August is in full swing and my world is decked with flowers for Dormition. Sunflowers and hollyhocks wink out behind fences all along my round trip to drop off my oldest littles at their respective daycamps. And calendars collide again to bring Twitterature on a feast day. Fortunately, it's also been a good month for reading: on the road for family vacation, at swimming lessons, and between my daycamp chauffeur duties, there's been many a moment spent betwixt the pages. Feels like summer to me.
Here's what I read:
Darcy's Story, by Janet Aylmer
This well-thought and delightful little novel tells the story of Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy's point of view. It's well-written and very respectful of Austen's style, pacing, and content, while filling in the blanks of what was going on behind Darcy's stern reserve. As a person who tends towards introversion and struggles to express deep emotions, I appreciated Aylmer's exploration of Darcy's private impressions of Elizabeth and importance of context when assessing a new acquaintance's social behaviour. 'Outgoing' and 'withdrawn' are adjectives relative to Darcy's baseline, and in Aylmer's version, a reader doesn't have to wait 'til the conclusion to find that out.
Map of Bones, by James Rollins
This action-packed page-turner was an excellent vacation read, for if I'd had more on my to-do list it would have waited until I finished the book. History, mythology, and alchemy combine with secret societies, covert military ops, and cutting-edge science. James Bond meets the DaVinci Code, but with better research and more violence. Pity about the violence part - it changed a book I'd recommend to anyone who likes a good riddle to one I'd tag with a trigger warning. Personally, I would have found the villain vile enough without his penchant for misogyny and mutilation. Feel free to skip a few pages.
Too Much Happiness, by Alice Munro
This collection of short stories ranged from poignant to eery to just plain bizarre. Munro has a way of writing a tale than lingers; so much is left unresolved - or simply unsaid - that the characters stick with a reader long afterwards. I read through them slowly, with enough musing space between each instalment that I maxed out my library renewal privileges before I got to the title piece. I braved the fine and kept the book 'til the end anyways, and I'm so glad I did. "Too Much Happiness" is based on the life of the 19th century Russian mathematician and novelist Sofia Kovalevskaya, a fascinating woman I knew nothing about (do follow that link - she's amazing).
That's it for this month. We'll see what back-to-school madness does to my current literary habits.
With the feast!