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Annotated Jane Austen Novels

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I’m picky about annotated editions because an editor can really make or break my overall reading experience. I want editorial notes that enhance my understanding of the background details of the customs, language and culture of the times. I don’t want unnecessary commentary to tell me what I should think about the meaning of a passage. This collection published by @vintageanchorbooks and edited by David M. Shapard is an excellent compilation of definitions of words that had a different meaning then than they do now, sketches and photos of clothing, furniture, carriages, estates, etc. from Austen’s time, maps of cities and countrysides, cultural customs and norms along with details of Austen’s life and other writings. The actual text of the novel is on the left page with the corresponding details noted on the right page. This format provides an easy reading environment so you can determine what details you want to easily reference as you go. The only change I would make in this collection is providing the books in hardback to better preserve the spine.

Let me know if you have any questions! Happy Reading!

The pages in this photo are from ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and the editorial details include two definitions, background details on winter activities, the conflict between a husband who is dedicated to sport and country life when the wife wants shopping and a social life in the city, the postal service of the day and an artist’s rendition of the Mayfair district where most of the characters in the novel reside. I have found that I have a deeper appreciation and fuller enjoyment of Austen’s writing when reading these editions. Jane’s wit and satire really shines through!

The pages in this photo are from ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and the editorial details include two definitions, background details on winter activities, the conflict between a husband who is dedicated to sport and country life when the wife wants shopping and a social life in the city, the postal service of the day and an artist’s rendition of the Mayfair district where most of the characters in the novel reside. I have found that I have a deeper appreciation and fuller enjoyment of Austen’s writing when reading these editions. Jane’s wit and satire really shines through!

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Great Fun

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Great Dog

Written by Davide Cali

Illustrated by Miguel Tanco

// BOOK REVIEW //

Thank you to Tundra Books for this beautiful review copy!

If you are looking for a fresh, adorable, uplifting children’s book, let me introduce you to ‘Great Dog’! In all fairness, I love dogs so this book was a natural fit for my tastes. My fondness for the subject matter, however, is just the beginning of my enjoyment of this bookish treat. From the front cover to the back page, ‘Great Dog’ makes me smile. The story addresses the often asked question  “What will I be when I grow up?” with charm and creativity. I especially enjoyed the gatefolds that give a peek behind each character’s story. Check out my blog (link in profile) for more photos, book details and the ISBN.

I love a great children’s book that can be enjoyed by both the adult and the child while reading together! Do you have a favorite animal that you enjoy featured as a character in a book?

Book Details:

Title: Great Dog

Author: Davide Cali

Illustrator: Miguel Tanco

Publisher: Tundra Books

Format: Hardcover with Dust Jacket

Age Range: 3-7 years

ISBN: 9781101919170



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A White-Water Rollercoaster

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'The River' by Peter Heller

// Book Review //

I finished 'The River' a few weeks ago and needed a bit of time to really sort my thoughts and feelings before writing this review. A book that keeps you thinking after turning the last page can be a good sign that the author wrote a compelling story. Heller’s writing was so immersive that I felt as though I was a passenger in the canoe with the two main characters and instead of paddling with them, all I could do was to will them to safety. The author's descriptive prose felt like poetry at times while also reminding me of why I would never want to go on a wilderness canoe trip without a satellite phone (let's be real... I wouldn't want to go on a wilderness canoe trip for many reasons including bears, the absence of indoor plumbing, sleeping on the ground, foraging for your own food, fires, crazy people, etc.)

Throughout 'The River', Heller expertly intertwines themes of friendship, brotherhood, adventure, trust, loyalty, fear, protection of the innocent, survival, loss, self-defense, mental fortitude, conflict resolution and perseverance at all cost. I enjoyed the author's development of the two main characters as we experience the highs and lows of both their past and their present challenges. Even though I could guess what was around the bend (literally and figuratively) for most of the book, I had high hopes for a different ending. In summary, while I was happy to get out of the canoe when the story ended, this slim book holds a big adventure...

