Waiting on Wednesday (10)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating

A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) , by Beth Revis
Release Date: January 10th, 2012

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.
It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.
But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.
In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

This is the sequel to Across the Universe. You can red my review of the first book HERE.


Monday 10: Of Christmas

Monday 10 is a post where I share a list of 10 bookish items based on a theme, subject, idea, fancy, etc.

* 10 stories of Christmas, winter and/or Holiday cheer *
What are your favorites winter/holidays/Christmas books? Happy Monday!

Review: The Collector, by John Fowles

The Collector is not the kind of book I used to read much, it is neither fantasy or mythic fiction, neither YA or children literature, or some fairytale retelling, but is had been recommended to me several times, and it was on so many friends' favorite list that when I saw a used copy at a bookstore I grabbed it, hoping I would like it. And I did. I can safely say that it is one of the best book I have read this year.

The Collector is a chilling story of a kidnapper and his victim and the power struggle and obsessiveness at the core of their relationship. Goodreads informs me that this was hailed as the first modern psychological thriller (it was first published in 1963), and it truly takes you into the depths of its two, and only, characters. Told in two parts, first by the kidnapper a lonely butterfly collector and second by the art student he becomes obsessively in love with and ultimately kidnap, "collect". The contrast between the two voices is one of the thing I loved the most about this novel.

The choice to put the captor's POV first was a great idea. We, the readers, are forced to immerse ourselves in this unassuming, seemingly non-violent and calm individual's mind. We are force to see the events through his eyes, to understand them only through his own rationalization. If we do not completely sympathize with him (at first), it's quite easy to understand him, even as the horror of his actions clashes with the tone of his voice. We are also force to see the victim and her actions through his eyes, and can only go by his own interpretations of her behavior which we know to be unreliable, but know nothing beyond what is told to us. Because it is narrated in the first-person point of you, the narrator himself does not delve into his own psychosis, we are not told why he does the things he does beyond his own twisted rationalizations, we only have his voice to go by. His voice is frank, simple, non-dramatic, which only adds to the spookiness of the whole thing, as we constantly feel like digging between the lines, to understand why, why why, but are not offered any respite, any answer, just the facts of the story unfolding before us.

And then the point of view changes to the victim's. Before it was almost easy to forget about what she must have been thinking, or even feeling, so immerse were we into the kidnaper's own mind, but now we are forced to confront the disjointed, panicked and passionate thoughts of his victim, in the form a journal entries. These entries are personal, meandering, weaving in and out of the present and the past. You feel that in an effort to comfort herself, to keep her mind off things, while she lives in a room, in the basement f a house, at the mercy of a man who feeds her and buys her things, but does not seem to want more than spend time with her (nothing sexual or perverted either), she writes and writes about her life, about her love. Feeling trapped and more and more desperate to be free, she writes about the man that has kidnapped her, yes, but also about art, about friends, about philosophy and the things she wants to do, and the things she regrets, and the things she cares about. And we, as the readers, are forced to realize how alive a person can be. This second part is a bit longer, and less plot-driven, slower, more introverted, a complete contrast with the direct, simple point of view at the beginning, exacerbating the contrast between these two characters as the novel comes to its, ultimately unavoidable, conclusion.

And finally the epilogue, from his point of view again, is chilling to the bone.

I didn't know I would like this book at first, and I am glad I took the chance, even if I hadn't loved it as much as I did, it is a tightly well woven novel that brought shivers to my spine.


Winter 2011-12 Reading List

Winter approaches and I've decided to (mostly) dedicate the next few months to reading tons of children's books, some of which I've been meaning to read for the longest time, but haven't gotten around to do so. They say there's not time like the present, and so I figured I should get to it and just read those wonderful little books. I just finished reading the whole of A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket (expect a review soon-ish), which was on my list, and after a trip to the library I am now on the way to accomplish my goal.

Here are some children's books (but not all) that I plan to read this Winter:

  • The Moomins series (9 books), by Tove Jansson (see my pinterest Moomin/Tove Jannsson board)
  • The Sisters Grimm series (#4~8), by Michael Buckley
  • The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain #1), by Lloyd Alexander
  • The Borrowers, by Mary Norton
  • Black Hearts in Battersea (The Wolves Chronicles #2), by Joan Aiken

  • Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O'Dell
  • Dealing With Dragons (Enchanted Forest #1), by Patricia C. Wrede
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society series (3 books), by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge
  • The Folk Keeper, by Franny Billinsley

  • Swallows & Amazons, by Arthur Ransome
  • The Children of Green Knowe, by L. M. Boston
  • The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2), by Maryrose Wood
  • Mary Poppins, by P. L. Travers
  • Wildwood, by Colin Meloy
And more! See the whole list (ever growing) HERE
What are you favorite children books? What do you recommend?

