Skip to main content

The Sunday Salon

A couple of weeks ago I challenged myself (well, it’s not a challenge considering this is a pleasure to do) to read Virago Modern Classics during the month of August. So far I’ve read three: The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth Von Arnim (a great vacation read), I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith (why oh why haven’t I read this earlier? Likely to be one of the reading highlights of 2010 for me. I would have loved this when I was seventeen, but it's no less wonderful ten years on), and The Lacquer Lady, by F Tennyson Jesse, a novel set in 1870s/80s Burma right before and climaxing with the British takeover. It was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I did enjoy it a lot. It’s definitely an off-the-beaten-track book and worth reading if you can track down a copy (mine came from a fellow LT Viragoer).

I said last weekend that not every book I would read in August would be a Virago, but I’m having fun with this and so I think my next read may be Winifred Holtby’s South Riding (local government in a Yorkshire town in the 1930s). Or The Ante-Room, by Kate O’Brien (1880s Ireland). Truthfully, I have a whole stack of really good-looking books to choose from, so the choice is hard!

This month I found out that I’ll be receiving yet another book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. I’ve been on LT for two years, and every month that I’ve entered, I’ve received something—and it’s not as though I’m randomly clicking on everything that looks appealing. This month I’ll be receiving The Pindar Diamond, by Katie Hickman. I received The Aviary Gate also through LTER, and enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to reading this new one. I’m not sure how I get chosen so frequently to receive books (especially since I’ve not yet reviewed my book from April, oops), but I can’t complain about my success rate!

How was your weekend/week? Read anything memorable lately?

Comments

偉曹琬 said…
Judge not a book by its cover.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972 Originally published: 1944 My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press) How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…

Review: Jane Austen's Letters, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye

Pages: 667 Original date of publication: 2011 My copy: 2011 (Oxford University Press) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, April 2013
This is a compilation of many of Jane Austen’s letters, most of them sent to her sister Cassandra between 1796 and 1817, the year of her death. Although many of Austen’s letters were destroyed by her sister in order to preserve the family reputation, the collection contains over 160 letters in which Austen gives her sister details about her life in Chawton—as well as giving us a tantalizing glimpse of what was going through her mind as she was writing her novels (especially the novel that was to become Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions). There are other letters here, too, giving advice to her niece and professional correspondence to publishers—as well as a couple of letters that were written by Cassandra Austen after Jane’s death.
To the sisters, the letters acted in the way that phone calls do today; Austen’s news is all about pe…

Review: Midnight in Peking, by Paul French

Pages: 259 Original date of publication: 2013 My copy: 2013 (Penguin) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Phoenix bookstore, May 2013
In January 1937, the body of a young British girl, Pamela Werner, was found near Peking’s Fox Tower. Although two detectives, one British and the other Chinese, spent months on the case, the case was never solved completely, and the case was forgotten in the wake of the invasion of the Japanese. Frustrated, Pamela’s father, a former diplomat, tried to solve the crime. His investigation took him into the underbelly of Peking society and uncovered a secret that was worse than anything he could have imagined.
At first, I thought that this would be a pretty straightforward retelling of a true crime, but what Paul French (who spent seven years researching the story) reveals in this book is much more than that. Foreign society in Peking in the 1930s was stratified, with the British colonials at the top and the White Russian refugees at the bottom, but…