A List of Gems

I DID NOT have time to blog this summer due to being involved as Marmee and as Music Director in PCT's production of Little Women the Musical (and yes I need to blog about that).  But I DID read!  Of course!  So here are a few gems I experienced and discovered this summer, old, new, classics and not, the spice of life:

The Dream Lover: A Novel of George SandThe Dream Lover: A Novel of George Sand by Elizabeth Berg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I devoured this book.  I haven't read Sand's books, but I've been intrigued by her for a long time.  I'm practically devout on Chopin, so it was interesting to read her side of the story.  Well done imaginative look into how it all could have happened, I felt like a fly on the wall.  This book is an excellent example of show / don't tell.  Glad I didn't wait too long to read it.

Even today, I see women hesitating, holding back, doing and saying what is "expected" rather than what is in their hearts, simply because they are afraid.  I'm astounded and amazed at Sand's bravery.  I'm in love with the French, yet again. They completely embraced her.  And the author clearly gets the inner turmoil of the writer/ artist.  Oh to have been in that set, and to write to that music live.

I'm not much of a Balzac fan, but Hugo is near the top of my list.  Guess I need to read Sand to see if what they say is true.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to the new recording made by the infamous Games of Throne Littlefinger, Aidan Gillen.  Pure wow.  Precise, succinct, crafty.

Rush out and by your audio copy today, and spend an hour listening.  You won't be sorry.

HausfrauHausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**SPOILERISH ALERT*** (Meaning, if you haven't read many classics, these references will mean nothing, and I'm not really giving anything away if you do read classics).

Interesting.  The cover didn't prepare me, but the first line, and then the set up, made me wonder.

Anna.  Unhappily married (Bored).  Train fettish.  Loves one of her boys -- a sweet little angel -- too much.  Likes sex with players.  Runs into a player while with M-I-L.  No family. No where to go. Self Deconstructs.  And I'm thinking the whole time, is this author really gutsy enough to go for it?

Very thought provoking twist on a famous classic. Some things were different, but the important shell was there and the writing, and lit devices, were excellent.  I think the lit world is going to make a huge deal of this one, for good reason.  Lots for a book club of brilliant women to chew apart.

And I wonder, will some people read this and not know what they are reading?

Why Homer MattersWhy Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For a Homer devotee, (My name is Sydney Young.  I am addicted to Homer), this is somewhat like reality TV, only better because it isn't reality TV!  This gave me an insiders view, satisfying my curiosity and giving me even more to digest about these remarkable stories.

The RocksThe Rocks by Peter Nichols
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best new books I've read this year.    A literary tour de force of a modern day Odyssey, this story also takes on a life of its own.  And made me want to sail to Ithaca and Majorca.

It's a Homeric journey that Peter Nichols knows and delivers with adept punches.

"As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
Angry Poseidon -- don't be afraid of them . . .

Keep Ithaca always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you were destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out . . . "

NOW, lest you think I don't read anything just for fun, here are a couple of books that I've enjoyed purely for fun.  Yes, I'm a proud fantasy reader, so long as it is well written and devoid of cliche.  Here is a new series that is just that:

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2)The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I honestly don't know how I came across the first book, but I picked it up and started enjoying it (I think to my surprise), so I kept with it.  Liked it enough to read the second book (especially since the divine Davina read book two).  It honestly started off a little rough for me but then the pacing, world and story from the old American new age began to leap off the page.  Fun series, what's coming next? Davina Porter read divinely, as usual.

AND, I don't just read new books and classics.  Here are a couple of books out in paperback that I had missed the first time around.  They were worth reading.

Everything I Never Told You  Interesting book.  Here is the goodreads blurb:

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins this debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation.

I'll just add the Author's video instead of a review, just for fun.  Author video

The Light Between OceansThe Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hautingly beautiful story about a couple who finds a baby adrift in the sea.  Caught in the middle, caught in a lie, caught in life.  Everyone loses but everyone gains.  This book makes you think.  And is a story to get lost in.


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