What are you reading?Summer 2010
Posted 03 September 2010 - 11:55 AM
I also returned to Willa Cather, having discovered one of her books that I'd never read: My Mortal Enemy. It's a slender novel. I found it tremendously sad. The heroine of the story runs off with a non-Catholic businessman. In so doing, she is disinherited from a large fortune. She leads a life of great passions. I won't give away the ending, but it's got an interesting, albeit sad, twist to it concerning whom "my mortal enemy" turns out to be.
I'm rereading Cather's The Professor's House. Gosh, although it was written in 1925, what she has to say about the watering down of curriculum in universities and the uneasy relationship between them and corporations rings just as true today. It's one of the many reasons why I love Cather so much. If all you've read are her famous books, O Pioneers, My Antonia, Death Comes to the Archbishop, please do pick up her works from the middle of her life. They are equally masterful.
I'm also reading What Cabrillo Found by Maud Hart Lovelace, the author of the vastly popular children's "Betsy-Tacy" series. What many people don't know is that Lovelace also wrote for adults, although this book is written for upper elementary/middle school aged children. Published in 1958, it's the story of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's life as an explorer.
The very next book on my list is Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge. It takes place in 1930's Hungary so it's pretty easy to guess what this historical novel will be about. A friend, whose opinion I value very much, recommended it as the best book she's read this year. She states that the book develops character marvelously in the first 300 pages (of a 600 page book). Apparently, those first 300 pages provoke strong reactions. My friend loved it, and I think I will too because well developed characters are extremely important to me, but I've read some reviews where people have said that they almost quit reading the book because it took so long to get going. However, of those who finished, they all say it was well worth the effort. Anyone here read it?
Posted 03 September 2010 - 08:03 PM
Posted 04 September 2010 - 07:54 PM
1) Justice What's the right thing to do?
by Michael Sandel
Based on one of the most popular courses at Harvard, dealing with the big questions of political philosophy.
My book club's current choice; we discuss it next Sunday. Almost finished with it.
My local PBS station ran a program about this course that included a lot of footage from the class itself -- aside from the subject matter, which I think is fascinating, he's able to do question and answer work with a massive group (I don't know how many people were in the auditorium, but he was linking people on a main floor and a balcony) -- very deft teaching techniques.
I've heard interesting things about Martha Nussbaum's new book "Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities" -- I'm hoping to get to it this autumn.
Posted 14 September 2010 - 02:28 PM
Finished my summer reading and have embarked on some fall books. I thought The Invisible Bridge was going to be my next book, but I got sidetracked by Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. What gorgeous prose! Verghese is a doctor as well as a writer. I am only at the very beginning of the book, but already I can tell that, as one Amazon reviewer said, the story "revolves around what is broken -- limbs, family ties, trust -- and the process of rebuilding them." A friend told me that it's full of details about medicine, esp. surgery, while equally exploring human relationships.
My final Willa Cather book reading this year is A Lost Lady, published in 1923. I read it when I was 26, liked but didn't love the book. I think I was too young to read it. Now, at more than twice the age of my first reading, I'm relishing the story.
After that, it's all work-related books about cognitive difficulties in various mental illness and MS. The Invisible Bridge will probably have to wait until winter holidays.
Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:55 PM
Envious Casca by Georgette Heyer
The Fairy-Tale Literature of Charles Dickens, Christina Rossetti and George MacDonald: Antidotes to the Victorian Spiritual Crisis by Cynthia Manson
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Black as Night by Regina Doman
Wish You Were Dead by Tood Strasser
Currently reading Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot
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