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ARCHIVE 2019 > Sandy: Literary Leapfrog 2019

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message 1: by Sandy (last edited Jun 12, 2019 12:31PM) (new)

Sandy Instead of counting books in 2019, I am going begin by focusing on --

(a) finishing some personal wish lists which have taken a back seat to group challenges
and
(b) reading BIG and LITTLE -- chunksters and short stories. These are two things that I have been passing over in favour of some group challenges which require a lot of books and books with a minimum page count between 125 and 200 pages.

I will also probably be able to fit in some medium-length books, so I will join a few group challenges later in the year.

I always have a list of non-fiction topics that interest me and rarely get any reading time. I will keep track here of any progress I make on this front.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Year of the Chunkster
Deal Me In! (hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis)
2019 Summary
Non-Fiction
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MONTHLY SUMMARIES
January
February
March
April
May
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2019 TBR-Busting (i.e. on TBR at least one year)
Date Updated - 31/05/19
No. from TBR/Total no. read 2019 = 24/50 (48%)
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message 2: by Sandy (last edited Jun 12, 2019 12:14PM) (new)

Sandy THE YEAR OF THE CHUNKSTER

I am planning this to dovetail with a Literary Birthday Challenge which I have done for the past few years.
In my books (pardon the pun!), a chunkster is 500+ pages (since I normally read books between 150 and 300 pages)

January

Scenes of Clerical Life, Volume I by George Eliot & Scenes of Clerical Life, Volume II by George Eliot
Scenes of Clerical Life, Volume I & Scenes of Clerical Life, Volume II
by George Eliot (747 pages)(completed 24/01/19)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
February
Aurora Floyd : Volume I & Aurora Floyd - Volume II & Aurora Floyd volume 3 by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (951 pages)(10/02/19)
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March
Cradock Nowell - Volume I & Cradock Nowell - Volume II & Cradock Nowell - Volume III by R.D. Blackmore (962 pages)(07/03/19)
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April
The Princess Casamassima by Henry James (608 pages)(02/04/19)
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May
Arnold Bennett - The Old Wives' Tale (612 pages)(completed 29/04/19)
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June

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July

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August

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September

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October

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November

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December

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message 3: by Sandy (last edited Mar 05, 2019 01:06PM) (new)

Sandy DEAL ME IN! - 2019 Short Story Game
(hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis)

