"Novels and plays still have a strange force. The writing of fiction and the creation of theatrical images can affect life there more powerfully and stealthily than speeches, or even legislation. Imagined worlds can lodge deeply in the private sphere, dislodging much else, especially when the public sphere is fragile." -Colm Toibin
So many books this month--clearly I need a life and/or to spend less time being a total antisocial freak. Unrelated note: I'm organizing my books by color in my next apartment, a la Emily in her cute Cincinnati home.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Pierre Choderlos de Laclos: I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF, gang. I read the entirety of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" IN FRENCH this month. And it took me for flipping ever. Written epistolary-style as a series of notes between French nobles at the end of the 18th century, it was a total slog to get through and keep everything straight at times. That said, I was so insanely excited to find that I was getting it, and to notice that my speed and comprehension were both improving as I went on. Plus, it doesn't hurt that the book is essentially a series of sexy romances and illicit amours..."Cruel Intentions" was based on it! (#6 on my 101 in 1001 #70!)
Mozart in the Jungle, Blair Tindall: I marathoned the entirety of Amazon's outstanding new series based on this book a couple weeks ago, and as soon as withdrawal set in I downloaded the book. Illustrating the cutthroat and often un-glamorous world of professional classical musicians, I couldn't put it down - I loved the behind-the-scenes peek into the world of the orchestras I adore so much.
Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, William Kuhn: Such a cute book! It imagines Queen Elizabeth needing to get away and essentially playing hooky from her job as, you know, leader of the English people. With a charming and varied cast of supporting characters, I'd call it the literary equivalent of a warm cup of tea.
The Heir, Kiera Cass: Part of a dystopian young adult series I picked up randomly on Scribd one day, "The Heir" is sort of "The Bachelorette" meets "The Hunger Games." Super fast read, and enjoyable...the sequel comes out in May and I'm looking forward to it, if only for its quick and undemanding style.
The Position, Meg Wolitzer: A husband and wife take on a Kinsey-esque project to write a book about how to...um...keep the spark alive, and it destroys both their marriage and their four children's lives. The book bounces back and forth between narrative perspectives, chronicling each child's adulthood and their parents' attempts to re-publish the book, find meaning, and navigate the complicated relationships they've created within their family. Gorgeous prose and a sharp, incisive look at family dynamics.
Brooklyn, Colm Toibin: The movie, which I loved, was based on this book, and I was expecting to like it much more than I did. Eilis, who I really admired and enjoyed in the movie, is essentially a sad, passive, coldhearted character in the book, and so much of the charm and glamour of 1950s New York was lost in the book.
I Said Yes, Emily Maynard: Oh my god I'm embarrassed to even admit I read this. Emily was a Bachelor contestant who went on to be the Bachelorette and I downloaded her book on a random slow day at work. It was simultaneously self-indulgent and dull to the point that I debated not finishing it...and very little interesting "Bachelor/Bachelorette" behind-the-scenes gossip, too, which made me crabby. Basically, I need a life.
I've loved Eva Ibbotson for years and I find myself revisiting her entire adult canon around annually. The books are charming, quick, pretty reads that center around things I love: ballet, Europe, Brazil, World War II and opera/the arts. Just one of my weird little favorites or quirks, I guess, but early March was a time when I needed a little Eva in my life.
The Morning Gift, Eva Ibbotson
A Company of Swans, Eva Ibbotson
A Countess Below Stairs, Eva Ibbotson
A Song For Summer, Eva Ibbotson