Just finished A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh. The overall story line was a bit depressing but it was a good read. I especially like the sequences where one of the main characters was ill and hallucinating. Waugh really understood how to successfully covey what that character was going through and how they were feeling. I also appreciated how he never wasted any time developing the characters that were superficial in nature, as if they deserved no more than what he gave them or what they themselves gave others. I would recommend this book to anyone who finds current fiction not exactly to their taste and is more inclined to 19th and 20th century classics. I’m very glad I read this.
Just finished reading Jane Austen’s England by Roy and Lesley Adkins (2013) yesterday. A very enjoyable read. I actually finished the book thinking: ‘Is that it? Is that all there is? Isn’t there any more?’ I wanted the book to be twice as long as it was! But, I guess they had to decide what was an appropriate length for the subject matter. It was interesting to get some of the context and environment in which Austen was writing. Also refreshing, and in keeping with Austen’s novels, to read something that focused on more of the social context rather than historical/political. I would certainly recommend this to Austen fans. The only part I found a bit unsettling was the details of Jane’s passing, which her sister outlined in a letter. Then again, who wouldn’t be moved by those words? And they are but a few in a very pleasant read.
Last night, I finished reading Pete Brown’s Shakespeare’s Pub: a Barstool History of London as Seen Through the Windows of Its Oldest Pub-The George Inn, which just came out from St. Martin’s Press last year (2012). A thoroughly enjoyable read! It has history, literature and humor all mixed into one very accessible volume. And, seeing as all these elements appeal to me, it is partly what enticed me to read it in the first place. I think the review I read of it also helped, wish I could remember which one it was. So, if you enjoy books about London history with a nice infusion of the social and architectural elements surrounding that history, you will enjoy Brown’s book. I read it for fun and am very glad I did. Thanks to Pete Brown for writing Shakespeare’s Pub.