Have you read ‘The River’? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts on this book!

Book Details:

Title: The River: A Novel

Author: Peter Heller

Publisher: Knopf

Format: Hardcover Book

ISBN: 978-0525521877


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Anne of Green Gables for the Little Ones

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ANNE’S ALPHABET and ANNE’S FEELINGS BY KELLY HILL

// BOOK REVIEW //

Thank you to Tundra Books for these beautiful review copies!

Inspired by L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series, Tundra Books adds two new adorable board books to their Anne series. Fans of Anne of Green Gables will delight in the memorable moments captured in Anne’s Alphabet and Anne’s Feelings. For example, in Anne’s Alphabet, the reader is introduced to letters such as “K is for kindred spirit” and “M is for Matthew and Marilla”. Feelings such as “happy”, “scared” and “brave” are featured in Anne’s Feelings. The books are written and illustrated by Kelly Hill with charming illustrations that are a combination of sewing and embroidery. All four books are perfect gifts for any small child’s library!

Book Details:

Title: Anne’s Alphabet and Anne’s Feelings

Author and Illustrator: Kelly Hill

Publisher: Tundra Books

Format: Board Book

ISBN: 9780735262904 (Anne’s Alphabet) and 9780735262911 (Anne’s Feelings)

In  Anne’s Alphabet , each page features a letter of the alphabet accompanied by an adorable illustration.

In Anne’s Alphabet, each page features a letter of the alphabet accompanied by an adorable illustration.

An Anne-inspired book would not be complete without a reference to Gilbert!

An Anne-inspired book would not be complete without a reference to Gilbert!

Kelly Hill’s illustrations have the feel of stitching and embroidery.

Kelly Hill’s illustrations have the feel of stitching and embroidery.

Anne’s Feelings  is a great way to teach your children how to share their feelings.

Anne’s Feelings is a great way to teach your children how to share their feelings.

The details of each page are just adorable! I love the bumble bee!

The details of each page are just adorable! I love the bumble bee!

The feeling of wonder perfectly encapsulates Anne’s personality!

The feeling of wonder perfectly encapsulates Anne’s personality!

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All-Time Favorite

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A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW BY AMOR TOWLES

// BOOK REVIEW //

Amor Towles’ mastery of the pen in ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ proved to be a blessing and a curse. I unequivocally adore this book for reasons I will attempt to articulate in this review while I am simultaneously left with the feeling that my reading life is forever ruined because I’m unlikely to find another book that meets this standard.

❤️

From incredible storytelling to unforgettable characters that are so well-developed that they move from a fictional form to a real-life presence, this book hits all the notes. Like a fine wine, I found myself savoring every line and passage in time from the first to the last page. The Count provided awareness, perspective and a charm so often absent in today’s culture. Alexander Ilyich Rostov will join my list of favorite fictional leading men. The rakish Rhett Butler and the high-brow Mr. Darcy (two of my favorites) could definitely learn a thing or two from the Count.

❤️

Towles expertly incorporates themes of friendship, loyalty, adaptation, camaraderie, remembrances, the power of ideas/poetry/cinematography, the contribution of Russian literature/music/food, the importance of character, the challenges of the collective, the priceless love between a parent and child, sacrifice, tyranny, liberty, truth, lies, and making order of the little things. I loved the variety and depth of the relationships Towles created. I will miss my daily interactions with the Count, Sophia, Anna, Marina, Emile, Andrey and Audrius. My favorite take away from this book, however, is the importance of perspective. From the mundane to those moments of insurmountable obstacles, our perspective directs our experience. A positive perspective propels us to find the good in otherwise undesirable circumstances which results in a positive impact within our sphere. In an interview, Amor Towles describes this perspective as the “will to joy”.

❤️

I whole heartedly recommend this book to all readers! I am looking forward to hearing Amor Towles speak on his book tour in San Francisco on June 4th!

❤️

Have you read this lovely book? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts!

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