Saturday, June 2, 2012

Books Read in May

Three Men and a Maid by P. G. Wodehouse
After Brideshead Revisited, I needed something lighter, and though I didn't finish in time to join Carrie's book club for the month of April, Wodehouse was just the antidote needed. Three Men and a Maid seems at first like your classic love triangle, but wait, it's a quadrangle with overlapping story lines, bumbling idiots (at least when it comes to love) and just the kind of British wit and irony to make it fun and funny! I'll definitely be reading more of Wodehouse in the future.

Growing up Amish by Ira Wagler
I think this selection, too, was something of a knee-jerk reaction to Brideshead, though in some respects the wild living while coming of age theme is similar. Ira Wagler relates his struggles with the constraints of the Old Order Amish and the family ties that keep pulling him back. But more than a coming of age story, I think it is a conversion story, a story of God's preservation of a young man who eventually finds grace and salvation in Christ instead of the social and moral standards of a church. Though I didn't particularly like his writing style - sentence fragments really annoy me - it was both an interesting and encouraging book.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
I love mysteries, and it's always fun to find a new author who can weave a complex plot. Solving a mystery from a hospital bed doesn't sound too exciting, but if the mystery involves the infamous King Richard III and the Princes in the Tower, a convalescing Inspector Grant is just your man. The history books all seem to agree that the power-hungry Richard III had his nephews murdered to secure the throne, but when Inspector Grant begins to study a portrait of Richard and delve into the historical records of the period, the conclusions of history just don't seem to add up. British Royalty is confusing, and even with frequent references to the family trees included at the beginning of the book, I'm not sure I could explain exactly who is related to whom or how the throne passes from one generation to another. But the historical information in this book is just fascinating, and Tey presents it in such a way that one really feels the excitement of discovery just as the characters do. I also appreciated her subtle social commentaries such as this description of a convicted criminal unrelated to the historical research: "Been treated soft all his life since he started stealing change from his Ma at the age of nine. A good belting at the age of twelve might have saved his life. Now he'll hang before the almond blossoms' out" (193). I hope to read more Inspector Grant mysteries to see if his handling of contemporary crimes is just as intriguing as historical ones.

Read alouds: We have several in progress (Big John's Secret & The Beggars' Bible), but somehow we didn't finish anything in May. I'm not sure how that happened other than we now have two kittens who allure my children outside, and later sunsets mean it's often too late for stories when they finally come inside. Stay tuned for read-aloud updates next month.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I love reading your summary posts! (I probably say that every time.) I'm glad you liked Wodehouse and I do agree with you that Wagner has an interesting writing style.

Happy continued reading!