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Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: A Lesson Before Dying By Ernest Gaines

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books! It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. Through Throwback Thursdays THCW and NTFB hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

A Lesson Before DyingThis week’s Throwback Thursday book is A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines.

Summary from Amazon:  A Lesson Before Dying, is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s.  Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shoot out in which three men are killed; the only survivor, he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death.  Grant Wiggins, who left his hometown for the university, has returned to the plantation school to teach.  As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state, his aunt and Jefferson’s godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death.  In the end, the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting—and defying—the expected.

Why You Should Read This Book:  This book is certainly not my usual pick for a Throwback Thursday, but it’s one I was discussing with a friend recently and just wanted to share it with as many people as possible.

This was on the syllabus in my sophomore English class and it is one of the only assigned books that I now list among my favorites. This book is not an easy or light-hearted read; It’s dark, difficult, gritty and deeply sad. It contains a powerful and engaging lesson through a very vivid portrayal of 1940’s Southern racial injustice in a small Louisiana town.

The story is so incredibly moving that it keeps you turning pages long after you should have gone to sleep. It allows you to connect with Grant and Jefferson in a way that you probably didn’t think was possible when you first cracked open it’s spine. A Lesson Before Dying is, in my opinion, Ernest Gaines’ best work and one that you would be doing yourself a disservice if you never read.

Just, maybe make sure you have some tissues and chocolate handy.

 

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Throwback Thursday July 5th: Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia Wrede

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books! It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. Through Throwback Thursdays THCW and NTFB hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

This week’s Throwback Thursday book is Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia Wrede.

Summary from AmazonSnow White and Rose Red live on the edge of the forest that conceals the elusive border of Faerie. They know enough about Faerie lands and mortal magic to be concerned when they find two human sorcerers setting spells near the border. And when the kindly, intelligent black bear wanders into their cottage some months later, they realize the connection between his plight and the sorcery they saw in the forest. 

Why You Should Read This Book:  Have I mentioned before how much I love fairy tale retellings? Oh, I have? Well then it should come as no surprise that I adored Patricia Wrede’s retelling of the Grimm Brothers fairy tale by the same name!

Wrede weaves the original tale into her retelling, sharing an excerpt at the beginning of each chapter. But, her story is far richer and more involved than the original tale was. The juxtaposition of Elizabethan England and the world of the fairy was fascinating and had me turning page after page.

However, fair warning, this book is set in Elizabethan England and so the language is a bit old-fashioned at times. It did take me a bit of time to get into the flow of the language but after that it was easy enough!

If you’re a fan of fairy tales and their (many) retellings, this book is worth a look!

 

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Throwback Thursday June 28th: Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books! It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. Through Throwback Thursdays THCW and NTFB hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

This week’s Throwback Thursday book is Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

Summary from Amazon: Recently arrived in Calgary, Alberta after a long, hard journey from Boston, sixteen-year-old Katherine Mary O’Fallon never imagined that she could lose her heart so easily—or so completely. Standing over six feet tall, with “eyes so blue you could swim in them,” Mike Flannigan is a well-respected sergeant in the Canadian Mounted Police—and a man of great courage, kindness, and humor. Together, he and his beloved Kathy manage to live a good, honest life in this harsh, unforgiving land—and find strength in a love as beautiful and compelling as the wilderness around them.

Why You Should Read This Book: I first read this book waaay back in eighth grade because it had the most possible AR points (I had a system and it worked!). Before I even picked it up I had a feeling I’d enjoy it, the historical fiction was right up my alley! And I was absolutely correct, it was the perfect blend of historical fiction and love story. Oh, and did I mention that it’s loosely based on the true story of Katherine Mary O’Fallon?

I just reread this book about a year ago when I came across a copy in a used bookstore. It had been long enough from my original read that it was as if I as reading the story for the first time. Katherine is a fiercely independent woman and it takes a lot of gut to pick up and move from Boston to Calgary not knowing a soul. I honestly think I appreciate the story even more as an adult, I can understand more of her fear and uncertainty and I admire her courage even more. That and I’m slightly jealous of her marriage, she and Mike are wonderful together. 🙂

If, like me, you appreciate Historical fiction as a genre then this should be added to your TBR list! I promise you won’t regret it.

 

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Throwback Thursday June 21st: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books! It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. Through Throwback Thursdays THCW and NTFB hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

This week’s Throwback Thursday book is Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

Summary from Amazon: It’s five years after Return of the Jedi: the Rebel Alliance has destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and driven out the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi Twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights. But thousand of light-years away, the last of the emperor’s warlords has taken command of the shattered Imperial Fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the new Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build. The explosive confrontation that results is a towering epic of action, invention, mystery, and spectacle on a galactic scale–in short, a story worthy of the name Star Wars.

Why You Should Read This Book:  This is Star Wars done better than George Lucas ever has. Zahn’s trilogy, which starts with this book, perfectly captures the feel of the movies, and expands upon them in very believable ways. The writing is brilliant, the characterization is on point, the worlds are fascinating and the villain is the best I’ve seen in a long time.

This book was my first foray into the Star Wars Extended universe and I could not have made a better choice. Timothy Zahn took the characters that I loved so very much and gave them an adventure on an even grander scale than the original trilogy. He created a story that was a perfect mix of beloved, familiar characters and new, original ones. The original characters he created, Mara Jade, Talon Karrde and Grand Admiral Thrawn, are among some of fandom’s most beloved characters.

