Wednesday, August 27, 2014

La Canne de Jonc - Alfred de Vigny

I finally managed to finish the second book I was working on for the Language Freak Summer Challenge! I found this book on the Library Sale shelves, and as I love vintage books and can always use books in foreign languages for practicing, I eagerly brought it home... where it sat on my shelf unread for several years :-/ Thanks to this great challenge, I have finally managed to read it, and this was a great way to get in some French practice this summer.

My little book was originally published in 1898, but this military story, some of which is apparently loosely autobiographical, was originally published in the early 1800s. My edition was edited by Victor J.T. Spiers, a professor of French at Oxford, and about half of the book is actually notes on the text with helpful translations and grammatical explanations. This book was obviously meant for students of French, and that was equally obviously very helpful for me, as a reader. I think I'm at an intermediate level of French; I can read it reasonably well but I won't lie and say I perfectly understood every word I read. I did, however, always get the main idea, and the notes helped with unfamiliar vocabulary. 

The full title of this book is "La Canne de Jonc, ou La Vie et La Mort du Capitaine Renaud" ("The Malacca Cane [or the walking-stick], or The Life and Death of Captain Renaud"). The titular Captain's life as a military man is fascinating and includes encounters with Napoleon and some interesting philosophy concerning war. I cannot say it was a book I would have eagerly picked up if it had been in English, but from the perspective of someone who is reading a book about the Napoleonic wars after two world wars (and countless other wars, many still raging) I found it to be much food for thought. 

Et maintenant, mon review en français ! 

J'ai lu le deuxième livre pour le défi pour les fanatiques de langues étrangères ! J'ai trouvé ce livre dans la bibliothèque et j'adore les livres antiquaires, et j'ai toujours besoin de livres en des autre langues pour les pratiquer. Mais le livre était sur l'étagère, attendant.... :-/ Mais grâce à ce défi, maintenant, c'est fini, et c'était bon pour pratiquer un peu de français pendant l'été. 

Mon petit livre est de 1898, et c'est une édition destinée aux étudiants de la langue française. La moitié du livre contient les choses utiles (notes de vocabulaire et de grammaire). Je lis français à un niveau intermédiaire; je ne suis pas une menteuse, et donc je ne vous dis pas que j'ai compris chaque mot. Cependant, j'ai toujours compris l'idée essentiel.

Cette histoire militaire, une biographie du Capitaine Renaud (l'homme qui porte la canne de jonc), était fascinant. Il comprenait Napoléon, un Pape, et quelques hommes célèbres militaires anglais, et apparemment, il est semi-autobiographique. de Vigny a inclus aussi de philosophie conçernant la nature de la guerre. Moi, je suis un produit de la 20ème siècle, après deux guerres mondiales et divers autres guerres, et donc j'ai trouvé cette philosophie comme matière à réflexion. 

S'il vous plaît, corregez les erreurs/fautes ici ! :-) 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Don't Forget Me, Bro - John Michael Cummings

This was a touching book about family and loss, and how people hold on to hope. The author has a real ear for authentic dialogue - I always felt like I was overhearing actual conversations when I was reading. The characters were well done, even though many of them are not necessarily appealing, for various reasons - they still interested me and I wanted to know more about what made them tick. When the book was over I wanted to read more, to know what was going to happen. I really like this author, and look forward to reading more. Recommended.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July - This Month in Reading

July flew by in record time, and really got away from me. :-/

The positives: I read 2 more books for the Harlem Renaissance Challenge, so I completed the challenge at the level for which I signed up - hooray! I also wrapped up the library books so I don't have to step foot inside the library until who-knows-when (not that that's a positive, but anything that keeps me reading books off my physical TBR pile is a good thing these days). At the end of June I wrote that I would read 7 books, and I did, plus 2 more for good measure, so at least I kept to my goal.

The negatives: I was supposed to work on the Language Freak Summer Challenge in July, and although I did work on it a little, I didn't work on it as much as I wanted to, nor did I actually finish any of the books I have set aside for this challenge. :( There were also a couple review requests I just wasn't able to find time for, which is embarrassing.

August is already shaping up to be a busy month, between work and some other commitments that are not super conducive to reading. So for August, here are my goals:

  • Finish my 2 review books
  • Finish the 2 books I'm currently working on for the Language Freak Summer Challenge

That's it!

If I somehow manage to complete all this with plenty of time to spare, I will work on the Language Freak Summer Challenge by reading an additional book, since that challenge ends August 31. If nothing else, I already have several books on hand I can use for this challenge next summer :)

How has your reading been this summer?

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Competition - Marcia Clark

Yet another entertaining thriller, this one with a very topical crime/mystery. A character from the last book that I liked a lot didn't appear in this one, and I hope this character will appear again. Otherwise, the latest book in the Rachel Knight series is an enjoyable summer mystery read that kept me guessing and turning pages as fast as I could.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Isis, Vampires and Ghosts - Oh My! - Janis Hill

Another winning fantasy/paranormal book from Hague Publishing, who were behind Lights Over Emerald Creek. This was another book I know I would have loved had I read it when I was younger. I have always admired ancient Egyptian culture, so obviously the reference to Isis in the title is catnip for me, as well as the ghosts (always a big fan as well), and the vampires (became a big fan in the Anne Rice heyday; not so much a fan of the more recent sparkly kind). The narrator was highly relatable and entertaining, and the story overall reminded me of the few Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes I've seen (I really have to make a point to see more). Another fast-paced, exciting and entertaining story for all fans of paranormal/fantasy books.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Killer Ambition - Marcia Clark

Another page turner! The story kept me guessing, and I really enjoyed the behind the scenes look at the politics of what goes on in a high-profile courtroom trial, particularly with jury selection. Very interesting stuff. Can't wait to start the next book!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Guilt by Degrees - Marcia Clark

Another page-turner! I enjoyed this fast-paced book and I'm looking forward to the continuing adventures of Rachel Knight - especially considering how this book ended. Perfect summer reading.