Boy, it's been awhile since I updated, hasn't it?
#8: Powder and Patch by Georgette Hayer. Hayer's first published novel. Cleone and Phillip are the ones destined to be together--but he loves living in the country, not in society. Cleone and Phillip's father want him to become more of a gentleman. This hurts his feelings, so he determines to beat them at their own game by becoming the dandiest dandy of them all. Of course then Cleone decides she liked him better before, but then you knew that, didn't you?
Wonderful, as usual.
#9: Northern Borders by Howard Frank Mosher. Vignettes from the life of Austen Kittridge, who goes up to Lost Nation in Kingdom County, Vermont and lives with his eccentric grandmother and grandfather. The story is as much about the place and a lost way of life as it is about the flesh and blood characters. Reminds me of Hassler, Russo, Gatreaux--who can write about a place and make it seem real. Thoroughly enjoyable.
#10: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. I had to read this because my nephew, Jack, made me. He said it was the "best book he ever read" and cried every time he tried to talk about it for three days after he finished. I wanted to read it before I saw the movie (which I still haven't done). Good book, with a touching portrayal of a friendship between a boy and a girl. You probably already know what happens. If you don't, I won't spoil it for you. Zman says to go see the movie!
#11: Forever Odd by Dean Koontz. Sequal to Odd Thomas. Odd, now 21, gets involved with a truly evil woman who has kidnapped one of his best friends. He comes face to face with voodoo and finally has to kill three people to save his friend. He says he died in the process, but that they didn't want him yet on the other side. Not nearly as good as the first novel, but I still liked Odd enough to finish the book. I have the third book waiting on my shelves.
#12: Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough. A biography, or at least a partial one, of Theodore Roosevelt. McCullough was interested in his family life growing up, so the book only deals with the time from when Teddy was around 9 or 10 until he came back East from the Badlands to run for mayor of NYC. A fascinating look at a family and a way of life. The family was wealthy, and made two grand tours of Europe and Egypt--winter on the Nile anyone? I came away from this book wanting to read more about him. Thumbs up.
#13: Good People...From an Author's Life by Jon Hassler. A short memoir of sorts by one of my favorite authors. He didn't really want to write a full-fledged memoir, but someone asked him to write a little something about a good person he had known, and he thought that maybe he could do that and turn it into a little book. Very short chapters about the good people in his life, and an interesting discussion of people who are good at heart, or by nature, and those who are good because they know it is the right thing to do. Hassler sees the latter as maybe a bit more heroic than the first--simply because they have to really work at the virtue.
#14: Mom to Mom, Day to Day by Danielle Bean. See complete review below.
#15: The Cave by Jose Saramago. Our March book club book. Really more of an allegory than a story, the novel is about an elderly potter who lives in a village outside the futuristically modern Center, where everything is managed, cleaned, and virtual-realityed. By tying the story in with Plato's allegory of the cave, Saramago wants us to see that in our materialistic, play-like, plastic world we are really no different that Plato's chained captives looking at shadows on the wall. A challenging book to read--it engendered the most discussion we've had at book club in a long time. I was surprised by that.
16: Venetia by Georgette Hayer. Another lovely romance. This time the beautiful Venetia, a Yorkshire girl of 25 catches the eye of the notorious rake, Jasper Damerel, who owns the property next over. He determines to seduce her, but falls in love. To save her from the scandal that would ensue from her marrying him, he tells her it wasn't meant to be. She wins him back with the help of her long lost oh-so-scandalous mama.
17. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. Now, I loved her book Gilead. So, when I found this at Half Price Books some time ago, I added it to my To Be Read shelves. I'll say this. While the novels are both beautifully written, I wouldn't advise reading Housekeeping if you are prone to depression. This was the most depressing book I've read in years. I don't even feel like writing about it, because it will simply dredge up the sadness all over again. Let's just say it's a novel about isolation, loneliness and those who just can't fit into society and are forever drifting along the edges. 'Nuff said.
To get over the sadness of the above, I am off to thrown myself into Master and Commander and escape the world as we know it.......