Monday, November 30, 2009

Books Read in November: Part 1, Novels

I'm getting a little tired of telling you about (almost) every book I read. But I'll stick with this process until year's end so as to have a complete record. This month, I admit, some of it was pretty juvenile...

Prince Caspian, by C.S. Lewis

As my little book club was making plans for our next meeting, we realized there was no way we could plan it when SC could be there. She was going to be traveling for six or seven weeks. Since one of those weeks was to be her annual pilgrimage to a C.S. Lewis conference, we decided to join her virtually by discussing Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (Someday, I'll go to one of these conferences myself. This year I was tempted but just didn't think I could afford it.)

By the way, Caspian is not much like the movie. Here’s a line that jumped off the page this time:

“Lucy woke out of the deepest sleep you can imagine, with the feeling that the voice she liked best in the world had been calling her name.”

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room, by Lemony Snicket

I thought the first Lemony Snicket book was quite funny, and gave my paperback copy to a friend who was missing hers in exchange for the chance to borrow this one, #2. (I still have it, two months later, so maybe I’m part of the problem in her lending library now!) This was more of the same – an amusing way to spend an hour, but I don’t know if I’ll ask for #3.

Emily Climbs, by L.M. Montgomery

You may know her only as the author of Anne of Green Gables, but I find several of Montgomery’s characters much more appealing than Anne. Emily may be the best of the lot. Picked up this one for a re-read at just the right time, struggling with some personal issues not unlike those of 14-year-old, aspiring writer Emily Byrd Starr: Who defines who I am and what I’m worth? How do others see me, and how am I going to respond to that? Ah yes. Do you ever feel like you’re still 14?

Mischievous Maid Faynie, by Laura Jean Libbey

“Don’t try to imitate Kipling,” advised Mr Carpenter, Emily’s teacher, in the 1925 novel mentioned above. “If you must imitate, imitate Laura Jean Libbey.” A quick peek at Wikipedia suggested that Mr. Carpenter must be joking. Still, I downloaded this 1899 “dime novel” free from Gutenberg to amuse me of an evening. It is a scream! Our heroine – a beautiful but sensitive heiress – is kidnapped under very nefarious circumstances, forced to marry at gunpoint, collapses into a dead faint, is buried alive - and then dug up again (not much the worse for it). And that’s just the beginning!

Also read...

A few more typical novels written for grown-up persons like you and me. I found all of them worth reading but none that you need to add to your "must-read" list:

Note: image swiped from an educational website, via a Google Images search.


Fiona L Cooper said...

LOVE the photo!

My absolute favourite LM Montgomery book was Jane of Lantern Hill - one of the very few books I read more than once when I was growing up. I still have very pleasant memories of it. I recommended it to a friend recently and after she read it, she remarked that perhaps one of the reasons I liked it so much was because of the relationship Jane has with her dad... She might be right.

~There's a line in the film You've Got Mail where the Meg Ryan character says that reading books when you're young impacts your life in a way no other reading does... and I think I agree!

Dianne said...

Hey, Marti, a worker friend of mine in east asia has requested a "like-minded novel" or "well-written biography". i love your book reviews and wondered if you have any ideas for me. have you read any this year that make it to the top of your list? thanks!!

Marti said...

Fiona - Jane of Lantern Hill is great :-) I loved watching her transformation... and I also like The Blue Castle, though it's certainly darker.

I remember that line from You've Got Mail, too, and I also agree!

Marti said...

Dianne - I'll publish a list at year's end of all the books I've read this year.

Take a look at the 2008 list too:

My absolute favorite biographical work is Valerie Griffiths' "Not Less Than Everything," about the women of the China Inland Mission. I bet your friend would enjoy it too. Though... it's rather clearly an "M" book and would need to be handled with care, e.g., couriered to her, not mailed.

Among the best mysteries I read lately were Eye of Jade, by Diane Wei Liang (written by a Chinese American) and Rhapsody in Red, by Donn Taylor (Christian fiction, but very thoughtful.)

By the way, Dianne, I want to talk to you about Fuller sometime. The answer to the "Should I go to grad school?" question continues to elude me, but I'm hoping to look at it more carefully after the new year.

Dianne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PaulaW said...


I really appreciate your brief book commentaries. Our book club here has a hard time choosing books, largely because most of us are too busy to read anything but whatever book we choose for book club, so we don't have many fresh suggestions. Thanks for the ideas!