I had planned to spend August reading the classics. I started out with the best of intentions and as luck would have it, Audible had this amazing version of Anna Karenina on $2 sale right at the beginning of August so I snatched it up and started listening. And I am still listening 5 weeks later. I am definitely enjoying it but am still only about 60% of the way through. What I found as I listened was that I needed something other than a classic to read when I wasn’t listening to Anna Karenina. And I also found that I needed something a bit lighter to alternate with Anna Karenina in my listening queue. So much for power reading the classics! I have read more this year than any before (94 books to date) and I think one of the reasons why I have been able to read so much is that I alternate different types of books so I don’t get bored. So while I have been working my way through AK, here are the other books I read in August. These newer books by some favorite authors:
Truly Madly Guilty was a bit tough going in the beginning. There is a lengthy foreshadowing of something that you don’t find out until well into the book and many of the characters were not initially very likable. I was becoming quite impatient with the author but eventually did like the book and the way the author resolved the story and was glad I stuck with it. The new Louise Penny was a fast read. I love her books for the setting and the characters as much as for the stories. She doesn’t disappoint. I started reading the Lucy Burdette light and fluffy murder mysteries set in Key West when my daughter lived briefly in Florida. They are fun to read, the protagonist is likable, the setting is fun and they don’t require any major thinking on my part. Just the thing! I also read two more books that are over 50 years old so I would count those as classics.
Although not fiction, I loved Travels with Charley which takes place in 1961, the year I was born, and is the story of a trip Steinbeck took across America accompanied by his poodle. It was eerie how Steinbeck’s reflections predict the future-his musings on the ways that the telephone is changing life as he knows it-amazing. Also interesting to read his first hand accounts on tensions in the South at that time and hard to think about how many things have not changed given all the tension in our country now. I also really liked reading this just after reading this book and this book which were also set in the early 1960’s. Both are set in small mill towns in Maine so it was interesting to read about Steinbeck traveling though mill towns that had been described in both the fictionalized world depicted by Stephen King and the wonderful memoir of Mexico, Maine by Monica Wood. I really enjoyed both of those books this year and highly recommend them. I had never read The House of Mirth and I am glad I did although I was a bit disappointed by some aspects of the story. I won’t say more so as not to spoil it for those of you who may be planning to read it. It was a relatively fast read. The story and the writing were engaging. I alternated my listening with these two children’s classics.
Both were fabulous. The Wind in the Willows narrated by Michael Holdern is Sooo good. Again, I managed to get it for $2 I believe. Very much worth a listen if you have a chance. I had forgotten how wonderful the writing is and the narrator is wonderful. I have been slowly working my way through Harry Potter on audio and the third book came up in my library queue so I made time for it. Very fun. Finally, I read this sci-fi book. I enjoyed it but not as much as this one which I have recommended to everyone. I am not sure if I will go on to read the next books in the series but it was entertaining. and different from my typical reads.
Lastly, I finished this book of essays by Annie Dillard whose work I had never read prior to this year. I loved some of the essays and found others hard going but will return to her writing. Beautiful descriptions of the natural world.
I am going to plan to continue to alternate classics and contemporary fiction which seems to work better for me than a diet of all classics but right now I am loving this work of non-fiction by an amazing author. It will definitely keep me occupied for a while. What did you love this summer?