Farewell Post & A New Beginning

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The time has come to close down Lost Generation Reader. I’ve enjoyed the past few years on this blog, but I’ve decided to start a different adventure on a new site.

You can now find me at JMill Wanders. Please follow the new blog to keep up to date on my life. The book blogging aspect will remain the same, and you’ll find more topics of discussion including travel and writing. Also, I’m keeping my social media sites but changing the name to match the blog, so you’ll see that changing as well.

Never fear! I’m not disappearing, just changing a little, as we all must do in time.

Thanks for getting lost with me over the years! Now it’s time to wander onward to something new…

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite School Reads

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Welcome back for another round of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Learn more about Top Ten Tuesday and its previous topics here.

Up this week: FREEBIE! (Favorite School Reads)

This week is a freebie. I was originally going to write about books that inspire travel since I will be heading to Europe on June 1st, but I couldn’t think of nearly enough books. My friend Alyssa mentioned her freebie is books read in school, so I’ve decided to copy that.

High School Reads

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1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I read many books in high school. I liked some, dislikes some, and a few I’ve completely forgotten about because so much time has passed. One of the books I remember most is The Great Gatsby. I grew to appreciate and love it better when I read it years later, but Fitzgerald’s writing (along with JK Rowling) was what encouraged me to be a writer. It’s a tragic yet beautiful story, and I always appreciate a little madness and chaos.

2. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I don’t recall thinking about prejudice and racism much until after reading To Kill A Mockingbird. This book opened my eyes to how much there was (and still is) a devastating amount of inequality in the world. Perhaps this is because I grew up in a very white city within a very white state (Fargo, North Dakota) at a time when the internet wasn’t this massive news and media outlet. There was also the issue of history classes making racism seem like much less of an issue than it really was. It was fluffy. I needed this book. It doesn’t even come close to some of the other atrocities throughout history, and I can think of other books that cover racism better, but it was a start when I needed it.

3. Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I first read this book in French class, but also again in college for a Children’s Literature course. It’s one of those books that stays with you no matter what age you are. There are so many lessons about trust, loss, love, and determination that both inspire and caution readers. I can see a book like this being essential reading far into the future. You can bet it will be required reading for my children in the future… you know, when I actually have children.

College Reads

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4. Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
I read Romeo & Juliet and Julius Caesar back in high school. R&J was okay, and I’ve grown to dislike it more as time goes on. Caesar was a couple steps in a better direction. It wasn’t until I read Titus Andronicus in my Shakespeare class that I really came to appreciate the Bard. Perhaps it just takes the most violent work to get me to truly appreciate him. I do enjoy some of Shakespeare’s histories and comedies, but Titus will always have a special place in my heart as the best tragedy and best play overall.

5. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
I first met Dickens in my British Literature II course when reading Hard Times. It encouraged me to take a full capstone course on Dickens, which led to me not only falling in love with the Victorian writer, but also falling in love with Bleak House. Dickens uncovers some of the biggest atrocities during the Victorian era, and the massive and complex cast of characters provide a well-rounded presentation of England. I also love when Dickens pokes fun at horrible people by giving them awful names.

6. Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
My British Literature II course also introduced me to Austen. I think that professor deserves a medal for leading me to my current obsessions. Anyway, Sense and Sensibility was my first Austen. It isn’t my favorite of her work, but it was brilliant enough to encourage me to read everything. This book is also responsible for my participation in Austen in August, and for that I am thankful.

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7. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
I love Jane Eyre. It’s one of my favorite classics, and it’s not easy for me to pick favorites. That being said, I didn’t like how Rochester’s wife was treated as some insane woman in the attic. Her story is far too short. I understand why, of course, but I needed more. I was happy to be assigned Wide Sargasso Sea in an Irish-Carribean connection literature class. (Yes, that’s a real class, and it was amazing.) It’s a brilliant companion novel that brings Antoinette to life. The book doesn’t take anything away from Eyre, but it helps you look at the woman in the attic in a different light.

8. The Quiet American by Graham Greene
I thoroughly enjoy a good cynic! Or do I adore realists? Either way, Graham Greene knows how to write a damn fine novel. Many consider the book to be a slander against Americans or an anti-war novel, but I think the book did just what it was meant to do by giving a different perspective on war. And being American, I know that it’s good for us to be put in our place from time to time. I can’t help but enjoy this novel for the contrast between the two main characters alone, but so much more adds to its genius. It remains my favorite Greene novel.

9. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Oh, Joyce. What am I going to do with a man like Joyce? If, like me, you need to start somewhere with Joyce, this is the book to pick. You could also read his short stories (‘The Dead’ is perfection), but this book is where it’s at for a shorter introduction to the world of Joyce. There’s Greek mythology and struggle with religion and family, and that’s merely scratching the surface. If his larger work appears daunting, give this one a try. One of my favorite professors introduced me to Joyce as well as Greene and Rhys. She must have done something right.

10. The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
Surprise! Another Shakespeare. I just couldn’t leave this one out. If you haven’t read this genius play yet, get on it. It’s my favorite comedy from Shakespeare and well worth the praise. It’s hilarious with a solid take on female agency. (My professor would cry tears of joy seeing the word ‘agency’ in this post. He said it at least ten time per class session. We counted.) If you haven’t read this one yet but have seen and loved 10 Things I Hate About You, know that the film is an adaptation of this play which means you must read it.

Bout of Books Readathon Updates

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Update: Bout of Books is officially over! I’m ready for the next round in August, but for now I thought I’d do a little recap of my goals.

1. Read at least 6 books.
I finished 5 full books, but with half of Moranthology completed and a chunk of Gone with the Wind finished I’m going to pretend that I met this goal.

2. Follow 15+ new bloggers on social media.
I didn’t keep a tally of where new people came from, but I’m sure I added at least 10 new people on social media. Probably 15.

3. Comment on 15+ blogger pages.
Again, I didn’t track these things, but I likely got close to this number. I kept fairly active on other sites, so I consider it an obtained goal.

4. Participate in 3+ challenges and/or Twitter chats.
I wasn’t around for any of the Twitter chats, but I did participate in 3 of the challenges. You can find those linked below.

My unwritten goal was to read at least 1,000 pages, and I ended up with 1,020 pages. Overall, I consider this round of Bout of Books a success. I hope the rest of you enjoyed the event! See you next time.


Day 1 – Monday
Pages Read: 110
Total Pages Read: 110
Books Read: Seabiscuit (still reading)
Total Books Finished: 0
Notes/Thoughts: I’m reading Seabiscuit for book club. I knew next to nothing about horses or horse racing going into it, so I’m learning a lot and find myself enjoying the read. Also, BOUT OF BOOKS!!!
Challenge: Bookish Survey Challenge

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Day 2 – Tuesday
Pages Read: 88
Total Pages Read: 198
Books Read: Seabiscuit
Total Books Finished: 1
Notes/Thoughts: Tonight was slower for reading, but I made it through the rest of Seabiscuit (4 stars) before calling it a night. I will say that it would be nice if my sister were on vacation this week. Her constant interruptions make readathon life difficult.

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Day 3 – Wednesday
Pages Read: 372
Total Pages Read: 570
Books Read: Saga Volume 3, Saga Volume 4, Alone and Not Alone
Total Books Finished: 4
Notes/Thoughts: Today looks impressive, but my books consisted of two volumes of comics (both 5 stars)  and a book of poetry (4 stars), all of which were rather quick reads. All the same I’m excited about getting through four books in three days.

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Day 4 – Thursday
Pages Read: 40
Total Pages Read: 610
Books Read: Gone with the Wind
Total Books Finished: 4
Notes/Thoughts: I finally got started on Gone with the Wind for the reading event I’m participating in. I’ve put it off for several years and am excited to finally be reading it. I didn’t have a lot of time to read yesterday, hence the lack of pages, but I should be able to put more time in over the weekend.

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Day 5 – Friday
Pages Read: 33
Total Pages Read: 643
Books Read: Gone with the Wind
Total Books Finished: 4
Notes/Thoughts: Yesterday was rather pitiful for reading. I made it through another couple chapters of Gone with the Wind, but that’s where it ended. I worked all day and went to Pitch Perfect 2 with a couple friends at night. I’ll have more time now that the weekend feels more officially here. So let’s just not talk about today’s sad progress and instead pretend I did very well.
Challenge: Cover Color Challenge

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Day 6 – Saturday
Pages Read: 262
Total Pages Read: 905
Books Read: Gone with the Wind and Fat Girl
Total Books Finished: 5
Notes/Thoughts: Saturday was much better than the previous couple days. I spent some time at the comic book store, coffee shop, and CSA produce pickup with a friend, and I baked a loaf of delicious blueberry bread, but otherwise I was reading. Slowly making progress through Gone with the Wind, and Fat Girl (2 stars) wasn’t as good as it sounded in the description.
Challenge: Favorite Read Photo Challenge

