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Books, Books, and More Books

As I said yesterday, I was able to finish my February read thanks to the extra leap year day. I probably would have gotten through it faster if I'd enjoyed it more. It's a shame, because I was really looking forward to it, but either my expectations were off or the book itself could have been better. Probably both.

My February TBR Challenge book was Desiring Italy, a collection of stories edited by Susan Cahill. I thought that a book with well-known female writers writing about how they love Italy would include interesting stories of their time in that country. I was expecting stories like I've read in the Travelers' Tales series (excellent books!), like A Woman's World, or stories reminiscent of A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemmingway about his time in Paris.

This book was a collection of stories by women writers, yes. Some stories were true, autobiographic stories and some were fiction taking place in Italy. But they were really all over the place, and I don't mean geographically. For example, Mary Shelley's piece read like a Fodor's guide to what to see or a walking tour of sites in Venice, while George Eliot's selection was parts of Middlemarch that take place in Rome but didn't really speak much about the details of Rome. It just didn't feel cohesive to me.

That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it at all. The short story by Edith Wharton (I can't remember the name) which took place in Rome was absolutely perfect. There was plenty of scenery which set the mood, the writing was excellent and the story itself was brilliant. I also discovered some fascinating women writers who I did not know before, and my next amazon order will include non-fiction and fiction books by Mary Wortley Montagu, Elizabeth Von Arnim and Iris Origo.

But it will also include Travelers' Tales Italy: True Stories, because those are the kinds of stories that I love to read about people's travels. It will also include a couple other Traverlers' Tales books, because looking up the links above brought some new books to my attention, such as A Mother's World: Journeys of the Heart and Family Travel: The Farther You Go, the Closer You Get. If any of you internetters enjoy travel writing, I highly recommend this series.

For March, my TBR Challenge book is Amy Tan's Saving Fish From Drowning. I love Amy Tan. She is such an excellent writer and story teller. If you like her but haven't read her book of essays, The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings, you really should go out and buy it right now.

Of course, there is a story about this particular book sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read. This book is actually my aunt's book which she has lent to me (for like a year and a half). As an adult, it's been very special to connect with this particular aunt through our love of books. She has lent me some fantastic books, such as The Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears and The Blessing Stone by Barbara Wood. The latter was such a great book, I bought my own copy so I could re-read it and lend it to others. So for my aunt's 70th birthday, when my sister and brother asked what we should get her, I volunteered to go to the bookstore and pick out a bunch of books I thought she would like. She loved them and agreed to lend them to me after she had read them. This is one of those books. She has moved in with her son in Texas, so I don't see her much lately, but I still need to read this and give it back to her. Which is why it's my next book on the Challenge.

I plan to start that book tonight. Over the weekend, I got in a quick fun read--one of the romance novels in a series I love. But now I'm back to the challenging books. I better hurry through my March book, because I'm going to head over to amazon now and buy a bunch more books!


Peace said…
Way to go on finishing your book. Don't you hate it when you are all pumped up to be entertained and it flops? Anyway, good luck with a great read for your next read.

La folle maman said…
Amazon should pay you! Really. You should be on their darn payroll! Have you thought about putting your reviews on their site? We should figure out a way that you can get PAID to do this because you do it so well!
Cloud said…
I loved The Dream of Scipio, too. I am strangely fascinated by how people deal with it when their entire world falls apart. And I wonder whether I would recognize such a thing in time to do something useful about it (like leave the country). I want to get my book club to read this book so that I can reread and then discuss it with someone.

I look forward to reading what you think of the Amy Tan book. Its on my "to read" list. But there are so many books on that list, who knows when I'll get to it.

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