#18: Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer. I don't think that I will be able to rest until I have collected all the Heyer books I can find. They are refreshment after harder reads and parts of them are so darn funny! Sprig Muslin introduces us to Sir Gareth Ludlow, who has never found anyone to love since he lost his fiancee years ago in a riding accident. He has decided to make an offer to a woman he has known for years, Lady Hester, who is good and kind but not a "pretty young thing". On his way to make his offer, he runs across Amanda, a sixteen year old girl--the petted and cossetted granddaughter of a retired General--who has run away in an attempt to force her grandfather to allow her to marry the man of her dreams. Sir Gareth tries to protect her. Her imagination gets them all in trouble. Lovely, vintage Heyer.
#19: Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. Who knew there were so many sails on a ship? Who knew that two men playing duets could be interesting? Who knew that MamaT would care so much when they had to dump the cannons off the Sophie in an attempt to outrun their foes? Wonderful! I'm trying to get PapaC to read it. Or at least the Zman. But Russell Crowe doesn't look anything like I imagine Jack Aubrey looking!
#20: Unbroken: A Memoir by Tracy Elliot. Not a bad book. I'll review it in more detail in a separate entry, as I was sent the copy for review purposes. Hopefully later this week.
#21: The Keys to the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin. May's book club book. I had seen the movies, and picked up the book at the Friends of the Library sale years ago. Now it is being re-released under the Loyola Classics imprint. I liked the book very much, though, of course, everything works out far too neatly. Frances Chisholm is a Scottish priest, who found his vocation only after being disappointed in love. His friend, Anselm, moves up the hierarchy while Frances sees himself as the odd duck who never does things right. But he is humble, hard-working, and beloved by those who come to know him. He is sent as a missionary to China, where he has to rebuild from the ground up, and suffers in comparison to the other missionaries who were happy to baptize thousands of "rice Christians"--people who converted so that they could be fed. The scene where Fr. Chisholm leaves China after 30 years made me sob.
#22: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. A reread from my teen years. I want to write a little on the unexpected things you find when you read a book again many years later. There were scenes from this book impressed on my memory, and they were still good scenes. But the whole flavor of the book is different when you are the mom and not the kid. A book of hope, but a book that shows you the grinding poverty, with little way out, for the kids in the tenements of Brooklyn in the early part of the 20th century. Per the afterword, it is highly autobiographical.
#23: The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. Can you believe I had never read this book? Me, either. A copy chanced to land in my hands, so I sat down and read it at long last. I think I suffered from having heard way too much about how fabulous it was. It didn't strike me as being as fab as I had been told. Perhaps it is one of those books that I have to lay aside and come back to later, and then I'll realize that it is better than I thought. I have had this happen before, and usually, on second read, I "get it" better. It's not that I thought it was bad, but I just didn't get the absolute adoration that I had heard about from so many......
Now I'm in the midst of Grand Opening by Jon Hassler.....