Tuesday 26 April 2011

Easter Weekend Reading

While I took time away from the computer this past weekend (except for Saturday at work) and read, did needlework and relaxed.
I managed to finish 3 books and work on a couple of different needlework projects.

Finished April 22
The Big House: a century in the life of an American summer home by George Howe Colt
This is a book I picked up last summer out on Vancouver Island. It was recommended by one of the staff at Tanner's in Sidney. Colt tells the story of a summer home on Cape Cod that was built in 1903 and that he spent summers at regularly all his life. Not only is it the story of an interesting house, but it is also a social history of summer homes on the Cape and a family history. Colt talks about the last summer he spent at the house with his wife and young children, and reminisces about the time he spent as a child. He also delves back further into the lives of his grandparents and great grandparents. Also included are aunts, uncles and cousins. He talks about the family secrets, including mental illness, and about the summer family relationship with the locals. This is an interesting book, that I thoroughly enjoyed. It made me want to explore and pick through all the things in the Big House, to see what interesting things came to light. It also reminded me of the farmhouse I spent some of my summer vacation at for most of my childhood, a house that my grandparents lived in.

Finished April 24 
Oxford Letters by Veronica Stallwood
This is one of the books in the series featuring writer Kate Ivory. My mother-in-law picked this up at a library sale for me. I love this series, set in Oxford and featuring the inquisitive writer. Here, Kate returns from vacation to find that her mother, Roz, is ill, and has a middle-aged married couple who appear to have taken control of Roz's life. Both Kate and her mother's business partner are concerned, and Kate begins to dig deeper into this couple's history. There are warning letters and emails, violence, intrigue and second guessing around a really good story. An interesting side story to do with Roz's history also makes an appearance. And of course Kate's love life moves forward. A great read, as expected.

Finished April 24
Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham
This is a classic that I had never read, but that was recommended in the book, Book Ends, which I finished recently. It also counts toward my 1001 Books to Read Before You Die challenge. It took about half the book to really get into it. In the first half I was a bit put off by the biting wit that seemed mean-spirited, about some of the writer characters. However the delving of the main character into his past and a woman that he knew in his youth, the wife of a famous writer, made the book come alive. Rosie's character came to life here as a wonderfully engaging, life-loving woman. Her husband Edward Driffield also was shown as more than that described directly. We see how the various people in an author's life have influence on their writings. Apparently this novel caused quite a commotion at the time, with various people taking offense at the portrayal of characters they saw as based on themselves. A very interesting read and I'm glad I took the time.

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