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Sibyx's 2017 Reading Rambles: Autumn Equinox to the New Year

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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1sibyx
Edited: Oct 18, 11:32am Top



First frost!

2sibyx
Edited: Today, 8:34am Top

Currently Reading in October



Cat's Eye Margaret Atwood fiction canadian
new Lafayette in the Somewhat United States Sarah Vowell history american
The Last Policeman Ben H. Winters mys/dysto-apoc!
new Too Like the Lightning Ada Palmer sf
Saturnalia Lindsey Davis
Murdoch Marathon: ONGOING. (No plans for reading IM at present) IM readers group is HERE
Virago No immediate plans


ON HOLD new The Tangled Wing Melvin Konner psych behavioral

107. ♬ Scandal Takes A Holiday (16) Lindsey Davis ****
108. reread Invisible Guests: The Development of Imaginal Dialogues Mary Watkins psych archetypal *****
109. ✔ Words of Radiance Brandon Sanderson fantasy ****1/2
110.new Hold Your Hour and Have Another Brendan Behan essays ***1/2
111. ✔The Bent Twig Dorothy Canfield Fisher classic fiction ***1/2
112. ♬ See Delphi and Die Lindsey Davis mys hist ****

3sibyx
Edited: Oct 6, 8:21am Top

Read in September

99. ✔My Name is Lucy Barton Elizabeth Strout contemp fic ***1/2
100.The Jupiter Myth(14) Lindsey Davis hist mys ****
101. new The Rift Uprising Amy S Foster YA sf ***
102. new Knots and Crosses Ian Rankin mys **
103. ♬ The Accusers (15) Lindsey Davis hist mys ****
104. ✔My Struggle: Book Four Dancing in the Dark Karl Ove Knausgaard contemp fic ****1/2
105. ✔ The Way of Kings Brandon Sanderson fantasy ****1/2
106. new A Gentleman in Moscow Amore Towles contemp fic *****

Total: 8
Men: 4
Women: 3
M/W writing together: 0
Non-fiction: 0
Contemp/Classic/Hist Fiction: 3
SF/F: 2
Mystery(inc hist mys): 2
YA or J: 1
Poetry: 0
New author: 3
Reread: 0

Book origins/type:
From library or borrowed: 0
Audio: 2
New (to my library): 3
e-book: 0
Off Shelf: 3
Did not finish: 0

Housekeeping: (These are still August numbers)

TOTAL physical book (for year) IN=29
e-books=still 9
TOTAL OUT= 39

Physical books acquired in September:
25. pbs Truth Peter Temple
26. pbs Crown of Renewal Elizabeth Moon
27. gift Autumn Karl Ove Knaussgard
28. gift Lafayette in the Somewhat United States Sarah Vowell
29. pbs Warlord Jennifer Fallon

e-books acquired in September: 0

Reflections September 2017
I see that I was all excited about my new e-reader in August, but this September I didn't use it, no traveling. (Probably should charge it up though!). It also looks as though I didn't read very many books, however, one of them was the 1200 plus page Sanderson, so that should count as three which would get me up to ten books. But enough bean counting. With three contemporary fiction books--all of them excellent--this was a month for more varied reading. In fact, I can't think when I last read three superb books in one month and all of them so completely different! The most pleasurable read was, of course, A Gentleman in Moscow and if I had to pick one best for the month, that would be it, however, many of the same criteria I would use to choose it, setting aside pure pleasure, would be similar to both the Knausgaard's virtues and to a lesser degree the Strout's. Strout examines the conflict that arises between the demands of a domestic life versus a fully committed creative one. Knausgaard's is a "portrait of the artist as a young man". Count Rostov has no artistic impulses (although apparently he has written some poetry, poetry that saves his life) but where Towle and K. overlap is that they have both written books that appear simpler than they are. The reader may choose to believe that what they* are reading, the surface story, is all that is being offered them, but in both the writer is carefully leading to a certain destination: the two novels share deceptiveness and masterly authorial control.

The rest of my reading for the month was more or less the usual entertainment, escape, relief variety. I can't believe I bothered finishing the Ian Rankin, it was so hackneyed! So cut-out! Won't go there again. The Rift Uprising was YA fare and full of energy but I doubt I'll continue that series either. The Sanderson, although it should have been offered as a two volume set, is a wonderful fantasy read and I am immersed in the second one now. Overall, a solid reading month, better than solid!

