Sunday, December 28, 2014
"September" by Rosamunde Pilcher is peopled by characters that, as individuals, are sometimes flat; but once they are assembled, they fit into the story just fine and the plot flows along very well for the entire 600+pages of the novel. The story is a continuation, sequel or "vol 2" of the authors wonderful hit, "The Shell Seekers"; one of Penelope Keeling's children figures as a moderately important character in "September". The wife of a wealthy business man decides to have a hunt ball dance party at their Scottish estate; one by one the central characters are drawn in, either asked to help organize the event or are invited to attend. If you love "Downton Abbey", you will likely enjoy the novels of Rosamunde Pilcher. My only complaint is my usual complaint about many novels: the editing; certain words and phrases occur in her novels like hiccups, for example, characters are too often "dealing with" some chore or situation; characters "eat their way through" too many meals. I feel patronized by clumsy or absent editing--I guess it's just me.
Friday, December 26, 2014
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Thursday, December 18, 2014
The author is a popular travel writer, I'm told, though I hadn't yet discovered this books. In "At Home" he takes us on a trip, from room to room, in his current home in England. The house was built as a Rectory in 1851. So first, Bryson explains about the 19th Century English church system; notable accomplishments were achieved by some of these clerics. The book reminded me a bit of the early chapters of "The Devil in the White City" with the explanation of the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London which was as difficult to launch as the Chicago Fair in 1893. No detail of domestic life is too trivial to escape mention: construction, arrangement of spaces, materials, stairs and the changes in life style they enabled, utilities, plumbing, etc. Sounds like it could be boring? No, it is a delightful book, written in a light, amusing and conversational style. Much was familiar to me: I was a Home Economics major in college; but I learned a lot too. I will definitely find other books by this author.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Friday, December 12, 2014
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
I never stop reading books that I find. I mention them here so I will remember the titles, plots and authors later. By choosing "a book by its cover" last summer, I found Chris Kuzneski's "The Sign of the Cross"; it barely passed my "thirty page rule" (if I can read thirty pages without closing the book in disgust, I finish it). The plot centered on what seemed to be a conspiracy to cast doubt on the divinity of Christ by perhaps revealing that the entire persecution and execution of Jesus was a hoax orchestrated by the Romans for their own gain. A plot which seemed to be riding on the coat tails of the popularity of other recent novels. Though not recent, my favorite on this general subject is "King Jesus" by Robert Graves, it came out in 1946 and was truly mind-blowing for the time. But the writing is sublime. Anyway, Kuzeski's novel is full of crashing cars, high speed, impossible coincidences and testosterone splashing all over the place; blood too. However, Orvieto in Italy was a setting for part of the book. Somehow, I'd never heard of the that place before. I google-mapped and imaged, I used wikipedia, etc. with delight. So, I learned that even in a book I'm not enjoying much, I can benefit if I do research on elements in the story that interest me.
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