Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Quick Lit May 2019

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy as usual for a round up of the past month's reading. Two children's classics and then pot luck for me in April!

L.M. Montgomery - Anne of the Island
I am finally really getting into the Anne of Green Gables books - perhaps because I prefer the grown-up Anne. I admit, I went online to figure out if this was the book where Gilbert proposed, because I couldn't stand the suspense! (It was.) I've been enjoying them as audio books, but my library's digital section, alas, does not have the next one in audio.

Ruth Saberton - The Island Legacy
I am trying to work my way though unread Kindle books without buying more, especially those free ones we pick up on a whim. Any reader can guess how I am succeeding. The plot premise - estranged or distant relative receives unusual bequest, usually some old  stately home - is pretty ubiquitous (in this case, it's British expat, island and castle) but Saberton approaches it with a slightly different style, beginning slowly and focusing on evoking the land as a character ("upmarket commercial" is the term used in her author blurbs). Ness's struggle to save the failing estate, to understand why it was left to her, and to uncover the mystery of her mother's long-ago death there kept me turning pages (that plus the three romances thrown in for good measure). However, skip the first chapter if you don't want to know the solution to one of the main plot lines, because Saberton basically gives it away.

Adelina St. Clair - The Path of a Christian Witch
Maybe it is because I am no longer immersed in the Bible belt; maybe it is because I am reaching a certain stage in life *cough, cough*  CRONE *cough, cough*; maybe it is because the nasty divisions in the US and UK have made me turn my back on what divides us in favour of focusing on what unites us; or maybe it is because not having a branch of my church (Anglican) here, I have been re-examining my core beliefs. I suppose all of this, but the result is I have been reading more in comparative religion, especially dissident female voices. I find that they help me hold a discerning mirror to my own faith. This is a spiritual memoir, chronicling how St. Clair forged her own path between Wicca and Christianity (specifically Catholicism). I could not say that I was completely comfortable with everything in this book, but it is certainly food for thought, especially if you are Christian or Wiccan.

Johanna Spyri - Heidi [audiobook]
Reading and listening to Anne of Green Gables for the first time made me nostalgic to revisit some of my childhood favourites. Heidi (if you don't know) is the little Swiss orphan who goes to live with her misanthropic, reclusive grandfather on the mountains, and, of course, brings the old man back to life. Trials come when Heidi is taken to Frankfurt by her aunt to be the companion of wheelchair-bound Clara, but a return to her beloved mountains also heralds hope for her new friend. Heidi is still endearing, though the second half of the book is a little too preachy at times, and reading as an adult, it is rather terrifying how her aunt casually shunts her from carer to carer, all the while patting herself on the back for doing her duty. I also remember loving the sequels, but I have now discovered that they were actually written by one of Spyri's translators.

Aldous Huxley - Brave New World
I had skimmed this before, but it didn't seem quite my book. Anyhow, my daughter is studying it in school, so I borrowed her copy and read it properly. Huxley imagines mass production and consumerism as the gods of his future world. Human beings are scientifically bred to be perfect cogs in the wheel of society, conditioned to consume and numbed to feelings by endless drugs and mindless sex. But when a questioning Alpha meets a "Savage" on a "Reservation", and thinks he can exploit him to his advantage, both their worlds crack open. Honestly, still not my cup of tea (and for the record, I didn't like 1984 that much either), but at least it's a classic ticked off my list. I do, however, think that some of the people who get so hysterical about the current political situation would do well to read both these dystopian classics, if only to get their references correct.

Whether your reading has been witchy, dystopian or classic, I hope it was a good month!