Hi–what are you reading? How is your summer reading list
I am in the middle of reading a few things.
I continue to
read “Nora”–a biography of James Joyce’s wife by Brenda
Maddox. It certainly gives intimate insight into their lives.
And it’s apt that I should mention the book right here on
Bloomsday—-the June 16th of Ulysses.
And I’m enjoying The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, which
is the book club selection for August. It’s a lengthy book—over
700 pages, so I thought I’d give it a head start. It’s good! Who
knew! You know it’s about a tubercular sanatorium in the Alps.
As I read I’m thinking—“is my throat a little sore? Is my face
flushed? Is that my heart pounding?”—just as Hans, our
narrator, questions himself as he visits his cousin at the sanatorium.
And then, I’ve started “Lady Susan” by Jane Austen—a novella
of sorts. En francais. So far I’m doing fine—the first line is:
“Mon chere frére”. That’s as far as I’ve gotten!
And finally, there is “Leonardo and the Last Supper” by
Ross King. He’s written a few other award winners (that I haven’t
read) and this one is close, close, just about sealed as also being
unread! It’s the book club selection for June (tomorrow night!)
It started out OK. I followed along with his early upbringing by
his father and grandfather. His schooling was spotty until he
moved to Florence and his grandfather sent him to good schools
there. I was reading that he did poorly in math—and I was
thinking–“I thought he was a brilliant mathematician—but then–
was that Michelangelo?—”
Actually, there was a special section (on page 26) discussing the
culture of Florence in the 1460s (eyes glaze over). I liked the
description of the fabrics that were produced—beautiful silks
and satins, but most were exported to the harems of Turkey
because strict laws forbade fancy dress in Florence at that time.
But Leonardo da Vinci was a clothes horse it seems. The book cites a list
of clothing he owned: “a taffeta gown, a rose-colored Catalan gown,
a purple cape with a velvet hood, a coat of purple satin, another of
crimson satin, a purple coat of camel hair, dark purple hose,
dusty-rose hose, black hose, and two pink caps.”
I want the purple cape with a velvet hood!
So that part was interesting to me, and I told everybody who
would listen about his wardrobe. That was the best part of
But you know what? I’m not going to finish it! Nope, not going to
finish it, well, even read it (not like I’m halfway through). One of the
book club people has emailed the group to say she can’t attend the
meeting tomorrow night—and claims she read it. I’m curious what
the book club will think. I’ll add to this post tomorrow night with
Ha! another book club member has cancelled. Some flimsy excuse
about knee replacement . . .
I think I’m beginning to see a pattern here . . . 😉
More after the meeting tomorrow . . .
Book club met tonight—only five of us, all women. Of three of
those not present, only one sent in a review. Methinks the other
two did not read the book.
The woman who always reads the book read the book, took notes.
She said there were confusing parts—the intricate Italian names,
the politics of the city-states in the 1460s (yawn). But, she did
finish the book.
Next person couldn’t get into it—stopped at page 150 after deciding
she didn’t have the time to make her own charts for who was married
to whom and what the city-states were busy with. So she read a book
one of her kids is reading in high school–I should have asked what.
Next person, me—well, you know what I thought.
Next person didn’t read the book, closed it early.
Last person says she read the book, but “skippy-skipped” past a
lot of the parts.
So, generally speaking, don’t suggest this one for your own book group!
But NEXT month—-looks good!! The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian.
While waiting for the group to arrive at the library, I read the first twenty
pages . . .now THERE is a book that moves along! Read it with us—and
we’ll save a seat for you on Tuesday, July 15th.