Thursday, June 24, 2010
JUNE 2010 READING
This is where I've been perched for six days finishing two books and starting a third. Southern California is always a treat. I love that little chill in the breeze. Oh, to live there through the summer. Can you even imagine?
So here is what I read:
Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas & Found Happiness by Dominique Browning
Dominique Browning was the editor in chief of House and Garden Magazine. I have always enjoyed her writing and although I didn't subscribe to her magazine would stand at the bookstore reading her monthly editorial just for the pure pleasure of her words.
After running the magazine for over a decade, she lost her job when the magazine abruptly folded (stupid economy). The book details her life following the shock of job loss. It is a quick read and my only criticism is the frequent mention of her heartthrob, a guy she nicknames "Stroller" (for strolling in and out of her life). I could hardly stand reading about him so I started skimming anytime I saw his name in print. You know how it is when you are watching a movie where the heroine clearly should dump the boyfriend only she figures it out after an exceedingly long period of time? That is how I felt about this guy. I wanted to write to Dominique and say, "Really? You couldn't figure out he was no good the first moment you met him?" Oh, and he's married--slightly separated but nevertheless married. But, I digress. I enjoyed the book.
Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen
Didn't you just love reading Little Women when you were a kid? Harriet Reisen has written an excellent biography that was on Wall Street Journal's Ten Best Books of 2009. Louisa May Alcott was part of the American Bloomsbury group that included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller and Nathaniel Hawthorne. She also grew up knowing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes (what is it with these middle names?), and Henry James and other famous writers, poets, and artists.
Louisa was tremendously loyal to her family working hard to earn enough money to help the family and pay off her parent's debts. Paying their debts was the motivation to produce the short stories, plays, novels, and magazine articles. Her Father, Bronson Alcott, was a teacher and lecturer who was close friends with Emerson and Thoreau. They thought he was a genius but he couldn't make a nickel with all of his forward thinking ideas so the Alcott family was forever seeking help from others.
The mid to late 1800's was a grand time in America for artists and writers. Creativity abounded and it was great fun to read about Louisa and the famous people she knew well. Apparently there is a PBS Documentary based on this book so I need to track it down and take a look. Drats, it is not on Netflix!
To Serve Them All My Days by R. F. Delderfield
I just started this beloved classic and will report on it next month. So far, I love it.
Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers
Another fun book to listen to as I drive to and from work. The prose is terrific and the British accent perfect.
Happy Summer reading!
Kimberly Gail Wold
Photo - Laguna Beach, 2010