Thursday, April 19, 2007


My book group, a wonderful bunch of women, chose The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver for our next meeting, which is convenient for me, since I already had a copy. I've started it and I'm really enjoying Ms. Shriver's writing style. She is an American living in London, and that's what she writes about--and there is a wonderful awareness of the clash of British and American English usage, as well as an exploration of the clash of these two cultures, in the book. I also love it when writers describe things in ways that make me say, oh, yes, I've felt that way. And it looks like Shriver is one of those writers for me. Even little descriptions like this one make me smile: "The air was the temperature of bathwater whose heat was beginning to fade, but still warm enough for a lingering soak."

I'm also almost through David Shapard's The Annotated Pride and Prejudice. I bought it more or less as a reference but of course I couldn't resist reading it (again!) every night at bedtime. Pride and Prejudice is one of those books I read over and over again--it's like a security blanket for me. Reading with the notes is fun for me, but for a first-timer to P and P, I wouldn't necessarily suggest it, since reading the notes definitely takes away from the flow of the narrative. However, I'm happy that it's forcing me into a more close reading. I'm finding the notes are informative for me about half the time--I'm pretty familiar with much of the language by this point, so the definitions and clarifications aren't generally very surprising, but Shapard's citations from Austen's life and letters, and much of his literary analysis, is really helpful.

Stefanie at So Many Books, in her post about what book to bring on an upcoming plane ride, reminded me I have to pick a book or two for the long flight I'm making at the end of May. We'll be on the plane for almost 6 hours, and since I'll be entertaining three kids the whole time, I probably won't have much time to read. But I can't imagine not bringing a book. I need a book as a security blanket, since I hate to fly. So maybe I'll bring Pride and Prejudice, just to make me feel better.

A while back, Stefanie also mentioned coveting David Austin English roses, which are some of my favorites, so I've included a photo of our English rose in the back yard.

9 comments:

Stefanie said...

I envy you your roses! First thing I saw when the page loaded, and first thing I thought was, what beautiful roses, wish I had some like that!

Good luck on choosing your own plane book. Three hours on a plane does me in. Six makes me bonkers.

Stephanie said...

Have you read "We Need to Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver? I read it about a year ago...and in the wake of the shootings at VT, it would be a good book to read. It's about the parents (the mother especially) of a gunman in a school shooting. She's an AMAZING writer!

Gentle Reader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gentle Reader said...

stefanie--glad you like the roses! Actually, my garden is looking pretty sad this spring, haven't had enough time to give it the attention it needs. And six hours on a plane makes me bonkers, too. When we land I'll be certifiable...

stephanie--I haven't read We Need to Talk About Kevin, but I've heard it's really good. I was planning to read it, but you're right, now it seems even more relevant--I'll have to move it up in the queue...I think she's an amazing writer, too!

Jen said...

hi! i just finished the post birthday world and i really hope everyone reads it before book club. i think we could have a terrific disucssion about the choices that irina (and all of us!) make.

totally second the fun of reading the anotated P&P -- i really loved knowing what all the details signify.

Bellezza said...

Ah, a gardener with great talent. I sigh with envy, but I will have to enjoy your rose vicariously. I couldn't even keep a silk one healthy. p.s. I liked Pride and Prejudice.

Gentle Reader said...

jen--I'm loving Post-Birthday World, can't wait to discuss! And P and P is fun with all those great details...

bellezza--I'm not a great gardener, but live in a climate where it's tough to kill anything! I do love to garden, but I've been terrible about making the time lately...the obvious reason is lots of blogging! And isn't Pride and Prejudice grand?

Bellezza said...

The mother in Pride and Prejudice reminded me in many ways of my own dear mother. Whom I love very much. But, there is a certain emphasis on appearance which gets annoying.

Gentle Reader said...

bellezza--well, the mother in Pride and Prejudice is one of the funnier characters, at least. Of course, in your own family, that might not be so easy to laugh about, except with the perspective time brings, or therapy :)

I think Jane Austen is amazing at drawing ridiculous parents--besides Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, I also like Sir Walter Elliott in Persuasion...he's very silly.