Booking Through Thursday asks:
Even I read things other than books from time to time … like, Magazines! What magazines/journals do you read?
This is my first Booking Through Thursday meme question and I’m excited to partake in such an interesting practice: weekly memes! What an ingenious way to keep the blog engine running in between my reviews!
Of course the question is somewhat-but-not-really-book-related. I always come up short when not talking about books, but here is my list of non-book types of things I read:
- Cosmopolitan. What I always find odd is that magazines will send their mags out way before the month that the issue is supposed to cover. For example, I have already “read” Cosmo’s February issue. How can that be when it’s not even February yet? This becomes even more preposterous when you consider all the trends that it lists (new makeup! new hot steals! new things to try this month!) are a month early. Wait a minute! You mean, February’s hot steals are really January’s hot steals?! That’s right. You read it here first. Also, I don’t subscribe to this magazine. I peruse my roommate’s copy.
- The NY Times. When I was a freshman in college, I took a class that, kidding aside, changed my life. I loved it and I loved my professor more, who was a bitingly witty woman who dispensed her jokes in between her serious lectures, so much so that it was difficult to tell when she was joking or when she was lecturing. The class as a whole could never figure it out, so I always felt that extra bond with her when I tittered by myself, convinced I was the smartest student for having got her asides. Anyway, she told me I should read this paper everyday. I listened. I am a better person because of it.
- The Wall Street Journal. Fast-forward to my senior year, I took another class, which in its own way, changed my life too but definitely not for the better. My professor was interesting. He definitely loved his subject, but when he was joking, I never understood why he thought that was funny. I was perpetually puzzled by his humor. But he told me I should be reading the Journal every day. I call it reading when I scan the headlines randomly once a month.
And now, a bit of a visual:
These two are always duking it out, this time for my love. I mean look, their presentations are even screaming it. The Times is white and the WSJ is black. How much more proof of a rivalry do you need?
Rating: 5/5 stars
Length: 782 pages
Before I begin reviewing, a word first on my lack of updates. I’m posting a lot slower than I thought I would be. I aimed for 2-3 times a week, but I was too optimistic, I think. Of course the issue isn’t how fast I read, because I’m not reading the books I’m reviewing now, I’m just going back and reviewing what I read before, but even that takes some effort. You’d think that five times a week after work I’d be able to squeeze in the time to whip up a couple of paragraphs, but nope. In between trying to feed myself, sleeping and attempting to have some semblance of a social life, I’m tuckered out. Part of me thinks I’m making excuses (there’s always never enough time to do something!) but uhm, yeah I suppose that’s it. There’s really no reason I wouldn’t be able to concentrate to serve up the goods, but I never got the hang of typing on a desk, so I lounge in bed while writing a review and then next thing I know, a few hours have gone by and I still haven’t written anything.
So what’s the point of this? Just that I can’t promise reviews except at the glacial pace that I’m currently on now. There. That sets the bar low enough so that when I do have time to review more than once a week, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Ah-ha, the W is working extra hard to deliver content! as you will say.
Yes. I am. Making every effort!
And now, onwards with the review! Another spoiler warning, I’m going to reveal a good chunk of the book’s story but be assured that they do not interfere with the main plot, only the setup.
The book takes a different angle to how the concept of magic is presented in fantasy novels. The usual offering is that the world is set in an alternative universe where kings and kingdoms rule the Earth (or other worlds of the authors’ making) and there are people gifted with the ability to use magic. Then some type of war is brewing, the characters are easily identifiable as good or evil, and they all gear up for a showdown or two. Well, Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange does have all the elements of fantasy except for the first one. She sets her magical place in England and leaves the magicking to only two men, Mr. Norrell and Jonathan Strange.
Rating: 3/5 stars
I didn’t pick this book up on my own. I got it for my boyfriend and after he read it, he recommended that I give it a try.
The story is simple, Shadow is leaving prison after doing three years time due to a crime that wasn’t made clear until very far in the book. He learns, however, that his wife died in a car accident just as he is leaving. Then when he was on his flight back home, he meets Mr. Wednesday, who is intent on recruiting him for a job. His name, of course, isn’t Wednesday. Shadow isn’t keen on it but Wednesday is persistent and eventually Shadow relents. What follows is a kind of weird, but interesting adventure. The “weird” factor is just its fantastical elements, though.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Length: 496 pages
I don’t remember how I picked up this book, but I’m glad I did. The House at Riverton is told through the eyes of 98-year-old Grace Bradley, looking back through her memories of being the house servant at Riverton Manor for the Ashbury family in 1914. The book covers the time when society changed from a Victorian perspective, where duty comes before everything else, to the roaring ’20s’ indulgence and excess.
19-year-old Grace enters the Manor grateful for having been given the honor to serve the family, but as she serves, she begins to learn what that means, including keeping the family’s secrets, working without complaints, and giving up independent thoughts. She sees, but not allowed to say; observes, but cannot judge. In this capacity, she is an honest chronicler of what happens with the Ashbury family. What society knows and what she knows differ, and she is bound by the code of servitude to never reveal. She carries their stories until her dying age, when she is forced to revisit the Manor by, but who else could it be, the media.
The media here isn’t portrayed negatively. A filmmaker came to research because she wants to find out the truth for a commemorative movie in-the-making that seeks to uncover Grace’s secrets. Can Grace let go of them after carrying them for so long? The world wants to know what happened to the Ashbury siblings, David, Hannah and Emmeline, especially to the sisters. They were close, up until a tragedy occurred at a society party in 1924, when a poet committed suicide and the sisters never spoke to each other again.