DEAL ME IN! - I ♥️ Canada
♥️ K - Susanna Moodie (1803-1885) - Brian, the Still Hunter
♥️ Q - Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon (1829-1879) - Alice Sydenham's First Ball
♥️ J - E. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913) - The Lost Salmon Run
♥️ 10 - Mavis Gallant (1922-2014) -
♥️ 9 - Margaret Laurence (1926-1987) -
✔ ♥️ 8 - Catherine Hogan Safer (contemporary) - Jane and Martha (read 31/01/2019)
♥️ 7 - Alice Munro (1931-present) - The View from Castle Rock
♥️ 6 - Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865) - The Clockmaker
♥️ 5 - Stephen Leacock (1869-1944) -
♥️ 4 - Theodore Goodridge Roberts (1877-1953) - The Veil of Flying Water
♥️ 3 - Hugh Hood (1928-2000)
♥️ 2 - Timothy Findley (1930-2002)
✔ ♥️ Ace - Alexander MacLeod (1972-present) - Light Lifting (read 09/02/19)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
DEAL ME IN! - The Old Boys' ♣️ (and some women too!)
♣️ K - Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) - The Two Drovers
♣️ Q - Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) - Mr. Lismore and the Widow
♣️ J - Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) -
♣️ 10 - Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) - Nuns at luncheon
♣️ 9 - Graham Greene (1904-1991) - The End of the Party
♣️ 8 - Neil Gaiman (contemporary) - A Study in Emerald
♣️ 7 - Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865) - Morton Hall
♣️ 6 - George Eliot (1819-1880) - Brother Jacob
♣️ 5 - Stella Benson (1892-1933) - The Desert Islander
♣️ 4 - Mollie Panter-Downes (1906-1997) -
♣️ 3 - Leonora Carrington
♣️ 2 - Angela Carter (1940-1992) -
♣️ Ace - Beryl Bainbridge (1934-2010) -
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
DEAL ME IN! - International ♦️ Heist
♦️ K - Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)(1885-1962)(Denmark) -
♦️ Q - Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)(NZ) - Miss Brill
✔ ♦️ J - Vera Inber (1890-1972)(Russia) - Maya (read 13/01/19)
♦️ 10 - Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) -
✔ ♦️ 9 - Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014)(S. Africa) - A Soldier's Embrace (20/01/19)
✔ ♦️ 8 - Dorthe Nors (1970-present)(Denmark) - The Heron (08/02/19)
♦️ 7 - Najlaa Khoury (contemporary)(Lebanon) - Pearls on a Branch
♦️ 6 - Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)(France) -
♦️ 5 - Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832-1910)(Norway) - The Father
✔ ♦️ 4 - Ivan Bunin (1870-1953)(Russia) - Gentle Breathing (read 04/01/2019)
♦️ 3 - Thomas Mann (1875-1955)(Germany) - Disorder and Early Sorrow
♦️ 2 - Stefan Zweig (1881-1942)(Austria) -
♦️ Ace - Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014)(Colombia) - Eyes of a Blue Dog
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
DEAL ME IN! - Call a ♠️ a ♠️
♠️ K - Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) - The Masque of the Red Death
♠️ Q - Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916) - Somewhere in France
♠️ J - Stephen Crane (1871-1900) - An experiment in misery
♠️ 10 - Ring Lardner (1885-1933) - Haircut
♠️ 9 - John Steinbeck (1902-1968) - The Chrysanthemums
♠️ 8 - Raymond Carver (1938-1988) -
♠️ 7 - Tobias Wolff (1945-present) - Hunters in the Snow
** ✔ ♠️ 6 - Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1815-1852)(pseudonym H. Trusta) (1815-1852) - The Angel Over the Right Shoulder (31/01/19)
♠️ 5 - Rebecca Harding Davis (1831-1910) - Marcia
✔ ♠️ 4 - Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward (1844-1911) - The Tenth of January (05/03/19)
♠️ 3 - Anzia Yezierska (1885-1970) -- Wild Winter Love
♠️ 2 - Kay Boyle (1902-1992) -
♠️ Ace - Eudora Welty (1909-2001) - Why I Live at the P.O.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
** This author wrote using the pseudonym H. Trusta. Some information about her can be found at Portraits of American Women Writers.
She is the mother of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911) who, although born Mary Gray Phelps and later married to Herbert Dickinson Ward, used her mother's name (and sometimes the name Mary Adams) as pseudonyms. Potentially very confusing! (It seems as if some of the mother's writings are included on the Goodreads author page of the daughter.)
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message 4: by Sandy (last edited Jun 12, 2019 12:30PM) (new)

Sandy 2019 SUMMARY (as of 31/05/19)

Chunkster of the Month - 5/5

Loose Ends
January - 4
February - 6
March - 4
April - 8
May - 9

Non-Fiction
January - 1
February - none
March - 3
April - none
May - 3


message 5: by Sandy (last edited Feb 08, 2019 11:19AM) (new)

Sandy JANUARY - Deal Me In!

January 1 - ♦️4
Ivan Bunin (1870-1953)(Russia)
Gentle Breathing from The Gentleman from San Francisco and Other Stories, pp 41-50 (read 04/01/19)

I have been dabbling in some short works by Russian authors for a couple of years (trying to muster up the courage to tackle one of the famous Russian chunksters or doorstoppers) but this is a new-to-me author. I will definitely be reading more of his work.

For a short (very short!) story, this packs quite a punch. I am reminded of the work of Edith Wharton with her last-minute twists and her ability to draw attention to the injustices suffered by the women of her time. What is very surprising here, though, is that this story was written by a man!
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January 8 - ♦️J
Vera Inber (1890-1972)(Russia)
Maya from Such a Simple Thing, and Other Soviet Stories (first published 1959), pp. 152-166. (read 13/01/19)

