Monday, May 11, 2015


Hey everyone!

So I haven't written a post in 3 months, and I feel I owe you all an explanation for it. Well, other than school taking over my life, as it does every semester, I got to thinking. I love to read. I really do. But I also love so many other things. Like video games. And fashion. And more. But I don't really feel I can share those interests on a book blog because it's such a niche audience.  

I have also been considering switching to Wordpress, simply because when I originally started blogging, blogger was all I knew. Now Wordpress is the platform companies want people to know. I have actually considered switching this blog to Wordpress for awhile but just couldn't commit.

What I have been telling you all of this for is to say this blog will be going on hiatus this summer. I'm going to be starting another passion project, called The Flying Fiona where you will be able to catch me this summer talking about books and other things.

I'm not deleting this blog altogether; I'm just taking a break for this to focus on other things. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Civil War Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott Review

Hey everyone! Today I have a review of Civil War Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott. You may be familiar with her work; she’s most known for Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys. To give you an idea of how this fits chronologically into her work, she was a nurse in the Civil War for six weeks in 1862-63, got sick, went home and wrote Little Women, which was published in 1868.

Civil War Hospital Sketches tells the story of Tribulation Periwinkle and her experiences being a Civil War nurse. While her experiences resemble that of Alcott’s, it’s important to remember they are not the same because it can get really confusing between the two. It is through Tribulation writing about her war experiences, a lot along the lines on how she would write letters back to her family. There`s also a postscript at the end, which neatly sums up her narrative.

In many ways, this book is exactly what it sounds like: short chapters about life in the Civil War. She writes about getting a train ticket, her travel to the front, and her experiences there. Not to give too much away, I found the ways in which her war experiences changed her particularly interesting. Nursing was a very different profession from how it is now, and these women and men went into this with essentially no training.

Another interesting idea this book slightly deals with is early feminism. Alcott begins with Tribulation saying, “I want something to do.” After being offered what was considered proper for a single woman to do (Write, teach, marry), her brother mentions nursing soldiers. Rather than being spurred by patriotism or a desire to keep the Union together, she is instead looking for some sort of life experience. This contrasts nicely with a character we meet later, who has joined the war effort because he believes in what he is fighting for.
This book flounders a little at the end. We have this pivotal moment then it just tapers off. The entire falling action is packed into one chapter. The first half is very heavy in war experience with the second half being very lack luster.

I’d definitely recommend this for fans of Alcott, especially if you want to explore beyond Little Women, Little Men, etc. Her writing style is still prevalent. I would also recommend this for people who are interested in war experiences in particular women’s war experiences. This was the main draw for me. For the class it was a good text to begin the class with, as it gave us some information on the American Civil War, which is the focus of the class.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Wrap-Up/ February TBR

Hey everyone! So my original plan was to write a post each weekend between my January TBR and my wrap-up. Obviously, that didn’t happen, though I did sit down to write each post, they never quite were finished. With school starting back up, I didn't realize how busy I would be. Even if I only post every other week, that’s still better than nothing, right?

During January, I only finished two books. The first was a collection of short stories by Alice Munro called Too Much Happiness. I’m not really into short stories, but I’ve been putting off finishing it since May. I’m glad I did, and I want to read more by her, but it’ll have to wait until I feel like reading more short stories. The other book I finished was Civil War Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott. This was the first book we read for my American literature class, and it was a good introductory text to reading about the American Civil War, which we will be doing through the course of the semester. I hope to have review of this up this month, so you’ll hear more from me about this.

Right now, I’m still reading The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I did make progress in it this week, but I’m not making any guarantees to finish it this month. In all honesty, I probably won’t get to it until June with my graduation in May and my wedding in June unless I feel like neglecting all of my work and finishing it. I also have two books I’m hoping to finish either right as this month ends or the very beginning of February. They are Who Would Have Thought It? By Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton and Good-bye to All That by Robert Graves, both of which are for my classes this semester. I’m planning on at least reviewing Ruiz de Burton and possibly Graves. Both are pretty good.

As for nonbookish things I did in January, my fiancĂ© and I celebrated one year of being engaged. We were unfortunately both sick, so it wasn't as much fun as it would've been if we were well. I also went back to school for my last semester of undergraduate. As of right now, I am still planning on going back for my master’s degree this fall, but I’m trying not to rule out any possibilities. Also, we found a house we really like, which hopefully he’ll get to move into in the upcoming month.

