of those who were in the group. Juliet continues to learn more and more about the group and each of the members, and she even gets to know them a little more personally when she asks them to list their favorite books, and even their opinions about the German’s who had occupied the land around them. After learning so much about them, Juliet sets off for an adventure, sailing over to Guernsey, and what she finds outs will change her entire life forever.

This book is truly one of the most unique books that I have read in a long time, and to be able to read this with the current backdrop that is my current town, it makes the novel even more fascinating and captivating.

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Book Club: November

The leaves have fallen off the trees, and now they have become decomposed carcasses crunching beneath our feet awaiting for the first snow fall to occur. For the month of November I wanted to take everyone back in time to the late 1880’s in Paris, France; where the Eiffel Tower is being erected, and the bond between two people from different classes fall in love.

To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin is a beautifully written novel that takes place in Paris, France in the 1880’s, during the time that the Eiffel Tower is being built. During this time a young Scottish widow named Caitriona Wallace, and a French engineer named Émile Nouguier meet on a hot air balloon; a moment where anything is possible. However, as soon as they touch the ground, it is revealed that they are from two completely different classes and backgrounds. Caitriona who is having a slight problem with her finances is being told that she must chaperone with two Scottish charges, and this does not settle well with her. Émile having come from a very wealthy bourgeois family, whom are forcing him to choose a suitable wife and take over the family’s business. With these two people from different world’s come together, they must figure out what their love is worth, because everything seems to be against them and the love that they have for each other.

This novel is ideal for the beginning of winter time across the world, especially when you are all huddled inside your homes as the snow begins to fall outside the window, and as the steam from the hot mugs swirls around as you read the novel. The novel has something for everyone, from the Eiffel Tower being erected for the history buffs, to the romance between two people for those who are hopeless romantics.

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Book Club: September

Welcome to the fall of 2017 everyone! For the month of September, since it is the beginning of fall, and Halloween is next month, I chose a book that is a fantastic book to curl up with on a cool September day, it is Nora Roberts’ book Dark Witch.

Dark Witch follows a young woman named Iona Sheehan who looks for acceptance, love, and devotion; this stems from having parents who are portrayed as being indifferent. Even though she has not been able to find that from her parents, her maternal grandmother showed her where she can find the acceptance, devotion, and love she seeks in nature and even in old legends that reside in her ancestor’s homeland, Ireland. Iona sets off to Ireland, and there she meets her cousins Branna and Connor, who take her into their home and into their lives. Iona ends up landing a job at a local stable, where she ends up meeting the owner, a man by the name of Boyle McGrath. He is everything that makes her weak in the knees, a cowboy, pirate, and wild tribal horseman.
Iona realizes that here in Ireland she can make a life for herself, however, an ancient evil sets upon Iona’s family tree, descending upon her and her cousins. Setting in motion, Iona and her family must fight to defeat the evil.

This book is truly amazing, and it certainly is a great book to curl up with while you are enjoying your hot drink and taking in the Autumn breeze that pelts against your house.

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Book Club: August

For the month of August, I wanted to chose a book that a large portion of the world is going through at this moment, war, spiritual awakenings, segregations, and imposed limitations for what someone is “suppose” to believe in (inside their own religion). Find Nouf by Zoë Ferraris dives into each one of those touchy subjects.

Sixteen-year-old Nouf goes missing, along with a truck and her favorite camel, her family (who are wealthy)calls on Nayir al-Sharqi, a desert guide, to lead a search party. Only ten days later, when Nayir is about to give up, Nouf’s body has been discovered by some anonymous desert travelers. At first it seems as those Nouf had died of dehydration, but the coroner’s report came back with the death being ruled as drowning. Her family suddenly becomes uninterested in finding out how she could’ve drowned, however, Nayir takes it upon himself to finding out what really happened to Nouf. This will push gentle, pious Nayir, a Palestinian orphan raised by his bachelor uncle, to delve into the secret life of a protected teenage girl, in one of the most rigidly gender-segregated of Middle Eastern societies.

This novel dives deeper showcasing us Nayir’s deepest thoughts, and see him go through transformations spiritually and mentally as he discovers more about Nouf’s death.

