I hope that you had a nice Christmas, if you celebrate it, and of course, I hope you received a lot of books. My daughter gave me a copy of Catching Fire, which is the only book in The Hunger Games Trilogy that I didn’t own. When I read it, I borrowed it from a friend. Curiously, that was the only book I received, but I think the thing is folks know it’s almost better to give me a gift card or certificate instead of an actual book. I gave several books for Christmas, though. My son received copies of Art & Max by David Wiesner and The Logo Design Workbook by Noreen Morioka, Terry Stone, and Sean Williams, which might seem like an odd book if you don’t know my son. He’s fascinated by logos and is on his way to being a graphic designer when he grows up. My younger daughter Maggie received a box set of Judy Blume’s Fudge books and a version of A Christmas Carol illustrated by Brett Helquist. My oldest daughter Sarah received Incarceron by Catherine Fisher and a collection of Shakespearean insults edited by Wayne F. Hill and Cynthia J. Ottchen. My husband received his very own Kindle. I didn’t give books to my parents, but I did cross stitch bookmarks for them.
I’m still reading Mansfield Park, and I really hope to finish it by the end of the year so that I can say I finished the Everything Austen Challenge. If I do, I will have completed all the challenges I tried, so I’m going to try to finish. I have to say I’m finding it to be very different from Austen’s other books. I’m not finding much spark in the characters, but the situations are different. It’s really interesting to contrast with her other works.
I’m also still reading The Lady and the Poet by Maeve Haran. At this point in the story, Ann More has met John Donne. Pretty much sparks right off the bat. I will be interested to see if Haran includes the story about the writing of “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning.” The story goes that Donne had to go to France and leave a pregnant Ann behind. She didn’t want him to go, and it’s said she had a bad feeling about his going. He wrote the poem urging her to remember they never truly were separated because of their deep connection to each other. Here is the poem, if you’d like to read it.
Supposedly while he was in France, Donne had a vision of Ann holding a dead child, and sure enough, the baby was stillborn. It sounds as if their marriage was a true romance. It’s nice to read about marriages in that time period that were based on love. As Ann’s cousin Francis says on p. 65, “What hath love to do with marriage? You are too sweet on such things, Ann. One would believe you had buried yourself in bowers of green with shepherds trilling on flutes and swains plighting love all day at Loseley. Marriage is a business arrangement, as you well know. Love can be found elsewhere.” Seems to have been the prevailing attitude for so much of history. I wonder what our ancestors would make of our insistence on marrying for love.
So what are you reading? And did you get any books for Christmas? Do tell!