*I am using a singular 'reader' with the pronoun "they", which is to encompass every gender. I expect this will become standard usage as it does solve the problem neatly. I don't adore it, but it does work.

4sibyx
Edited: Sep 22, 9:39am Top

Read in October

5sibyx
Edited: Sep 22, 9:39am Top

Read in November

6sibyx
Edited: Sep 22, 9:39am Top

Read in December

7sibyx
Edited: Sep 22, 9:41am Top

8FAMeulstee
Sep 22, 12:27pm Top

Happy new thread, Lucy.
I just got the Dutch translation of A Gentleman in Moscow from the library, and hope to read it next week.

9sibyx
Sep 22, 12:30pm Top

I haven't started it yet. Hope to today!

10Crazymamie
Sep 22, 12:49pm Top

Happy new one, Lucy! A Gentleman in Moscow is my favorite read of the year so far. I think you'll be charmed.

11ronincats
Sep 22, 12:58pm Top

Happy new thread, Lucy! There has been so much warbling about A Gentleman in Moscow that I have actually put in a hold at my library. I think I am about 290 in line, but they have a lot of copies. Fascinating photos up top!

12drneutron
Sep 22, 1:37pm Top

Happy new thread!

13jnwelch
Sep 22, 2:56pm Top

Happy New Thread, Lucy!

I'm another A Gentleman in Moscow fan. It's one of those rare ones - I've yet to come across anyone who didn't love it.

14PaulCranswick
Sep 22, 8:13pm Top

Happy new thread, Lucy.

I am determined to keep up with all my friends better in the last quarter of 2017 as I have been flagging a little in the third quarter and miss getting around the threads as I used to.

Have a lovely weekend.

15RebaRelishesReading
Sep 24, 8:17am Top

Happy new thread, Lucy. I enjoyed your description of the "fake Palladian" home in Ireland. Dutch farmhouses generally have the barn and storage areas attached to the house but in a much less elaborate structure than a Palladian. I didn't know the Irish ever did that.

16sibyx
Sep 24, 10:23am Top

Only the snobbish Anglo Irish did.

17Deern
Edited: Sep 25, 3:30am Top

Lovely pictures despite the terrible story. Happy New Thread!

Edit: belated happy reaction on the moose sighting and the Knausgard reading, thank you!! And totally belated Happy Anniversary!

18RebaRelishesReading
Sep 25, 8:59am Top

> Ah, I see. I guess they fooled me too because I'm now suspecting that what I assumed, from the road, where just big houses may have had hidden uses in those wings.

19LizzieD
Sep 25, 11:03pm Top

Lovely new thread!!! Thanks for the Irish pics and explanations, Lucy.
Ah --- The Way of Kings is the one I have. Yippeee!

20sibyx
Sep 26, 8:04am Top

I'd really like to load the photos from my day in Dublin wandering around Leopold Bloom's turf, but my computer is too old to support some of the new software and my ancient iphoto just won't do anything anymore. It's a big drag. I have to deal with the situation soon - go all new, I guess, but I resent it so much and hate spending so much $.

21RebaRelishesReading
Sep 26, 1:47pm Top

We enjoy watching "International House Hunters" on TV because we think it's fun to see what kinds of housing are available abroad. We just watched one where a couple from the U.S. was looking to buy a castle in Ireland. They're into medieval reenactment and Irish music. Buying a castle seemed a bit over the top to me...but the Irish music connection made me think of you.

22ChelleBearss
Sep 27, 12:44pm Top

Happy new thread, Lucy! It's been a while since I stopped by so I thought I'd say hello

23sibyx
Sep 28, 9:02am Top

>22 ChelleBearss: How nice of you to stop by!

