I have been fascinated by all of the responses to Simon’s meme, and as I gather my thoughts on my latest read, The Poisonwood Bible, I thought I’d join in for a brief respite from weighty book reviews!
The book I’m currently reading:
They Came Like Swallows, by William Maxwell
I so loved So Long, See You Tomorrow that I raced to the library to see what else I could find to read by William Maxwell, and came away with this intriguing novella set in 1918 Illinois, about a young boy’s relationship with his mother. Exquisitely, sensitively written, it is a beautiful evocation of childhood. I sense a minor obsession with this author will be forthcoming…and I’m eternally thankful to my dear friend Ellen for introducing him to me! Also, as an aside, I am very glad that Vintage appears to be reissuing his novels in the above format – I adore their covers, especially their Yates ones, and think other presses who re-release books should take note of their entirely period and content appropriate choices for their cover art. Though Virago have partially redeemed themselves for me with their new Winifred Holtby covers. Sublime!
The last book I finished:
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
I’m still trying to gather my thoughts on this one. Rich, dense, dark and incredibly thought provoking, this is a marvellous portrayal of the damage inflicted by colonialism and religion and ignorance, as well as a fascinating exploration of the different paths members of the same family can take and what forms and informs us as we progress from childhood into adulthood. It is an angry book, charged with pain and frustration, and it has left me wanting to read more about the Congo and colonialism. I’m so glad I finally read it, and I’m intrigued to read more by Barbara Kingsolver now.
The next book I want to read:
Dark Hester by Anne Douglas Sedgwick
The lovely Heather sent me this when I arrived in America eight months ago, as part of a wonderfully generous welcome package. To my shame I have not yet read it, but keep fully intending to. Anne Douglas Sedgwick was one of those prolific female authors who wrote interesting, topical and well written books that topped the bestseller lists in the early part of the 20th century, and then found themselves lost to the pages of history as literary fashions changed. I am very much hoping to find brilliance within the pages of this. I’ll let you know.
The last book I bought:
Lifted Masks by Susan Glaspell
Found on a shelf in a delightful second hand bookstore in Saratoga Springs, I couldn’t resist buying this beautiful volume of short stories, published in 1912, by one of my absolute favourite Persephone authors. Susan Glaspell’s writing is truly exquisite, and I love her portrayals of daring, convention challenging women who put their hearts before all else. Unfortunately, her books are inexplicably hard to come by, and I have been looking in vain for copies of her non reissued titles since I arrived on her native shore. I love a good short story, so I can’t wait to get started on these.
The last book I was given:
The Magnificent Spinster by May Sarton
I was thrilled to win this book from Thomas after he waxed so lyrically about May Sarton, who was previously unknown to me. I promise I will get started on it much sooner than I have Dark Hester, Thomas!