More Words

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.


  1. Jane, have you ever read “The Good Soldier” by Ford Maddox Ford. Really excellent book about two couples (one British one American) traveling through Europe. It was published in 1915 and it is really excellent. It reminds me a little of Henry James and Edith Wharton.
    Also very very sad so stay away from that if you don’t feel up to it. The first line is, “This is the saddest story I have ever heard.” So at least they warn you!

  2. Some good ones I’ve read recently: The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson: sad but with a hopeful ending. A Regency mystery series starting with What Angels Fear by CS Harris. Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller. None of these are particularly cheery, actually, but they’re not total downers either 🙂 One of my all time favorite saga type books is Wintercombe by Pamele Belle, about a woman managing her estate by herself during the English Civil War. It’s out of print but you can find it on used sites or in libraries.

    Happy reading!


  3. I have very fond memories of “Wives And Daughters” from when we read and studied that book in one of my British Lit classes in college. I think I might even still have it buried in a trunk out in my garage with some other old Lit and Psych text books. I should pull it out and revisit it again one of these days. 🙂 Glad you’re having a restful vacation!


  4. Hi there Janie,

    I am up to my eyeballs in good books…Have you read T is for Trespass-always have been a fan of Sue Grafton…finished it in 1 day completely ignoring family and housework..Before that I finally finished Eat Pray Love-probably the last person on the planet to finish it but had some great life messages which we need reminding of from time to time. My last one on my nightstand is Jane Austen in Scarsdale and I will be starting that one tonight.

    Happy ’08! I will be ringing in the holiday by reading by the fire.


  5. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen! Lovely, moody, character-driven story that I couldn’t put down. You’ll love it!

    And I agree about The Thirteeth Tale…It reminded me of the gothics I used to read years ago. 🙂

    Happy New Year!


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