24sibyx
Edited: Oct 9, 6:21pm Top

105. fantasy ****1/2
The Way of Kings Brandon Sanderson

By far and away the best Sanderson I've encountered and I've read a few (and I mean a few, like four or so). The world-building is excellent and consistent and the world itself intriguing, the characters and the problems they face are absorbing, the plot(s) are gripping -- and clearly there is the overarching Really Big Problem that everyone will have to face, sooner or later, looming over the entirety. I can't even complain about how ridiculously huge the book is. Why not four volumes instead of two chunksters over a thousand pages????? It seems a weird choice to me. (I have only read the first -- but the second Words of Radiance is just as huge.) I can complain only about the problem of dealing with a book that large, not the length per se as it is a good enough tale for one to be happy knowing one will get to stay in that world for a considerable time. There is a minimum of the 'tic', as I think of it, of Sanderson using some capitalized word (in this case Lashings are the ones that irritate me the most) to represent the type of magic being used. The heroic in the novel do use Shardblades and wear Shardplate, but somehow that bothered me less, yet I see no reason to capitalize any of it, and truly don't get it. Bravo Sanderson, lots of hard work went into this. ****1/2

25sibyx
Edited: Sep 28, 9:14am Top

I'm not going to start the next Sanderson for a few days. A Gentleman in Moscow beckons and it just seems right to give him my exclusive attention!

26Berly
Sep 28, 10:54am Top

Happy new thread!! Good luck figuring out the computer stuff. Sounds like "all new" may be the way to go. Unfortunately for the wallet.

27sibyx
Edited: Oct 1, 10:16am Top

106. fiction *****
A Gentleman in Moscow Amor Towles

All the adjectives that come to mind don't really do justice to Towle's achievement, for this is a novel constructed in its every aspect of paradox and contradictions. Makes me think of what my tai chi teacher always would say, inside the velvet glove of the movements is the iron. It's a book about a man, Count Alexander Rostov, who loses everything: family, possessions, freedom of movement, position and is declared, 1n 1922, a Former Person and told if he ever sets foot out of the Hotel Metropole in Moscow where he has been living since the revolution began in Russia, he would be shot on sight. He moves from his suite on the second floor to a tiny room in a belfry on the top floor. He is exiled, like a russian doll, inside Russia, inside the hotel, inside a tiny room. But the Count is the real deal, a gentleman through and through--and I cannot emphasize that enough. Towles demonstrates what being a truly civilized human being means and requires and it is no small achievement. The count is by no means perfect, he suffers despair and he has flaws and, of course, he is aided by his accomplishments--he knows wines, literature, classical music, foreign languages, and weaponry and he has the advantage too, of being a tall and very comely man. But, for many of his kind, such an exile would have chafed unbearably and the mystery and fascination of the novel is watching the Count find his way through each new challenge/indignity thrown at him. It's rare to encounter fiction that is entirely about loss and change written with grace, humor and reminding us on every page of the great privilege it is to be alive. *****

28ChelleBearss
Oct 1, 11:12am Top

>27 sibyx: Great review! I've got that one waiting for my in my ever growing TBR pile! :)

29RebaRelishesReading
Oct 1, 11:25am Top

>27 sibyx: Great review, Lucy. I too loved Gentleman but I could never have expressed it as well as you...maybe that's why you're a writer and I'm not :)

30jnwelch
Oct 1, 9:21pm Top

Lovely review, Lucy. That says it so well. Off to thumb.

31sibyx
Oct 1, 9:42pm Top

32Berly
Oct 2, 1:21am Top

>31 sibyx: Ahem. : )

33sibyx
Edited: Oct 2, 8:32am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

34sibyx
Oct 2, 8:33am Top

>26 Berly: Apologies! Too focussed on thanking the three above for their nice words about my review.

35ronincats
Oct 3, 12:40am Top

I'm 216 in line for A Gentleman in Moscow, darn it! 86 copies out there, though, to look on the positive side.

36sibyx
Oct 3, 8:29am Top

Oh that is too bad, Roni, I don't think I could handle waiting that long. Around about when it is your turn it will be available for 1 penny plus postage. You'd think they could buy a few extra copies! I bet we don't even have it at our library here!

37sibyx
Oct 3, 8:50am Top

>3 sibyx: Go here to see my September stats.

38Crazymamie
Oct 5, 6:51pm Top

>27 sibyx: Great review, Lucy! I knew you would love it. It is my favorite read of the year so far; I was utterly charmed by it.

Nice September stats, and congrats on passing 100 books read!

39sibyx
Oct 6, 8:17am Top

Silly me! I didn't even notice I'd passed 100! Due to reading some tough or very long books I'm a bit behind on reaching my "double" 75. Unlikely I'll make it, yet again, this year. One does have to scheme a little bit, some novellas here and there are helpful.

