Sunday Salon: the Books, and Just the Books
My typing pain is lurking around the edges, so no musings today, just straight to the books! (Also, my backlog of reviews is beginning to wobble precariously, so rather than add to it I’m ruthlessly covering all the books I read this week that weren’t from Netgalley today, despite all of those ‘five star’ reads I have that I wish I could spend posts and posts analysing and praising. If you noticed a lack of nonfiction, it’s because most of those were ebook review copies!)
And for those that missed it last week, I’ve copied and pasted my explanation of the new format as a footnote (not sure how long I’ll need to keep including that, perhaps I’ll just always pop it down at the bottom…let me know if you have any advice).
Books I Loved and Found Every Page a Delight
Read We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson if…you love psychologically creepy little stories (this was a reread for me…you can read my post from my first reading back in 2008 if you want more detail).
Read The Damnation of Theron Ware by Harold Frederic if…you’d like to read more US 19th century lit or you’re interested in novels that tell a compelling story while incorporating quite a bit of philosophical or religious musings or you love meeting idiosyncratic, strong women characters who break stereotypes (thanks to Frances for suggesting this!).
Read Mrs. Malory Investigates by Hazel Holt if…you’ve always secretly resented Agatha Christie for writing so many more Poirot novels than Miss Marple ones and want to discover another wonderful, puzzle-style mystery series featuring an older woman sleuth.
Read The Book of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pizan, trans. by Earl Jeffrey Richards if…you want to be reminded that yes, smart, strong women have always existed, and yes they could make kickass, intellectual feminist arguments centuries ago or you just love Medieval allegory and need a fix or if you don’t know if you’re into lit from the Middle Ages but you’d like a place to give it a try and you’re a lifelong lover of list making and categorising (can you tell it’s killing me to not do a whole post?).
Read Elective Affinities by Goethe, trans. by David Constantine if…you’re still not convinced that eighteenth century lit can be engaging and ‘modern’ or you enjoy fiction in which the author is playing with ideas and philosophy as much as with characters and stories.
Read The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery if…you need a comfort fix, have already read The Story Girl, and don’t mind open endings.
Books I Would Have Loved, Except for One or Two Little Quibbles that I’m Now Being a Bit Petty About but Oh Well, or Books I Really, Really Liked
Read Nothing Left Over by Toinette Lippe if…the idea of reading a wonderfully polished essay collection/memoir by an older woman now retired from the publishing industry loosely based around the theme of leading a simple life appeals to you, and you don’t mind when authors hold strong, slightly random personal opinions.
Read Arabian Jazz by Diana Abu-Jaber if…you love immigrant stories or slightly zaney, off-kilter fiction (I hestitate to call it magical realism…if magical realism : fantasy, then this book : folk/fairy tales; it reminded me quite a bit of Luis Alberto Urrea’s fiction, actually).
Books I Definitely Liked, Although They Didn’t Blow Me Away or Books that had Great Points Counterbalanced by Not-Great Ones
Books I Finished but Wish I’d Abandoned
New Format Explanation: I’ve arranged my one-sentence thoughts into rough groups by how much I loved/didn’t love the book. You’ll notice that there are five groups, presented in descending order from most to least loved; remember that these represent a judgement of my reading experience, rather than the actual book (for a bit more detail, see my books read page). The first three (loved through liked) are all categories I would definitely recommend, more or less enthusiastically; the final two (didn’t really like and wish I’d abandoned), I’d (usually) still recommend but to those with different tastes than myself. I hope the new structure is helpful for anyone who wasn’t always sure how I felt about a title based on my one-sentence recommendation! :)
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