What I've Been Reading, and What I've Finished Lately

Posted: January 2, 2007 in Current Reading

No dallying here!

It’s a New Year and I’m not letting any grass grow under my feet. I’ve finished my first book of 2007 already, and some of you may be thinking that’s disgusting and wrong. I humbly apologize, but cite my traditionally frantic need to cram as much reading into each year as possible, especially now that I’m “of a certain age” (Lisa may be exaggerating for effect here, just a bit. We can’t vouch for all her wild claims or we’d never have ANY time off. – eds.) and can’t know for sure how accurate the longevity charts actually are. Nor can I rely on the vagaries of the gene pool. Despite the fact I had great-grandmothers on both sides of the family who lived into their 90s, I’ve had other relatives who’ve thought it proper to “check out” a little earlier than this.

Better frantic than sorry, I always say.

thejigsawmaker.jpg

The Jigsaw Maker by Adrienne Dines was my Book # 1 for the year. I chose to pick up this particular book partly because it was sent to me by the author, so that I may review it, and also I thought the title serendipitous and somehow appropriate, considering I enjoy putting together jigsaw puzzles over the holidays (the only time of year I don’t feel guilty being a slug).

I’m also a fan of the small publisher, Transita Publishing, that published this book. Transita has dedicated itself to publishing books about women who are over 40 and still manage to be interesting and vibrant. In an era that worships youth, this seems to be a radical concept, strangely enough, but Transita is doing a remarkable job championing some very good books with more mature heroines.

I’d put this book in the category of “comfort reads,” but I don’t mean to say it has nothing serious at all to it. In addition to being a very “nice” tale about a 50 year old spinster with hot flashes living in a tiny hamlet in Ireland, it’s also about some horrifying family secrets. I found it a very good choice to read over the holidays, a time I’m not looking to read anything terribly heavy or overly long. Its theme of the different aspects of a person’s life fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle is a very apt one. When a mysterious 30-something man arrives in the small Irish village she lives in, Lizzie Flynn is thrown for a loop. At first it’s his vocation as a photographer and jigsaw puzzle maker that intrigues her, especially after he tells her he’s out to capture the memories of places and not just make a puzzle and now he’s interested in her village. Shortly thereafter, she notices he also happens to be quite good looking and charming, and suddenly her newly-swarming hormones are up in arms. The more the story moves along the more the layers of Lizzie’s family history peel away, until she’s left having to face the truth about her past.

Next up is a novel by Victorian writer Wilkie Collins, as I’ve been having a hankering to read some more 19th C fiction. The book is Poor Miss Finch, and it’s all but guaranteed to become my Book # 2 for the year (if nothing else distracts me before I can finish it).

Wilkie Collins wrote some great mystery/detective fiction. His The Moonstone is a favorite of mine, and Poor Miss Finch is shaping up to be another potential favorite. In this novel beautiful, young Lucilla Finch is a blind woman in love with a man named Oscar Dubourg, a man she knows only by his beautiful voice. After making plans to marry Lucilla, Oscar is brutally attacked. Due to his injuries he develops epilepsy. With this possible impediment to their marriage threatening to derail their happiness, a forward-thinking doctor tells him he just may have the cure for his condition, but it comes at a price. The cure is silver nitrate, and the chemical would turn Oscar’s skin a blue/black color. Though he thinks to himself, Lucilla will never know, she’s admitted a certain fear of “dark people” in the past. And, there’s a chance an eye specialist may be able to restore her vision…

Can’t wait to see how this one resolves.

poormissfinch.jpg

Also reading:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
(New edition illustrated by Dame Darcy)

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Thomas Hardy: the Time-Torn Man by Claire Tomalin

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Comments
  1. Adrienne says:

    Lisa – thank you. I agree with you completely about the apparent lightness of the book but that’s the way we come into communities. In the beginning everything looks fine and it’s not until you become one of the pieces that you can see what’s really there…
    Keep up the good reading.

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