May 2021 readings

My Goodreads challenge:

Greeley, Molly- The Clergyman's Wife

Brooks, Elizabeth- The Whispering House


Alphabet Challenge:

J- Joyce, James- Dubliners


Nonfiction:

Lamott, Anne- Dusk Night Dawn: On Revival and Courage


And I finally finished Paradise Lost.


The Clergyman's Wife: I don't try most of the Austen spin-off books, but I love Charlotte Lucas-Collins, so this has been on my list since it came out. This was really good. I think that she did right by Charlotte, and was even sympathetic towards Mr. Collins. In the end, and this isn't really a spoiler, she and Mr. Collins are going to Longbourn when Mr. Collins inherits, and I never thought about how Charlotte would be able to be back with her mother and sister again, but poor Mr. Collins would have to leave Lady Catherine. Now, this author has written a book about Anne de Bough, and I'll get that one, too.


The Whispering House: Is the house haunted or does she have an awful boyfriend? Is she crazy, or is the house falling apart? The eternal questions of gothic fiction.


The MC falls for a modern-day Heathcliff, all handsome, moody possessiveness. This story is a good explanation of why some modern women can't bear to read Wuthering Heights. (WH works for me if you don't read it as a love story. It isn't a celebration of love, but a long look at the mess that selfish people can make.)

Another similarity between this love interest (Cory) and Heathcliff is that they're probably both suffering a mental illness. I get uncomfortable when the fear element in a story revolves around an untreated mental illness. I got a similar feeling from watching The Woman in the Window recently.


This was interesting enough, but I expected it to be scary.



Dubliners: This was not the astounding work that I had expected- but about halfway through I thought, "I bet I've been reading echoes of this in a hundred different books that have come out since this was published." There were spots of beauty in it, and it was so cool that even though it was over a hundred years old, it felt modern in some way that I couldn't define. "The Dead" is the most famous story, popular even though it is so long. I can see why it is so famous. The last lines were lovely.


Dusk, Night, Dawn: I had decided before the hold on this book came through at the library that I wouldn't listen to nonfiction on audio anymore. They'll start telling a story that is supposed to illustrate a point, but I'll get bored and zone out. When you zone out on a print book, it doesn't go galloping off without you. I guess that I could try listening while I'm not driving or knitting, so that my hands are free. I could take notes. I could skip forward if the app allows it. Anyway, I wanted to read this since I read about it last January, and it's very short, so I went with it. I kept zoning out, but it was fine. It made laugh a few times. She writes about her anxieties over global warming and the Trump presidency and its aftermath, which I share, She writes about her faith and the "third third" of her life. It was a four hour audiobook, so if you are experiencing a good deal of anxiety and would like to hear someone talk about grace, you'll probably like it.


Paradise Lost: This is terrible, but the only times I liked this was when someone was misbehaving. There were a few places that I thought were beautiful, but for a poem this size, it should have been more. I'm writing as a reader, and not as a scholar, clearly. It was a slog for me, but I got through it reading a couple hundred lines most days over two months. I missed several days and had to read more om others, but I made it. I'm glad to have read it, to cross it off the list of books I've always meant to read.

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