Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Club Friday: Current #FridayReads 6-20-14

Basically, I have a different book going in every room in the house. Let's start with the book I've been reading off and on (when not distracted by more exciting books), Middlemarch by George Eliot. 

I'm slightly more than 50% (that's just over 400 pages) through this enormous paperweight. It's interesting, but it's not exciting. I had hoped Eliot would be another Jane Austen, since they're writing about approximately the same era in British history. However, I don't find Eliot to be nearly as witty or entertaining as her contemporary. I'll stick with it just to be able to say I've read it, but it's not a can't-put-it-down like certain other thick classics I have known (i.e. Gone With the Wind, From Here to Eternity, The Count of Monte Cristo). 

Are there any Middlemarch fangirls out there? 

On my bedside table (actually on the floor next to the table) is The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I'm about a third of the way through it. It's funny because there's a Mr. Farebrother in Middlemarch, and the character whose (MILD SPOILER) death is a motivating factor in Rowling's plot is named Barry Fairbrother. 

There's a banker named Mr. Bulstrode in Middlemarch, and I can't help but wonder if the early-19th-century Bulstrodes were secretly a wizarding family, and if their descendant is the same Millicent Bulstrode whose cat's hair Hermione Granger mistakenly used in her polyjuice potion. 

It does seem like Rowling is a George Eliot fan. Because both books deal with small English towns and groups of people being petty and venal and scheming to benefit from a gentleman's death, some people refer to The Casual Vacancy as Mugglemarch. I'm liking it, though. No one can say Rowling isn't witty. 

In the kitchen, when I get bored while waiting for my grits to thicken, I'm reading This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl with Lori and Wayne Earl. It's the collection of writings and artwork by Esther, who passed away at the age of 15 from thyroid cancer. In a complicated way, she's part of the inspiration for Hazel Grace Lancaster in John Green's The Fault in Our Stars

Esther's only ambition in life was to be a writer, and you could tell she would've been a great one if her talent had been able to mature. In some ways it's very gratifying to read how much of her personality survives in her extant work, but at the same time, her loss is a very sad one. It makes me think of all the other kids who could've been someone great and never got the chance. 

On a much lighter note, the book I've been leaving in the car and reading whenever I get a little bored away from home is J.R. Ward's Crave, the second novel in her Fallen Angels series (about a decisive contest for human souls between archangels and demons). I just can't get into this series the way I can Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood novels. 

Book Boyfriend #311: Isaac Rothe. 

In the living room, I'm reading a book that arrived in the mail Tuesday, via Amazon's Vine program. I was in the mood for serious nonfiction, so I chose Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack by Rupert Shortt. It documents incidents of religious-based violence in Christian communities, organized by country. The countries in which it's most dangerous to belong to a Christian church are almost all in Asia, but a few are in Africa, and only Turkey is in Europe. 

The cover shows the window of a church in Egypt and a Coptic Christian girl looking out fearfully.

So far, the author has done a good job of being fair to the people of other religious faiths who share space with Christian neighbors. This is not, for example, a book about what's wrong with Islam. The author acknowledges that most Muslims, like most Christians, are anti-violence, and that some Christians have committed acts of religious-based violence. 

Lastly (I think), in my Nook I'm about halfway through Play Him Again, a murder mystery set in 1920s Los Angeles, by Jeffrey Stone. 

What's fun about this book is how it weaves in historical figures of the period, such as Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Alla Nazimova. (You may remember Alla Nazimova from the nonfiction The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood.)

How many things are you reading? 


Shoshanah said...

I can't imagine keeping so many books straight! I'd freak out a little if I read two books at once, and hate starting a book before I finished the last one. I think the last time that happened was when I lost the book I was reading, and I was far enough along and wasn't enjoying it that much, that I never picked up another copy. And that was 6 years ago!

Erin O'Riordan said...

I'm a book polygamist. One is rarely enough.