Maurice, EM Forster (1971)

A devastating, but ultimately satisfying look at the sexual awakening of Maurice Hall. Written early in the 20th century at a time when homosexuality was a criminal offense, Forster chose to delay its publication until after he died. Published in 1971, a year after his death we follow Maurice to Cambridge with the assumption he will then follow in his late father’s footsteps and join the London business he and his partner started. At Cambridge Maurice falls for Clive Durham, a Classics major, but this relationship fails.

However, the realization of what living this life entails, that is, having to love in secret, being a pariah to society and family, the loneliness of perhaps never again finding another man like him fills Maurice with unbearable sadness. He quits university just before graduation and is accepted into the firm by his father’s partner. It is a pivotal time as the fear of a lifetime of loneliness bears down on him and thoughts of suicide plague him. Ultimately, Maurice begins to carve out a life as best he can even with the thoughts of an uncertain future.

There is light, though, and a reason to hang on….

This book made me sad at many points. It speaks of a different time than at present and it is important to grasp what gay men and Lesbians endured who dared to be true to themselves. Forster has a way with subtlety in his character portrayals that I really like. A hard, but important read.

Yes, the heart of his agony would be loneliness….An immense silence, as of death, encircled the young man, and as he was going up to town one morning it struck him that he really was dead….Under these circumstances might he not cease? He began to compare ways and means and would have shot himself but for an unexpected [illness and death of his grandfather].

When he came home and examined the pistol he would never use, he was seized with disgust; when he greeted his mother no unfathomable love for her welled up. He lived on, miserable and misunderstood, as before, and increasingly lonely. One cannot write these words too often: Maurice’s loneliness: it increased.

Dedicated to a Happier Year


Title: Maurice
Author: EM Forster
Publisher: WW Norton & Company
Date: 1971
Device: Trade Paperback
Pages: 255

Challenges: Back to the Classics

Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell (1853)

I spent the past week with the ladies of Cranford. It was a delightful time listening to stories of their girlhood friendships and family life and the bittersweet present where many of their dreams were not realized.

Still, I was captivated at this group of women trying to maintain their dignity through the aging process unwilling to lower the standards of status and respectability regardless of the capriciousness of financial matters.

Having known each other all of their lives, they are still competing for dominance, for favor; they argue and infuriate each other, but never hesitate to come together in support at deaths, at changes in finances and to defend each other against gossip and lies.

I would go back if they’d have me….

First serialized in Charles Dickens’ magazine, Household Words beginning in December of 1851, he encouraged Gaskell to write more episodes as the chapters were called. The completed book was published 18 months later.


Title: Cranford
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Publisher: Collins
Date: 1853
Device: Hardcover
Pages: 255

Challenges: Classics Club, Back to the Classics, Mount TBR

2021 Wrap-UP

A symbol of rebirth in some cultures. May it be so for 2022

2021 was a year, wasn’t’ it?!! Maybe not as challenging as the one before, but for me, at least, changes came into my life that frustrated my ability to stay focused, somewhat on reading, but definitely on writing. Thus, I did not post on my blog very much this year.

Instead, I found satisfaction with shorter posts on Goodreads and especially on Instagram. I discovered I can participate in readalongs, book challenges or buddy reads without needing to write up everything I read, which has always been a struggle: what to write up formally in a blog post and what, with just a few sentences, can go to Goodreads. I flung myself too far on this side. Next year I hope to find a balance.

I don’t mind that I am a slow reader, but I am also a slow writer. The adjustments I’ve had to make in my personal life this year, while so good in many ways, have defied a daily uninterrupted writing schedule. It’s just easier on my brain to read! However, I do not believe this is permanent. I have no intention of giving up this blog, because it means so much to me, not only my own writing, but in connecting with the community of bookbloggers. I just have to be patient until I have a vision for blogging again.

With all that being said, I did read some wonderful books this year and in reviewing my blog and Goodreads Challenge I was surprised at the range. Along with my love for classic literature, I read several classic children’s books for the first time and a few horror novels; several became favorites for the year.

Without any ado my top books of the year:


The Magician, W. Somerset Maugham
Maugham really delivered on this creepy character driven horror story about a necromancer who tries to pass himself off as an affable old man. The scenes in his laboratory were written with troubling realism.

At the Mountains of Madness, HP Lovecraft
What captivated me about this novel is the meticulous research that went into creating the Antarctic civilization that existed before the historical record. In addition to making up a reasonable “history” of the place Lovecraft made up its arts, architecture, geology, political and social structure and the biological aspects of the creatures who populated the area. This is my favorite Lovecraft so far, surpassing even The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. I have so much more to read before I choose “my favorite,” though.