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Book Club: July

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“The Diary of a Chambermaid” by Octave Mirbeau graces the book of the month club for the month of July. This classic book transports back in time to witness the life of Celestine, a chambermaid, that goes to different houses and takes care of the occupants. Her first station is at the home of an elderly man who has an odd fetish with her boots, later on while she is still working there, she finds the man dead in bed with one of her boots in his mouth. She then takes a position at a home where a married bourgeois couple reside, and she finds herself in the midst of a estranged marriage and ends up becoming entangled in their marriage as well. Celestine’s last position is at the home of bourgeois café hostess who mistreats her servants at every turn. During all these positions at all of these different residents, Celestine has begun to learn more about her body, her mind frame, and finds herself learning the ways of love, sex, and even the ways of the upper class world.

Octave Mirbeau is one of the most gifted authors of the late 1800’s-early 1900’s, and this book proves the talent he possessed. Celestine, the main character of the novel, is a great strong leading character, showing exactly what all women go through from an early age, and it shows that each woman takes control of their own lives and situations in different ways.

I thoroughly enjoy this novel, just as I enjoy all of Octave’s other novels, and this is why I highly recommend reading this book for the month of July. Once you have finished reading this book, comment below and tell me what your thoughts are on the character, the plot, and the book as a whole.

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The Books That Shape You

The books we read shape us into the beings that we are, if you don’t believe that then look at your bookshelf and see which genre out rules the rest, then dive deep into your mind and heart, you will see that those books shaped you in ways you had not realized.

For myself, I read just about anything and so the list of books that I have read is completely all over the page from classic to fantasy to psychological thrillers. Even though I cannot pick a favorite book, I tend to find my self lean towards the classics, such as A Room With a View, Sense and Sensibility, The Raven, Moby Dick; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to name a few. Those books helped shaped into the person that I’ve become.

Recently, I read an article that was titled, “What Your Favorite Book Genre Says About Your Personality”, and I was intrigued. Being so intrigued, I began to read what this person had thought about each genre and how it developed a person’s personality. And when I read the first one, classic, I was smiling so big that I was surprised how accurate this person had pinpointed my personality from just focusing on my favorite book genre. Here is what the article said about classics, ” You have and will reread just about every classic there is. Jane Austen and Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck — this is the crew that will always be your favorite writers. You were the kid in high school who actually read all of the mandatory books and enjoyed them. You prefer getting to know one person deeply, rather than knowing a couple people on the surface. You tend to cherish the simplicities in everyday life more than anything else.” 100% that is me in a small paragraph when it comes to pinpointing me with a book genre. I was excited to read the books that my teachers had assigned for us to read, in fact, I got in trouble for reading the entire book ( we were only supposed to read two chapters), and was unable to say anything about the book, because I might’ve spoiled it for the rest of the class. I didn’t mind, it just meant that I could read a different book while they were discussing the chapter that they were on.

The article continues to go on and list other genres such as fantasy, horror, and romance. What is your favorite book genre? Do you have more than one? Classics is my number one, then fantasy. And the description for the both of them definitely suits me.

Follow this link and read the original article about book genres and personalities.

https://www.bustle.com/articles/109117-what-your-favorite-book-genre-says-about-your-personality

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What ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Taught me about Love and Relationships

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Ever since I was a little child I always had a book in my hand, I would take that book with me everywhere I went and read it while other kids were socializing with one another, don’t get me wrong, I would jump in mud puddles and play in the dirt just like any other child, I just preferred books more. The books I read as a child helped shape me to become the woman that I am today, and I am grateful for it. Most of the books were of romance, you know the old fashioned romance novels that still grace the bookshelves around the world, but are now in the back due to the recent BDSM novels 5o Shades of Grey taking the limelight.

Anne of Green Gables series is a perfect example of one of the romance-coming of age novels that I grew up reading as a child, and during the time that I had discovered about love, friendships, relationships, and learning about myself as well by reading these novels. And oh what a ride it was at such a young age to learn about that. And now, as a woman in my mid-20’s, I can look back on those novels when I need some reminding about what it is that I learned about love and relationships.

