Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Home to Holly Springs

Finished Jan Karon's new book Home to Holly Springs. It's the first book in her new series. When she concluded the Mitford series I felt bereft, but soon learned that she was starting a new one about Father Tim and his wife traveling to different places. In this one Father Tim is mysteriously summoned to Holly Springs, Mississippi, his boyhood home. He has not been there for thirty eight years. There are many ghosts, wounds and loose ends to be tied up.

This book is a whopper in terms of plot and revelations. It's amazing that a character we all know so well, who is so highly developed, has such a rich back story yet to be told. You need a good deal of kleenex to read this one. I recommend it highly to Jan Karon fans.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Willows in Winter

Finished The Willows in Winter by William Horwood. It's a sequel to The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. The characters are just as one remembers them. I really did not have a sense of reading someone else's interpretation of them. The only major difference is that more time is spent in the world of humans, mostly by Toad.

Now Toad is okay when he's hello-you-fellows-ing and getting into his scrapes on the home front. However, when Toad goes into "Beyond" and carries on, I lose all patience. He's such a pain in the ass. While Badger, Ratty and Mole have had no shortage of interventions with Toad, they really ought to go one step further and check him into some ritzy recovery clinic. Hell, Toad can certainly afford it.

Horwood has written a total of four Willows sequels. The title of the next one is Toad Triumphant (I cringe). I'll probably read them all though, at some point.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Finished The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. It won the Pulitzer in 1928. I've read Wilder's Our Town and Theophilus North (which I loved). I didn't like this book much until the very end when all the strands of the various lives portrayed are woven together in a profound and benevolent way.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Around the World with Auntie Mame

Finished Around the World with Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis yesterday. I found it much more enjoyable than the first book, Auntie Mame. I think that's because I saw the film version with Rosalind Russell so many times that it spoiled all the gags in the book. The second was completely unknown to me, so that made it very fun. There were quite a few laugh-out-loud moments. Dennis dedicated the second book to Russell. I thought that was interesting. I guess he felt she really captured the character.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Flower Fables

Finished Louisa May Alcott's Flower Fables. This was her first published book (1854). It is a collection of fairy stories written for the daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Pretty, dainty, moralistic and a bit morbid at times. A bit too sweet for me.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Finished The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It's interesting to know so much about a story without ever having read it before. There are so many films, adaptations and interpretations of this work that it would be hard not to know of it. The novel itself is short and fairly simple. The evil doings of Hyde are mostly implied, with the exception of two incidents. However, looking through the Wikipedia entry it seems that film adaptations have him committing all sorts of atrocites.

The versions that have been in the back of my mind for many years are the cartoon Hyde and Go Tweet (1960), where Tweety Bird ingests the formula and morphs into a hideous Hyde persona, and Jerry Lewis' brilliant take-off, The Nutty Professor (1963).