Thankful

thankfulTwo days until turkey, y’all! Thanksgiving might just be my favorite holiday. Getting together with loved ones, everyone reminding themselves of the things that make their lives meaningful, and eating delicious food… does it get much better than that? As Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been thinking about the many, many beautiful things in my life. I have so much to be thankful for, this year and every year.

And now for the obligatory sappy list of the things I am most thankful for! Continue reading

The Classics Club One Year Review

The Classics ClubHello lovelies! November 14 marked my one-year anniversary of joining the Classics Club, and I wanted to do a quick post about my progress.

As most of you probably know, the Classics Club is a group of bloggers who have pledged to read at least 50 classics in five years. I would love to read more of the cannon, and I joined as a way to encourage myself to make classics a regular part of my literary diet. I cobbled together a list of 50 titles that I would like to read, but planned to use it as a guideline, not as a set-in-stone plan. My goal was to read 50 classics, but it didn’t matter much which classics they were. I’m glad I gave myself this leeway!

One year into the Classics Club, I have read and reviewed six books (only three of which were on my original list). I’m quite a bit behind schedule, since I should have read ten classics by now, but I’m still happy with my progress. Continue reading

Quotable Friday: From Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

You guys are probably getting sick of my Harry Potter posts, but don’t worry; I’m almost done! Two more books posts, and this will probably be the last quote. I couldn’t resist sharing this passage, which is one of my absolute favorites in the series.

Fred looked around at the assembled students and at the silent, watchful crowd.

“If anybody fancies buying a Portable Swamp, as demonstrated upstairs, come to number ninety-three Diagon Alley — Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes,” he said in a loud voice. “Our new premises!”

“Special discounts to Hogwarts students who swear they’re going to use our products to get rid of this old bat,” said George, pointing at Professor Umbridge.

“STOP THEM!” shrieked Umbridge, but it was too late. As the Inquisitorial Squad closed in, Fred and George kicked off from the floor, shooting fifteen feet into the air, the iron peg swinging dangerously below. Fred looked across the hall at the poltergeist bobbing on his level above the crowd.

“Give her hell from us, Peeves.”

And Peeves, whom Harry had never seen take an order from a student before, swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute as Fred and George wheeled about to tumultuous applause from the students below and sped out of the open front doors into the glorious sunset.

In other words, Fred and George are the greatest.

The Great Harry Potter Re-Read: Order of the Phoenix

order of the phoenixHello lovelies! I’m still having a fabulous time with my Great Harry Potter Re-Read! This week I got to read one of my favorite books of the series (does it seem like I say that in every recap post?), Order of the Phoenix! Things get seriously dark in this installment, and I love it. It’s just so delightfully angsty.

As a reminder, the plot of the book goes something like this (spoiler spoiler spoiler): Continue reading

Book Review: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft

Book Review: Burial Rights by Hannah KentA VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
by Mary Wollstonecraft

Non-Fiction: Feminism
Penguin; 2004 (original pub. 1792)
Paperback; 133 pages
Source: Purchased

A few months ago, as I wandered around my local indie bookstore in search of one particular book, my eyes alighted upon this slim volume, which is part of the Penguin Great Ideas series. The design is absolutely gorgeous; the image to the left doesn’t do justice to the gently textured paper or the beautiful letterpressed type. It’s a book that I just want to gaze lovingly at and run my fingers over. It also happens to be one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy (written in 1792), and if you’ve hung around BSV for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I’m all about feminist works.  I picked up a copy and read it in small bites over the course of a month.

Essentially, Wollstonecraft argues for the education of women. She discusses how women are viewed as inferior and how denying them education MAKES them inferior. If they are encouraged to care only about clothes and social standing, and not to develop their minds, of course they will be stupid, vapid creatures. She writes at length about the various ways women are repressed, enslaved, and kept from developing into humans worthy of having rights. It was interesting to read how women were viewed during Wollstonecraft’s time and compare how things have changed, but also to see which attitudes have remained the same. Continue reading

Book Review: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Book Review: Burial Rights by Hannah KentA ROOM OF ONE’S OWN
by Virginia Woolf

Non-Fiction: Essay/Speech
Harcourt; 1929
Paperback; 114 pages
Source: Purchased

After spending five years deathly afraid of Virginia Woolf after being forced to read To the Lighthouse in high school, I gave the author another shot earlier this year. It turned out that I really loved Mrs. Dalloway, and I was eager to try more of Woolf’s writing. After talking to one of my favorite bloggers, the lovely Elena at Books and Reviews, who shares my interest in feminism, we decided to read and discuss A Room of One’s Own together.

A Room of One’s Own was originally written as lectures Woolf was asked to give on the topic of “women and fiction.” She spends a good portion of the book considering what that even means, describing her thought process as she considers how to write her speech. I actually found this part pretty dull; although I loved Woolf’s stream of conscious style in Mrs. Dalloway, I found it difficult to interest myself in her first-person account of walking around a university and going to a dinner party and sitting in a library. Elena found it slow to start, too, but I’m sure many other readers would enjoy this part. Continue reading

Literary Blog Hop Giveaway

Hello, and welcome to the Literary Blog Hop! This is a thrice yearly giveaway hop hosted by Leeswammes’ Blog. I, along with 38 other bloggers, am giving away a book of literary merit to one lucky reader!

blog hop header

If you’re a regular reader, it’s lovely to see you again, and if you’re visiting Books Speak Volumes for the first time, I’m thrilled to meet you! I’m super excited to participate in this giveaway for the first time. I couldn’t decide which book I wanted to give away, so I’m letting you choose — kind of. I picked my three favorite books published in 2013, and the winner gets to pick which one he/she would like to receive!

Continue reading

Quotable Friday: from Harry Potter

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a Quotable Friday post, but this week I’m back with a gem from my reading rampage of the Harry Potter series!

“Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

– Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Book Review & Giveaway: We Are Water by Wally Lamb

Book Review: We Are Water by Wally LambWE ARE WATER
by Wally Lamb

Fiction
Harper; Oct. 22, 2013
Hardcover; 576 pages
Source: TLC Book Tours

After 27 years of marriage and raising three children, “angry artist” Annie Oh has left her husband and is about to remarry Viveca, the sophisticated Manhattanite who sells Annie’s paintings in her high-end art gallery.

As if Orion, Annie’s psychologist ex-husband, isn’t hurt enough by Annie’s abandonment, Annie and Viveca plan to have their wedding in Three Rivers, CT, the town Orion and Annie had made their home for so many years. The couple’s wedding stirs up mixed reactions among Annie and Orion’s children, as well. Continue reading