New Beginning & Listography

Oh, what a long unexpected hiatus this has been! I know I haven't updated this blog since July, and to be honest I am not quite sure what happened. I knew Summer is always a bit of a lethargic time for me, but this Summer really took me by surprise and I found that I neglected many things, this blog included. But now that Summer is gone, and that Fall has almost past as well, I am ready to start working on this blog again.

Mostly though, I just miss writing about books. I've been reading a fair amount of books in the past few months and I want to talk about them and discuss some of them. So let's start over shall we?
(also expect some guess posts in the future from readers and friends. If you are interested in submitting something to The Woodland Library, please see this post)

If you browse this blog you will soon realize that I am a big fan of lists, and book lists are often the best lists there are. So I made a Listography.com account for The Woodland Library. There you will find all the list that have been featured on this blog. Easy to check, easy to print if you want to carry them with you to your nearest bookstore. These lists will continually grow and some will be added and created with time. If you want to submit a book-related list, please don't hesitate to contact me.

So here we are! November 2011 is well on the way and we are starting anew.
Welcome back!


Waiting on Wednesday (9)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1), by Jessica Spotswood
Release Date: February 7th, 2012

Cate Cahill and her sisters are considered eccentric bluestockings—a little odd, a little unfashionable, and far too educated for their own good. The truth is more complicated; they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it could mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave. Before their mother died, she entrusted Cate with keeping them safe and keeping everyone, including their father, in the dark about their powers. When her father employs a governess and Cate begins to receive notes from her missing, presumed-mad godmother, her task becomes much more difficult. As Cate searches for answers in banned books and rebellious new friends, she must juggle unwanted proposals, tea parties, and an illicit attraction to the new gardener. Cate will do anything to protect her sisters, but at what cost to herself?

I know this one is not coming out any time soon, but let's face it, I could never resist a witch story.
(summary from Goodreads)


Quick Review: Playing With the Grown-Ups, by Sophie Dahl

Many people I follow on Goodreads seemed to have liked this book, so when I saw it on sale at the bookstore I bought it right away. Plus, I thought the story sounded interesting and different than what I usually read, which I was in the mood for.

Playing With the Grown-Ups is a coming-of-age story. As a young teenager, Kitty loves living in the idyllic English countryside, but her mother Marina, who has now found a new religion, craves excitement and is in a constant search for a kind of happiness which seems all too elusive. Kitty gets caught in a whirlwind of moving, first to boarding school, and then New York, an ashram, and finally London, and finds herself both enamored and mystified by her free-spirited mother whose changing, and often opposite moods seem to dictate her life. After experiences with faith, enlightenment, love, friendship, drugs and pain, Kitty must choose what she wants to do with her life, and the person she really wants to be.

I must say I was disappointed with this book. I wasn't expecting something different, but I did expect to feel more while reading it. It took me a while to figure out why though. The characters were colorful and diverse, quirky and often felt real, and I found no fault in the plot itself. But something made it difficult for me to connect with Kitty, the protagonist. About half-way through the book, I realized that while I wanted to know what was going to happen (and I never really felt like abandoning the book), I also didn't really care. The prose was a bit disconnected as well. Situations and settings changed without any break in paragraphs or chapters, which sometimes made it confusing for a few sentences, and at times it was beautiful in its simplicity but often it felt too clinical and distancing.

In the end, I found it interesting enough, and sometimes fun. It was short and a quick read, but, to me, not quite memorable or moving.


Quick Review: The Pernderwicks at Point Mouette, by Jeanne Birdsall

I've exhorted my love for the Penderwicks series twice already on this blog, (here & here) and so I was absolutely delighted to read the third instalment of the series, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette. Now, it is not necessary to have read the first two books to understand this one, although you would be missing on some details, and, in my opinion, one of the best part of the series, which is to be witness to the growth of the four sisters at the centre of the story.

In this third instalment, the Penderwicks are splitting up for Summer vacations. Mr. and Mrs. Penderwick are going to England, the eldest Penderwick, Rosalind, is going to New Jersey with her best friend, so that leaves the three youngest Penderwick, Skye, Jane and Batty, as well as their Aunt Claire and the honorary Penderwick Jeffrey (met in the first book) to spend two weeks by the seaside, at Point Mouette, Maine. Of course, charming insanity ensues. Skye finds herself the OAP (Oldest Available Penderwick) and is not ready for such responsibility, Jane stumbles into first love, and Batty discovers her passion, while Jeffrey makes a life-altering discovery.