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Day 7 – Sunday
Pages Read: 115
Total Pages Read: 1,020
Books Read: Moranthology
Total Books Finished: 5
Notes/Thoughts: I didn’t get around to Gone with the Wind today, but I did start Moranthology by Caitlin Moran. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but I was disappointed to find three glaringly obviously writing errors in the first 90 pages. I had some family plans and laundry that kept me from reading, but I intend on finishing Moranthology tonight before getting back to GWTW. I had no reaction gif for the final day, so please enjoy Caitlin Moran making a face.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Really Want to Meet

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Welcome back for another round of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can read more about Top Ten Tuesday and its previous topics here.

Up this week: Authors I Really Want to Meet

I’ve met many fantastic authors over the years including Roxane Gay, Margaret Atwood, and David Sedaris, so you won’t find those beauties on this list. You also won’t find any dead authors on this list. I don’t know if this is a hypothetical living-or-dead list, but I’m going with living to narrow the field.

Note: A few of these writers were previously mentioned as favorite authors. Read that post for more reasons as to why I love them.

1. JK Rowling
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Hanging out with JK Rowling sounds like a good time. Like an amazingly good time. We’d have tea and discuss politics, magic, and humanity. I’d probably cry when the conversation runs deep. Or I would just say a simple “Thank you” and leave it at that.

2. Ian McEwan
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Ian will always be one of those writers I look to for guidance in my writing. I don’t try to mimic him, but he’s always inspired me. I’d probably improperly fangirl and scare him away, but it would be worth it for a moment of his time.

3. Edan Lepucki
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Edan is one of those people I sometimes pretend I know because we’ve talked on Twitter. In other words, I love her work, and she’s nice to me. I want to meet her because she sounds snarky, and she’s a damn fine writer. I enjoyed California and her novella and can say I loved both. I recommend them if you haven’t read her work yet.

4. Celeste Ng
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Celeste is another person I’ve talked to on Twitter. I tend to want to meet people who I feel like I already know (to a small tiny extent) online. I care more about relating to people, sharing humor, and being personable than I care about saying I met a famous person. Like Edan, Celeste sounds snarky, and of course I loved Everything I Never Told You.

5. Neil Gaiman/Amanda Palmer
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I’m cheating and putting Neil and Amanda together since they’re married. (Sorry, people will do that to you sometimes.) Neil Gaiman is a literary genius, and I’m rather obsessed with Amanda’s Art of Asking book. Being in a room with these two would not only be inspirational, but humorous and an all around good time. There would be much singing and shenanigans.

6. Caitlin Moran
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Who the fuck wouldn’t want to meet Caitlin Moran!? Her stories are hilarious, she’s damn clever, and I love her choices in fashion. (I don’t love anyone’s choices in fashion. This is a big deal.) I look up to her for being who she is and loving herself. Too many people in the world are negative, and she challenges that with her “Here I am, world!” mentality. I don’t know her too well away from her writing, and I haven’t read all her writing, but I do know that we’d get on well.

7. Mindy Kaling
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Mindy’s book is my entire life. Okay, not my entire life because our upbringings don’t match up and she’s a talented actress all over the place while I live in North Dakota. But somewhere deep down in her book, she gets me, and I get her. Isn’t that what people want? To be around people who just get them? I also think B.J. Novak and I would be best friends just like he and Mindy are best friends. That has to count for something.

8. Cheryl Strayed
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I just want to go on a hike with Cheryl Strayed and talk about life. Not a hike that stretches multiple states, but a hike nonetheless.

9. Samantha Shannon
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Samantha is another writer I “know” from Twitter. We’re around the same age, write, love Sherlock, and have awesome fathers. That’s really all it takes to form a friendship. I would also enjoy talking more about her books.

10. Kazuo Ishiguro
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I saved the best for last. Like McEwan, I look to Kazuo for inspiration in my writing. I’d love to sit down and talk about the work-life balance and his books. I also appreciate the way he stands firm on his writing style and beliefs and knows when to take time for himself. Also like McEwan, I’d probably scare him away accidentally. It would be a short tea date.

Bout of Books Bookish Survey Challenge

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I will finally get to start reading as day one of Bout of Books is just a handful of hours from ending, but first I want to participate in a challenge hosted by Writing My Own Fairy Tale. She posed a handful of questions that I’ve answered below.