Sister Carrie
, Theodore Dreiser
There are some autobiographical aspects of this novel about the small town girl with big plans for her life if only she can get to the big city. Dreiser used his time in New York City when he was unemployed and lived with his sister to develop the atmosphere of a city that ate up the people, no matter how hard they struggled or how strong was their will to succeed. The realism in the writing kept me connected to the characters and it was easy to feel their plight.

A Stitch in Time, Penelope Lively
There is a lot I can relate to in the character of 11 year old Maria Foster. She is curious and smart and a mystery to her parents. Their summer at the seaside is a healing experience for everyone.

The Loved and Envied, Enid Bagnold
I found this book at a used bookstore and the only reason I bought it is because it is a Virago and I want to read more of them. But I was not prepared for the brutal, but refreshing honesty Bagnold tells through her characters of the aging process. Each one has an unforgettable story.

Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
My first Thomas Hardy after Under the Greenwood Tree, which certainly did not prepare me for the “real” Hardy. I admit it, I cried over this book.

Daniel Deronda, George Eliot
Classic literature is rife with antisemitism and anti-Jewish tropes. I don’t get offended as much as I am disappointed, especially in a favorite writer. Context is everything and I take into consideration the time period in which the novel was written. In this case, I was not only shocked at the warmth of Jewish family life and community portrayed by the Jews of London, but that all Daniel went through to discover his heritage was so realistic and interesting. After doing some research I found out Eliot had visited synagogues in Germany and Jewish book shops to gather research.

 I have no idea what 2022 will bring, but I hope this weary world and all its inhabitants finds some ease against what we can't control. Happy New Year. Emphasis on the happy!
I just hope we all continue to “Book On!”




			
					

The Matriarch (1924), GB Stern/CC Spin #28

…In a typical chronicle of the Israelites, it would be taken for granted that the girls did not count at all…if they give birth to a boy who will grow into a man, they have fulfilled their destiny in the only possible way. When you have heard more about the adventure of being a Rakonitz, you will recognize why I have called them the very topsy-turvydom of Jews. It was a family of women bucaneers [sic]. They were thrown forward, and the men receded a very little bit into dependence.

GB (Gladys Bronwyn) Stern is a “lost lady” of literature: well-known in her time, but little heard of today. She was born in London in 1890 and at the age of 16 traveled with her parents to the continent and studied in Germany and Switzerland. She was a novelist, memoirist, playwright and short story writer; several of her novels were turned into movies. The Matriarch is the first book in the Rakonitz Chronicles, a semi-autobiographical account of the Rakonitz, Bettleheim and Czelovar families, who are well-to-do cosmopolitan Jews with various family members having settled in England, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Austria.

To say this is a sweeping generational saga of three families gives an idea of the breadth of characters. In fact, there are so many a detailed family tree is provided in the back of the book. However daunting a read this seemed at the beginning-the narrative is constructed in such a way that the generations and their stories are told together rather than in a linear pattern of one generation building upon the last-it works very well. The narrative has the feel of conversations at big family gatherings where the oldest person tells anecdotes about old uncle Saul with the smelly pipe who knew all the important people and who was important himself or beautiful cousin Elizabeth who refused an arranged marriage scandalizing the family when she married for love or the great-granddaughter Toni who decided to work for a living to support her family when her father died.  

The action moves from Vienna to Paris to London to Italy, Russia and to Central and South America, beginning with Simon and Babette Rakonitz who marry in the early 19th century. The wealthy, upper class Rakonitz family are very assimilated, but retain elements of their religion. The story takes in the larger cultures and societies in which they live that make the novel so interesting. They are a well-accepted noteworthy family having made their money in the diamond and other precious gems trade. The women hold the family together, especially after the financial tragedy that robs each household of their husbands, uncles and fathers.

Against the backdrop of tradition that each family member is expected to accept, the younger generations fight for their personal independence against loyalty to the family name. And some try to balance both, making life difficult when cracks appear in the family armor that call for intervention. This is not a somber or dark tale of prejudice or oppression, but a story of a dynamic family that is engaged in living life to the fullest and that through the generations is fully invested in the world around them.

The Family Rakonitz!

