Posted in Books in General

The Final TBR Triple Dog Dare Update

TBR Final Dare

The final TBR Triple Dog Dare is sponsored by James at James Reads Books and here’s my final update. The Dare requires participants to read only books that they already have during January, February and March.

As I’ve said in previous updates, the number of books I’ve read during the Dare has not been staggering; however, I’ve read some books that have been on my shelf for a long time and thoroughly enjoyed them:

1.) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (on my shelf)

2.) Voices in the Night: Stories by Steven Millhauser (borrowed from the library prior to the beginning of the Dare)

3.)Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (on my shelf)

4.) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (on my shelf)

I just finished Jane Eyre yesterday so look for a post about Volume the Second in the next couple of days.  In addition, I read the beautiful story “The Turkey Season” for the April edition of The Alice Munro Story of the Month so a post about that will be coming up soon.

Next up is Andy Weir’s The Martian and after that I’ll begin a book I just got in the mail: The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings -J. R. R . Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip and Carol Zaleski.

So how did you do with the TBR Triple Dog Dare? And what’s up for you post-Dare?



Posted in Fiction

Jane Eyre – Volume the First

So far, what has made Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre great to me has been its perspective or, perhaps, “point of view” might be the better term. Bronte puts her novel firmly and confidently into the hands of her heroine using what is almost “stream of consciousness” before anyone had ever used the term (to my limited knowledge, anyway).

While Nelly Dean’s narration of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is intriguing, Nelly knows significantly more about the inner thoughts and emotions of everyone involved in the story than is realistic. But I’m not sure complete realism is what Emily Bronte is going for in her only novel.


Charlotte, on the other hand, pulls the reader into one character and nothing in the novel is seen outside of the title character’s thoughts – at least not in Volume the First. I admit I’ve plunged into Volume the Second since starting this post and as the plot thickens, we get a little more point of view from another character. But I’ll save that for another post.

Here’s a nice example of Jane’s matter-of-fact practicality in a conversation she has with herself regarding her employer, Mr. Rochester:

“You have nothing to do with the master of Thornfield, further than to receive the salary he gives you for teaching his protege, and to be grateful for such respectful and kind treatment as, if you do your duty, you have a right to expect at his hands. Be sure that is the only tie he seriously acknowledges between you and him: so don’t make him the object of your fine feelings, your raptures, agonies, and so forth. He is not of your order: keep to your caste; and be too self-respecting to lavish the love of the whole heart, soul, and strength, where such a gift is not wanted and would be despised.”

I’m finding Jane’s conversations with herself to be quite enjoyable.


Posted in Books in General

Another TBR Triple Dog Dare Update

TBR Final Dare

The final TBR Triple Dog Dare is sponsored by James at James Reads Books and here’s another update. The Dare requires participants to read only books that they already have during January, February and March. Only a few more weeks to go and while I can’t get too excited about how many books I’ve read during these months, the books I have read have been worth reading. In February, I completed Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, a classic that has been on my shelf for a long time. I’m glad to have added this to my “Books Read” list.

Currently, I’m in the middle of Emily’s sister Charlotte’s novel Jane Eyre.  So far, I’m liking this one better but it’s taking even longer to get through it. Look for a post about “Volume The First” sometime soon. Reading the forewords and afterwords in these novels, has sparked an interest in the Bronte sisters. At some point this year, I might have to read a biography or two about this family of authors.

I received Andy Weir’s novel The Martian for my birthday last month so it will probably be the first book I read in April which at the rate I’m going will also be the book I read after Jane Eyre.  If I, by chance, finish it before the end of March, my plan is to read some more Ray Bradbury short stories that are already on my shelf.

Are you currently taking the dare? If so, how is it going?

Posted in Fiction

Wuthering Heights

I wanted something to happen which might have the effect of freeing both Wuthering Heights and the Grange of Mr. Heathcliff, quietly; leaving us as we had been prior to his advent. His visits were a continual nightmare to me, and, I suspected, to my master also. His abode at the Heights was an oppression past explaining. I felt that God had forsaken the stray sheep there to its own wicked wanderings, and an evil beast prowled between it and the fold, waiting his time to spring and destroy.


There’s the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished and that seems to be the case for Old Mr. Earnshaw in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.  When he brings home the gypsy orphan boy, Heathcliff, he starts in motion what might be called a tour de force of creepy dysfunction.

Probably since high school English, I’ve heard of Heathcliff and Catherine as the epitome of tortured love. Now that I’ve read their story all of these years later, I can say that whoever said that wasn’t kidding. The foggy moor, the dark and cloudy nights, the full moons and the large old houses all coincide very well with the eerie storms raging in the minds and souls of the principle characters, not least of which is Heathcliff.

The families involved in the story live their lives mostly secluded from the rest of the world. Is the seclusion a result of the dysfunction or the cause of it? As with questions like this, I don’t think there is an answer; however, mulling it over can give literary and pychology types hours of fascination. I found it interesting that Lockwood, the gentleman to whom the story is being told, briefly contemplates marrying into the family and this is after he knows their story. I think it says more about the institution of marriage during the early 1800’s than about his questionable judgement – although maybe it says a little of both.

The servant Nelly Dean gives one of the better “narrator” performances that I’ve read in a while. Being both involved in the daily lives of the characters but also detached due to her servant status provides an interesting perspective.

For much of the novel, hope seems something far away or even non-existent. However, I always like stories that can find a glimmer of hope in an otherwise hopeless world. When the younger Cathy begins taking an interest in her cousin Hareton’s education and teaches him to read, it seems something good might come of this spooky mess.








Posted in Books in General

The TBR Triple Dog Dare Update

TBR Final Dare

The final TBR Triple Dog Dare is sponsored by James at James Reads Books so I thought I would post an update. The Dare requires participants to read only books that they already have during January, February and March. While I can’t say the number of books I’ve read so far is anything to post about, I will say that I’ve become very inspired to read the books that are already on my shelf.

I’ve read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and am almost finished with Steven Millhauser’s collection Voices in the Night: Stories. The Millhauser book I am counting even though it’s from the library. I’ve had it since before the beginning of 2016. I planned on reading Jack London’s Martin Eden, also from the library; however, it had to be returned before I got a chance to read it (I couldn’t renew it). So the London novel will have to wait until the spring.

Next up will be the Bronte sisters. I’ve had Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre on my shelf for years. It’s high time I read them.