My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

Follow Me



Powered by Blogger.

MsArdychan's bookshelf: read

I Owe You One
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Love, Hate & Other Filters
The Wartime Sisters
The Belles
The Gilded Wolves
Hey, Kiddo
Blackberry and Wild Rose
Queen of Air and Darkness
The Retribution of Mara Dyer
The Evolution of Mara Dyer

MsArdychan's favorite books »

Total Views

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Why reading "Prince Lestat" is a frustrating memory game.

When I heard that Anne Rice had written another book in her Vampire Chronicles Series, “Prince Lestat”, I was eager to read it.  I had read all the earlier books and found them inventive and entertaining.  But to be honest, the last book of hers I read was probably twenty years ago.  It’s been a long time between books.  One of the hallmarks of a good series book is that the story can stand alone.  The reader shouldn't need any special knowledge of the previous books in order to understand what is happening in the latest offering.  But as I began to read “Prince Lestat”, I found I couldn't follow the story at all!  It was beyond frustrating to have a half-memory of a character, but not be able to place them.  This made the story very tedious for me as I struggled to find my bearings in Anne Rice’s vampire world.

I believe that the author realized that she needed to include some back story to jog the reader’s memory.  But the plots of all the books are so intricate, that it seemed to me that all I was reading was back story.  And I still wasn't getting up to speed on the plot of the current book!  I am not one to abandon a book lightly, but I finally had to end my attempt after about 60 pages.

Anne Rice is a wonderful storyteller, and I am sure that “Prince Lestat”, will be a joy to read in the future.  I think, however, I need to start at the beginning and read all of the previous Vampire Chronicles books in order to get full enjoyment out of “Prince Lestat”.  Perhaps this is the author’s true objective.  If so, well played, Anne Rice, well, played!
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest

Friday, February 13, 2015

"All the Light We Cannot See" and "Lisette's List": Historical Fiction at it's Best!

At lunch, a few days ago, my co-workers and I were sharing what books we were reading.  I began to mention the book I was reading and that it was about France during WWII.  Someone blurted out, “Oh I Love WWII!”.  If this statement stood alone, it would have sounded strange.  But I knew exactly what she meant.  Good historical fiction can show us what it was like to live in that time, and it can challenge our notions of who we think are the “good guys” and the “bad guys” in history.  This is no more true than with “All the Light We Cannot See”, by Anthony Doerr, and “Lisette’s List”, by Susan Vreeland.  Both are about the German occupation of France during WWII, and both are wonderful examples of historical fiction.

“All the Light We Cannot See”, tells several intertwining stories of French and Germans during WWII.  While the plot doesn’t shirk from showing us the gritty existence of those living through a war, it also puts a human face on all the characters, making us empathetic towards even the most despicable ones.  I was fascinated by the main character, Marie-Laure, a blind girl trying to understand, and survive, a world in upheaval.  The author’s use of light as a metaphor for knowledge was multi-layered and a pleasure to read.

In “Lisette’s List”, Susan Vreeland shows us the effects of the war on a small village in Provence through the eyes of Parisian, Lisette, who moves there with her husband.  Instead of the life she had planned on, (becoming involved in the art scene in Paris) history and fate step in to create a life she must accept and find a way to shape her own happiness.  As with “All the Light We Cannot See”, it also shows the hardships, and loss, of war.  The characters had depth and changed over the course of the book. Unlike “All the Light We Cannot See”, this book is a more personal story of one woman’s struggle to honor what she has lost, but also to move forward.  I found the list of goals Lisette kept inspiring, and made me want to create my own list of goals to find a meaningful life.

I highly recommend both “all the Light We Cannot See”, and Lisette’s List”.  They are the type of stories with characters I was saddened to leave at the end of the books.  For the present, I will have to console myself with nibbling on a velvety brie and drinking good bottle of French wine!
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Monday, February 9, 2015

"How do you read ALL those books?"

     In the past few years I have gotten heavily into reading.  I think I read about 77 books last year, and I am constantly asked, "How do you read all those books?"   There are many parts to my reply.  
   First of all, I always carry a book, a Kindle, or even my phone (pre-loaded with a book) with me at all times.  So whenever I have a few minutes, I can quickly start reading.
    I am also always looking for new books to read.  If you have met me, then you know one of the first questions I often ask of people is, "What book are you reading?"  The answers frequently pique my interest and I will jump onto my Goodreads app and add it to my "Want to Read" list.  This means I already know what I want to read and I have the names and authors ready at my fingertips.  
   And most importantly, I make very good use of my public library.  There is no way I could afford to buy all the books I read.  I would spend thousands of dollars on books each year.  The Contra Costa Library system, on the other hand is completely free and easy to use.  I can go online, reserve books, and then have them sent to my local branch for pickup.  I can also get ebooks and audiobooks that will download onto my Kindle and phone.  An email notifies me when my books come in. This couldn't be simpler!
    As far as finding the actual time to read, I just make time to do this.  Reading is such a pleasurable activity to me, that I willingly don't watch T.V..  I will also read on my breaks at work.  Another great time to read is as I wait for my kids in the school pick up line.  I readily confess that I don't make time for other activities such as exercise.  But, for now, this is my priority.  Perhaps with Spring coming on, I could vow to start to walking as I listen to audiobooks.  But for now, I am perfectly content to listen to the rain, and curl up with a great book.
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Wednesday, February 4, 2015

All Fall Down falls flat

I am really active on Goodreads, probably visiting at least once a day to see what my friends are reading and to get ideas for my reading list.  Based on those recommendations, I ordered  “All Fall Down”, by Jennifer Weiner, from the library.  As I saw my number rise on the waitlist, my anticipation grew.  I disciplined myself not to peak too much at the synopsis so I could be truly delighted and surprised.  Then, the day arrived.  A feeling of Christmas enveloped me!  Time to open the present of a great book.  And then I realized I had picked up a “Chick Lit” novel.  Ugh! I found this novel to be whiney,superficial, and full of notes that just didn't ring true.  The story centers around a stay-at-home mother who becomes addicted to prescription drugs.  Instead of delving into why a person who has it all would go down a path of self-destruction, the narrator takes the most simplistic approach, whining about how stressful her life is.  I didn't find any of the other characters to be well developed and many of their actions seemed unrealistic (Would a husband who thinks he wife is drugged up really let her drive their child around all day?).And this is my problem with the "Chick-Lit" genre.  The author seems to short change the audience by simplifying situations and motives to the point that it becomes condescending.  You don't need to keep saying, "I am stressed"!  Show me!!!  Use some subtlety, metaphors, something that has depth!  When I read a book about a serious subject such as addiction, I want my assumptions to be challenged, my empathy to ignite.  I want to cry over, or be angry with the characters.  Annoyance is not the predominant emotion I want to feel!Perhaps, next time, I should read a few more reviews before I get my hopes up about an unfamiliar novel.  Life is just too short to waste precious time on mediocre books. 
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest

Follow by Email


2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 2 books toward her goal of 120 books.


80% 80% 100 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge
clean sweep 2017

Popular Posts

Grab My Button

<a href=“http://ponderingtheprose.blogspot.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img src="

Blogs I Follow

Search This Blog