I am in beautiful Oregon marveling at the flowering trees and plants. I am hoping for sunshine while I visit my mom. My niece is visiting for the weekend and with my dad leaving for a long trip, I came down to see everyone as well as pick up youngest from school. So far we have spent a nice leisurely Sunday morning reading papers and books. I am lucky that this visit coincides with both of my mom’s book groups so I am deep into Kim Edwards’ The Lake of Dreams so I can participate in the discussion. I finished two books this week The Astonishing Splashes of Colour by Clare Morall which was a good, but emotionally draining read and The Testament of Jessie Lamb which I found somewhat ho-hum.
Here is what caught my interest this week:
It is Muriel Sparks week for many bloggers. I have read three of her novels: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Loitering with Intent, and Memento Mori. I like Sparks’ work – they are sparse yet filled with detail with each word adding to the overall effect. I have wondered which one of her books to read next and I like A Work in Progress’s review of The Girls of Slender Means which is about a group of young women living at a club in London for girls with low economic means. I think Sparks is really good at writing about a groups of people while giving each character distinctiveness. And then Winston’s Dad has to make A Far Cry from Kensington look appealing as well and it is partially set in the publishing industry. Muriel Sparks week was co-hosted by Simon of Stuck in a Book. His blog has posts linking to reviews by participants as well as his own, discussion, etc. and if you are interest in Sparks, his blog is great resource.
Shakespeare’s Othello is a wonderful play and Iago, a master manipulator. In Nicole Galland’s Novel, I, Iago reviewed at Devourer of Books, Iago was seen as too honest by Venetian standards. I enjoy books that flesh out characters or give a new spin on one of Shakespeare’s plays. I enjoyed The Dead Father’s Club my Matt Haig (a spin on Hamlet). Galland’s novel looks like it gives the reader both Iago’s background as well as insight into his motivations.
Devourer of Books also reviews Hit Lit by James W. Hall. Hall is a creative writing professor and thriller writer and in this non-fiction work he looks at what makes a book a hit using case studies from novels very familiar to readers. One of the reasons I like to discuss books with other people is because I am fascinated by why people like the books they like. This book seems like it follows in the same vein. It is going on the list.
My Niece is planning on taking an on-line course in the fall on Modern Poetry and I am going to look at the information and consider taking it as well. Then I clink over to Gavin’s Page247 and the book that fills the screen is Beautiful and Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry by David Orr. Orr’s premise is to “Read poetry as if it were a foreign country, specifically Belgium.” Gavin goes on to say the book is “written in a conversational tone, light and with a touch of humor.” I have already asked himself to pick it up from the University’s library – hopefully it will be waiting for me when I get home.