Monday, November 15, 2010

The Summer Book it is!

Tove Jansson's The Summer Book received the most votes, so it will be the next Slaves of Golconda read. Discussion will begin on January 31st. I like the idea of reading The Summer Book in the middle of winter. I hope it will help warm me up a bit! Enjoy your reading, and see you in January.

Monday, November 08, 2010

It's time to choose a new book!

It's time once again to choose a new book. I'd love to say that the choices below fit some theme, but, alas, the only theme they fit is "books I want to read and hope you will want to read too." So, vote for the book you like best in the comments, and we will have the discussion starting on January 31st. I'll count up the votes this Sunday and post the winner on Monday. Anyone is welcome to participate, so please join in!

  1. Somerset Maugham's Cakes and Ale. "Cakes and Ale is a delicious satire of London literary society between the Wars. Social climber Alroy Kear is flattered when he is selected by Edward Driffield's wife to pen the official biography of her lionized novelist husband, and determined to write a bestseller. But then Kear discovers the great novelist's voluptuous muse (and unlikely first wife), Rosie. The lively, loving heroine once gave Driffield enough material to last a lifetime, but now her memory casts an embarrassing shadow over his career and respectable image. Wise, witty, deeply satisfying, Cakes and Ale is Maugham at his best." (Descriptions from Amazon)
  2. Tove Jansson's The Summer Book. "In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. “On an island,” thinks the grandmother, “everything is complete.” In The Summer Book, Jansson creates her own complete world, full of the varied joys and sorrows of life."
  3. Knut Hamsun's Victoria. "When it first appeared in 1898, this fourth novel by celebrated Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun captured instant acclaim for its poetic, psychologically intense portrayal of love’s predicament in a class-bound society. Set in a coastal village of late nineteenth- century Norway, Victoria follows two doomed lovers through their thwarted lifelong romance. Johannes, the son of a miller, finds inspiration for his writing in his passionate devotion to Victoria, an impoverished aristocrat constrained by family loyalty. Separated by class barriers and social pressure, the fated pair parts ways, only to realize—too late—the grave misfortune of their lost opportunity. Elegantly rendered in this brand-new translation by Sverre Lyngstad, Victoria’s haunting lyricism and emotional depth remain as timeless as ever."
  4. Elizabeth Bowen's The Last September. "The Last September is Elizabeth Bowen's portrait of a young woman's coming of age in a brutalized time and place, where the ordinariness of life floats like music over the impending doom of history. In 1920, at their country home in County Cork, Sir Richard Naylor and his wife, Lady Myra, and their friends maintain a skeptical attitude toward the events going on around them, but behind the facade of tennis parties and army camp dances, all know that the end is approaching—the end of British rule in the south of Ireland and the demise of a way of life that had survived for centuries. Their niece, Lois Farquar, attempts to live her own life and gain her own freedoms from the very class that her elders are vainly defending. The Last September depicts the tensions between love and the longing for freedom, between tradition and the terrifying prospect of independence, both political and spiritual."
  5. Nella Larson's Passing. "The tale is simple on the surface--a few adventures in Chicago and New York's high life, with lots of real people and race-mixing events described ... But underneath, it seethes with rage, guilt, sex, and complex deceptions. Irene fears losing her black husband to Clare, who seems increasingly predatory. Or is this all in Irene's mind? And is everyone wearing a mask? Larsen's book is a scary hall of mirrors, a murder mystery that can't resolve itself. It sticks with you."

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Small Room - More Links

I just thought I'd collect the other posts on May Sarton's The Small Room here. I know I have problems cutting and pasting my posts into Blogger, so I tend to skip it, but as there are several others who have written about the book, I thought it might be nice to have them in one handy place.

Jodie at Book Gazing

Lisa at Bibliophiliac

Litlove at Tales from the Reading Room

Pining for the West

Rohan at Novel Readings

Danielle at A Work in Progress

Have I missed anyone? Please scroll down to see more posts or click on through the links. Thanks!