40ronincats
Oct 6, 4:05pm Top

Just finished a novella I can recommend, All Systems Red by Martha Wells. Other novellas worth reading: Binti, Dusk or Dark or Day or Dawn and The Heart of What was Lost if you've read the Dragonbone Chair trilogy.

41sibyx
Oct 6, 5:38pm Top

We like Martha Wells, so I will see if I can acquire that one!

I have the Dragonbone Chair series waiting for the 'right' moment (yeah, I'm hoarding.)

42richardderus
Oct 6, 7:38pm Top

>27 sibyx: I am not back a full 24 hours and you book bullet me. Lucy, I thought better of your sense of noblesse oblige.

43sibyx
Oct 7, 9:45am Top

>42 richardderus: How delightful to see you here, Richard! I've only seen one or two snarky review of it, both surprisingly narrowminded, as if the person just couldn't stand the idea of a book like this one. (One was NPR, but I've totally given up on them.)

Anyway, I've been a busy person so finished two books yesterday, one from making applesauce while listening to audio and the other a psychology book I was rereading and I'm glad I did!

44sibyx
Edited: Oct 7, 10:31am Top

107. ♬ hist mys ****
Scandal Takes a Holiday Lindsey Davis

Set in Ostia, a scribe has gone missing and as he is connected with the imperial household Falco is sent to find him. The whole family goes along, of course. There is pirates and kidnapping and smuggling and the usual derring do. Fun, of course. ****

45sibyx
Edited: Oct 9, 2:25pm Top

108. psych *****
Invisible Guests: The Development of Imaginal Dialogues Mary Watkins

This is a dense and radical look by a respected post-Jungian depth psychologist at theories of human development and the therapeutic goals that arise from these theories. She proposes that past practice (still only a little over a century old!) have more in common with cultural values than the living reality of the human pysche. In our western culture abstract logical thought has been given pride of place. Single-minded unity within the individual has been the most desirable telos (goal or outcome, more or less) in emerging adults. (Ego firmly in charge.) The end desired result is a single internal voice that forms the whole adult person.

Watkins proposes that the mind does not work that way. In her view, it is only through dialogue that humans can learn. Dialogue must first be learned --parents talking to children, children talking back, children playing with imaginary friends, seen and unseen, and with other children and so on. It has been assumed that particularly the imaginal dialogues were merely a method for learning to BE in the real world. Discarded once the individual masters interacting with others. However, we ignore, that as adults we continue to talk to ourselves, indulge in fantasies, and so forth. Watkins suggests that this need for internal dialogue never stops and is natural to the human psyche and is not only a viable form of problem solving, but likely even one of the most effective.

You do not learn from monologue, either inside yourself (where is can become pathological); you do not learn if you ignore your internal voices--we've all heard that voice saying, "don't do that!" which we then all too often ignore! If you can't listen to yourself then you cannot interact genuinely with other people or with the environment around you. Respect for self and for others is learned through dialogue with the often conflicting parts within yourself. If you are worried about pathology, Watkins addresses this issue, and curiously, in studies of schizophrenics, the internal voice(s) tend toward monologue! Certainly, they do not listen, have no interest in dialogue.

Therapeutically: What if a person can give a personality to their 'depression' - learn to talk to or write (as in a play) the dialogue that might then take place between your self that wants to get on with living and your self that wants to hide under the desk. What might you learn about yourself? It's deeply intriguing!

This is my second reading and as well as the reminder to remain open to my internal dialogue and to use personification to resolve conflicts and find creative solutions in my work, I find myself thinking about the current craziness in our country: television and movies, I suspect, play a kind of role for adults, of providing personas to be in some kind of imaginal relationship with. Only that life is in vibrant color. Work and real life are usually, for most, rather black and white, monochrome. Our current government leaders across the board (I include House and Senate) have no concept of dialogue, of listening, or of respect for others. Giving our imaginations free play, giving it an equal role of importance to logic and abstract thought. Wow!

Most of us here at LT know how powerful and necessary imagination is.*****

I've massively rewritten this review and probably will again. This is a very hard book to write about!

46richardderus
Oct 7, 11:28am Top

>43 sibyx:, >44 sibyx:, >45 sibyx: Oh, NPR. What a patchy record they have with me. Not bad suggestions, but missed ones, books they ignored to focus on the popular books. Can't blame them exactly, they need earholes the way TV needs eyeballs, but it's a let-down to me.

