Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

Have you read a good novel lately?  

Lately I have read some good non-fiction, including

When I am playing with my cat, how do I know she is not playing with me? : Montaigne and being in touch with life, by Saul Frampton, about the French Renaissance philosopher Montaigne.  The author’s main claim is that Montaigne was ahead of his time in much of his thinking.  He also suffered from kidney stones.  I am adding Montaigne’s Essays to my reading list for some time in the future.

The rise and fall of the Bible : the unexpected history of an accidental book, by Timothy Beal.  This book is not so much about the demise of the Bible, but about how most Americans have come to view the Bible as a rule-book for life, when in fact the Bible is more a “library of questions” as the author puts it. It's also about how the Bible is marketed these days. I like the author’s viewpoint, but think that the publisher went for the attention-getting title just to get some people riled up.  Riling up equals readership, in this day and age. 

But it is now time for some fiction.  At a friend’s suggestion, I looked at the BBC Book List in the hopes of picking a couple books to read this summer.  I was enthusiastic, without even looking at the list, thinking that the BBC list would include lots of 18th century British novels devoid of bodily dismemberment,
 s e*ual crimes, and awful things happening to children.  I find it difficult to read those in a work of fiction. 

The first thing I discovered is that the BBC Book List is hard to find.  I couldn’t find it on an official BBC web site, but it has been internettily bouncing around.  Maybe it is not actually from the BBC.  To see the entire list that I was working from, go here.

I picked a few from the list.  I admit I partly picked books based on their length.  For instance, I rejected Middlemarch by George Eliot because it clocks in at 904 pages.   Maybe I'll read that someday, but not this summer.

Here’s my short list:
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (240 pages)
Watership Down by Richard Adams (476 pages)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (256 pages)
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (464 pages)

So what are you reading lately?


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I just started Wendy Mc Clure's "The Wilder Life" and laughed so hard I woke up my husband.

Common Household Mom said...

Thanks, Green Girl! I could use a good laugh, so I'll be looking for this one at the library. I read all the "Little House" books when I was a girl. Now my husband refers to them whenever I say the housework is too hard.

Common Household Mom said...

Here's what people on facebook (where I link to my blog) said they were reading or recommended:

"Something Borrowed" by Emily Griffin.

Dorothy Parker

"My Dream of Stars" by Anousheh Ansari - about her path to becoming the first female, private space "explorer".

"A Dog's Purpose" by W. Bruce Cameron.

Renee said...

I just finished "I Still Dream About You: A Novel", by Fannie Flagg. I've never ready anything by her before, and I'm not sure I'd recommend this book. I really loved the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes", which was based on her book, but I thought "I Still Dream About You" was not terribly well-written. The characters didn't seem very genuine, and the side-story of a fictional historical figure, although interesting in itself, seemed just kind of stuck into the novel.

I have a friend who is currently reading and enjoying "The Mists of Avalon"; I'm going to read that next.

Anonymous said...

I pick up books at the library at random some times on the advice of the librarian who I think goes to my church. Right now I'm reading "In sunlight, in a beautiful Garden" by Kathleen Cambor. It's fiction but historically factual about the dam collapse the caused the Johnston Flood. Mellon, Frick, Carnegie and other very rich people who wanted a summer retreat away from the dirty city of Pittsburgh. I'm about half way through and enjoying it a great deal. Big Time Reader and Friend of Common Household Mom