Sunday, February 03, 2019
January Reading Wrapup
Posted by JaneGS
Cold winter months mean lots of reading time. When the trails around my house are icy and snowpacked, the garden is tucked away, and night comes early, I love curling up by the fire and reading.
Here's a look at my January books.
Circe, by Madeline Miller - absolutely wonderful. I loved Miller's Song of Achilles, and this was also terrific. The story of the witch/goddess Circe, daughter of Helios, one of the Titans and the sun god of Greek mythology. I loved so many things about this book, starting with the gossipy world of the gods, their jealousies, rivalries, passions, and pastimes. I loved how Circe was born immortal but had to learn witchcraft--I loved how she was able to use her magic to protect her son, her island, and their lives. I loved seeing Odysseus and his odyssey through her eyes, and that of Penelope.
Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Biography by Marion Meade - another winner. I have long admired Eleanor and reading a complete bio of her was a treat. It was both scholarly and easy to read, not a mean feat. Having been published in 1977 it's a bit dated. How I wish one of the many cable/network companies would make a mini-series of her life. We're saturated with the Tudors, although I do plan to watch The Spanish Princess on Starz, about Katherine of Aragon. How could I not?
Transcription, by Kate Atkinson - Atkinson is fast becoming one of my favorite contemporary authors. This novel is about Juliet Armstrong, a woman typist who works for MI-5 in London during WWII, helping them spy on the British who were Nazi sympathizers or collaborators--she types up the transcriptions of the meetings that MI-5 tapes. After the war, she works for the BBC Radio, and her past comes back to haunt her. Such a fascinating story, giving me a view into an aspect of the war that I knew nothing about. Atkinson is incredibly skillful in building the tension of the story, as she oscillates between two primary time period, giving clues and building tension with each transition. The ending really walloped me--I did not see it coming.
O Pioneers, by Willa Cather - tremendous, an instant favorite, and first in the Great Plains trilogy
Agnes Grey, by Anne Bronte - a disappointing classic but my first book in the 2019 Back to the Classics challenge.