Henry James: the Master

Edel, Leon. Henry James: the Master (1901 – 1916), Vol. 5 Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1972.

Reason read: to continue (and finish) the series started in April in honor of the birth month of Henry James. Yes, this should have been finished in August. We won’t dwell on how long it took me to finish this series!

So, let’s recap. We started Volume One of the Henry James biography examining his childhood. Subsequent volumes traced his move to Europe and followed his social life as a freewheeling bachelor. By Volume Four James was settling down with the purchase of Lamb House in Rye, England. Throughout every volume we were able to chart James’s progress as a writer, a poet and even playwright but in Volume Five he is dubbed “the master” by his peers. By Volume Five we see James slowing down, becoming more domestic and worrying about his Lamb House gardens. Imagine! He has never had gardens of his own before. Even though James might be slowing down, the emphasis is still on his ambition. He wanted to be influential. He wanted to be remembered and admired. He took great pride to cultivate his craft.

Confessional: all the while I kept asking myself how James could call himself a true American when he was away from his homeland so much of the time and especially after he put down solid roots in London and Rye, England. It just goes to show you how complicated citizenship can be.

Author fact: It took Edel nearly 21 years to write the James biography. Talk about a labor of love!

Book trivia: like the other four volumes of Henry James Volume Five has interesting photographs.

Nancy said: nothing at all.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Literary Lives (the Americans)” (p 144).


Nod to November

What happened in November? I finished physical therapy. But really, PT is not finished with me. I signed up for a 5k in order to keep the running alive. As soon as I did that I needed x-rays for the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my hip and groin. Like stabbing, electrocuting pains. Diagnosis? More sclerosis and fusing. Yay, me! In defiance of that diagnosis I then signed up for a 21k. I am officially crazy.
Here are the books finished for the month of November:

Fiction:

  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (AB/print)
  • The Edge of the Crazies by Jamie Harrison
  • Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Beaufort by Ron Leshem

Nonfiction:

  • Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher

Series continuations:

  • No Villain Need Be by Vardis Fisher (finally finished!)
  • Mrs. Pollifax on Safari by Dorothy Gilman
  • Henry James: the Master by Leon Edel
  • I Will Bear Witness: the Nazi Years, 1942 – 1945 by Victor Klemperer

Early Review for LibraryThing: nothing. I jinxed myself by mentioning the book I was supposed to receive. Needless to say, it never arrived. So I never finished it. Ugh.


November Pain

The running – oops – I mean the training is officially over. I don’t know where the run will go from here. I am toying with a 5k for Safe Passage next month. To hell with toys. I WILL run for Safe Passage next month! But really, I don’t even want to think about that right now since PT has ended. For now, I still have the books. The list is long because we aren’t going anywhere for Thanksgiving. Here’s to four days off with nothing to do but read, read, read. Here is what’s on tap for November:

Fiction:

  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (AB) ~ in honor of November being the best time (supposedly) to visit India (AB / print). Confessional: I think I would like to remove the category of “Best time to visit fill-in-the-blank.” How am I to know when is the best time to visit a country when I have never been there myself? I’m getting a little tired of saying “supposedly” the best time to visit.
  • Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay ~ in honor of Kay’s birth month
  • Beaufort by Ron Leshem ~ in honor of Lebanon gaining independence in November

Nonfiction:

  • Gastronomical Me by M.F.K.  Fisher ~ to recognize National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness month

Series Continuation:

  • No Villain Need Be by Vardis Fisher ~ to continue (and finally finish) the series started in August in honor of Idaho
  • Mrs. Pollifax on Safari by Dorothy Gilman ~ to continue the series started in September in honor of Grandparents month
  • I Will Bear Witness/To the Bitter End by Victor Klemperer ~ to continue the series started in October in honor of Klemperer’s birth month
  • Henry James: the Master by Leon Edel ~ yes, I am still reading this. Just tying up loose ends.

Early Review for LibraryThing IF it arrives (so far it hasn’t):

  • Jam Today: a Diary of Cooking with What You’ve Got by Tod Davies

If there is time:

  • Foolscap, or, the Stages of Love (fiction) by Michael Malone ~ in honor of Malone’s birth month
  • The Edge of the Crazies (fiction) by Jamie Harrison ~ in honor of Montana becoming a state in November.
  • The Caliph’s House (fiction) by Tahir Shah ~ in honor of November being the month Morocco gained independence.

 


What’s More Scary?

