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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Books Read During June

I can hardly believe that June is almost over. Time goes so quickly. I haven't finished many books yet. It's probably because I try to read too many at a time!

Up at the Villa by Somerset Maugham

Wealthy and beautiful, Mary is staying at a villa in Florence and thinking of marrying an older man about to be promoted to an excellent position in India. The only problem is that she doesn't love him. Feeling somewhat jaded, Mary longs for an adventure. When a poor young refugee falls in love with her she gets more than she bargained for...

Maugham often writes about rather shallow women who long for more purpose in life. Mary's character is sympathetically drawn and the book is unusually exciting for Maugham. It gives a very different perspective on life from The Purple Veil and it was more fun. However, The Purple Veil was much wiser and the main character was easier to identify with.

Act of Mercy by Peter Tremayne

This is part of a series about Sister Fidelma, an engaging advocate and religeuse in ancient Ireland. She investigates rather gruesome mysteries. These are well-written and the setting and details about ancient Irish law are fascinating. However, there are too many murders in this book and it's somewhat complicated. I do prefer 'cosy' mysteries.

Lina Cavalieri by Paul Fryer and Olga Usova

Lina Cavalieri was an Edwardian opera singer who was once called the most beautiful woman in the world. She led a wonderfully interesting life, transforming herself from a cafe singer to an opera singer who received some good reviews. She sang in Russia and had an affair with a Russian prince. She also married Robert Chandler, a relative of the Astors, and wiped him clean!

This book, however, was rather dull. I didn't really want to know about every performance Cavalieri ever gave and what every critic wrote about her. I wanted to know about the scandals surrounding her and her rivalry with Mary Garden.

Site Of The Week: Julia's Blog

Julia's posts atLoscuadenosdeJulia are always interesting and insightful. Her subjects include Russian literature, social networking and blog posts that she likes. I'm very happy that I found this blog!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Art History Reading Challenge

This is another challenge which appeals to me. Joining involves reading at least six books about art history this year - fiction or non-fiction. You can make a list or read according to your whim - I think that I'll do the latter!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday suggests making a list in fifteen minutes of 'fifteen of the books that have stayed with you'. Here they are:

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2. Persuasion by Jane Austen
3. Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
4. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
7. Lord of the Rings by Tolkein
8. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
9. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
10.None Dare Call It Treason by Catherine Gavin
11.How Sleep the Brave by Catherine Gavin
12.The Free Frenchman by Piers Paul Read
13.A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
14.Sorrell and Son by Warwick Deeping
15.Little Women by Louisa Alcott

These are not in any particular order and I have many other favourite books!