Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Jack Donaghy Winning TimeI am pleased to announce that Diamond “Dee” of Dee’s Reads has won my giveaway, which was held to celebrate reaching 200 blog followers! From the list of books I have written about here on Books Speak Volumes, Dee has chosen to receive a copy of On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I have emailed her for her mailing address and will order her a copy from The Book Depository as soon as possible!

Thank you to everyone who participated, wished me congratulations, and said kind words about my blog. Your support means so much to me!

Happy reading, everyone!


Book Review: Diving Belles by Lucy Wood

Book Review: Diving Belles by Lucy Wood
by Lucy Wood

Short Stories
Mariner, Aug. 2012
Paperback, 223 pages
Source: Purchased

I think we’ve established that I am a sucker for anything that blurs the line between myth and reality. Karen Russell is my goddess, The Tiger’s Wife made me swoon, and No One Is Here Except All of Us totally charmed me. When I heard about Diving Belles, the title story of which is about an old woman who goes under the sea in a diving bell to try to retrieve her husband, who was taken by the mermaids many years before, I knew it would be right up my alley.

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Quotable Friday: from Fahrenheit 451

“Stuff your eyes with wonder,” he said, “live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that,” he said, “shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.”

– Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Bloggy News: A New Look, 200 Followers, and a Giveaway!

Hello everyone! I have a few exciting announcements to make about Books Speak Volumes today!

First of all, the blog has a shiny, brand new header image! A huge thank you to my wonderful boyfriend Tom for designing it. Aside from being incredibly handsome, sweet, and funny, he also happens to be a talented graphic and web designer! You can see his other awesome designs on Dribbble!

I Love You gif

Thanks lemon pie, you’re the best!

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Quotable Friday: from Sister Carrie

“People in general attach too much importance to words. They are under the illusion that talking effects great results. As a matter of fact, words are, as a rule, the shallowest portion of all the argument. They but dimly represent the great surging feelings and desires which lie behind. When the distraction of the tongue is removed, the heart listens.”

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Book Review: The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

Book Review: The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
by Elizabeth Strout

Random House, March 2013
Hardcover, 320 pages
Source: Provided by publisher for review

In the wake of the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess couldn’t leave their small Maine hometown of Shirely Falls soon enough. Now living in New York City, Jim is a successful corporate lawyer with a wife and college-age children, and Bob is a childless, divorced Legal Aid attorney who spends most of his evenings drinking alone in his apartment. The two brothers have settled into a dynamic of Bob admiring Jim and Jim treating Bob like garbage, but their uncomfortable routine is shaken up when their sister Susan, who remains in Shirley Falls, calls them in a panic.

Shirley Falls has become a sort of haven for Somali refugees, and Susan’s 19-year-old son Zach has gotten into trouble with the law for throwing a pig’s head into a Somali temple during their worship service. Jim and Bob must return to Shirley Falls to support their sister and nephew and give them any legal assistance possible. Their return home brings up all sorts of unpleasant memories, and old tensions between the siblings rise to the surface as they try to deal with Zach’s legal situation and their ideas about loyalty and family. Continue reading

Losing My Les Mis Mojo

I started reading Les Miserables in early February, and I’ve been chugging slowly along at a pace of 100 pages per week. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes I want to yell at Victor Hugo, “No, I will NOT pardon your 50-page digression about the architecture of this random building.” It’s been a love-hate thing so far.

But lately it’s been mostly hate. Don’t get me wrong; I love the story. But it seems like whenever the story gains any momentum and I’m feeling psyched about reading it, Hugo goes off on some tangent that is only tenuously connected to the plot FOR 40 TO 80 PAGES. It’s driving me crazy, and I am losing so much enthusiasm for this book.

Les Miserables meme

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Quotable Friday: from Tiny Beautiful Things

“Of course you’re afraid of being judged and condemned. Some people will judge and condemn you, but most won’t. Our minds are small, but our hearts are big. Just about every one of us has fucked up at one point or another. You’re in a pickle. You did things you didn’t hope to do. You have not always been your best self. This means that you’re like the rest of us. I’ve never been in a humiliating situation when I wasn’t shocked by all the “normal” people who were also in the very same humiliating position. Humans are beautifully imperfect and complex.”

– Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Book Review: Bones Buried in the Dirt by David S. Atkinson

Book Review: Bones Buried in the Dirt David S. Atkinson
by David S. Atkinson

Fiction: Novel in stories
River Otter Press, Jan. 2013
Paperback, 148 pages
Source: Provided by the author for review

Bones Buried in the Dirt is a novel in short stories that follows a boy named Peter as he grows from a child of four to a pre-teen of twelve. Atkinson shows us many moments, from the most everyday to the most memorable, that shape Peter’s personality and values during the time when he is the most impressionable. Continue reading