I found this to be a rather odd little story. It is told in five short scenes in a village on the Black Sea. Each scene describes an event in the life of Adrianos Stavrakis, the grandson of a man who supposedly gained great wealth through smuggling. I was captivated by the writing (which was descriptive without a wasted word) and the story (mostly because I was curious to find out how these random events would be tied together in the end). I still am not sure. I think that I would need to understand Russian history better in order to appreciate the work of this famous writer.
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January 15 - ♦️9
Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014)(S. Africa)
A Soldier's Embrace from A Soldier's Embrace: Stories (Penguin 1982, pp. 7-22)(read 20/01/19)

From the perspective of a young white South African woman and her husband, this story describes the changes in relationships and the ensuing decision to leave South Africa following the end of the apartheid regime. This is the first story in a collection with the same title. It is a very moving story, one which catches the reader up in the emotions and confusion of the time. I wish that I had had time to read the entire collection, but I will definitely come back to it in future. (In order to appreciate the significance of this story, a basic understanding of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa would be helpful.)

The author was born in South Africa and, as a child, witnessed the work that her mother did to oppose the apartheid regime in that country. As an adult, the author was a key player in the anti-apartheid work of the African National Congress. Her short stories, novels, and non-fiction works are rooted in these experiences and in 1991 she was honoured with the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
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January 22 - ♠️ 6
* Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1815-1852) (USA)
The Angel Over the Right Shoulder, The Vintage Book of American Women Writers (pp. 142-150)(read 31/01/19)
* This author wrote using the pseudonym H. Trusta. Some information about her can be found at Portraits of American Women Writers.
She is the mother of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911) who, although born Mary Gray Phelps and later married to Herbert Dickinson Ward, used her mother's name (and sometimes the name Mary Adams) as pseudonyms. Potentially very confusing! (It seems as if some of the mother's writings are included on the Goodreads author page of the daughter.)
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January 29 - ♥️ 8
Catherine Hogan Safer (contemporary)(Canada)
Jane (pp. 25-27) and Martha (pp. 53-55) from Wild pieces: stories (read 31/01/2019)
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message 6: by Sandy (last edited Feb 01, 2019 01:01PM) (new)

Sandy JANUARY - Loose Ends

1) A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr (10/01/19)
This short novel has been hailed as a masterpiece by some reviewers since its publication in 1980. However, I nearly bailed at the halfway point. There are numerous idioms which, as a Canadian, I have never heard as well as multiple references to the Bible and to Greek and Roman mythology which were lost on me. There also seemed to be some tongue-in-cheek humour which I was not quite sure was really humour. For the first half of the book, I felt like a wannabe guest peering at a tea party from behind a thicket of bushes. The final 30 percent of the story improved on these points, and the story became quite captivating. In the end, I was glad that I had persevered. The author had redeemed himself and I rated the book with the average four stars.

2) Three Thousand Dollars by Anna Katharine Green (13/01/19)

3) Remembering Laughter by Wallace Stegner (19/01/19)(review here)

4) The Bet, and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov (29/01/19)


message 7: by Sandy (last edited Apr 16, 2019 10:58AM) (new)

Sandy JANUARY SUMMARY

Chunkster of the Month
Scenes of Clerical Life, Volume I and Scenes of Clerical Life, Volume II
by George Eliot (747 pages)(completed 24/01/19)

Deal Me In!
January 1
♦️ 4 - Ivan Bunin (1870-1953)(Russia) - Gentle Breathing from The Gentleman from San Francisco and Other Stories, pp 41-50 (04/01/19)
January 8
♦️J - Vera Inber (1890-1972)(Russia) - Maya from Such a Simple Thing, and Other Soviet Stories (first published 1959), pp. 152-169 (13/01/19)
January 15
♦️9 - Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014)(S. Africa) - A Soldier's Embrace from A Soldier's Embrace: Stories, pp. 7-22 (20/01/19)
January 22
♠️ 6 - Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (pseudonym H. Trusta)(1815-1852) - The Angel Over the Right Shoulder, The Vintage Book of American Women Writers (pp. 142-150)(read 31/01/19)
January 29
♥️ 8 - Catherine Hogan Safer (contemporary) - Jane (pp. 25-27) and Martha (pp. 53-55) from Wild pieces: stories (read 31/01/2019)

Loose Ends
A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr (10/01/19)(comments here)
Three Thousand Dollars by Anna Katharine Green (13/01/19)
Remembering Laughter by Wallace Stegner (19/01/19)(review here)
The Bet, and Other Stories by Anton Chekhov (29/01/19)

Non-Fiction
Early Days in Old Oregon (08/01/19) (review here)
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message 8: by Sandy (last edited Mar 02, 2019 12:34PM) (new)

Sandy FEBRUARY - Deal Me In!

