Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Remarks on Recent Reads: The Books of August


Greetings, Bookish Friends, as we move onward into September! I wanted to revisit my August reads before I turn to September reading.

On the blog . . .

I talked about The Sea by John Banville, a satisfying summer read about a writer who returns to the seashore of his childhood to reflect upon his life.



For Women in Translation Month, I read The War: A Memoir by Marguerite Duras, an intense but interesting look at Duras' life at the end of World War II.



For Robertson Davies Reading Week, sponsored by Emerald City Book Review, I chose the first of Davies' books of the Deptford Trilogy, Fifth Business. I understand that this is a much loved book, but I did not connect with this novel as much as other readers have.  

Now, on to the mini-reviews . . .



Summer Morning, Summer Night by Ray Bradbury ( 2008) is a lovely edition of short stories (some never published before) and vignettes. These stories have to do with summer in a small town and are full of the nostalgia of childhood and the magic of small towns reminiscent of Dandelion Wine. I liked this collection and enjoyed revisiting Bradbury's writing.

Letters from Constance by Mary Hocking (1992) has been on my bookshelf for awhile. I was a bit skeptical of the premise of two women who are life long friends told from one of the women's letters, but I found myself unable to put the book down. The letters begin in 1939 as Shelia and Constance vow to keep in touch while each goes off to make her own contribution to the war effort. Each woman has plans and dreams, but life takes them both in different directions. Letters from Constance is beautifully written, and I look forward to reading more by Mary Hocking.



The second Virago Modern Classic I read in August was The Sugar House by Antonia White (1952), which picks up with Clara's story after Frost in May and The Lost Traveller. The story begins with Clara's new life as an actress. She travels throughout England, earning little money, and dabbling with her writing. She spends much of her time worrying about Stephen, the love of her life, an older actor working in another part of the country. Clara dreams of a life with him, but when that's not possible, Clara turns to Archie, her old boyfriend who she almost married in The Lost Traveller, and she finds out that life with Archie far from perfect.  Although it's not an upbeat story, I enjoyed The Sugar House



At Lady Molly's by Anthony Powell (1957) is the fourth book in the Dance to the Music of Time series, and I liked this novel. The story begins in 1934, and Nick is now a scriptwriter for a film company. He's invited by a work colleague to a party at Lady Molly Jeavons. Nick makes the acquaintance of several people who show up throughout the story, including the ever present Widmerpool, an old school friend. Powell's writing is absorbing, and At Lady Molly's is a fun read.

My favorite reads of August were The Sea, The Sugar House, and The War: A Memoir.

What was your favorite book of August? 

Happy reading!

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