Tuesday, May 4, 2010

April Reading

The Legend of the Seventh Virgin, Victoria Holt
I've said it before and I'll say it again: for all the constants that exist in her plots (the motherless heroine, the grand estates, characters sailing to foreign lands, the standard family intrigues and secret-keeping, etc.) I never can be certain which direction the story will take, whether or not things will end well or in tragedy, and whether or not I will end up liking or despising the central characters. Thank you, Victoria Holt, for keeping me guessing! [4/5]

Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Susan Vreeland
A backward chronological journey tracing this history of a supposedly lost Vermeer. Luminous prose, rich historic detail, and complex interpersonal struggles combine in a work that truly has been artfully done. [4/5]

The Good, the Bad, and the Mad: Some Weird People in American History, E. Randall Floyd
Although decidedly odd, most of these Americans weren't nearly as strange as the title of the book would lead one to believe. Still, I'm glad I read it. Poor Sarah Winchester. [2/5]

The Secret Woman, Victoria Holt
She kept me guessing once again, only this time I had fabricated a much more complicated plot in my head than the one VT laid down. Also, I didn't much care for the central male character. But still, I'm never let down by her adventuresome Gothic romances, no matter how cheesy the cover art. [3/5]

Friday's Child, Georgette Heyer
Upon a second reading, I have determined what makes this book so magical. It's not just the humor and romance in the interaction between the central characters that makes this story shine: it's the chemistry between the hero and his little group of best friends that really adds so much to the flavor of the story. [5/5]

The Stars Speak: Astronomy in the Bible
, Stewart Custer
Concepts of astronomy made super simple, simple enough for a non-scientific mind like mine, even. That being said, serious students of the stars would be able to pass this one over as too simplistic except for the fact that Stewart Custer layers biblical truth into the mix, working in Old Testament prophecies, theories regarding the Star of Wonder, and other biblical truths just now beginning to be understood by modern science. Most interesting of all (to me at least) is his theory that before the Greeks shall we say "corrupted" the constellations, they could have been used to read the Gospel in the stars. [3/5]

The Princess Bride: S. Morganstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, William Goldman
This marks my second time reading the novel and my first time reading it with one of my freshman classes. I must say, Goldman's fake-outs didn't stand out to me on my first read through, but they certainly made an impact on my kids!

I wish the characterizations from the book had come thorough more strongly in the movie. There's something perversely satisfying about hating on the Buttercup-of-the-book and ranting against how much she doesn't deserve the love of the amazing Westley, whom - by the way - totally and completely has my heart. (The Westley of the book far surpasses the Westley of the movie in all categories.)


One little criticism: although I think Goldman's "revisions"/interruptions/explanations are stellar, I do not care for ALL of the back-story in the beginning. His memories regarding his teacher and his dad are fabulous, but the little section regarding his canoodling by the pool, not to mention his constant bringing-up of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, puts somewhat of a strain on the already-cluttered narrative. Good editing should have cleaned that up. [4/5]

No comments:

Post a Comment