                                          Find someone who challenges you:

When it comes to academics, and some sports, I can get pretty competitive, that is just who I am by nature. However, I, just like everyone else, feel like I have to dumb myself down to just stroke a guys ego, but just like Anne Shirley, I will have none of that. At first Anne tries to best Gilbert, who is also very competitive, but in reality this whole competitive streak in the both of them, it just makes them both better, not only for themselves, but for each other.

Forget about your ideal suitor/dream person:

Just like everyone else out there, we all are attracted to specific types of people. For Anne, her ideal person was “tall and distinguished looking, with melancholy, inscrutable eyes and a melting, sympathetic voice”. That description is nowhere near Gilbert Blythe, even though he is her soul mate and one true love. For myself, my ideal person was, tall, rugged, tattooed, with soulful eyes and a deep, penetrating voice. I’m not saying you should settle, by heavens, no. Just remember, that your soul mate will look different from your ideal suitor, and that is okay. In the words of Anne Shirley, “I don’t want sunbursts or marble halls, I just want you.” Keep that in mind when you have finally met your soulmate/twinflame.

Relationship with your own bosom friend (best friend):

Everyone has a best friend (s), the one that we can go to for anything, and know that they will be your support system, while at the same time, make you stay grounded. Anne Shirley’s best friend is Diana Barry, whom she refers to “bosom friend”, they are inseparable and their friendships stays strong throughout the remainder of their lives. Having your very own best friend is one of the best feelings in the world, because you have found someone who understands your quirks, and loves spending time with you.

Letting Yourself Be Rescued:

For many modern women, they do not want to be rescued by a prince/princess on a shining horse, it is basically against everything that the modern woman stands for. But if you are like Anne Shirley, holding onto the bottom of the bridge in The Lake of Shining Waters, and your rival comes along wanting to help you get out….take it. There is nothing wrong with being saved once in a while.

Don’t be afraid to feel all of the emotions:

Being an emotional person is nothing to be afraid of, in fact, I am highly emotional, and perfectly okay with that. Because I feel for everything around me and in me. Anne’s emotions are well read between the lines, and to see the things she finds joy in and see how much Gilbert had hurt her, is truly remarkable. Because she is a human, she is allowed to feel these emotions.

Never take shit from boys:

When Anne arrives to the school on her first day, Gilbert is taken by her and wants to get her attention, so what does he do? He calls her “carrots” and pulls on her braids. And Anne’s response, she got up, cursed him, took a slate and smashed it over Gilbert’s head. It is humorous when you first read it, and still hilarious when you read it again, or even when you watch it happen when Megan Follows (as Anne Shirley) busts the slate over Jonathan Crombie’s (as Gilbert Blythe) head.

The first meeting:

The moment Gilbert Blythe lays eyes on Anne Shirley, he is smitten, as if it were truly love at first sight. But then his obnoxious behavior turns Anne away for some time, and he tries to get her attention again. Love at first sight is something that pretty much everyone dreams of, and I will admit that I have always been fascinated with the thought of love at first sight. For myself, I have never actually experienced it, but I don’t let that get me down. The first meeting can be over the top like Anne’s and Gilbert’s, or it can be something that you have only read or seen in movies, or even just by a chance encounter.

Sometimes it’s best to apologize:

Anne realizes that her actions against Gilbert were uncalled for, and that is when she gives him the sweetest and dearest apology ever to be written: “What a stubborn little goose I was…”, finally opening up that door that led to a beautiful friendship and romance.

 

Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of the Anne of Green Gables series, created the characters of Anne and Gilbert to show the entire world about true romance and show that even Anne goes through the entire cycle of emotions as she learns her place in the world, in herself, and as a wonderful yet spunky daughter, friend, wife, and mother. Not only that, but Lucy Maud Montgomery created a man (Gilbert) that millions of women (and some men) had fallen for, and I was one of those women who had fallen for Gilbert Blythe. And if Mrs. Montgomery were here, I would give her a hug and thank her for creating such beautiful novels that I could relate to.