We are almost halfway through October and I have been reading! I better get this done now so it's not a massive job at the end of the month!
Jane Austen: A Literary Celebrity by Peter J. Leithart - I'm pretty sure I talked about this book while I was reading it. It's not very long so it's not like it could be a very in-depth look at Austen's life. Or "Jenny's" life as the author insisted on calling her. That nickname made me very uncomfortable. To tell the truth, I hated it. Gross. This is an updated version of a book he published in 2010 for the Christian Encounters series. I'm not sure what changes were made other than just noting the latest movie adaptations to her work. There is mention of how private and quiet her Christianity was. He didn't seem to be making any kind of point or new thought on her life and work. It might be a good in-road to learning about her, if it didn't lead people to think she can be called "Jenny".
The Modiste Mishap by Erica Ridley - This is a short story/novella that is set in between books in the Wild Wynchesters series. The Wild Wynchesters are a family of sleuths who apparently also have romantic interests. The covers look very much like bodice ripper romances. This series of novellas is about a group of spinsters who meet to discuss books, and solve their own mysteries. In this one, a popular modiste for the "ton" has her shop vandalized and all her expensive dresses stolen. The dresses she had made for the big ball in two weeks. The Heist Club as the book club is called, sets to work finding out who did it and returning the dresses. They enlist the help of the Wynchesters who are bizarre and hilarious. Especially the woman who always wants to stab someone or cut off their head.
Literature: Why It Matters by Robert Eaglestone - I didn't always agree with everything the author said, but I did find a great quote from someone else entirely in the book. I don't have it in front of me but it basically said happiness is related to time. If you spend your time wisely you will be happy, but if you misspend your time you will be unhappy. Basically, Eaglestone is arguing for why we should require students to read the classics. I mean, it depends on the student, in my opinion. Some students would benefit from an understanding of the plots and themes of classic works of literature. There are so many references in the world to those things, that they will lead a more full and engaged life having learned those things. But not every student. If you want to teach about certain techniques used by those writers, there are most likely more relatable works using those techniques available. How do you tell which students are which? I don't know the answer to that.
Friends In High Places by Donna Leon - This Guido Brunetti novel focuses on the political machinations and corruption abounding in Italian government. Brunetti gets a visit from a young man from a government office who tells him his apartment doesn't actually exist in the eyes of the city because they don't have a record of the plans and the permissions to add on to the building. They may have to tear it down. Then the young man dies in a fall from some scaffolding. Before he died, the man had called Brunetti at work to say there was something going on at the office that wasn't right. He didn't get the chance to tell him what it was. Brunetti believes he was murdered. And the chase is on. As usual, not all of the strings are tied up. He doesn't solve all the cases, but he does get closure on the main one. I actually like that about these books. It makes them more believable.
Deliberate Cruelty: Truman Capote, the Millionaire's Wife, and the Murder of the Century by Roseanne Montillo - This was an interesting take on the whole Swans situation and Truman Capote's delusions of grandeur. In 1955, Ann Woodward murdered her husband in their house thinking he was the prowler that had been in the neighborhood. She was acquitted and went off to Europe to hide out. Capote ran into her in Europe and they had words. She called him some nasty names and he vowed revenge. In 1975, he published a story in Esquire about a woman who killed her husband in the same way, but it was pre-meditated. It was very obvious who each character was meant to be and he even included all his Swans who were supposedly his best friends. Ann Woodward killed herself the day the article published. All the society women immediately shut him out. He was shocked. He couldn't believe they would be mad. They knew he was a writer. That's the history. The point of this book was to point out how very much alike Capote and Woodward actually were. I had a good time reading it.
The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict - I enjoyed this more than I expected to. The last Benedict book I read made me angry. It was meant to make me angry and I hate feeling manipulated. This was much more subdued. In 1926, Agatha Christie went missing for 11 days. She had already published several popular mysteries and she was pretty famous. When she was found in a hotel in the North of England, she doesn't remember what happened. This story makes it make sense. Her husband has recently confessed to an affair, and asked for a divorce. She leaves him a letter when she disappears telling him exactly what he has to do to make this all end to his benefit. The police, of course, think he's murdered her, especially when news of his affair becomes public. I loved how this is played to be all a set-up from her twisted mind, so she could force his hand to make sure the divorce goes her way.
So far it's been a very good reading month! I am currently on track to get most of my TBR read, although I have one book I may move to next month and replace with something else. NetGalley woes. If that happens I'll let you know.
Have you read anything interesting?