If there is one thing Zahn does incredible well, it’s write strong females. Both Leia and Mara play important roles in this trilogy. When we first meet Mara she’s working as a smuggler for Talon Karrde, yet you get the impression that there is far more to her than she lets on. And while this trilogy does an excellent job at giving us her backstory and resolving some of the tension, there are more layers to Mara than Zahn would be able to unwrap here. Which just means you get to see a lot more of her in other books in the EU.

Grand Admiral Thrawn is perhaps one of my all time favorite villains. He’s smart, insanely so, and he’s an excellent strategist. I firmly believe that if the Emperor had put him in charge of his massive fleet, the rebel alliance would have been crushed before it even began. So, it’s a good thing he was left out there on the Outer Rim (although, remind me to tell you my theories on that some time!)

If you are a Star Wars fan and have not yet ventured into the Extended Universe, this is absolutely the place to start. If you aren’t a Star Wars fan and simply enjoy good science fiction with kicking dialogue and lots of action, this is a fantastic book as well. You’ll also immediately want to read the other books in the trilogy, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command.

Are there any other Star Wars EU fans that read this blog? I’d love to hear what your favorite books/comics may be. I could spend days discussing the EU and it’s characters, but I try to refrain as I know not everyone is as obsessed as I am!

 

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Throwback Thursday June 14th: Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books! It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. Through Throwback Thursdays THCW and NTFB hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

This week’s Throwback Thursday book is The Outlaws Of Sherwood by Robin McKinley.

Summary from Amazon: The classic tale of Robin Hood gets a new lift as real flesh-and-blood outlaws, on the lam from the gallows and the sword, fight for the sake of justice. Robin and his merry cohorts swing through the forest in these fresh additions to the timeless stories.

Why You Should Read This Book: Ever since I was a small child I’ve been fascinated by the Robin Hood myth. My mom tells me that I wore out my VHS copy of the Disney Robin Hood and it had to be replaced twice and as a three year old I insisted that she make me a Robin Hood costume for Halloween (complete with bow & arrows!). So, it’s definitely no surprise that my favorite Robin McKinley book is her retelling of the famous robber of Sherwood Forest.

Robin McKinley leaves her signature stamp on the classic tale by adding a few strong willed and independently minded women to Robin’s merry band of men. In this version Maid Marian is no shrinking violet and she often bests Robin at archery! I always appreciate the way McKinley lets her female characters take control right out of the mens hands and this book is certainly no exception.

The backstories that McKinley gives the various merry men flesh out these characters better than in any previous versions I’ve read, Little John, Allan-a-Dale and even Will Scarlett become more human and more engaging that you’ve ever seen.

If, like me, you have a soft spot in your heart for Robin Hood this is the re-telling to read, I plan on reading it for the twentieth or so time in the near future! Although, this has reminded me that I need to buy a new copy, as my copy is so well-read that pages fell out when I picked it up to flip through for this post. Oops?

 

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Throwback Thursday June 7th: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books! It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. Through Throwback Thursdays THCW and NTFB hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

This week’s Throwback Thursday book is Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.

Summary from AmazonLovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever. 

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all…

Why You Should Read This Book: “Daughter of the Forest” is a retelling of the classic fairy tale “The Six Swans” by the Brothers Grimm. Marillier captivates her readers with a story that is far richer and more involved than the original tale ever could was and set against a backdrop of the ancient British Isles it’s absolutely beautiful. Sorcha is a fiery, independent woman who will do anything for her family. It’s both heartbreaking and wonderful to watch her fall in love.

Marillier is no stranger to fantasy, nor to retellings of fairy tales, and all of her stories are full of intriguing characters, plots that twist and turn and settings that have a life of their own. This book is the start of a trilogy, however it’s also able to be read on it’s own to provide a satisfying ending.

If you’re a fan of fairy tales or high fantasy this is definitely an older book worth checking out!

 

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Throwback Thursday May 31st: Troubling a Star by Madeline L’Engle

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books! It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. Through Throwback Thursdays THCW and NTFB hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

This week’s Throwback Thursday book is Troubling A Star by Madeline L’Engle.

Summary from AmazonThe Austins have settled back into their beloved home in the country after more than a year away. Though they had all missed the predictability and security of life in Thornhill, Vicky Austin is discovering that slipping back into her old life isn’t easy. She’s been changed by life in New York City and her travels around the country while her old friends seem to have stayed the same. So Vicky finds herself spending time with a new friend, Serena Eddington—the great-aunt of a boy Vicky met over the summer.
     Aunt Serena gives Vicky an incredible birthday gift—a month-long trip to Antarctica. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. But Vicky is nervous. She’s never been away from her family before. Once she sets off though, she finds that’s the least of her worries. She receives threatening letters. She’s surrounded by suspicious characters. Vicky no longer knows who to trust. And she may not make it home alive.

Why You Should Read This Book: I read this book for the first time in fifth grade and I’ve read it yearly since then. As a child I was enthralled by the mystery and intrigue that surrounded Vicky’s trip to Antartica. It held my attention and never lost it’s appeal or the delicious tension upon numerous re-reads. Although as I’ve gotten older there are some plot points I find a bit unrealistic (like parents allowing a 16 year old to go off on a month long trip with a older male chaperone), but that doesn’t affect me enough to challenge my love for the book.

As I got a bit older I became profoundly jealous of Vicky for both Adam and her fantastic trip to the Antarctic. I’ve always dreamed of traveling and it would be an incredible experience to get to take trip to visit Antarctica and see the penguins and seals! The cast of characters that surrounds Vicky are charming and engaging enough that you remember them and connect with them almost as well as you do the main characters.

if you enjoy Madeline L’Engle’s writing or if you are a fan of mystery and intrigue this book is worth taking a look at!

 

 

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