Towles is on the list. I wasn't gripped by the Falco series, for some reason, but I can see the appeal quite clearly. And Invisible Guests intrigues me. I look forward to reading your review.

47sibyx
Edited: Oct 7, 5:23pm Top

>46 richardderus: Forgot to ask -- do you have a thread anywhere?

49Crazymamie
Oct 7, 5:56pm Top

>48 richardderus: Richard, you crack me up! And A Gentleman in Moscow is my favorite read of the year so far, so hurry up and get to it.

Lucy, you can find Richard here: My 2017 Thread

50EBT1002
Oct 8, 6:34pm Top

Hi Lucy. I'm glad you so enjoyed A Gentleman in Moscow; it's most certainly going to be one of my top reads of 2017. And Invisible Guests looks quite interesting....

I thought of you this morning during my run: I encountered a Corgi puppy named Huck (I don't know what his people's names are). I got to pet him while his people worked with him on "stay" and "visit," trying to get him to be calm with me. He was so soft and adorable, it was well worth a small break in the middle of my run.

51PaulCranswick
Oct 8, 8:14pm Top

I am still waiting for A Gentleman in Moscow to hit the stores here......urghh!

Hope your weekend has been a good one, Lucy.

52majleavy
Oct 9, 1:59pm Top

>45 sibyx: Great review; thanks for it. As to the question of what if you could talk to your depression or whatever, I used to practice a form of meditation in which that was precisely what I did. Very useful it was.

53sibyx
Edited: Oct 9, 2:28pm Top

>52 majleavy: Thank you. I've already rewritten my "review" which is as much notes to help me remember the book later as anything. It was so hard to write about coherently!

I have 'dialogues' with my "muse" mainly, although I sometimes had other conversations. It is hard work, so I do it for a time, then forget and have to be reminded how effective it is. Sometimes I have to hear things I don't want to hear!

54brodiew2
Oct 9, 2:58pm Top

Hello Sixby! I hope all is well with you.

>24 sibyx: This a fantastic review for a series I have been wanting to engage, but the length has held me at bay. The covers and color are very attractive, but bulk is a bit of a turn off. Tad Williams is on my lsit to explore as well.

>27 sibyx: You hit the nail on the head about A Gentleman in Moscow!. I loved reading your review as it told the truth and mirrored much of what I said in my own review. Excellent!

55Deern
Edited: Oct 10, 6:26am Top

>45 sibyx: This is a great review of what looks like a fascinating book! As you know I dabble more in the spiritual literature than in the scientific books to find solutions for my issues, maybe because this way I can easier leave logic behind. I guess both parts often lead to similar places. Authors like Tolle and Singer encourage you to listen to the dialogue in your head and to separate the voices to be able to let go of the hurtful, misleading ego.

But also without the spiritual basis the dialogue idea can work. In my early thirties I found a way to get rid of the auto-aggressive part of my eating disorders by turning them into a seperate "person" and disinviting them from my life. In that case I wasn't friendly, but I was polite, like "so you're here again, trying to hurt me. You're not good for me, and you're not welcome anymore, please leave". I've tried recently doing the same with my anxieties (when I "catch them early"). I appreciate them as protective mechanisms that once were needed when I was little and had no voice, but try telling them they're not needed anymore, they can retire and relax. Doesn't always work, but then often I can at least tell myself "okay, I'm feeling anxiety/ feeling depressed right now, I have visitors I didn't invite, but they'll leave again".

Just got my sample for *Gentleman* and it's great!
Edit: bought the whole book now. It wants to be read :)

56sibyx
Oct 12, 10:36am Top

Greetings to all who have stopped by -- especially those who still have A Gentleman in Moscow to look forward to!

>52 majleavy: and >54 brodiew2: The Sandersons are awfully long, no question, but except for the bits where people Lash about for pages, it is just the sort of thing I want when I want to read this sort of book: characters I can settle down with for a long long time, watching them mature and change and figure out how to handle themselves in whatever complex situations they find themselves in.

>55 Deern: Indeed, I think the dialogue method works fine without any spiritual, um, clutter. Too much authority resides in some of those beings be they small case or upper case in the godly department. That doesn't feel safe to me. Voices that might start bossing me around? No. That sounds like potential pathology.