Title: The Matriarch
Author: GB Stern
Publisher: Virago Modern Classics
Date: 1924
Device: Trade Paperback
Pages: 298

Challenges: Classics Club

CS Lewis, born November 29, 1898, is a Night-Sky Poet and #Narniathon21

Normally, the birthday of CS Lewis would not be on my radar. Thanks to a fellow blogger who has created a Lewis reading event that I can’t wait to participate in, I have a reason to simultaneously acknowledge his date of birth, mention the reading event and share a poem of his I love.
 
Narniad
 
Chris of Calmgrove has generously agreed to host a reading of CS Lewis’s, The Chronicles of Narnia, one book a month beginning this December. On the last Friday of the month (for December it will be the last Thursday) he will put up a post on his blog with some questions to prompt a discussion in the comment section. For the reading schedule and more information you can go here. I hope you’ll consider participating, even if you only want to join in once or twice. I am so looking forward to hearing all the different approaches to these books!
 

Narniad2

 
 
 
Interestingly, and it may just be me, but I don’t think of CS Lewis as a poet though I have not researched this. As a night-sky lover his poem, The Meteorite, popped up one day and became a favorite. It’s not the best poem ever written and I think it is a bit crudely shaped, but the imagery is vivid and the words a literary mix of science and nature, which I very much like. So happy birthday Mr. Lewis, I hope you know that all your various works are still being read and loved by a multitude across generations and continents.
 

The Meteorite, by CS Lewis

Among the hills a meteorite
Lies huge; and moss has overgrown,
And wind and rain with touches light
Made soft, the contours of the stone.

Thus easily can Earth digest
A cinder of sidereal fire,
And make her translunary guest
The native of an English shire.

Nor is it strange these wanderers
Find in her lap their fitting place,
For every particle that’s hers
Came at the first from outer space.

All that is Earth has once been sky;
Down from the sun of old she came,
Or from some star that travelled by
Too close to his entangling flame.

Hence, if belated drops yet fall
From heaven, on these her plastic power
Still works as once it worked on all
The glad rush of the golden shower.

October Wrap-Up

October turned out to be a very good writing month. I also took a trip to Arizona during the last week. It was the first trip in ages, a driving trip, which I always enjoy. The landscape of the desert is so different from that of the beach, but the dryer air and clearer skies were a very nice change. I heard coyotes and saw a javalina, I toured Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, found “my” bagel place and had a wonderful visit with my sister. Now, I am waiting for the colder temperatures to come to make the rest of the year complete.

Having my mom here has been a lot of fun. She is also a big reader and has already plucked from my shelves Venetia, The Egg and I, a biography of the California poet Robinson Jeffers and several contemporary novels. She belongs to a book club so there is lots of quiet reading time in this house.

Although I posted more this month, I did not finish a lot of books and I am way behind on my Goodreads challenge. But goals are only directional signals, not actions written in stone. Right? Oh well…

What I Read and Posted

A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Stitch in Time, Penelope Lively
Classic Club Spin #28 The Spin gods chose number 12, which means I will be reading The Matriarch (1924), by G.B. Stern. This book has been on my shelf for a very long time, but I know nothing about it or the author!

Two on a Tower, Thomas Hardy
Martha by the Day, Julie Mathilde Lippmann

As November begins I’ve decided to join in on Nonfiction November and in keeping with trying to read as much from my shelves as possible this year, instead of buying more books, I created this short list to choose from:

1. A Summer of Hummingbirds. The intersecting lives of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Martin Johnson Heade. I love reading about authors who knew each other.

2. Something From the Oven. About food and dinner culture in the 1950s and how gadgets changed the way we eat. And the 50s were so interesting for kitchen gadgets.

3. To College Girls. A guide from a dad as his daughter went off to college, published in 1911. Historical etiquette and morality books are fun to read. What were the expectations of behavior for young women at that time?

4. The Natural History of Selborne. Published in the late 1700s, I can’t wait to see what people thought of the natural world and do we have anything in common in our time?

5. The Grape Cure, first published in 1928, this is the food fad book of the time that would “cure” any disease with grapes. Lots of grapes. Hmmm.

I am hoping to read Hermnan Hesse’s, Siddhartha for Novellas in November and that’s the only title I have, so far.

My Thomas Hardy year has gone very well with two more to go. This month we’re reading The Well-Beloved. And I hope for some spontaneous reads, including one from my Classics Club list.

Yes, I did buy a book on my trip 🙂

More from Taliesin West

This year has passed very quickly for me and I can hardly believe 2022 is fast approaching. I hope this has been a good year for you and that travels, day trips and better times are ahead for us all.

