Book Review: The Annotated Secret Garden

Annotated Secret GardenThe Annotated Secret GardenThe Annotated Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

This was a re-read for book club, for our annual children’s literature selection. Of course I’ll love the book – I included it as one of my favorite children’s literature classics.

And I liked it, but I didn’t love it as much as I remembered. There were an awful lot of gushings over the wonders of nature and Magic and all the rest that seemed so repetitive.

The book is a classic, and there are lots of editions available. I own a copy of it, but also borrowed this edition from the library, and am so glad I did. The illustrations and images are lovely, and add quite a bit to the book. The brief author biography included was also very interesting. The annotations were inconsistent – the ones that were included were generally good, although there were a number of terms or references in the text that surprised me to not find annotated, as something more obvious or commonly known was annotated elsewhere. Some of this was also because I’d so recently read The Annotated Sense and SensibilityThe Annotated Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, and those annotations were so well done, that this book’s annotations suffered in comparison.

The summary version: Find this book for the illustrations, not the annotations. And be prepared to skim some of the passages unless you want to read about nature! and Magic! and the healing properties of both! But overall, I wonder if you have to first read this as a child to love it, because rereading it as an adult? It’s lost some of it’s luster. Sadness.

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Book Review: Bread and Wine

Bread and WineBread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with RecipesBread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist

I loved this book.

I had no real expectations going in to it – I recognized Niequist’s name as having authored some other books, but hadn’t read anything by her. Maybe that was a good thing, because it let me be completely blown away by discovering an author I love.

Cookbook/memoir mish-mash books are some of my favorites: A Homemade Life, My Berlin KitchenMy Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with recipes) by Luisa Weiss, Ruth Reichel’s memoirs, I love them. Niequist’s is another glorious celebration of the power of food and memory.

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Book Review: Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot MysteryMurder on the Orient ExpressMurder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery by Agatha Christie

Another book club pick, and my very first Christie. Considering my love for mysteries, I’m not entirely sure why I’ve never read any of her books before.*

While it took me a few pages to get into the story, once I did I was hooked. I liked Poirot’s character, and I liked the methodical approach to his investigation.

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Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyBook Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

April’s pick for my book club, so I was clearly impatient. I originally read the book in 2009 and was eager to reread it and see if I still liked it as much as I had back then.

I may have even loved it more, as this time around I was able to pace myself a bit better and wasn’t wondering how certain events would resolve.
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Book Review: Sense and Sensibility

Sense and SensibilitySense and SensibilityBook Review: The Annotated Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

I’ve already confessed that Sense and Sensibility was my first time reading Austen, and that it had me all but kicking myself for waiting so long to read her. So, this review won’t contain any big surprises – I loved the book! [Read more…]

Book Review: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Book Review: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a DayMiss Pettigrew Lives for a DayBook Review: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson

I can say without much doubt that I would never have picked this book up on my own, but when my friend Anne recommends it as highly as she does, I knew I had to give it a chance.

And I am so glad I did. I took it with me on our Thanksgiving trip, and it was a perfect vacation read. Light and fun, without being silly and making me regret spending my reading time on it.

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31 Days of Great Nonfiction: It’s Not About the Tapas by Polly Evans

It's Not About the Tapas: A Spanish Adventure on Two Wheels by Polly Evans. Day 2 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate ReaderIt’s Not About the Tapas: A Spanish Adventure on Two WheelsIt's Not About the Tapas: A Spanish Adventure on Two Wheels by Polly Evans. Day 2 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate Reader by Polly Evans

I love biking-across-some-large-area stories so I was anxious to see how I liked this account of a trek across Spain. Happily, it did not disappoint.

Throughout the book Evans mentions that she’s tired. And sore. And biking is hard work. If I ever managed to go on a biking trek, I’m sure that’s what I’d be noting every day too, so I felt like I could relate to her experiences. And like Evans, I’d be thrilled that all the physical work was paying off with smaller pants size.

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