One helpful outcome of a dialogue I had yonks ago with my depression (who names himself Cloak, by the way) is that the "you are pathetic" voice that often accompanies that state is entirely a different voice and being with a different purpose (although they are intertwined, since one tends to lead to the other). And virtually all internal voices, characters, whatever they are, swear they are only trying to help 'me'. And that, of course, is what a real dialogue is all about. How many novels have as a theme, an overprotecting authority figure that has to be somehow overcome? Much of that goes on internally as externally. Being a decent self-critic is necessary but if it goes beyond some middle ground it becomes disastrous, etc.

57sibyx
Oct 12, 10:46am Top

109. fantasy ****1/2
Words of Radiance Brandon Sanderson

Have to hand it to Sanderson, another gigantic tome I enjoyed from one end to the other. And amazingly, yeah, there is still a lot to sort out. And, rilly, I can't tell you anything that went on in Vol 2 unless you have already read Vol 1 or I will be spoiling things. Suffice it to say that Things Develop. Kaladin Stormblessed continues to struggle with ethical issues that hold back his development, Dalinar continues to be a rock although he does make the right choices when push comes to shove whether for the good of all or for himself, his son Adolin's hair stays marvelously tousled, Shallan Davar begins to come into her own, Sadeas . . . well I can't tell you what happens to him. Of course, I enjoy it most when various characters are being rude and witty. You will find out who the Voidbringers are and will get a better idea of the Bigger Picture. Anyway, Book 3 comes out in a few weeks. Not sure if that is a Good or a Bad thing for me as I will then have to wait three years for the last book. Enjoy!

58charl08
Oct 12, 1:10pm Top

>45 sibyx: This sounds fascinating, although I'm not sure I've got the insight or knowledge needed to read the book itself.

>57 sibyx: Good luck with the wait. I have two authors I'm currently mad at for making me hold on for their next book. I'm not good with the patience!

59LizzieD
Oct 12, 10:32pm Top

Thanks for the Sanderson review. Now I'm asking myself if vol 1 is exactly the kind of book that I want to read now. I oughtn't, but I might!

60souloftherose
Oct 13, 6:23am Top

>57 sibyx: You've reminded me that I read The Way of Kings at the end of last year and never got round to reading Words of Radiance. But at least now I will be just in time for book 3!

61sibyx
Edited: Oct 18, 11:34am Top

110. essays ****
Hold Your Hour and Have Another Brendan Behan

I can't possibly do justice to the humorous quality of these essays Behan wrote for a column for a "Doob-e-lin" newsaper in the 1950's. A goodly number are set in his neighborhood pub, peopled, naturally, with Dublin characters who are only too happy to comment on events local and international or fantastical. I laughed a lot while reading it, but I would have laughed more if I was Irish, and even more if I was a Dubliner. I could feel that for every joke I got another went zipping by. I wouldn't have gone out of my way to find the book, I happened upon it, but I have no regrets. ***1/2

62sibyx
Oct 18, 11:35am Top

I've been off at a music weekend -- thus the silence. Barely any reading either! Hope to get around to visit folks soon.

63sibyx
Edited: Oct 19, 11:23am Top

111. classic fiction ***1/2

The virtue in Dorothy Canfield Fisher's writing is what I can only describe as experiencing the same bracing air I breathe every time I walk outside, for, as she was, I am privileged to live in Vermont. Part of her charm is the way her characters can shift from being as subtle and rational as anyone in a James novel, to being as wild and emotional and even as sensual as a Lawrence character, not as bluntly, to be sure but, like Wharton, she doesn't overlook the physicality of being alive and in love or suffering. So there is a mix and the work is anchored in a reality. I'm always astonished by how "modern" the early 19th century already was--how we have changed, since then, less than we like to think. I find people from true Victorian novels distant, exotic, even strange at times, but I recognize the young woman, Sylvia Marshall, as a contemporary. She would have been about contemporaneous with my grandmothers, in fact. Sylvia is brought up out West, in a big college town, a Madison, where her father is a professor of economics. Her parents both have Vermont roots, her father's very wealthy, her mother's yeomanly. Needless to say his choice of wife casts him out of the family and he believes in making his own way. Their children are brought up simply in a household that works and plays together--a bit idealized--but whatever. The conflict is in Sylvia herself, whether she will adopt her parents' values or if she will choose to marry someone wealthy and live a life of ease and luxury. No doubt Fisher was familiar with Marx, Veblen and etc. and was exploring how a young woman might come to a true understanding of what exploitation of others, both in private and public ways, consists of and what it can do to people. She is also unblinkingly straight about the fact that people choose for themselves--"society" per se, is not to blame for all ills-- and, same as we do now, she ponders the gray area between character and upbringing. How a functional and healthy upbringing might make the most difference of all to the more vulnerable characters (in which category the protagonist would include herself). The novel moves characteristic of its era, slowly, that is, building up a picture of this young woman and the choices she must face. I expect it is a Virago book, but I came across it for (almost) free in a library discard bin. She makes fun of James here and there, and I enjoyed that! I also detected that one of the characters is most likely modeled on Morton Fullerton, Edith Wharton's (very briefly) lover and life long friend. ***1/2