A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett (1905). Illustrated by Tasha Tudor

Somehow, something always happens just before things get to the very worst. It is as if the Magic did it. If I could only just remember that always….What next, now? Something will come if I think and wait a little…the Magic will tell me.

I was deeply touched by this book. The coping mechanism that helped Sara Crewe survive the cruelty thrown at her, tugged at my heart strings. She reminded me of countless children who find themselves in situations beyond their control, and figure out a way to rise above the physical pain and heartache. The ability to develop an imagination that becomes so visceral that you can feel warmth when you are cold or feel full when you are hungry helped Sara survive.


Her life is happy for her first seven years and though her mother died at her birth, she is very close with her father who gives her the best in material and emotional comfort. Sara was born in India, so it is with great sadness that she leaves her father and the surroundings she feels safe in, to come to London to finish her education. Her father believes Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies is the best place for Sara and is not disappointed when the two arrive at the school and he is promised Sara will be given everything he wants for her. Sara has her own room, a pony, dolls and toys and beautiful custom made clothes of the richest materials. He leaves Sara believing she is in good hands.


Sara is a kind and friendly girl and wants nothing more than the friendship of other girls that she lacked as a solitary child in India. Even at such a young age, though, she is intellectually more advanced than most of the older girls and this, coupled with the discovery of Mr. Crewe’s business in diamond mines makes Sara fodder for mockery as a princess who is too good for the other girls. Miss Minchin does nothing stop the growing distance between the various factions at the school and in fact encourages it with her obviously mean-spirited elevation of Sara’s position at the school. For four years, Sara lives in a liminal state of sometimes acceptance and sometimes suspicion among the school girls, but handles it with poise and the knowledge of her father’s love.



Sara’s fortunes literally change overnight when her father dies. She is immediately stripped of all her possessions and moved to an attic room that is dirty, bare of comfort and comes with a resident rat. Sara’s position is now that of drudge, errand girl and the object of abuse from the staff. Miss Minchin takes particular delight in Sara’s downfall believing herself magnanimous for not turning her out into the street. Sara’s misery is extensive as she is worked to exhaustion in all kinds of weather in clothes that are too small and with shoes with holes. The older girls also delight in Sara’s situation never missing the opportunity to humiliate or mock “the heiress” of the diamond mines as they taunt her.

…From day to day the duties given to her were added to. It was found she could be made use of in numberless directions. She could be sent on errands at any time and in all weathers. She could be told to do things other people neglected. The cook and housemaids took their tone from Miss Minchin, and rather enjoyed ordering about the “young one” who had been made so much fuss over for so long….it was frequently convenient to have at hand someone on whom blame could be laid.

But Sara has managed to hold her tongue throughout all this verbal and physical abuse by imagining herself as a secret princess of lost fortune, who will somehow be vindicated. As such she must maintain an even, if not happy, countenance, because that’s how a princess would behave. It is important to note that Sara doesn’t pretend to be a princess in order to pretend she has no troubles; she imagines herself a princess to get through her troubles. She is very well aware of her ill treatment and willful abuse at the hands of the adults around her who should know better; this mistreatment by the staff, who see her as a scapegoat for their own feelings of frustration and inequality. Instead, she has chosen her behavior, which is key. In seeing herself as a princess it is her coping mechanism, but also her morality. A princess might be mad inside and want to lash out, but she overcomes that negative emotion to be kind. She’s not stuffing down her feelings, but making a choice to act differently. This is what both amazes as well as infuriates the older school girls as well as Miss Minchin.

There comes a cold, rainy day when Sara’s hunger is burning more than usual in her belly and her holey shoes and thin dress have chilled her to the bone. The weather has made her late returning to the school and she is sent upstairs without dinner. This is truly a turning point for Sara as she climbs the stairs cold and hungry, her dinner being withheld when she is never given enough to begin with–she is unable to mount anything positive to get her through.

To tell anymore would give away the story, that in a separate story line an Indian gentleman moves in next door, with an assistant Sara gets to know after capturing his escaped monkey. And because they have India and various customs in common he takes special note of her….

Thoughts

This is my first reading of A Little Princess, though I knew of it (and ok, I’ve seen the Shirley Temple film several times!), but I was surprised by the details of overwork and cruelty Sara and her partner in abuse, the scullery maid, Becky were subjected to. Children like this are worked as if they are not human. And sadly, if one can’t take it or is worked to death, there are always others to take their place.

