Reading Update: December 26, 2010



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!

photo credit: schani


10 thoughts on “Reading Update: December 26, 2010

  1. I'm reading the first book in The Hunger Games right now. Holy cow, I am sucked into that book. I'm loving the characters so far. I rarely say this, but I hope they do a movie.

    1. They are, Mary. It's a great series. Probably enjoyed reading it more than anything else this year, but my final recap won't be published until 12/31.

  2. I just started reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander (which I know you also really enjoyed). I'm only a few pages in, but I like it so far!

    Oh, and I've only read the first book in the Hunger Games series. I liked it a lot, but it's usually hard for me to get into series. Like, I only read the first book in the Twilight saga, even though I keep meaning to read the rest. I have read all the Harry Potter books, though. Oh well.

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and happy almost New Year. 🙂

    1. Be patient with Outlander. It starts kind of slow (for some folks—I was immediately sucked in). I don't think you're missing much by not continuing the Twilight series. The first book is the best one, and they get successively worse until the final, which is just awful. Happy New Year to you, too!

    1. It's interesting how different it is from the others. I am interested, for instance, in the references to Antigua. I also find Mary Crawford interesting. She clearly thinks that Edmund's choice of clergyman is beneath her, but she also seems to care something for him. She reminds me a bit of Emma Woodhouse. In fact, I know I read somewhere recently an opinion piece about Mansfield Park being the anti-Emma.

  3. I received seven books for Christmas, four of them non-fiction including "The Journey" by Tony Blair. But there were fiction works too: "Winter In Madrid" by C.J. Sansom, "A Week In September" by Sebastian Faulks and "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro. Who was it who said "Too many books; not enough time"?!?

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