the reading post

Hi–what are you reading?  How is your summer reading list
going along?

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
the book.

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
an update!

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.




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4 Responses to the reading post

  1. FictionFan says:

    Hahaha! The book club sounds great! Can’t wait to read about all their enthusiasm for the book – if any of them turn up. I want the dusky-pink hose and matching pink cap…

  2. Lady Fancifull says:

    Oh the perils and the pleasures of book clubs! My online one chose, in my first 3 months of membership, 1 which i had already read (but enjoyed, so it was fine to re-read) and then not one, but 3 books which I discordially loathed – 1 of them turned out to be about a subgenre which brings me out in hives of annoyance – the vampire, zombie, werewolf one, which I find is so generally sloppy, lazy and ‘what sells’. The other one I loathed was also clearly written with an ear out for the clashing of checkout noises. The problem is I do feel i must read in order to properly join in discussion – so forced to read something i think is dire has me muttering, cursing, stomping in a strop and grinding my teeth in annoyance – so little TIME – so many excellent books to read, why THIS!

    I am now in book 4 which I started not liking the authorial voice (though i could see it WAS well written, but I persevered, irritated by the central character, thinking the book club was annoying as the majority tastes are not mine, and the choices offered each month not really books I’m drawn to – and then, suddenly, something went ‘click’ and the author turned me round, and I realise exactly why I felt I wanted to get away from the central character in the first part of the book. Had it not been for the book club, this would have been an abandoned one within the first 50 pages.

    Hope your meeting went well!

    • booksandbuttons says:

      The perils of book clubs indeed. We have moved often, and
      one of my favorite memories is when I joined a new book club,
      and when I went to the meeting discovered that I was the only
      member who had read it! (My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk) It was
      good, too! I’m glad your book 4 is enjoyable–as for the others,
      you deserve more stars in your crown.

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