After finishing reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, I was looking for something new. A couple of different sites recommended The Bronze Horseman series by Paullina Simmons, so I decided to give it a try.
The Bronze Horseman series is the story of Tatiana and Alexander and starts out in Leningrad just as Russia is about to enter World War II. Tatiana works in a factory and Alexander is an officer in the Red Army.
The trilogy follows them as they work to survive the war, especially the siege of Leningrad, and then building a life post-war. Throughout the series, there also quite a bit of flashbacks to what Tatiana and Alexander’s life was before the war.
I really enjoyed the first book in the trilogy. I also enjoyed the second book. I didn’t enjoy the third book as much.
In the first two books, Tatiana has an independent spirit that helps her to survive the siege and all of the obstacles thrown in her way. She repeatedly fights against the odds to protect herself and her family and move forward with her life. In the third book, Tatiana’s submission to her husband is so stereotypical 1950’s housewife that it doesn’t match the same character we’ve come to know the first two books.
Another thing to note, while Paullina does blend in a good deal of historical fiction in her stories, these books definitely belong on the trashy romance shelf and not alongside your Jeffrey Shaara novels. Some of the descriptions are very risque and detailed.
I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a recap of the books I’ve read this year. I’ve actually been reading quite a bit on the kindle app for my android phone. And, especially with the loss of the ability to crochet, reading has definitely become something I do to get away from the computer (yes, I realize that reading off of my smartphone is not *technically* getting away from the computer).
Here are some of the books I’ve read so far this year …
Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
- Dragonfly in Amber
- Drums of Autumn
- The Fiery Cross
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes
- An Echo in the Bone
The Bronze Horseman Trilogy by Paullina Simmons
- The Bronze Horseman
- Tatiana and Alexander
- The Summer Garden
Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus
Start by Jon Acuff
The Leap Year Project by Victor Saad
One of the first people I met last week at MisfitConf was Victor Saad. One of the first things I noticed about Victor is that he’s one of those people that really listen to you when you’re talking with him. It was pretty neat to start hearing his story at the event the evening before the conference started.
Victor spent 2012 on the “Leap Year Project” — instead of studying in an MBA program at a university, he spent the year at multiple companies serving as an apprentice and learning by doing. As part of the project, he devoted part of the year to writing a book about his experiences.
I don’t normally comment on the aesthetics of a book — mostly because I tend to do most my reading these days on my Kindle app — but this book is really beautiful and would be an awesome addition to any bookcase or coffee table. Filled with photos of both Victor’s adventures and those who joined him by taking their own leap year adventures, the book is one that you can read cover-to-cover or just sit and read a page about one person’s experience.
My favorite quote from the book is:
“… I was starting to understand that when you share your hurdle with someone, it gives them an opportunity to contribute — to open their home, prepare a meal, write a note — and therefore be part of something bigger.”
Victor’s Leap Year Project started out with an idea, but it never would have happened if other people hadn’t stepped up — people offering him a place to sleep, companies taking a risk and allowing him to work on special projects, a friend donating airline flights to get to various locations, and many other small things people gave to Victor along the way.
This is also true of all the smaller leap year experiences described in the book.
I’m super grateful to have met Victor in Fargo and to learn more about the work that he’s done. Victor’s latest project is The Experience Institute, where he wants to expand experiential education to others. I’m looking forward to helping him on his next journey as much as I can.