I really can’t believe it’s almost February; it feels like January just started. Soon, it will be spring and I’ll be so close to being done! I’m really excited, but I've got a lot to do before then and a lot to read.
I’ll start by finishing the two books I’m currently reading now, see above. Then, in my American lit class, we’re reading The American by Henry James and The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells. We’re getting into realism in America this month. I haven’t read anything by either of these authors, and I’m excited to start. As for my capstone course, we’re going to read The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. I've read some of his stories before, and I’m not a huge fan. However, I’m willing to give him a chance to wow me. Reflecting back, though I’m not a huge fan of him, Hemingway’s an author I’m glad to have read so I can give an informed opinion about him, even if I don’t like him. I’m interested to see him in a different medium and see if I like him more as a novelist than short story author. I know this book has something to do with World War One, which makes it a little more appealing than his other books. The other book we’re reading in the capstone is The Good War by Studs Terkel. I know nothing about this book either, except I believe it is about World War Two, based on my knowledge of the course. Also, we’re watching Casablanca this month, which while it isn’t a book, I’m still excited to watch it again.

Lastly, I really need to get through the three books I’m reading for my honors project this month. Those are Testament of Youth, Not So Quiet, and One Woman’s Freedom. I’ve read the first two before, and I’m looking forward to reading the last one. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get them all read.

And I think that’s all I’m going to be able to handle reading this month. What did you read this month? What are you reading next month? Let me know in the comments. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 Bookish Resolutions & January TBR

 Hey everyone! As  2015 begins, I thought it would be good to set some goals for myself in terms of reading and blogging for the new year. I’m hoping that since I’m graduating from college finally, I’ll have more time to devote to blogging and more time for fun reading in general in May. In the mean time, I plan to also talk about the books I read for my classes on here in order to compensate. Here are my goals for the year.

Read 50 books.
This is a goal I set every year. This number is arbitrary to me, I don’t feel bad if I don’t read 50 books, but I think it’s a nice goal. A book every week with two weeks off. I started this back in 2010, I believe, if not 2009. I once tried to up the amount with no success, but I still read 50 books. The past two years, I have not, having only read under 30 books each year. But I was not counting things I read for school in that, so I think that will help.

Read at least 1 book where the author or protagonist life experience differs from my own.
This is basically my way of saying, “I’m going to read diverse books.” I figure one a month is a good starting point, but from there, I hope to increase this number.

Post at least once a week.
I think this one is going to be the biggest struggle for me. I get so wrapped up in everything going on at school that I forget to keep the blog up. I’m hoping that by planning out my posts and writing them ahead of time, I’ll be able to keep this one for once.

Set TBRs for each month
This is something that really intrigues me that I want to try for the year. As you might guess from the title, this post comes in two parts. The second part is going to be my TBR for the month, which is something I have never done before. I’m hoping that by selecting 1-2 books to read each month on top of my school work, I’ll be able to make time to read.

Read more ebooks and audiobooks.
This is one is less measureable because I don’t feel inclined to set a particular number with this one. But as I own a Nook, I think it’s doable for me to read more ebooks. I’m also very intrigued by Audible, so depending, I may add that subscription service.

Organize this blog.
I’m doing The Book Addict’s Guide’s Blog Organization Challenge for 2015, which in part inspired some of my resolutions and this post. If you notice slight changes to the blog, that would be why.

So without further ado, here is my TBR for the month of January. Since I have another before school and am not expecting too much work that first week of classes, I’m feeling ambitious for this month.
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To start, I want to try to finish up two of my carryover books from 2014. One of which I have been reading since May. That would be Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s a fine book. But short story collections lead me to believe that I don’t have to read it for an extended period of time and it will be fine. I only have three stories left. My other carryover book I’ve been reading over winter break is The Awakening and Other Selected Short Fiction by Kate Chopin. I thought I would like this a lot more than I did, but in all reality, it just feels like an American South version of Madame Bovary. I’m hoping to finish at least The Awakening this month.

As for the books, I’m hoping to start and finish this month, I’m planning on reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurtson this month for my diverse pick. I’ve wanted to read this for awhile; I believe one of my professors recommended it some time ago. But I figured it would be a good place to start. If I had my syllabi for my classes, I would tell you what books we have projected for this month. However, for my Honors Project, I plan to read One Woman’s Freedom by Helen Zenna Smith, since that and Not So Quiet are at the focus of my paper.

What are some of your goals for 2015, bookish or otherwise? What are you planning to read this month? Let me know in the comments.