I have been in physical therapy for my hip for more than a month now and here’s the sad, sad thing. I don’t feel much different. I still have trouble sleeping a night (last night I woke up every two hours) and runs haven’t been that much easier. I managed over sixty miles for the month and finally finished the dreaded half (the one I have been babbling about for months now. Yeah, that one). I definitely made more time for the books. Here is the ginormous list:

Fiction:

  • Aristotle Detective by Margaret Anne Doody (finished in a week).
  • All Hallows’ Eve by Charles Williams.
  • Discarded Duke by Nancy Butler (finished in a week).
  • Beautiful Children by Charles Bock (AB / print). Word to the wise, don’t do it!
  • Breakfast on Pluto by Patrick McCabe

Nonfiction:

  • Whatever You Do, Don’t Run by Peter Allison (AB / print; finished in less than a week).
  • Sense of the World by Jason Roberts (AB / print).
  • I Will Bear Witness: a Diary of the Nazi Years (1933-1941) by Victor Klemperer ~ in honor of Mr. Klemperer’s birth month.
  • In the Valley of Mist by Justine Hardy

Series Continuations:

  • We are Betrayed by Vardis Fisher.
  • Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman ( finished in four days).
  • Henry James: the Treacherous Years by Leon Edel (Can you believe I actually finished this within the same month?).

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina (read in four days).

Henry James: the Treacherous Years

Edel, Leon. Henry James: the Treacherous Years (1895 – 1901), Vol. 4. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1969.

Reason read: to continue the series started in April, in honor of James’s birth month.

The “treacherous” years, as Edel calls them cover 1895 to 1901. In the beginning of this installment Edel pays special attention to James’s playwright period. My favorite piece of history from this time is of H.G. Wells as a theater critic. I had no idea. Because of James’s limited success in the theater his plays are all but forgotten when one thinks of the works of Henry James, which is a pity since he cared about them a great deal. The failure stays with him for a long time and is referred to often. It is also during this time that James writes the well-known piece, “Turn of the Screw” and he settles down enough to buy Lamb House in Rye, East Sussex, England. First, as a long-term rental agreement and then as an outright purchase (the biggest of his life). He ends up spending nearly twenty years in this house; a sure sign the bachelor is finally starting to slow down. During this time he surrounds himself with youth, preferably talented, sensitive young men.

Favorite confessional line, “Memory has a way of telescoping fact, and Sir Edmund’s reminiscences must be retouched by documentary evidence” (p 84).

Favorite fact about James: Dictating James and writing James were two different artists using two different voices. I find that really interesting.

Book trivia: Edel goes back in time and recounts details previously outlined in the Middle Years. While researching the Treacherous Years he found new details about the previous portion of James’s life.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Literary Lives: the Americans” (p 144). I have to ask. Can someone who has spent nearly his entire adult life residing in Europe really truly call himself an American?


Boo to You October

The month had finally arrived for the half marathon, my first and only of 2017. Enough said about that.
Here are the books I have planned:

Fiction:

  • The Aristotle Detective by Margaret Anne Doody ~ in honor of Greece’s Ochi Day
  • All Hallows Eve by Charles Williams ~ in honor of what else? Halloween.

Nonfiction:

  • Whatever You Do, Don’t Run by Peter Allison ~ in honor of the first safari leader’s birth month (Major Sir William Wallace Cornwallis Harris born October 1848. How’s that for a name?) (AB / print)
  • Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler by Jason Roberts ~ in honor of James Holman’s birth month (AB)

Series Continuations:

  • The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman ~ to continue the series started in September in honor of Grandparents Day.
  • Henry James: the Master by Leon Edel ~ to continue (and finish) the series started in April in honor of James’s birth month
  • We are Betrayed by Vardis Fisher ~ to continue the series started in August

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina ~ and we are back to nonfiction.

If there is time:

  • Breakfast on Pluto by Patrick McCabe (fiction)
  • The Discarded Duke by Nancy Butler (fiction)
  • In the Valley of Mist by Justine Hardy (nonfiction)
  • I Will Bear Witness (vol.1) by Victor Klemperer (nonfiction)

So Long September

What an absolutely bonkers month. September was…How to describe September? The family had a reunion of sorts. The island suffered its fifth shock of the season with a quadruple murder. Running was another head-scratcher as I officially resumed physically therapy for my twisted hips. But. But, But! I was able to log over 30 miles. Nowhere near the 70+ I wanted, but it’s something. At least I haven’t stopped entirely. And the reading? Here are the books:

Fiction:

  • Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (AB/print)
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman
  • Burton And Speke by William Harrison (fictionalized history/historical fiction…whatever)
  • My Dream of You by Naola O’Faolain (AB/print)

Nonfiction:

  • O Jerusalem! by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre – Confessional: didn’t quite get all the way through this)
  • Everybody was so Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy, a Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill
  • Living Well is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins

Series continuations:

  • Passions Spin the Plot by Vardis Fisher
  • Henry James: the Treacherous Years (1895 – 1901) by Leon Edel

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Boat Runner by Devin Murphy (fiction!)