What a lazy weekend with Himself gone most of the time and Eldest off at a brewfest for three days. The calm before the storm as Youngest flies home this Thursday – I don’t know who will be more excited – me, the sheepdog (who likes all her ducks – or family members – in a row), or the cat who feels Youngest exists to serve. I have managed to spend some time this weekend reading. I was going to start Friday but took a detour to see Mud with Matthew McConaughey which was very good and highly recommended. I finished By a Slow River by Philippe Claudel (better known for Monsieur Linh and His Child). I really liked it and will look for more by this French author. And I am a good way through The Light of Amsterdam by David Park. This one isn’t thrilling me a great deal but I will finish it.
Here is what caught my interest:
Last week I mentioned Balzac’s Omelet: A Delicious Tour of French Food and Culture with Honore de Balzac by Anka Muhlstein. She has also written a book called Monsieur Proust’s Library also mentioned by Tom of A Common Reader. This time Muhlstein explores books Proust read as well as books he places in his character’s hands. I have always had an antipathy to Proust. My mother, long ago, gave me a set of Remembrance of Things Past in hopes that I would read it and one year, for Mother’s Day, I did start. Just couldn’t do it. Perhaps this book is a way to get my foot into the door.
On the subject of writer’s lives – two of my friends have read and enjoyed Shakespeare’s Tremor and Orwell’s Cough: The Medical Lives of Famous Writers by John Ross. And it does sound quite fascinating. Dr, Ross is both a practicing Physician and an Assistant Professor at the Harvard School of Medicine. He looks at the lives of various authors (Shakespeare, Milton, the Brontes, Orwell, Joyce, Yeats, Melville, Hawthorne, among others) from a medical perspective. I can picture my grandmother really enjoying reading this book and I am thinking I should read it in her honor.
I saw more than one review of Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNea, the first in a series of new mysteries featuring Maggie Hope – an extremely intelligent young British citizen raised by her lesbian aunt in America including this on by A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook. The only work Maggie can find is as a typist at 10 Downing Street replacing a murdered secretary in the days leading up to the war. Amazon says that this series will appeal to “fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King, and Anne Perry.” I like that the reader has to figure out Maggie’s past, deal with the murder, as well as all the complications of a nation heading into war with different political factions jockeying for position.
Caribou’s Mom listed a while stack of books she was considering for a read-a-thon, many of which look well worth the time to check them out. One of the stack that really caught my eye was a book of short stories by William Lychack entitled The Architect of Flowers. The thirteen stories speak of small actions in everyday lives. The Quivering Pen writes, “Lychack’s strength lies in his ability to render details in language so precise—at once familiar and fresh—that the stories demand multiple re-reads just to savor the gorgeous flavor of the words”. Lychack, a Vermont author, also has a novel that sounds interesting called The Wasp Eater the story of a 10 year-old-boy desperately trying to reconcile his parents. Many of the reviews I read of Lychack’s work speak of his lyrical or poetical writing style – just the way I like them.