My favorite things

Yard Work Spring 2008 008I have decided to continue with my Thursday posting of books, author spotlights, etc. but I am now going to add a Monday posting entitled Monday’s Musings where I will post on whatever I feel like. This week I have been thinking about favorite places to read.  A couple of years ago my husband gave me a hammock for Mother’s Day (no, I am not a mother but I have him convinced that I deserve a gift every Mother’s Day because of the labor I will someday go through).  My favorite place to read is in the sun, on the hammock, with a soft pillow and a cool soda beside me.  My other favorite place is snuggled under the covers in my bed with my kitty curled up next to me.

My husband will tell you that I read everywhere: the futon, the kitchen table while eating lunch, the car (but not while driving), and obviously the yard.  I am the oldest of five children and while I was growing up we had numerous cousins and neighbors live with us.  I spent the first seventeen years of my sister Jocee’s life sharing a room with her.  Needless to say it was hard, at times, to find a place to read without being bothered by someone, so growing up one of my favorite places to read was in the bathroom.  I would lock myself in there for hours at a time because I knew I wouldn’t be bothered while I was in there. Of course, once Jocee realized what I was up to in there she took great pleasure on pounding on the door until I got out, not because she wanted to use it but because I was hiding in there. (You know how siblings are, I did my fair share of pestering her in retaliation.)

Where do you like to read?

Love Engineered by Jenna Dawlish

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Love Engineered by Jenna Dawlish is set during the Industrial Revolution (late 1800’s) in England.  During this time great advances in agriculture, industry and science were occurring with some of the greatest minds meeting together in London.  Unfortunately, none of those great minds were female.  Louise Thomas is a female interested in  engineering who attends lectures given by the men in the field to further her education and because she has questions she wants answered.  A wealthy noblewoman with no family, she is allowed to attend but is seen by both the engineers and upper society as an eccentric.  While Louise has all the creature comforts she could desire, she has no one to share her interests or her life with.  Louise finally meets someone who sparks her  interest, engineer Sir Charles Lucas, a man who is considered one of the greats of his day.  Through Charles, Louise meets and becomes instant friends with his sister Jane.  As Louise’s friendship grows with Jane, so does her relationship with Charles.  Just when Louise starts to think she can open up to Charles, an enemy from her past threatens to destroy all her new-found happiness.

Louise is a woman surround by people who serve her faithfully because of her wealth but she is all alone in the world, with no one to laugh with. Louise is an self-educated woman who very insecure about herself because of being hurt in the past by people who just want her money.  She has built walls around her heart, partly in response to being hurt and partly because there really isn’t anyone to share her life with.  As Louise becomes friends with Jane, her relationship with Charles starts to grow into something more.  I really felt for Louise, she is a lonely woman who wants more in life than to just dress trendy and find a titled husband.  She has a studio where she works on her own experiments and pursues her own line of thought.  She has a large country estate where she works to better the lives of those who live on it and works hard to assist those in need.  But don’t think that Louise is one of those obnoxious heroines who only does good, she has built walls around her heart and her life and in some ways is trapped in a lonely world of her own making.  Her friendship with Jane is one of the only relationships with another woman where she allows her to see the real Louise.

Charles is a great engineer but he struggles to know how to trust and who to believe.  After meeting Louise he thinks that she is just too good to be true and must therefore be a meddling female who doesn’t keep her nose out of other people’s business.  When he hears conflicting stories from an old classmate, Charles believes the worst about Louise and makes her promise to end her friendship with Jane.  Charles then starts to really see what Louise does with her life and the pieces start to fall into place to get him a better picture of who she really is. I really liked the story, it was a quick read.  However, I LOVED finding out after I finished the book that the story is based on the real life of Louise and Charles Lucas.  That a woman as progressive and scientific as Louise really lived her life and there is an award in England given to deserving engineers named after her made me want to reread the entire story.

Rating: 1

Guest Post: The Golden Urchin by Madeline Brent

photo_9181_20091029The Golden Urchin by Madeline Brent is by far the best book I’ve ever read! I have worn out my paperback copy and am currently working on wearing out my hardback copy. I read this book at least 3 or 4 times a year. It is my “comfort book”, as Jessica described in a previous post. The hardest thing about reading this book, is finding a copy!
This story is based around 15 year old Meg. She was raised by the Aborigines as a “freak” because of her white skin and red hair. She leaves her tribe and comes across Luke, who is close to death from lack of water. He takes her to his house, and she is taught English and how to be “proper” by Luke’s wife, Rosemary. After a series of events, she finds out there is someone after her, trying to kill her for her fortune that her real parent’s had left her. During this time, she comes to find that she is in love with Luke and she thinks that he hates her.
There are some interesting characters that you come across with Meg. I really enjoy Meg’s character, she is strong, naive, and says how things are and you know where she stands on things. There is a little violence in this book, but not until the end. There is some swearing, but is very mild.
Jocee is a stay at home mom with three very active children under the age of five.  I shared a bedroom with her for the first seventeen years of her life, luckily we both survived that and now are good friends.  As proof of how much I love her, I gave her my only copy of this book (which was hardbound) because hers is being held together with a rubber-band, destroyed from her frequent readings.
Rating: 1
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New Book Excitement

Old books lay a column on a white backgroundThere is nothing like a new book to get my heart pitter-pattering.  The anticipation of a good story, of finding a new favorite, of great time spent with new friends make me happy.  It seems to me that my to-be-read stacks go in phases; sometimes my stacks are HUGE, filling up valuable shelf space and leading to big mental debates as to what to read next; sometimes they are empty, causing me to feel like I need to go to the store to get new books.  I spent the last week cataloging some books I received from my mother’s collection and, like usual, my to-be-read stack grew as the cataloging progressed.  So let the reading begin and the housework be ignored (because really, why would I clean when I can read?! And yes, I have tried to combine both with disastrous results, so now the cleaning just gets ignored)!