Sunday, 15 June 2014

Twitterature, June 2014

Another month has gone by, filled with sun, rain, and explosive growth. I've been living through eras of blossoms; the epoch of apples has been surpassed by the empire of lilacs, and the dandelion resistance shows no sign of waning. Between the pages, however, I've been travelling through many a season, from a wet Irish winter, to the blaze of New Mexican summer, the damp of subterranean Paris, and over two years worth of cycles in good old P.E.I. 

It's Twitterature time again, and my inner bibliophile is recovering nicely. Here's what I've read this month:

A Week in Winter, by Maeve Binchy
Despite the title, this was a lovely read for spring. It's such a comfort to settle into Binchy's classic style, with a collection of short stories focussing on each character all weaving into a larger narrative that effects them all. I was sorry to discover that this was her last book. I'll miss her relatable characters and gentle realism. Way to go out on a strong note, Maeve!

The Book of Illusions, by Paul Auster
After a few years of being intrigued by most every book off my brother's Christmas and birthday wish lists, I asked him to pick one out for me. I finally got around to reading it, and I'm glad I did. It's a gritty exploration of self-inflicted penance, surviving grief, and art for art's sake, revolving around a lost silent film star. Don't give it to your grandmother, though; there's a chapter in the middle that's bound to offend her sensibilities.

Because I Have Loved and Hidden It, by Elise Moser
Speaking of offended sensibilities, this month marked my first library-roulette dud. Within the first ten pages, this novel took me from a forbidden bedroom to a detailed description of the contents of a casket to the humidity inside middle-aged undergarments. At this point, I put the book down, for the sake of my stomach. I should have taken the critical acclaim of "daring sensuality on every page" as a warning. TMI for my taste. Do not mix with breakfast.

Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery
I have devoured this series more times than I can count, and always find something new - or forgotten - to enjoy along the way. This is my first time, however, reading the work that started it all aloud. I have been reading to my seven-year-old a chapter or two a night, and am discovering yet more details I hadn't noticed before. Reading slowly to an inquisitive young listener made me notice the length (short) and number (many) of chapters, the casual xenophobia, the random acts of knitting, the glorious nature descriptions, and the frequency of the fabled "big words." Montgomery is just a guilty of using them in her narration as Anne is in her monologues; I tripped over a four-syllable adjective every other paragraph, thankfully without comment from the peanut gallery. She mostly saved her interruptions to ask whether the chapter subject was happening yet - setting the scene is pretty foreign to the world of picture books. The impatience can't trouble her too much, however, for she's sure to remind me of our reading appointment and always keen to negotiate an extra chapter. We're both looking forward to Anne of Avonlea.

The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux
Once again, I've stumbled on a classic on the intent of ploughing through only to find it nigh impossible to put down. Leroux's descriptions are fascinating and vivid, the English translation wonderfully readable (though strangely anonymous - unless the Modern Library Editorial Board made a group project of the work). The plot is twisted, comic, tragic, and ultimately dramatically satisfying. Now I'm really going to have to see the musical - and add exploring the Paris Opera House to my bucket list. 

That's it from this month's book stack. What have you been reading?

6 comments:

  1. Oooh, your description makes me want to pick up Phantom of the Opera soon! Thanks for the reviews! :)

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    1. You're very welcome! Hope you enjoy the Phantom as much as I did :)

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  2. Cracking up at your description of "Because I Have Loved And Hidden It." :-) Reminds me of a German film friends invited my mother and I to watch with them. Great internal mortification ensued as we were treated to plucking of the female region and other assorted unsavory things. Dead silence followed the ending of the film and my friends vowed to never show a movie again without previewing it first. We have laughed long and heartily about that one ever since. :-)

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    1. Oh goodness! How horribly hilarious! Note to self: avoid German films ;)

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  3. I've just been hearing about Maeve Binchy (because I clearly live under a rock) and now she's moved up on my list, if you like you. =)

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    1. A friend introduced me to Binchy when I was in university, but I'm only starting to clue in to how famous she really was (and only realized she'd passed on when I noticed the author's note was in past tense). I'd start with "Evening Class". Hope you enjoy!

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