July Unraveled

What can I tell you about July? What a crazy effed up month! For my state of mind it was better than the last simply because the Kisa and I ran all over California for a week. I was terribly distracted from the run and the books. Once you see the numbers you’ll understand. For the run I conquered only two runs in sunny CA and totaled 20.5 miles for the entire month. Here are the books:

Fiction:

  • Anna and Her Daughters by D.E. Stevenson
  • The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Nonfiction:

  • Pacific Lady by Sharon S. Adams
  • Hawthorne: a Life by Brenda Wineapple

Series Continuations:

  • Moment of War by Laurie Lee

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • The World Broke in Two by Bill Goldstein

Did Not Finish (still reading):

  • Henry James: The Middle Years by Leon Edel -STILL! Since June!
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

Never Started (didn’t arrive in time):

  • In Tragic Life by Vandis Fisher

Anna and Her Daughters

Stevenson, D.E. Anna and Her Daughters. New York: Rhinehart & Company, Inc., 1958.

Reason read: July is Ice Cream month and ice cream makes me happy. Nancy Pearl has a chapter in More Book Lust called “Cozies” and this made me think of being happy…I know, I know. It barely makes sense.

I anticipated this book to be overly sappy. The quick and dirty review: A widowed mother brings her three near-adult daughters home to Scotland after learning she can no longer afford high society London. Her daughters couldn’t be more different from each other and yet all three Harcourt sisters fall in love with the same man…cue the violins and weepy music.
Now for the long version:
Told from the first person perspective of youngest daughter, Jane, life turns upside down when mother decides to leave London and return to her pre-marriage home of Ryddelton, Scotland. Gone are the dreams of going to Oxford for an education. But Jane, not being as pretty nor outgoing as her sisters (as mentioned way too many times), soon meets Mrs. Millard and learns she is capable of becoming a successful (and published) author. Her dreams are only overshadowed by her eldest sister, Helen, when she wins the affections of the man whom with all three sisters fall in love. Of course the prettiest sister wins the boy, but not all is lost. It’s not really a spoiler alert to say all four Harcourt women (mother Anna included) find their way to some kind of romance.
Jane is a wonderful character. Caring and considerate, she demonstrates perfect manners no matter the situation. I found myself admiring her for her attitude.

Line worth remembering, “You have to be in the position of needing things very badly indeed before you can appreciate possessing them” (p 105). Very true. And another, “And I saw how foolish I had been to fuss and worry about “the right approach” because “the right approach” to all our fellow creatures is to just love them” (p 228). Amen.

Book trivia: I think Anna and Her Daughters should have been titled Jane and Her Family because it isn’t Anna’s perspective readers receive, it’s Jane’s.

Nancy said: Pearl described Stevenson as a writer of “gentle reads” (p 58). I would agree.

Author fact: Stevenson wrote over forty books and was a poet before becoming a novelist. I’m reading three of her fictions for the Challenge but sadly, none of her poetry.

BookLust Twist: as previously mentioned, from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Cozies” (p 58).


July with a Bang

The one good thing about July is that I am starting to train for a half mara in October. I am praying this gets me out of my funk…

Here are the books:

Fiction:

  • The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins ~ in honor of Higgins’s birth month
  • Anna and Her Daughters by DE Stevenson ~ in honor of July being Ice Cream Month (this is further explained in the book review).

Nonfiction:

  • Hawthorne: a Life by Brenda Wineapple ~ in honor of Hawthorne’s birth month
  • Pacific Lady by Sharon Adams ~ in honor of July being Ocean Month

Series Continuations:

  • Henry James: the Middle Years by Leon Edel (didn’t finish in June) ~ to continue the series started in April in honor of James’s birth month.
  • A Moment of War by Laurie Leeto continue the series started in honor of April’s Madrid festival.

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster, and the Year That Change Literature by Bill Goldstein