a few quotes for my own records:
"She was alive to all the impressions reflected so insistently upon her, but she transmuted them into products which would immensely have surprised her parents, they being under the usual parental delusion that they knew every corner of her heart."

on James:
"Do you know, I've just thought what it is you all remind me of--I mean Lydford, and the beautiful clothes, and nobody bothering about anything but tea and ideas and knowing the right people. I knew it made me think of something else, and now I know--it's a Henry James novel!"
Page took up her lead instantly, and said gravely, putting himself beside her as another outsider: "Well of course, that's their ideal. That's what they try to be like--at least to talk like James people. But it's not always easy. The vocabulary is so limited."
"Limited!" cried Mrs. Marshall-Smith. "There are more words in a Henry James novel than in any dictionary!"
"Oh yes, words enough!" admitted Page, "but all about the same sort of thing. It reminds me of the seminarists in Rome, who have to use Latin for everything. They can manage predestination and vicarious atonement like a shot, but when it comes to ordering somebody to call them for the six-twenty train to Naples, they're lost.. . . I suppose a man could even make an attenuated sort of love in the lingo, but I'll be hanged if I see how anybody could order a loaf of bread."
And so on -- very funny stuff! And contemporaneous to boot.
To be fair: later on she references The Golden Bowl for a moment of connection between Sylvia and Page (her romantic interest) in a very appreciative way.



64LizzieD
Oct 19, 11:22pm Top

Lovely review, Lucy!
I'm grinning at the James conversation. She gets that piece of him exactly right.
SO O.K. I must read DCF one of these days.

65Deern
Yesterday, 9:38am Top

>62 sibyx: Oh my, why did I read that you've been offended at a music weekend and therefore silent? What a relief to see I misread!
Sadly, the Behan book is not available for me, only some plays, and I don't much enjoy eyereading plays.

66sibyx
Edited: Today, 8:40am Top

mystery roman ****
See Delphia and Die Lindsey Davis

Falco and Helena, plus the teenagers, Albia, two nephews, and the son of Falco's trainer at the gym go to Greece because Helena's brother Aulus has sent a letter about some mysterious murders and it's the sort of thing that the Emperor doesn't like and Aulus's parents want to know why he is taking so long to get to Athens where he is to study law. So we get travel tour groups, roman style, Olympia (worse than your worst travel nightmare), Delphi, Athens and the usual mystery with twists and turns. ****

The next book is read by the earlier reader not Simon Prebble, not as good, I'm afraid, but I will soldier on.

67sibyx
Edited: Today, 8:56am Top

>64 LizzieD: DCF is very rewarding. I've read several, although her history of Vermont is probably what impressed me most. I'll have to look to see which one I would recommend. Not this one, I don't think, not for a first book.

>65 Deern: Oh that's funny! Behan's most famous book is Borstal Boy -- lots of slangy Irish lingo. This has a fair amount of it too -- I get more than I did then, but still missed tons. I need to reread BB, having read it in weird circumstances as an uncomfortable guest in someone's house in England where I was trying to be very scarce. I read that and a lot of Sylvia Plath. A very weird long weekend. Oh and it's about time Behan spent in a youth detention center (I guess not quite prison) -- (16, making bombs for the IRA or trying to . . . ). The paperback I was reading had turned completely dry and yellow and the pages were all falling out and I had a terrible time keeping it organized.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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