1. How do you organize your shelves?
My shelves are currently a bit scattered, but I try to sort by genre or theme. Dickens and Austen each have their own shelves. Hemingway and Fitzgerald share a shelf (good luck there). I have two shelves for Harry Potter, two shelves for Children’s and Young Adult, two shelves for nonfiction stuff, one shelf for monarchy-type books (primarily Tudors), and everything else that’s fiction tends to be one giant mess at the moment that I hope to fix eventually.

2. What is one of your favorite book that’s not in one of your favorite genres?
My favorite genre is literary fiction. Since Harry Potter is considered Children’s Literature, I’m going with that. Always.

3. What is the last 5 star book you read?
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. It’s pure gold for a Tudor period obsessed person such as myself. It can get a little dense, and if you aren’t familiar with the time period you may get lost, but it’s well worth the read regardless.

4. What book are you most excited to read during the read-a-thon?
I am excited to continue reading the comic series Saga, but for new stuff I’m most excited for starting Gone with the Wind. I’ve put it off for far too long.

5. What book do you recommend the most?
There are far too many to really think on this question. Most recently I’ve recommended All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, and Citizen by Claudia Rankine the most. All brilliant and powerful for their own reasons. (I’d say Harry Potter, but so many people have read it now that I don’t have to recommend it much anymore.)

Feel free to share your answers here or link to your own posts.

Bout of Books Readathon Goals

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Happy Bout of Books readathon week! I’m excited to be back for another round of reading and shenanigans for the next seven days. If you aren’t yet aware of this event, find more information here on the main page.

I made a large reading list for the week due to a couple reading events I’m participating in as well as not knowing what I’ll be in the mood for next. It’s pretty scattered with fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and comics. I should be around evenings after work as well as most of the weekend. More specific goals and an updated reading list are below.

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My Bout of Books Goals
1. Read at least 6 books.
2. Follow 15+ new bloggers on social media.
3. Comment on 15+ blogger pages.
4. Participate in 3+ challenges and/or Twitter chats.

My Reading List
1. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (already started)
2. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens (already started)
3. Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
4. Alone and Not Alone by Ron Padgett
5. Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya
6. Fat Girl by Judith Moore
7. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
8. Lettres d’un Vogageur by George Sand
9. The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg
10. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
11. Saga Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan
12. Saga Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan

I hope everyone has a spectacular week with Bout of Books!

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Bout of Books participants: What are some of your goals, and what books are you looking forward to reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Will Probably Never Read (or Finish)

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Welcome back for another round of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can read more about Top Ten Tuesday and its previous topics here.

Up this week: Books I Will Probably Never Read (or Finish)

This topic was tough. I’m not one to typically say “I’m not reading this” unless I have tried it and know I don’t like it. That’s probably why I’ve tried reading a few of these books already, or I’ve read other work by the writer and know enough about their style to not want to spend more time on them.

1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
I’m starting off with a beasty book that I simply don’t really care if I read or not. I have no justifiable reason for it other than a lack of interest. I couldn’t even tell you the synopsis. That’s how much I don’t care.

2. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
This is one of those books that a lot of people talk about but I remember nothing that they’ve said. I just know that I’m not a huge fan of Steinbeck and that I’m not trying to get back to his work anytime soon.

3. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Here’s another book I probably won’t read because I’m not a fan of the author. People gushed about As I Lay Dying and I thought it was just OK after finally reading it. I have a tendency to not enjoy reading books set in the south. I’m working on that, but they remain hit and miss with me.

4. Z by Theresa Anne Fowler
Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with anything from the Lost Generation. Naturally this includes the Fitzgeralds. Unfortunately, this does not include Z. I didn’t get very far into the book, but it started out (you guessed it) in the south. Something about the language mixed with the portrayal of Zelda and Scott turned me off. There are other books I plan on reading instead for my Fitzgerald fix.

5. Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman
I hate admitting that I won’t read this book, but it’s true. The TV show came with so much hype and spoilers that I no longer have the care or ambition to read the book. I doubt I’ll watch the show for the same reason. I’m sure I would enjoy it if I had gotten on board before all the spoilers and obsession, but since I didn’t I’m going to pass.

6. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
I’m going to get yelled at for this one, but here it is. I don’t think I can read more Outlander books. Claire and Jamie drive me bonkers more often than not. I would enjoy the series if it wasn’t for them, but unfortunately they are kind of important to the books. That being said, I’ll probably keep watching the show for Dougal… because Dougal.

7. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
I read If I Stay before the movie came out and didn’t think it very special. I found myself not caring about Mia after that book so I’m not inclined to read a continuation of her story.

8. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
You know I don’t like a series if I haven’t seen the newest movie after it being out for over a month. I got through the first two books and had to call it quits after that. The overall concept is interesting on the surface, but I found myself not caring about the characters or how they get through this mess of a world they’re living in. When it comes to books that deal with finding justice in a shitty world, I’ll stick to The Bone Season or The Hunger Games. I don’t care if they’re different. That’s where I stand.

9. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Here’s another book I won’t read because I don’t enjoy the writer’s work. The Twilight series was a major fail for me. I never learned to care about any of the characters, and I wasn’t fond of the writing style. I also rarely see the book before reading the movie, but I did in this case, and it wasn’t worth justifying the book.

10. 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Of course I would get to 50 Shades of Grey. I didn’t like Twilight, and I don’t care about the Romance genre, so is there anything else to say? Before you ask, yes, I did try reading it. I didn’t get far because I knew damn fast that it would be murder trying to get through three of these books. I’m not hating on anyone who loves the books, but they’re not for me. Between hearing Gilbert Gottfried and Ellen Degeneras read snippets, I think I’m good with this one.

Bout of Books 13 Sign Up Post

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Brace yourselves… Bout of Books Readathon is coming! This is the 13th round of Bout of Books and my 4th time participating. For more information about this reading event…

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

My Reading List:
1. Fat Girl by Judith Moore
2. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
3. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
4. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
5. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
6. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
7. Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
8. The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

Note: I’m already halfway through Seabiscuit for book club, Little Dorrit will be in progress for Classics Club Spin, and I will only read 100-200 pages of Gone with the Wind for the GWTW reading event. I hope to read the rest from start to finish.

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I’m excited to get started. See you all on May 11th!

Bout of Books participants: What book are you most looking forward to reading?

Gone with the Wind Reading Event Master Post

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Welcome to the master post for the Gone with the Wind (GWTW) Reading Event! This event is hosted by one of my oldest and dearest blogging friends, Corinne. You can find full details for the event on her blog here.

Corinne has tried getting me to read GWTW for years. I even joined a readalong much like this in the past and never got around to opening the book (for shame!). I’m hoping those days are behind me and that I can prove much more dedicated this time around. The page amount used to feel daunting, but after getting through 1Q84 in a little over a week I find myself up to this challenge, especially considering we have two months to read the book.

Schedule:

Friday, May 1
First post – just to enthuse about how excited we are to begin. 
Saturday, May 16
First check-in on Chapters One through Ten
Saturday, May 30
Check-in on Chapters Eleven through Twenty
Saturday, June 13
Check-in on Chapters Twenty-One through Thirty
Saturday, June 27
Check-in on Chapters Thirty-One through Forty
Saturday, July 11
Check-in on Chapters Forty-One through Fifty
Saturday, July 25
Check-in on Chapters Fifty-One through Sixty
Saturday, August 1
Check-in on Chapters Sixty-One through Sixty-Three (final discussion)

Looks doable, right? I’ll be in Europe for 2.5 weeks during this event so I won’t be posting for a couple of these updates, but I should be able to make up for the reading before/after my time abroad.

I hope some of you feel inspired to join in on this exciting event! If so, let Corinne know. We’d love to have you take part in the fun.

Have you ever read Gone with the Wind? If yes, how do you feel about it?

Top Ten Tuesday: Historical Characters

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Welcome back for another round of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can read more about Top Ten Tuesday and its previous topics here.

Up this week: Books Which Feature Characters Who…

This week is a bit of a freebie. We are to pick characters who… something. Anything. Strong female characters, perhaps. Or characters dealing with loss or depression. The list goes on and on. I chose books with characters who are historical because I’m finishing up Wolf Hall and Thomas Cromwell is on my mind.

This list includes a few of Shakespeare’s histories, a nice chunk of the Tudor period, a couple Lost Generation artists, and a random gem. I’ve left out explanations this time around because of time, but just know that I’m fascinated by the time periods for most of these books, and Burial Rites was simply phenomenal and I learned a lot from it.

In order of historical date…

1. Henry IV in Henry IV by William Shakespeare

2. Henry V in Henry V by William Shakespeare

3. Richard III in Richard III by William Shakespeare

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4. Katherine of Aragon in The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

5. Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

6. Mary Boleyn (and Anne, I guess) in The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

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7. Mary, Queen of Scots in The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

8. Agnes Magnusdottir in Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

9. Eva Gouel in Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

10. Hadley Richardson in The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

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