...the first glance to see how many pages there are, the second to see how it ends, the breathless first reading, the slow lingering over each phrase and each word, the taking possession, the absorbing of them one by one, and finally the choosing of the one that will be carried in one's thoughts all day...
-- Edith Wharton
-- Edith Wharton
August 8, 2012
It feels so good to be unpacked, and so wonderful to find time again for reading! I can't quite focus (yet) on thinking about the books I've been finishing, but they've been good ones, ones that I would recommend to you.
In order of completion...
Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness, the second book in her planned trilogy about Professor (and witch) Diana Bishop and her vampire husband, Matthew de Clermont. If you read the first book, you'll remember that Diana and Matthew found it necessary to timewalk back to Elizabethan times to escape the witches and demons pursuing them and to find the manuscript that started all the trouble. My book-snobbish self still finds it a little hard to believe that I'm reading this stuff, never mind writing about it, but these books are a little hard to put down once you pick them up.
Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace, by Kate Summerscale. I'm one of the many who liked her last book, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, and this one as well. It's essentially the story of a married Victorian lady who has an affair, or thinks she does, with a younger man, writes about it in her diary, and ends up in one of the first divorce cases heard in England. She is not blameless, but the case against her, and the defense used for her, are horrifying, and the offshoots about the beginning of diary-writing, and phrenology, are also fascinating.
A Room Full of Bones, by Elly Griffiths. This is the the third book in a mystery series about archaeologist Ruth Galloway and her friend (and onetime lover) DCI Harry Nelson. Ruth is called to the Smith Museum, a small, never-visited natural history museum founded by the local aristocrats, to examine the skeleton of an ancestor, a medieval bishop whose coffin was discovered on a building site. Ruth finds a dead body in the museum, and she becomes more deeply involved when the museum and its owner, Lord Danforth Smith, are threatened by the Elginists, a group of activists seeking the return of Aboriginal remains and other artifacts to their original lands. Ruth seemed a little less interesting, a little less eccentric,, in this book than she was in the earlier books, but at least she's not a death's door in this one. (Someone else is.)
What have you been reading?