While cliché, there is no other words that describe this series and books, as charming. It is just charming. The characters have distinctive personalities, all lovable and fun (I am particularly fond of Batty). The plot moves forward quickly, with simple adventures and events, while allowing the characters to grow and expand. To be honest, and particularly in this one, things can get a bit too sweet, in particular when it comes to the adult characters. They are always fun, they always love children and are generally very very kind to a point that is almost unbelievable. But since they are not the main protagonists, I give it a pass. Jeffrey's story line was a bit too stretched for me too, a bit too far fetched, but at the same time was dealt with very well, an in a believable manner, that was quite moving at times. I also missed Rosalind in this one, as she was away, but feel that her absence made sense in the way the books deal with growth.

Overall, I am still in love with this series. It's a perfect quick Summer read and I am already awaiting the next one.


In My Mailbox (8)

In My Maibox (or IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It enables bloggers to mention the books they have acquired during the week. Read more about it HERE.

These are the first books I bought in over a month. I've been very good!

Bought (new):

  • The Initiation & The Captive Part I (The Secret Circle series #1-2), by L. J. Smith
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
Bought (used):

  • The Lost Garden, by Helen Humphreys (finally found a copy! read my review HERE)
  • Dream Work, by Mary Oliver (poetry)
  • The Goblin Wood, by Hilari Bell
  • Feeling Sorry for Celia, by Jaclyn Moriarty
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
  • The Earth Hums in B Flat, by Mari Strachan
  • The Captive Part II & The Power (The Secret Circle series #2-3), by L. J. Smith

News & Guest Blogger Request!


As you might have realized the blog has been a bit slow in the past two months or so. I have been busy, and have not been much in the mood to write anything. It has been a creatively dry few months and I apologize for my absence.

That said, I have read several books that I want to share with you, and have some reviews in the works, so expect posts to pick up again starting next week.

Upcoming reviews:
  • The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, by Jeanne Birdsall
  • Playing with the Grown-Ups, by Sophie Dahl
  • The Secret Circle series, by L. J. Smith
Also, I would like to ask if any of my lovely followers would be interested in guest blogging at The Woodland Library. I would love to introduce different voices once in a while :)
You could write about anything you want: favourite books, reading habits, opinion pieces, reviews, etc. as long as it relates to books somehow. Want to write about the book that changed your life? sure! Want to write about feminism in YA fiction? Absolutely! Want to write about movies and/or TV shows based on books and how they relate to one another? Why not!
Surprise me!

If you are interested, please email me, so we can discuss things (please write Woodland Library Guest  Blogger in the subject line)

I hope you all are having a wonderful beginning of Summer (or Winter)! What have you been reading lately?


Summer Reading List

Here are some books I am hoping to read this Summer. Of course, there is a good chance I won't get to read so many, and I will probably read some not on this list, especially considering that a lot of those I own as ebooks, but have to read on my computer, I would much prefer sitting outside! (I guess this should be called a list of books I am hoping to read in the near future)

This list is also only of books that I have access to right now, whether I own them as hardcover, digital copies, galleys, or from the library. It does not take into account books I might buy, and new releases. So basically it is a VERY non-official list!

  1. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette (The Penderwicks #3), by Jeanne Birdsall
  2. The Dark and Hollow Places (Forest of Hands and Teeth #3), by Carrie Ryan
  3. Ascendant (Killer Unicorns #2), by Diana Peterfreund
  4. Welcome to Bordertown, ed. by Holly Black & Ellen Kushner (short stories)
  5. Geektastic, ed. by Holly Black & Cecil Castellucci (short stories)
  6. Finnikin of the Rock, by Melina Marchetta
  7. My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, ed, Kate Bernheimer (short stories)
  8. Stories, ed. by Neil Gaiman (short stories)
  9. The Bird Sisters, by Rebecca Rasmussen
  10. Enchanted Ivy, by Sarah Beth Durst

  1. Forest Born (Books of Bayern #4), by Shannon Hale
  2. Steel, by Carrie Vaughn
  3. The Iron Thorn, by Caitlin Kittredge
  4. Willful Creatures, by Aimee Bender (short stories)
  5. The Cure is a Forest, by Desi Di Nardo (poetry)
  6. The Collector, by John Fowles
  7. Playing With the Grown-Ups, by Sophie Dahl
  8. The Girl With Glass Feet, by Ali Shaw
  9. Black Juice, by Margo Lanagan (short stories)
  10. The Secret Circle series, by L. J. Smith

  1. The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander
  2. Clarity, by Kim Harrington
  3. Stanger Things Happen, by Kelly Link (short stories)
  4. The Near Witch, by Victoria Schwab
  5. The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart
  6. Unwind, by Neal Shusterman
  7. Rose Daughter, by Robin Mckinley
  8. Tender Morsels, by Margo Lanagan
  9. Little, Big, by John Crowley
  10. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
What books are you hoping to read this Summer? Give me some suggestions! (so this list changes even before I start tackling it!)