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Showing posts from November, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
Be sure NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!


“Sept. 24—Laura interrupted my journalizing the afternoon by coming in to consult me about my dress for her wedding. I am to be her chief bridesmaid and have not decided on the colour I want, but as she is not to be married till February I can’t see what the hurry is.”

--From The Camomile, by Catherine Carswell

Review: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

Pages: 315
Original date of publication: 1847
My edition: 1981 (Bantam Classics)
Why I decided to read: Re-read; first read summer 2002
How I acquired my copy: Barnes and Noble, summer 2002


I first read this in 2002, when I did an internship in Chicago and went on a classics reading kick that summer, and this book was one of them (Vanity Fair and Bleak House were two of the “loose baggy monsters” I read that summer). Although I’d read Charlotte’s Jane Eyre several times in school, Wuthering Heights was, for some reason, never on any of the syllabi for any of the classes I took (and English was my major!).

Wuthering Heights is a complicated novel, and it probably says a lot about Emily Bronte herself. The novel is melodramatic at times, and it contains two narrators: an old former family servant and a near neighbor, neither of whom is an observant or reliable narrator (at the beginning of the book, Mr. Lockwood thinks that a pile of dead rabbits is a cat). Emily Bronte had a wildly vivid ima…

Review: Round About a Pound a Week, by Maud Pember Reeves

Pages: 217
Original date of publication: 1913
My edition: 2008 (Persephone)
Why I decided to read: I was in the mood for reading another Persephone
How I acquired my copy: the Persephone shop, September 2011


In 1909, Maud Pember Reeves and the Fabian Society conducted a social experiment in one of London’s poorer neighborhoods (in Lambeth Walk) to explore the daily lives and living conditions of those people. Round About a Pound a Week is a report of that venture, in which Pember Reeves outlines what she and her coworkers found. They focused on poor, working-class families, but she is quick to point out that the subjects of her study weren’t the poorest in London.

The book is divided into chapters that explore in (sometimes excruciating detail) housing, furniture, budgets, food, children, and attitudes to marriage. For example, Pember Reeves gives the exact breakdown of several families’ budgets. Interesting to note is how much these families spent on burial insurance. Pember Reeves does pr…

The Sunday Salon

I’ve had a busy week! It’s always nice to have the weekend to rest and rejuvenate and get ready for the week ahead. Thank goodness this upcoming workweek is only three days! I have a new major project at work that I’m eager to get cracking on, though, and my schoolwork is going well. I spent a good part of the weekend editing assignments and working on a new one. I’ve applied for the MS program, so I hope to hear back on whether or not I was accepted before Christmas.

I’ve also started a new project that I’m excited about. I don’t talk about my personal life much on this blog, and maybe only a few of the people who read this (if any) know that I have Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism. I decided to write about my experience with it—fewer women are diagnosed with AS than men, and there are fewer books out there that focus on the female experience with AS. Plus, it seems to be a very popular topic right now in the world of publishing. I am less affected by Asperger’s, but I’m aff…

Review: The Closed Door and Other Stories, by Dorothy Whipple

Pages: 229
Original date of publication: 1930s
My edition: 2010 (Persephone)
Why I decided to read: Dorothy Whipple is one of my favorite authors
How I acquired my copy: Persephone subscription, May 2011

The Closed Door and Other Stories is a collection of 10 short stories. Dorothy Whipple is skilled at describing the relationships between people: parents and their children, husbands and wives, young girls experiencing the thrill of their first potential romance. The stories are less plot-driven, but character development is strong, even though some of these stories are very short. The title story, The Closed Door, is more like a short novel than a short story, and it tells the story of a young girl as she grows up and gets married to get out from under the thumb of her repressive parents. As such, it skips over a lot of stuff, and I think this story might have been good as a longer novel. Other than that, though, I really loved the stories in this collection; some of them have a very stro…

The Sunday Salon

I’m back! I’ve had a busy few weeks, therefore not much time for blogging. However, I spent most of my afternoon yesterday writing—first a CME proposal for class and then eight, yes eight reviews! So you’ll start to see them pop up here over the next few weeks.

I’ve had a lot going on in my life recently, so I’ve been reading a lot more than usual (probably as an escape from reality). I’m back on a Virago Modern Classics binge; now I’m reading Ordinary Families, by E. Arnot Robinson, a novel about a quintessential English family between the wars. So far this month I’ve finished The World My Wilderness (Rose Macaulay) and One Fine Day (Mollie Panter-Downes). This week I also read Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop, about a woman who opens a bookshop in a small English seaside town, despite opposition from the locals. Sublime!

What have you been reading?

Review: Reuben Sachs, by Amy Levy

Pages: 148
Original date of publication: 1888
My edition: 2001 (Persephone)
Why I decided to read: it was the book that was being read for Persephone’s September Thursday teatime reading group
How I acquired my copy: the Persephone shop, September 2011

Reuben Sachs is the story of a young man living in the heart of a large, conservative Jewish family in 19th century London. This was the book that was discussed at the September teatime reading group, and I didn’t expect to like it all that much. I don’t read very much Jewish fiction, so this book was a little out of my comfort zone; but I enjoyed Amy Levy’s descriptions of the family and Reuben’s relationship with Judith, a childhood friend he’s in love with but can’t marry. I thought Amy Levy was a little harsh on Jewish culture and traditions, and she was a little heavy-handed with the “tribe” theme. But in all, I thought this was a really interesting look into one family in 19th century London. Amy Levy was on 27 when she wrote this, and…