Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Winter weather makes for good reading

If you're keeping track you'll see that I've checked off three more books on my shelf since the last reading update.

January started off strong and I fizzled by the end of week two. But I managed to get five books read last month. A respectable number.

The first, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, really doesn't need a review. I think her books are of the type that people either love or they hate. It bothers me, though, that often the choice is made based on the language.

It can take some getting used to, but if you let yourself get involved in the story and the characters' lives the language becomes a non issue. Austen has a wonderful sense of humor and if you are looking for a happy ending she never disappointments. All of her endings come wrapped nicely and finished with a lovely satin bow. If you consider what it was like to live as a woman during her time period you can understand why she chose to give all her characters happy ever afters. At least the ones who deserved them.

Give her a chance. Personally I like Emma the best, but as I read the rest of her novels I may find another favorite.

Next I finished The Fabulous Girl's Guide to Decorum by Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh. 

I bought this book six or seven years ago because I saw the authors on Oprah. They were giving out advice on etiquette - in particular gifting and re-gifting etiquette. They were totally against re-gifting, as am I. Their advice that day on the show was pretty much right in line with my personal etiquette and they were spunky and fun, so I ran out a bought a copy of their book.

If I'm not mistaken they described it as being something akin to a modern day Emily Post etiquette guide. (Don't quote me on that. Like I said, it's been several years.)

I'm my professional opinion (so not professional at all) they completely failed at marketing their book. It's blasphemy to liken this book to something so infallible as an Emily Post etiquette guide.

Not to say that it isn't helpful or informative. That is, if you are completely socially inept.

Through the whole book I kept thinking, "No shit Sherlock!" The things they discussed were either common sense or common courtesy. They certainly didn't break any etiquette ground. While I understand that our modern world is a little out of scope for Emily Post's rigid example, I feel like this book completely missed the mark for what it was trying to accomplish.

Also, I should have read it in my early twenties when I first bought it, as I have already encountered ninety five percent of the etiquette obstacles they describe in the book. So maybe this book would be a good gift for a young lady about to graduate college. I think I'll send it to my little cousin. 

My most recent reading conquest was the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew. What's not to like about the Narnia series? It's written to be enjoyed by all ages and is therefore whimsical and enchanting.

I bought the collection several years ago and read the first few books. Then I got sidetracked by other things and it's been collecting dust on my bookshelf ever since. I look forward to finishing the whole thing this time.

Up next is the second Narnia book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat.

Also, my lovely mother-in-law has finished her copy of An Echo in the Bone, so as soon as I can see her and get my grubby paws on that book everything else will be cast aside and forsaken until I can catch up with what's going on in the lives of Jamie and Claire Fraser.

Happy reading!

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