Burnett does a fine job with the contrast between rich and poor with Sara’s rise and fall and with the “Large” wealthy family that lives in the neighborhood. Peering through the windows at the well-dressed, well-fed children Sara knows there is still love in the world, even in her dark days. It is this and her imagination that allows her to live through all the humiliation and cruelty.

This is a children’s story, but I think there is something here for adults. At least there is for me.

During the first month or two, Sara thought that her willingness to do things as well as she could, and her silence under reproof might soften those who drove her so hard. In her proud little heart she wanted them to see that she was trying to earn her living and not accepting charity. But the time came when she saw that no one was softened at all; and the more willing she was to do as she was told, the more domineering and exacting careless housemaids became, and the more ready a scolding cook was to blame her.

I must say I’ve often thought it would have been better if you had been less severe on Sara Crewe, and had seen that she was decently dressed and more comfortable. I know she was worked too hard for a child of her age, and I know she was only half-fed…The child was a clever child and a good child–and she would have paid you for any kindness you had shown her. But you didn’t show her any. The fact was, she was too clever for you, and you always disliked her for that reason.

Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul. But whatsoever was the reason, the rat knew from that moment that he was safe–even though he was a rat. He knew that this young human being sitting on the red footstool would not jump up and terrify him with wild, sharp noises or throw heavy objects at him…When he stood on his hind legs and sniffed the air, with his bright eyes fixed on Sara, he had hoped that she would understand this, and would not begin by hating him as an enemy. When the mysterious thing which speaks without saying any words told him that she would not, he went softly toward the crumbs and began to eat them.


Title: A Little Princess
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Publisher: HarperFestival
Date: 1905
Device: Trade Paperback
Pages: 324

Challenges: Classics Club

Classics Club Spin #28

For anyone unfamiliar with the Classics Club, you can check them out here. The Spin is a list of 20 books you choose from your list and number 1-20. On October 17th, the Spin Gods will announce a number from 1-20 and that corresponding number on your list is the book you read to be completed by December 12th.

My…that is a chunk of time this time around. Perfect for a, uh, chunkster 🙂

Good luck to all participating. Hopefully, I will see you with my Spin before that date!

My list:

Frances Hodgson Burnett
1. The Little Princess (1905)

Fanny Burney
2. Evelina (1778)

Willa Cather
3.My Antonia (1918)

George Eliot
4. The Mill on the Floss (1860)

Elizabeth Gaskell
5. Mary Barton (1848)

George Gissing
6. The Odd Women (1893)

Thomas Hardy
7. Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891)

William Dean Howells
8. The Rise of Silas Lapham (1884)

Aldus Huxley
9. Brave New World (1932)

George Meredith
10. The Egoist (1879)

Sir Walter Scott
11. Ivanhoe (1819)

G.B. Stern
12. The Matriarch (1924)

William Thackeray
13. Vanity Fair (1847)

Virginia Woolf
14. The the Lighthouse (1927)

Emile Zola
15. Ladies Paradise (1883)

Johanna Brandt
16. The Grape Cure (1928)

Le Baron Russell Briggs
17. To College Girls (1911)

Cornelia Otis Skinner & Emily Kimbrough
18. Our Hearts were Young and Gay (1942)

Glibert White
19. The Natural History of Selborne (1789)

Oscar Wilde
20. The Importance of Being Ernest (first performed, February 14, 1895)

A Stitch in Time, Penelope Lively (1976) The #1976Club

Eleven year-old Maria Foster talks to inanimate objects. She has conversations with cats and trees, too. It is clear she is curious and smart and the conversations she begins with her parents, based on what she has observed in the world or something she read leave them bewildered, as if they just don’t know what to do with a girl so serious and deep. So only-child Maria has created a world where objects listen and engage, give her advice and solace in ways her family cannot.

We meet the Foster family on their summer holiday to Lyme Regis. They are staying in an old Victorian house for a month. It has a resident cat, furniture that has seen decades of wear and an old tree in the backyard perfect for Maria to sit in and ponder. Next door is a small hotel where families of holiday makers are spending the summer and from her perch she notices one particular family with one particular boy. Once they meet Maria and Martin, after some initial hesitation, find in each other kindred spirits interested in the larger questions of life. They roam the hills and beaches picking up fossils, observing the varied geology of the land, which leads to a discussion of evolution when they visit a nearby museum.

Lyme Regis fossils.

