Month: January 2015

Reading Update: Alias Grace

alias-grace-cover

Since Becky didn’t manage to squeeze in all those great books during 2014, I decided to help her on the challenge. Alias Grace was the second Margaret Atwood book I read and it will not be the last.  I couldn’t put the book down and managed to read it in just a few days, despite it’s hefty size.

The book tells the story of Grace Marks, a real Canadian immigrant accused of murdering two people in the mid-1800s.  This story and Marks’ trial were sensationalized during this period.  Atwood chronicles the story by splitting the narrative between Marks herself and a young doctor who is helping Marks retrieve memories from the day.  Marks spent thirty years in jail for the crime and Atwood deliberately leaves it up to the reader decide whether this was a deserved sentence or not.

If you like Margaret Atwood, I highly recommend this book. It’s been my favorite of her’s thus far.

x K

Travel Guide: The Biltmore Estate

the biltmore house
I’m lucky to have grown up only an hour away from beautiful Asheville, NC. It is known for its mountain views, quaint downtown, and for the awe-inspiring Biltmore Estate. While home for the holidays my family embarked on the short journey to Asheville to tour the house and grounds since it had been years since we had seen it. The architecture, materials, and level of detail of the home are outstanding. The house was extremely innovative for its time, yet some of the principles are still being used today. Just look at these roof lines, limestone, and manicured lawns oh my!the biltmore house
the biltmore houseThis was the family’s humble backyard. It’s a shame, really.the biltmore house

And if the house wasn’t spectacular enough, landscape architect, Frederick Olmstead (designer of Central park, nbd) was commissioned to design the grounds. Luckily Olmstead had the foresight to create a vision that has lasted well over 100 years. Just take a look at this wisteria!
the biltmore house
There is also a conservatory on the grounds that houses these lovely succulents and orchids.
the biltmore house the biltmore house

 

x B

Reading List Update: November/December

the goldfinch donna tartt

Well, it’s 2015, and I’m sad to say I didn’t reach my goal of reading 14 books in 2014. However, I did read more in the past year than I had in previous years so I guess the challenge worked in a way. I finished Goldfinch over my Christmas holiday which brings my grand total of books read to ten. Not bad, but I digress.

Goldfinch has been one of the most hyped up books of 2013/4. While there were many parts I did enjoy, I found this one difficult to get through. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t really enjoy reading about other people’s habitual drug use (or really abuse). While the basis for this story is riveting and some of the parts of the book are hard to put down, the in-between is a drag. Regardless of it’s irregular pace, I did enjoy Tartt’s interpretation of one of my favorite paintings. I think she captures the essence of the painting in the final pages of the novel.

I know people are on the fence about the novel, but I have to side with the nay-sayers on this one.

x B