Sunday, December 28, 2008

Here comes the Christmas post.

For Christmas, I got Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple, Villette by Charlotte Bronte, The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R. Tolkien, and The Original Girl's Handy Book by Lina Beard and Adelia Belle Beard. Villette I already have, but this is a considerable smaller copy which may aid in my actually getting around to reading it. Apparently I cannot go a year without getting something related to Tolkien for Christmas (I was once a rampant Tolkien fan, and still am when I think of it).

I've started reading Someone at a Distance, which is another of those published by Persephone Books. I had never heard of it before, but Ducky asked me what books I wanted for Christmas and for once I thought of an answer, so I told him Persephone figuring they'd all be good. It looks very likely to live up to my expectations. The back of the book calls Dorothy Whipple the "literary heir to Mrs. Gaskell" which is very interesting. I love Elizabeth Gaskell entirely, and I don't quite yet understand the comparison but can see how it could be true.

As for what I've been reading over Christmas--I've had an awful cold all week, and what with that and the snow I haven't been able to go anywhere, so I've been doing quite a bit of reading. I finished Emma, which I was surprised to find is now battling it out for my favourite Jane Austen novel (along with Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion, which have all been battling for ages with no results). Emma is an extremely well-crafted novel, the characters all develop very naturally and very pleasingly. I expected to find Emma herself annoying, but she's so human and so well-intentioned that I never did. This book is somewhat more class-conscious than the others are, which is a little weird, but it's not too hard to look past that. It was an extremely satisfying novel, and I love it very much.

I also finished The Beans of Egypt, Maine by Carolyn Chute, which is a Senior Lit book that has been getting pushed out of my view by Emma for ages. I read it in rather odd clumps, with a fair amount at once and then none of it for a week, although I don't think that hurt it particularly. The Beans are a family of the poorest class, not always with electricity, not always (or ever) what is usually called couth, but always rather interesting. It's a strange little book, but the writing is very interesting. I enjoyed it, even though I was never really into it because I always wanted to be reading something else.

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