Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2010 Reading List

I am travelling for a period, and finally getting time to look through the diary, check the emails, look over the lists, sort out my paper life! As it happens, with the invention of the iphone and built in camera, I have used the camera to take snapshots of books I want to read. In the last week, in various bookstores (Vermont has 55 wonderful used bookstores, and LOTS of libraries which are having summer book sales - and yes I am shipping books home out of the luggage) I have photographed a number of books: the list looks like this:
Julie Orringer The Invisible bridge
Georgette Heyer Duplicate death
Where the wild things are
Tinkers Paul Harding
AMS Double Comfort Safari Club
J. Maarten Troost Lost on Planet China
Eva Rice The lost art of keeping secrets
John McPhee Giving good weight
Archer Mayor Price of Malice
Rusty Dewees Scrawlins
Images of America, Caledonia county VT
Marina Fiorato The Botticelli secret
Juliet Gael Romancing Miss Bronte
Tana French Faithful Place

Yes I have read a couple of these years ago, but revisiting is also fun, sometimes in a different format (dvd or audio). Sometimes it is the republication cover that attracts attention and reminds you what a wonderful book that was. Or reminds you of where you were when you read it.

That plus another list, means I have alot to catch up on! But I have actually read a few books lately, and listened to a couple more travelling the back roads of Vermont. I am typing this in the Stowe Public Library, where I was a patron 25 years ago. I read through their entire collection of books on tape (and it was cassette tape then!) during my commute to Burlington, or to Huntington (Camel's Hump research site). This was where I learned to listen to children's books on tapes and can still recite some of the wonderful lines by incredible voices (and people!). And here I listened to hours of poetry, especially Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson, as well as radio programmes, that connected me again with my parents "the shadow knows!". This is a wonderful library, and community, and state. Tomorrow I head to Montpelier for two of my favourite bookstores: Rivendell and Bear Pond Books. With a couple of PO mailing boxes in hand.... ;-)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Taking Liberties, Diana Norman

I am trying to read all of her novels - just hard to find them.
This was published 2003? the ppbk edition I had anyway. (She is also the author of the Mistress of Death series which I love). She is a journalist, now novelist because she loves historical detail. Reviews of all her books are excellent. There is so much detail, you can reread these books. There are nuances and great detail, but galloping reads as well.
My heart broke for the woman in this story - married at 18 within the aristocratic England; incredible descriptions of family, duty, life. She never forgave her parents for her marriage yet accepted her duty. The arrival of her son was her deepest joy and worst hurt as her husband removed all joy and and beat out all happiness. But she finds herself free at 39 with his death. Only to have her son and his wife cripple her (financially) - and yet she gives her son what he needs, clinging to his wife for support and affection. BUT she escapes by 'visits' - and the arrival of a letter that awakens the dream of the only happy time in her life when she was 13/14.
Then comes the crusade to save the 'boy', to help a friend, to have an adventure and 'live'. She falls in love, what a magical relationship that is. What astounding characters/people. (a slave is given his freedom, and gives it back to save the cause - prisoner exchange. the second woman Makepeace - so very different, so alike and the tale that combines the two lives, making a social history). Profound on so many levels.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

City of Light by Lauren Belfer

City of Light by Lauren Belfer was published in 1999 - and I am sorry I missed it!! this was a tremendous book. Factually historical, wonderful romance tale, interesting plot, mystery and story, excellent writing for a great read. Takes place in Buffalo NY in the early 1900s, you will feel right at home after reading Devil in the White City. Some similarities, but much more intricate story, much more academic. This does involve academic life, but also the electrifying of cities and houses (and businesses). The revelations and secrets were fairly obvious to me, but the facts on Niagara falls, electricity, girls schools, power struggles in class, society and between male/female is ever present. I read this one because I had heard of her newest book, which wasn't available from the library yet.
So why is this a Celtic read?? The opening, and closing will grab you.
"I am lucky: I know what people say about me. To some I am a bluestocking: a woman too intellectual to find a husband. To others I am an old maid, though I do not consider myself old and I am no maiden." "Self knowledge as the greeks might say, the only knowledge worth having." Louisa Barrett 1909.
I will be looking for her latest fiction, to be sure. (A Fierce Radiance, 2010)