Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What I Read In August

As I mentioned in my August 'What's On Your Nightstand' post, I have so many good books waiting to be read that I just can't choose what to read next. So, in August I wrote down every single title on a slip of paper. When I finish one book, I just draw a slip of paper for the title of what I will read next.

I didn't read as many books in August as in July...but then again, a lot of my reading in July was done while we were on vacation.

The first book I read in August was my favorite: Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford.. You can read my thoughts on this book by clicking here. I would recommend it with no hesitation.

Next to move up to my nightstand was Becoming Jane Austen: The True Love Story That Inspired The Classic Novels by Jon Spence. Two year ago I read one of Ms Austen's novels, Pride and Prejudice. Although it has become one of my favorites of all time, I know very little about the life of its author.

This biography read very well and was quite interesting. I surmised from the reading that there are theories in Mr. Spence's account that are great speculation as compared with other biographers. My only difficulty with the book was that there were so many people with the same names that it was difficult to keep them separated in my head. I had to refer to the family trees often throughout the book.

Of course, it doesn't help that cousin marries cousin or that children were named after close family members to endear them in hopes of future inheritances. Then there were the changes to last names, not only in the case of marriage, but also in order to inherit from a childless benefactor (though seemingly without the legality of adoption).

I had always pictured Ms Austen as being like Elizabeth Bennett from Pride And Prejudice. Though her circumstances were similar (unmarried with no money of her own), I was surprised when Mr. Spence compared her personality as being closer to that of Mr. Darcy. Though quick witted with her family, she was not at ease around strangers. It seems that she often compared herself to those around her, and found herself lacking.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it if you are interested in the life of Jane Austen. It is just so difficult for me to imagine living in a world where having an inheritance is so important in finding a husband!

Yesterday afternoon, I finished the third book, The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller. This book had been on my wish list for two years at least. I read a review in Southern Living magazine the summer of 2008. I finally found it on a 'Specials' table in Barnes and Noble earlier this year.

I picked it up to read after my gall bladder surgery in May...but then the complications arose and I just didn't feel like reading it anymore. (In all honesty, I had barely cracked it open.)

It is hard to express my thoughts on this book. I thought it was a good book; very well written. I enjoyed the story, though it was uncomfortable at times. There is some language and one of the plot lines deals with habitual infidelity. (S*x and politics! Shocking, I know!) Yet, there was also something endearing in the characters as I watched the scenes play out on the page.

I was struck by the human response to 'lie to oneself', often unconsciously, thinking that the lies will protect our heart. One of the characters makes the decision to do something totally for the benefit of another in a saint-like fashion. And yet, the further one reads, the more you begin to see that person's true motives being revealed.

Isn't that the way it is in real life? Sometimes it is easier for someone outside to look into a situation and evaluate it more accurately than the people who are living in it 24/7. The person who has been betrayed sometimes has as much culpability in the marriage as the one who betrays. The newly married can have just as many hindrances to their marriage as those who have been married for 40 years. And sometimes, the relationship that you think will have the greatest impact on your life is also the one that you end up tearing down with your own hands.

If you can stand a little bit of language, and are not too offended by the references to infidelity, I would recommend The Senator's Wife.

Next up on my nightstand? The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. I will probably begin reading it tonight.

How about you? Did you read any good books last month?


Anonymous said...

I read the Senator's Wife quite a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I know it is not as rivoiting as a who do it but I have to admit that Sue Miller's writes really good. She takes the mundane and turns it into something that really gets you to thinking.

I'm reading a new author right now....Carla Cassidy. I have been absorbed in her book (Broken Pieces) since Chapter 1.

Hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.


B said...

I will be looing for this book too have been to both Halfbooks last week and week looking for 2 books maybe more luck with Senator's Wife.

I have so many here to read told myself no of course I was holding the books too but walked out. They add up after awhile.

Love you,

klham said...

I am in the middle of three books right now, Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge, In Praise of Stay-at-home moms by Dr. Laura and Total Money Makeover. I am going to haalf price books today to see if they have any interior design textbooks... I blame my "self help" thing on YOU!

Anonymous said...

I read thw book you gave me, The Blond Murder it was real cute and good.