Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Remarks on Recent Reads: A Mixed Bag

Hello, bookish friends! 

I've been keeping up with reading for A Century of Books, but I despair to tell you how behind I am on reviews. 

Here are some thoughts on some recent reads:

I had mixed feelings about A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh (1934). The writing's wonderful as I always expect from Waugh, but I found the story to be difficult to read because of the fate of the main character, Tony Last. The story deals with shallow people who don't seem to know what they want. The first half of the book tells the story of a marriage breaking up amidst high society. The second half of the book becomes something entirely different in which Tony ends up on an expedition into the Brazilian jungle with frustrating consequences. 

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (1942) is a work of satire made up of 31 letters from an experienced demon, Screwtape, to his more naive and younger demon nephew, Wormwood. Wormwood's task is to lead a man from Jesus to the Devil. The letters offer advice as Wormwood veers into his own exploration of Christianity. This prompts Screwtape to expound on all kinds of opinions. At first, I wasn't sure quite what to think of this book but found myself enjoying it.

A Burnt-Out Case by Graham Greene (1960) is another book I had mixed feelings about. I found the book quite readable about Querry, the cynical and celebrated architect, who desires to spend the rest of his days in anonymity away from the world. He finds a leper colony deep in the Congo, quite literally the end of the road, where he decides to live. The only problem is that even in this remote village, Querry encounters people who recognize him. Greene's writing is quite evocative, and the characters interesting. The ending didn't seem plausible and left me with more questions than answers. 

Frozen Assets by P.G. Wodehouse (1964) contains Wodehouse's comic characters ensnared in a tangled plot of romance and money amid the backdrop of the publishing world. Frozen Assets is silly fun, and I loved this novel.

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin (1972) is great reading for the Halloween season in which the Eberhart family moves to the seemingly perfect community of Stepford, Connecticut. All the wives have large breasts and beautiful faces, and they have an obsession with cleaning their houses. Joanna Eberhart, a photographer and mother, soon realizes that something's wrong. She uncovers the truth about what the husbands of the community have been up to. I found this novel to be a compelling read, and I recommend it. 

To give an update on my progress on A Century of Books, I've read 87 books so far this year for the challenge. The finish line is in sight!

I hope you have a great week in reading! What are you reading this week?


  1. 87 books is amazing. Congrats! And good luck finishing up the remaining 13. :)

  2. Graham Green is an author I've always wanted to try but haven't. I've never tried the Screw tape Letters either -- kind of embarrassing:)