Having finished The Thirteenth Tale I had to have another book. I’m in my book a day mode at the moment and it’s a bit selfish of me to just be reading like this, and yet it’s also so lovely. At the beach this afternoon I finished Water for Elephants and loved it. It reminded me of Geek Love, a book I read years ago that remained on my top 5 favorite list for ages. But then, who doesn’t like stories about the circus and side show curiosities and tortured humans (and elephants), especially when the story ends happily? I like the happily. I stopped reading contemporary fiction because so much of it wasn’t happy at the end. Not conclusively happy and that’s what I want. Crave.
Tonight after dinner I went to the Barnes & Noble at Kahala Mall and picked up another four books. I bought Game Over by Adele Parks, The J.A.P. Chronicles by Isabel Rose, The Alchemist by Pauolo Coelho, and Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell which was originally published in serial form between 1864-1866 before being published in book form in 1866. I found the Gaskell book because I was looking for a book by a contemporary Gaskell but decided that the 1864 pub date book more immediately appealing as: a) I love serialized novels from the late 19th century, and b) my great great grandmother, Caroline, was born in 1864, exactly one hundred years before me so I think 1864 is a very good year. Besides, who can resist a back cover blurb that reads: “An enchanting tale of romance, scandal and intrigue in the gossipy English town of Hollingford around the 1830s”?
I’m a sucker for the 19th century English novel. I’m also a sucker for the turn of the century novel. And the American ex-pat writers at the turn of the century living in Europe and writing about misplaced Americans, particularly Americans with money who failed to realize that wealth might allow you to travel and even rub shoulders with blue boods, but it doesn’t buy friendship or respect abroad. Not many of my close friends love the same authors I gobbled up–Henry James, Edith Wharton, EM Forster, DH Lawerence. Of course I loved Jane Austen, and the Brontes, but what I loved most…best…was the self struggling to place itself in and against society. It’s the self–the woman–trying to carve her own place, and her own identity and how difficult it is to do, which makes it even more important, and necessary.
We women have a diffcult go of it, and will always have a difficult go of it because we are women. We’ve got estrogen. And until we hit menopause estrogen influences us far more than we know. Estrogen encourages us to smooth things over. Work things out. It turns us into peacemakers and we try to find compromises and in so doing, we make sacrifices. Indeed, we expect to make sacrifices. Of course, some of us had no idea how many sacrifices we will eventually make.
Fortunately I’m not having to make many sacrifices at the moment. At the moment I’m ten pages into The Alchemist and eager to get back to the story, but first let me share good news: Anna Campbell, author of Untouched, the book I just raved about in my last blog, has agreed to help kick off 2008 as my first guest author over at my bulletin board here on my website. Anna will be talking about her work, including Untouched, from January 1-7th and then Harlequin Presents author Kate Hewitt will be talking about her debut novel the second week of January.
Until then, I’ll be reading my new books, but in the event I run out, does anyone have a must read recommendation for me? I’m going to want some good books for my flight back to Seattle on January 2nd.