Bookworm: June 2018

“The eagerness of a listener quickens the tongue of a narrator.” 
―Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

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Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes: The latest installment of the Wade and Lizzie Transcontinental Book Club - I had somehow never had to read this in school and I'm not sure why, because I'm pretty sure it's required just about everywhere. The story of a mentally handicapped man who is rendered superintelligent through surgery, with vast personal and scientific implications/complications. Pounded through it in about 3 hours - it's the kind of novel that's hard to put down, once started. 

A Life in Men, Gina Frangello: This was a lengthy, riveting novel - two stories intertwined as one, every other chapter. The "odd" chapters chronicle the story of two eighteen-year olds on an ill-fated trip to Greece; the even, the story of one of their lives with cystic fibrosis. Every so often Ms. Frangello would allude to a future event that the reader has no previous knowledge of, and every time she buried the lede like that it sucked me in a little harder. I hesitate to call this a beach read, but it was fantastic while at the same time an easy, interesting, accessible pick. 

Enjoyed: 

By the Book, Julia Sonneborn: This modern-day retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion was charming, fluffy and light - set at a California college, Anne is an English teacher whose college sweetheart becomes the president of her university. I liked it, but it didn't steal my heart like Austen's original did...of course. 

The Light We Lost, Jill Santopolo: So here's my beef with this - I loved aspects of it, notably some of the turns of phrase and the writing style, but I felt like the plot was a bit thin. I'm having a sort of hard time with the whole glamorization of soulmates being an excuse for infidelity lately; I've seen it quite a bit in several of the books I've chosen and I'm just not down with it. All said and done, a good summer read but one I'm not dying to revisit. 

Tolerated: 

The Madwoman Upstairs, Catherine Lowell: I got weirdly into this toward the end - the premise, that a descendant of the Brontë family is seeking her long-lost and possibly fictional inheritance, was quirky and just off-kilter enough to keep things moving. The writing got a bit repetitive at times for me, though it did spur a dive back into the Brontës' writing! 

Re-reads: 

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë: I've always loved poor Jane, and dove back in after a: finishing "The Madwoman Upstairs" and b: getting obsessed with "Jane Eyre: The Musical" thanks to Francesca. This read-through really kicked me in the teeth - lots of feels for Jane and how disenfranchised she is by virtue of her station/appearance/status, lots of empathy for why she fell for Mr. Rochester and just in general a lot of smacking myself over the head with "DUH" moments.