Posted in Books and E-Books, Wordy Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays for August 29, 2018

It’s that time again! Here are the three questions for all you bibliophiles out there.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

My current read is The Winter Garden by Carola Dunn, a Daisy Dalyrmple mystery.

Recently finished was Death at Wentwater Court, the first in the Daisy Dalrymple series. Very entertaining, and enjoyable. I really like books set in England, where this takes place. Daisy is a daughter of a lower-echelon peer, which means she is an “Honorable” but not much more. A cousin has inherited the title and estate. The time frame is after WWI, so when Daisy gets a job as magazine writer, it still raises a few eyebrows. But when, on her assignment to write about a grand house, a much disliked guest is found floating in an icy pond, Daisy adds “investigator” to her resume!

I recommend this series, but you will probably need to source them from a library, as they were (to my surprise) written in the 1950’s! But excellent cozy mysteries.

Next read will be …?

Posted in Blogger's World, Books and E-Books

Greetings, dear readers.  I know it’s been a long while since I’ve written anything but it’s been a rough year.

I decided to write tonight because I just finished a book, and have been pondering it since finishing.  The book is called The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club, by Gil McNeil. I don’t usually purchase books by unfamiliar authors and never buy paperbacks if I can help it – I tend to borrow them from the local library – but I went into Barnes & Noble on Saturday to buy Jan Karon’s latest in hardcover, and bought this on a whim, based on the title. Being a knitter myself, it intrigued me.

The plot and characters were well written and well-developed. The basic plot involves a 30-something woman who is married to a foreign correspondent for a British news station. We meet Jo on moving day, when she can’t find the tea kettle, and packed the list that shows what box it is in. We also meet her two young boys and Jo’s best friend Ellen, a well-known newscaster, who saves the day by enticing the movers to pop out for coffee.  We learn that Jo’s husband recently earned a big promotion, but after he shares this news with Jo, he also informs her he wants a divorce because he’s having an affair.  An argument ensues, Nick storms out, and crashes his car. Not only that, we find out he took out a second mortgage on their house, making it impossible for Jo to afford to continue living in London.  Instead, she moves to a seaside town near her grandmother, and takes over her Gran’s yarn store, which Gran has given her.

The book details Jo’s transition as she begins a new and unexpected life.  We meet many interesting characters in the town – the stiff and disapproving shop assistant, Elsie; the warm-hearted and loyal new friend, Constanza; the local big-time movie star, Grace.  Ms McNeil has a fine touch of revealing the personalities and traits of these and the many other people who inhabit Jo’s world.  I was often reminded of the complex characters we met in Maeve Binchy’s novels.

But one thing I find hard to deal with is Ms McNeil’s constant use of expletives and foul language.  I have spent a good deal of time in England, among a similar class of people as in this novel, and have never heard them speak this way.  certainly with all the myriad of words in the English language, Ms McNeil could find another way to express herself without using the f-word on every page, or using the name of the Lord as a curse word.  Take a page out of Shakespeare, and get a bit more creative if you must curse, Gil!  She makes her characters sound as if they are all truck drivers and stevedores by the way they speak.

In conclusion, I liked the story, and would enjoy learning more about Jo McKenzie and her life, but, I think I will forgo reading any sequels until Ms McNeil cleans up her language.

Posted in Books and E-Books

A Novel Idea

The novel is a work “ which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best–chosen language.”  (Northanger Abbey, Chapter 5, by Jane Austen)

Dear Jane,

I shudder to think what you would make of most novels today.  Few, if any, aspire to the heights of grandeur with which you credit the novels of your day.  Of course, many critics and literary professionals will say you were being witty, or clever, or tongue-in-cheek when you wrote that.  Maybe so.  But let’s think about it for a moment.

How many of us can remember the first time we met Elizabeth Bennet?  Alice in Wonderland?  Dorothy Gale?  What about Captain Nemo or Ivanhoe or The Scarlet Pimpernel?  How thrilling to see these characters come to life through the words of the authors!  How exciting to be courted by Mr. Darcy, to have tea with the Mad Hatter, or to outwit the French regime at the side of Sir Percy Blakeney!

Some novels, the enduring ones, do display such greatness, bringing to life ourselves through the lives of its characters.  Are there any such novels, such writers, today, or are they all, now, relegated to “the classics,” and doomed to extinction because no one reads them?  Heaven forbid!  I think of Maeve Binchey, J. K. Rowling, Amy Tan – these writers show us humankind with “wit and humour,” and show us ourselves in their creations.  Who do you think aspires to this grandeur that Jane Austen describes?  I would love to hear from you!