Thursday, August 1, 2013

Oh, the places I've gone!

My goodness, it's been a busy summer!  I performed Buxtehude's fabulous oratorio Membra Jesu Nostri with my Duke Vespers Ensemble at the Boston Early Music Festival, spent two weeks at Oberlin Conservatory for the Baroque Performance Institute to study Baroque singing technique, am just finishing up the second of my two summer Latin classes, took a job organizing the music library of Duke Chapel, have been studying daily for my doctoral qualifying exam in January, submitted two abstracts for academic conferences, and will soon be road-tripping up to the upper peninsula of Michigan to perform a recital with my mother-in-law.  Whew!  I thought that I'd have loads of time to read and get back to blogging this summer, but I've been far more busy than I imagined!  While I've made time for the reading (oh, so many lovely hours!), the blogging has fallen by the wayside.

However, while I've read a lot of books this summer, as I look back on my list of things I've read this year, I've realized that I don't really remember my reactions to most of them.  What was the book about, and how did I feel about it?  I have a far better recall of books I read last summer, because the act of writing about them forces me to organize my analysis, and then I have a record to which I can cheerfully refer back when I'd like to remember my thoughts about a certain book.

I think I'm going to try to follow the example of Thomas at My Porch.  He tries to write brief little blurbs, just a single short paragraph about each book he reads, "so that the future-me could refer back to it and remember what a particular book was about and how I felt about it."  That's exactly what I need!  And the pressure is off when all you need to write is a few sentences.  So despite the busyness of this summer and the imminent craziness of the fall semester, I'm back to my book blogging, I think, with a bit of a revised format (although, who knows, perhaps just trying to write two sentences about a book I've just finished will occasionally morph back into full reviews).

Here's what I've read this summer, with books I own starred and my favorites in bold.  Right now, I'm still reading a few chapters of Les Miserables most evenings right before bed, and am about to start Statues in a Garden by Isabel Colegate (of The Shooting Party fame).
  1. *The Warden, Anthony Trollope
  2. Britannia Mews, Margery Sharp 
  3. A Brief History of Montmaray, Michelle Cooper 
  4. *The Uncommon Reader, Alan Bennett (read aloud) 
  5. Fifty Shades Freed, E.L. James
  6. *Summer, Edith Wharton
  7. *Duncton Wood, William Horwood
  8. *Martin the Warrior, Brian Jacques (re-read)
  9. The Solitary Summer, Elizabeth von Arnim
  10. Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris, Paul Gallico 
  11. *The Choir, Joanna Trollope
  12. *The Bellmaker, Brian Jacques (re-read)
  13. *Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell
  14. *Cousin Phillis, Elizabeth Gaskell
  15. *I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith (re-read)
  16. *The Curate's Wife, E.H. Young
  17. *Outcast of Redwall, Brian Jacques (re-read) 
  18. Miss Buncle's Book, D.E. Stevenson 
  19. Miss Buncle Married, D.E. Stevenson
  20. If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, Italo Calvino
  21. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein 
  22. The Swiss Family Robinson, Johann David Wyss (Kindle)
  23. *Pearls of Lutra, Brian Jacques (re-read)
  24. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson (Kindle) 
  25. *The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rugen, Elizabeth von Arnim 
  26. *The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery (re-read)
  27. Queen Lucia, E.F. Benson


  1. Have you ever seen the movie of Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris? It stars Angela Lansbury as Mrs. ‘Arris. I didn’t even know it was based on a book, and now I’m dying to read it, especially since you highlighted as a favorite!

    1. No, there's a movie? With Angela Lansbury? How fantastic! I simply must look that up. As much as I love the BBC, I've found myself steering clear of most film versions of books I've enjoyed recently for some odd reason (perhaps to avoid any possible irritation that the book wasn't adapted well?) but this movie just might e worth it.

      And yes, you simply must read the book - it's fantastic, and a very quick read!