February 5 - ♦️ 8
Dorthe Nors (1970-present)(Denmark)
The Heron (The New Yorker, 9 September 2013)(read 08/02/19)

I am not familiar with nordic literature nor have I read noir from any culture. The online news website, The Independent, in their interview with this author, dubs her as "the queen of the nordic short story". Apparently, her mission is to explode the myth of Denmark as the world's happiest country.

This story features an explosion of a completely different sort. I am still trying to fathom the significance of the stream-of-consciousness narrative. How can a human brain begin with the observation of some unhealthy-looking herons during a walk in the park to the discovery of a dismembered body in a suitcase to . . . well, yechhhh . . . I'm sorry but I can't actually bring myself to write about what ensues. It is actually more complicated than that and you would probably rather read about it yourself anyway.
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February 13 - ♥️ Ace
Alexander MacLeod (1972-present) - Light Lifting from Light Lifting (Biblioasis, December 2010, pp 77-95)(read 09/02/19)
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February 19 - ♥️ 9
Margaret Laurence (1926-1987) - The Pure Diamond Man from The Tomorrow-Tamer (Alfred A. Knopf 1964, pp. 177-198)(read 15/02/19)
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February 26 - ♠️ 4
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (Ward) (1844-1911) The Tenth of January, The Vintage Book of American Women Writers (317-342)(still reading 02/03/19)


message 9: by Sandy (last edited Mar 20, 2019 12:06PM) (new)

Sandy FEBRUARY SUMMARY

Chunkster of the Month
Aurora Floyd : Volume I & Aurora Floyd - Volume II & Aurora Floyd volume 3 by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (951 pages)(10/02/19)

Deal Me In!
February 5 - ♦️ 8
Dorthe Nors (1970-present)(Denmark) -- The Heron (The New Yorker, 9 September 2013)(read 08/02/19)
February 13 - ♥️ Ace
Alexander MacLeod (1972-present) - Light Lifting from Light Lifting (Biblioasis, December 2010, pp 77-95)(read 09/02/19)
February 19 - ♥️ 9
Margaret Laurence (1926-1987) - The Pure Diamond Man from The Tomorrow-Tamer (Alfred A. Knopf 1964, pp. 177-198)(read 15/02/19)
February 26 - ♠️ 4
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (Ward) (1844-1911) The Tenth of January, The Vintage Book of American Women Writers (317-342)(read 05/03/19)

Loose Ends
A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor (04/02/19)(my review here)
The Romance of an Old Fool by Roswell Martin Field (12/02/19)
Fidelity by Wendell Berry (14/02/19)
The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1) by Agatha Christie (17/02/19)(my review here)
Heart's Kindred by Zona Gale (23/02/19)
To a God Unknown by John Steinbeck (28/02/19)

Non-Fiction

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message 10: by Sandy (last edited Apr 05, 2019 12:19PM) (new)

Sandy MARCH SUMMARY

Chunkster of the Month
Cradock Nowell - Volume I & Cradock Nowell - Volume II & Cradock Nowell - Volume III by R.D. Blackmore (962 pages)(07/03/19)(my review here)

Deal Me In!


Loose Ends
Precious Bane by Mary Webb (14/03/19)(my review here)
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (16/03/19)(my review here)
The Watchers by A.E.W. Mason (17/03/19)
The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge (23/03/19)
(My review here)

Non-Fiction
A Short History of Lyme Regis by John Fowles (04/03/19)
The Gilded Age: Edith Wharton and Her Contemporaries by Eleanor Dwight (07/03/19)
The Land of Little Rain by Mary Austin (20/03/19)(my review here)

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message 11: by Sandy (last edited May 01, 2019 07:33PM) (new)

Sandy APRIL SUMMARY

Chunkster of the Month
The Princess Casamassima by Henry James (608 pages)(02/04/19)

Deal Me In!


