.....boy, it's been a long time since I did this!
#18: Spin Sisters: How the Women of the Media Sell Unhappiness and Liberalism to the Women of America (whew!) by Myrna Blyth. Blyth was editor in chief of Ladies Home Journal for 20 years, and takes the reader on a tour of what the big women's magazines sell to women: impossible thinness, something to fear, stress, and a very liberal political agenda. Conversational in tone, its an insiders dish on the magazine world. I'll admit, I have a number of subscriptions to women's magazines--I buy 'em for the recipes (is that like a man saying he buys Playboy for the articles????). Since reading this book, I've been more attentive to the contents of each magazine, and it's hilarious how they really do dovetail with her thesis.
#19: A Voyage for Madmen by Peter Nichols. In 1968, 9 men set out, each alone, to circumnavigate the world in a sailboat alone. WITHOUT STOPPING ANYWHERE for food, repairs or supplies. And this was LONG before global satellite positioning equipment. An interesting look at what it takes to achieve such a feat and what failure means when it comes. It surely didn't make ME want to try anything any remotely like it!
#20: The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers. LORD Peter Wimsey solves a convoluted mystery about a body found in another person's grave. Bells and the art of change-ringing are a big part of the mystery. And who knew LORD Peter was so multi-talented? (Edited to correct the title given--after correction by Klaus. Thanks Klaus!)
#21: Viper's Tangle by Francois Mauriac. This was our June book club selection. We had previously read Mauriac's Woman of the Pharisees. Louis, the central figure and narrator of the book, is a man consumed by greed, by hatred and by a need for revenge on all those around him. A lonely and unattractive child, spoiled by his mother, he finds love as a young man. But that love is ruined by a chance remark by his young wife, leading to years of misery for them both. Grace vies to the very end with the evil that is so readily apparent. Brings to light the importance God places on every, single soul--and that no one is beyond God's caring. Excellent book, and instigated more discussion than anything we had read in a long time.
#22: Thinks by David Lodge. Ralph Messenger, a professor at Gloucester University is director of the Center for Cognitive Science. He is the ultimate materialist, and an unrepentant womanizer. He meets Helen Reed, a recently widowed writer in residence at the college. She refuses him on moral grounds, only to give in when she becomes convinced "everyone else is doing it" after a nasty revelation about her late husband. At the same time, Messenger is changed by having to deal with a health crisis and looking his own mortality in the face. He learns that perhaps his wife and life are a little more important that he thought.
#23: Making Sense of Movies: Filmmaking in the Hollywood Style by Robert Henry Stanley. The Zman's college textbook for his Film Appreciation class. Interesting look at the history of the movie industry, different techniques of movie making, genres, and the like. 'Nuff said.
#24: The Last Good Woman by William Luse. Yes, that William Luse. This made me realize that there are those of us who can TYPE (me) and those who can WRITE (him). I mean, I knew it was true when I read all the books I talk about, but to clarify it by reading something so fine by someone I know. Well, it just brought it home.
The book is the story of a young man and his fiancee (later his wife) and what it takes to get him to actually grow up and start the process of becoming a man instead of a spoiled adolescent-like male. It rings so true to the experiences of PapaC and I that it was almost too painful to read at times. Excellent, excellent, excellent. I want to read it again when my heart quits hurting from the first go 'round.
#25: In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith. The sixth book in the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Precious Ramotswe is still just that. In fact, I think this book was better than a couple of the previous ones. I have not tired of the series yet, and that is saying something.
UPDATE TO SUMMER READING CHALLENGE: The above list takes 3 books off that challenge list. I am starting The Rise of Silas Lapham next, alternated with finishing off Tim Gatreaux's The Clearing.