August 2011 Wrap Up

Not sure why, but this month of August appears to have had a low reading average.

I read 7 books,with a total of 1500 pages only, which is an average of 48.38 pages/day

and listened to 2 audiobooks, with a total of 27 hours, which is an average of 52 mn/day

Of Mice And Men, by John Steinbeck – 72 p. Read for the Classics Circuit
The Touchstone, by Edith Wharton – 54 p. Read for the Art of the Novella Reading Challenge

Everything Beautiful Began After, by Simon Van Booy – 416 p.
Leaving the Atocha Station, by Ben Lerner – 184 p.
Caught in the Winds, by L.D. Wenzel  – 328 p.
hmm, I just notice that these 3 novels were received for free from the publisher and/or the author!

Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout, by Philip Connors – 240 p. (upcoming review)
Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life And Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica  – 206 p (upcoming review)


Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel – 24:19 hours
Blizzard: The Storm That Changed America, by Jim Murphy – 2:40 hours (upcoming review)

My favorite titles this month are for fiction, non-fiction, and audiobook:

This past month, I have come up with a new Meme, entitled ‘I love France‘, I invite you to come and visit every Thursday and link your own posts where you write about books, movies, food, culture related to France. The link here is to the one posted last.

As for Reading Challenges and the like:
2011 Audio Book Challenge – Addicted- Listen to 12 Audio Books: 8/12
My Dewey Decimal Challenge – Master Level =4.  And I am at 23!
2011 Non-Fiction Challenge – 7-9 books from different categories: Future Jeopardy Champion. And I am at 20 different categories!
Art of the Novella Reading Challenge: I completed the “Level: Fascinated — Read 3 novellas, during the month of August 2011″. I actually read 4, but stopped as I realized that I did not enjoy novellas as much as novels.
– It was really fun participating in the Classics Circuit Tour

On September 29th, I will celebrate my 1st blogiversary: I have set up a giveaway and am offering 2 books. Be sure to check it out (if you checked that out last month, go again, now you do NOT need to buy any hand-painted rock to win!)

This September will also be the first time I participate in the BBAW. This is so exciting! I have done all my votings, and my book blogger partner I’m supposed to interview is Tif at Tif Talks Books

For the end of this year, I plan to focus on 2 challenges: the Europa Challenge, and the Japanese Literature Challenge.



Review #64: Of Mice And Men



Of Mice and Men



72 pages

Published in 1937

Read for


I would like first to thank Rebecca for inviting me on this Tour!
Between Aug 15-26, Rebecca invited over 30 book bloggers to post on a book by Steinbeck. Click on the above picture to access the list of each review.

The Steinbeck Classics Circuit has 4 more days to go, so be sure to go and visit the page every day to see what the next bloggers will have to say; and keep an eye on this great website, where Rebecca regularly organizes classics tours.

This was the opportunity to read this great classic I had not read yet. I enjoy very much Steinbeck’s writing, his East of Eden is one of my favorites.

Usually, I don’t appreciate novellas as much as novels, but I found this one excellent. Steinbeck has such a power of evocation, great description of nature and characters. His use of spoken language and of many dialogues enhances the liveliness of the whole work.

This is a tough story, fit though for describing tragic events all too common during the Great Depression.
The tragedy is conveyed as much in the events of the story, murders for instance -I will not go into too many details not to include spoilers just in case you have not read it yet- as in the mind of the two heroes, George and Lennie, two migrant field workers, with their unattainable dreams of a better life.
The beauty of the descriptions of the life they dream of makes it even worse, as the reader knows instinctively that these dreams will never come true.

Apart from the main themes of powerlessness and loneliness, due to social or character contexts, there are many overlapping themes present, for instance innocence – but innocence up to what level?, mutual understanding, and compassion.
These last two themes are portrayed by the character of Slim, the only one to really understand George and Lennie, and to show a final gesture of compassion and tenderness towards George.


The tragic story of the complex bond between two migrant laborers in Central California. They are George Milton and Lennie Small, itinerant ranch hands who dream of one day owning a small farm. George acts as a father figure to Lennie, who is a very large, simple-minded man, calming him and helping to reign in his immense physical strength. [Goodreads]


John Steinbeck III was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley region of California, a culturally diverse place of rich migratory and immigrant history. This upbringing imparted a regionalistic flavor to his writing, giving many of his works a distinct sense of place.

Steinbeck moved briefly to New York City, but soon returned home to California to begin his career as a writer. Most of his earlier work dealt with subjects familiar to him from his formative years. An exception was his first novel Cup of Gold which concerns the pirate Henry Morgan, whose adventures had captured Steinbeck’s imagination as a child.

In his subsequent novels, Steinbeck found a more authentic voice by drawing upon direct memories of his life in California. Later he used real historical conditions and events in the first half of 20th century America, which he had experienced first-hand as a reporter.

Steinbeck often populated his stories with struggling characters; his works examined the lives of the working class and migrant workers during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. His later body of work reflected his wide range of interests, including marine biology, politics, religion, history, and mythology.

One of his last published works was Travels with Charley, a travelogue of a road trip he took in 1960 to rediscover America. He died in 1968 in New York of a heart attack and his ashes are interred in Salinas.

Seventeen of his works, including The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Cannery Row (1945), The Pearl (1947), and East of Eden (1952), went on to become Hollywood films, and Steinbeck also achieved success as a Hollywood writer, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Story in 1944 for Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat. [Goodreads]


Celebration of Steinbeck Classics Circuit Tour

So excited about this upcoming event! I’ll be part of Celebration of Steinbeck Classics Circuit Tour hosted by Rebecca

I recently read East of Eden, and realized I really enjoyed Steinbeck. Several friends have mentioned Of Mice and Men, so I thought that would be a great opportunity.

I’ll be on this tour on August 22, 2011, so please mark your calendars!

The tour sign up is closed, but I encourage you to click on the Classics Circuit logo to follow this great blog and sign up for future events!

I’ll also add here later the other bloggers doing that tour.