Loose Ends
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (03/04/19) (my review here)
The Great Gold Rush: A Tale of the Klondike by William Henry Pope Jarvis (06/04/19)
Bungay Castle by Elizabeth Bonhôte (11/04/19) (my review here)
Portraits of a Marriage by Sándor Márai (14/04/19)
The Revolt of the Angels by Anatole France (18/04/19)
The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald (17/04/19)
Changing Heaven by Jane Urquhart (22/04/19)
Life in the Iron Mills and Other Stories by Rebecca Harding Davis (29/04/19) (my review here)

Non-Fiction


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message 12: by Sandy (last edited Apr 13, 2019 11:18AM) (new)

Sandy April - Fiction

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (03/04/19)

It looks like I am in the minority -- again. Another "masterpiece" that did not appeal to me.

I was initially impressed by Hemingway's sparse language and simple sentence structure. He does accomplish a great deal with very few words. I admire that. I also appreciate that this novel is significant as one of the first to describe the plight of the "Lost Generation" following the Great War. And there is no doubt that this book was an impressive début novel for a young (26-year-old) man who was suffering as a result of war-time experiences.

My response to and rating of this novel is a purely personal one. I have seen first-hand the tragic effect of military service and of alcoholism (not necessarily, but sometimes, connected) on individuals and on relationships. I sympathize with the emotionally and physically wounded characters in this novel who cannot face their own pain and must numb it instead, but I am neither amused nor entertained by the asinine drunken conversations and mean and sometimes violent arguments.

Granted, I do not read solely for entertainment. I want my entertainment to be educational. Certainly, the fiesta at Pamplona, colourful and exciting as it was for the characters in the novel, had potential educational value. However, I had learned all I want to know about bull-fighting while supplementing my reading of Matadora by Elizabeth Ruth. My appetite for the infliction of such torture on animals has been spent, even though the ritual is tied to an ancient mythological and cultural tradition.

This is my second effort at reading Hemingway, the first being Across the River and into the Trees (which ended in failure to finish). As I skim the list of his other novels, I suspect that he is just "not the author for me". I have no interest in duck-hunting, drinking, fishing, drinking, big-game hunting, drinking, and so on.


message 13: by Sandy (new)

Sandy April - Fiction

Bungay Castle by Elizabeth Bonhôte
Finished 11/04/19

I have opened another personal can of worms here, I think, since I know so little about gothic literature. I have to start somewhere, I suppose, and having already read The Castle of Otranto, this book would seem to be a logical progression (in chronological terms) within the genre.

If you are a fan of "scary" gothic, you will be disappointed with this book. It is very light on gothic characteristics and heavy on romance. There are several romantic relationships developing throughout the story, appropriately set at a castle and an adjoining nunnery, but the writing does not evoke the emotions in the reader which one might associate with castles, dungeons, ghosts, imprisonment, and frustrated romantic relationships. Quite to the contrary! As I read, I had visions of the perky little characters which complemented the early version of the children's Playmobil castle in the 1980s.

It seemed to me that about two-thirds into the book the author had begun to struggle for inspiration. The main narratives were temporarily abandoned in favour of two chapters featuring an unrelated side-story and a discourse on morality. I slogged through this section since I was curious to know how the unresolved romances would wrap up. I won't spoil the fun for you by telling you, though!

For me, the value of having read this novel lies in its importance in the history of women writers, since it is a very early example not only of writing by English women but of gothic literature by women. This novel was apparently the most successful of the half-dozen novels which this author published. Surely the fact that it is still being read over two centuries later is a testament to its staying power.


message 14: by Sandy (last edited May 01, 2019 07:36PM) (new)

Sandy April - Fiction

Life in the Iron Mills and Other Stories by Rebecca Harding Davis
Finished 29/04/19

One spectacular story, two middling ones, and a mildly-interesting “biographical interpretation” by Tillie Olsen average out to three stars.