In a complementary story line, Maria has become obsessed with a girl her age named Harriet who lived in the house Maria’s family is renting a hundred years ago. A photograph of a piece of Harriet’s embroidery with an ominous signature has captured Maria’s imagination. She is convinced Harriet died young and is determined to find out her story. She keeps most of her thoughts to herself until she makes a small attempt to share them with Martin. Mostly, though, she is content to have found an exploring buddy who shares her new found interests in the fossils and geology of the hills and cliffs they wander.

There are wonderful supernatural elements in the story that affect only Maria besides the cat, the petrol pump and the tree that she has conversations with: there is an insistent sound of a barking dog and the creaking noise of a swing in motion. Maria scours the neighborhood for physical evidence of these to no avail and as this part of the story unfolds they play an important part in the mystery of Harriet.

As Maria explores both her inner and outer worlds she grows in confidence and acceptance of herself and can acknowledge that what she thinks about and what interests her are genuine and noble. She has become communicative and expressive with her mother who is finally able to see and understand this daughter who had always seemed so shut up within herself.

A really wonderful book about a smart, serious, curious kind of girl that should be celebrated!

And thanks to Simon and Karen for creating these various clubs that have helped me find books and authors I may not have discovered otherwise.

The cat sat down beside her, disposed, it seemed, for a chat.
“No,” said Maria, “I don’t think I’m going to let you talk any more. Sometimes you say uncomfortable things. Though actually I think I am getting a bit better at not being made uncomfortable.”

“P’raps” said Maria, “they turn into the kind of people they are because the things that happen to them make them like that.” Like I’m shy and I talk to myself because of the sort of family I live with and Martin’s like he is because he’s got a different kind of family.
“You are a bit peculiar sometimes,” [Martin] added, “You were talking to that tree yesterday. I heard. You were sitting in it and you suddenly said, ‘Oh, Quercus ilex…'”


Title: A Stitch in Time
Author: Penelope Lively
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Date: 1976
Device: Trade Paperback
Pages: 221

September 2021 Wrap-Up

There ARE seasonal changes here!

Here in Southern California Fall has arrived. Seasonal changes are usually more subtle here than other regions of the country, but not so this year. We’ve already had a rain storm, an odd and eerie thunder (no lightening) event and the temps in the early morning are in the 50s. It is wonderful to walk now, bundled up as the sun peaks up over the horizon. I hope everyone is safe, healthy and enjoying the year as it changes to warmer or cooler temps, depending on where you live.

September was one of the best reading and blogging months I’ve had in a long time. I had my second cataract surgery at the beginning of the month and it healed speedily with the result I was hoping for: the new lens matches my other eye and I still don’t have to wear glasses to read. And, of course, everything is so much cleaner and clearer and has made a difference in the ease and pleasure of reading again. Thank God for modern medicine.

Books Read
Two on a Tower, Thomas Hardy
The Burning Girls, CJ Tudor
Period Piece, Gwen Raverat
The Wild Silence, Raynor Winn
The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently, Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler
The Night Lake, Liz Tichenor
Martha by the Day, Julie Mathilde Lippmann

Blog Posts
“A White Heron,” Sara Orne Jewett
The Fruit of the Tree, Edith Wharton
Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser

RIP
Well, I should know by now that what I say I am going to read for RIP and what I actually read are two different things. While I did start and will continue with HP Lovecraft’s, “The Call of Cthulhu” I got waylaid by other works. When The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton arrived, I had to dig in. And after I read Sarah Orne Jewett’s “A White Heron” I continued with the short story collection and found some spooky stories there. I’ll write up some next month.

October
For RIP, I’ll finish The Call of Cthulhu and I really do think I will reread The War of the Worlds, which I am really looking forward to…but who knows…!  

The “Club” is this month and Simon at Stuck in a Book has designated the year 1976 for October. My choice is Penelope Lively’s, A Stitch in Time.

I’ll be reading Shakespeare’s, The Tempest for Witch Week.

The Thomas Hardy year continues with the short story collection, Life’s Little Ironies

Hmm, that’s a pretty full dance card, but I’m sure there will be room for spontaneous reads.

Other Reading News
I have discovered a new podcast thanks to Juliana at The [Blank] Garden, who put up a post on The Lost Ladies of Lit. It is a wonderful podcast that showcases little known and forgotten women writers. I am learning so much and have already ordered a book from an episode and more are definitely to follow.

Lizzie Ross is doing daily posts for Banned Books Week that I have found fascinating. Check them out for some enlightening content.

That’s it for me. If you’ve done a September wrap-up let me know in the comments below. I wish you….

Happy Spooktober!

What lurks behind this old window?