I would like to read more by and about Rebecca Harding Davis. The title story, the first story of hers to be published, which she had worked for years to perfect, demonstrates her immense power as a writer. The other two stories seem to reflect her struggle to balance her desire to develop her writing talent with her perceived duties and responsibilities as wife and mother. Although she continued to write following her marriage, she had neither time nor energy to hone her skills and realize her potential as an author. What a tragedy. What a loss for the literary world.


message 15: by Sandy (last edited May 19, 2019 12:18PM) (new)

Sandy May - Chunkster

The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett (29/04/19)
Excellent, entertaining storytelling --Book #5 in Arnold Bennett's Five Towns Series.

(I underestimated the amount of time I would take to read this so it was actually finished in April. Counted for a May birthday author and a May chunkster.)


message 16: by Sandy (last edited May 19, 2019 12:14PM) (new)

Sandy May - Fiction

Nathan Coulter by Wendell Berry (09/05/19)

A Favourite Quote (page 158)
Brother was gone, and he wouldn't be back. And things that had been so before never would be so again. We were the way we were; nothing could make us any different, and we suffered because of it. Things happened to us the way they did because we were ourselves.
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Wendell Berry has been a "household name" - or ought to have been - for decades. A well-known author of poetry, essays, and fiction, his convictions as a pacifist, environmentalist, and steward of the bounty of nature are rooted in a deep spirituality. He is honoured and esteemed in many circles. Nathan Coulter was his first novel, published in 1960 when he was a mere youth of 26 years of age. It is likely that, at the time, neither the author nor his readers had an inkling that this book was to become the first of a sequence of novels and short stories about the fictional Kentucky town of Port William.

This is a simple story about simple people. I do not mean that as an insult. The characters are not complex. They live one day at a time. The events are commonplace. Cooking, eating, walking, working, drinking, sleeping, fishing, hunting coons, sometimes just passing time -- celebrating and mourning with neighbours and family, helping each other in a myriad of ways. They are honourable and honest people. No pretences, no fancy footwork, no melodrama, no "politicking". They "talk plain". They "tell it like it is". I like them. A lot. I have known people like them.

I have a tendency, when pondering a book, to try to surmise the author's reason or purpose in having written it. Sometimes I draw some conclusion that satisfies me; sometimes not. In this case, the latter is true. Earlier this year, I read Fidelity, a collection of some of Berry's Port William short stories. It was originally published in 1992, some thirty years after Nathan Coulter. Fidelity also left me speechless. I doubt that I will have much to say (that is worth saying) about any of the Port William stories until I have read many more of the 8 novels and 51 short stories which make up the sequence. In the meantime, suffice it to say that perhaps the greatest compliment to an author is that the reader wants to read more of their works.


message 17: by Sandy (new)

Sandy May - Fiction

Sounder by William H. Armstrong (14/05/19)

This is the most depressing book that I have read in aeons! Endless hardship, disappointment, and tragedy. Occasionally, a mote of happiness, a hint of celebration, would beam through the grey skies, only to be stamped out with the vigour of a sledgehammer brought down upon an ant. Gloomy day followed gloomy day. Disasters heaped one upon the other. So why the four stars? A fair question. I did not enjoy this book. Did the author intend that this book should give enjoyment? Probably not. Hence, four stars. An excellent piece of misery!


message 18: by Sandy (last edited Jun 12, 2019 12:37PM) (new)

Sandy MAY SUMMARY

Chunkster of the Month
The Old Wives' Tale (completed 29/04/19)(612 pages)

Deal Me In!


Loose Ends
Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman (03/05/19)
The Czar's Spy: The Mystery of a Silent Love by William Le Queux (05/05/19)
Nathan Coulter by Wendell Berry (09/05/19) (my review)
At the Villa Rose by A.E.W. Mason (10/05/19)
Life and Death of Harriett Frean by May Sinclair (11/05/19)
Sounder by William H. Armstrong (14/05/19)(my review)
A Woman's War by Warwick Deeping (17/05/19)
Glengarry School Days: A Story of Early Days in Glengarry by Ralph Connor (pseudonym of Charles William Gordon) (22/05/19)
The Sands of Pleasure by Filson Young (28/05/19)

Non-Fiction
The Measure of My Days by Florida Scott-Maxwell (04/05/19)
Women of the Klondike by Frances Backhouse (24/05/19)
Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum (28/05/19)
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