It’s time once again for Quick Lit, a recap of what I’ve been reading this past month. Here we go . . .
The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton ★★★★☆– a collection of mysteries solved by a Catholic priest with a flair for detective work (the book jacket explains it this way: Father Brown has a “highly developed understanding of the criminal mind, derived from the hours he has spent listening to the penitent confessing their sins”). Engaging, enjoyable and so articulate – like Evelyn Waugh, Chesterton has a remarkable ability to find exactly the right word to use!
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot ★★★★★ – this book is a feast for the mind and the heart, the sort you mull over and contemplate for weeks. At its heart, it’s the story of a brother and sister growing up – Tom, with his rigid sense of justice and desire to set aright his father’s failures, and Maggie, with her brilliant mind and passionate, love-hungry soul. George Eliot excels in understanding human nature, appreciating beauty and reading the human heart. The best book I’ve read this year!
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman ★★½☆☆– a brief story of a middle-aged man fleetingly remembering the nightmarish events of his childhood. The protagonist’s forgetfulness and the nightmare both left me feeling helpless and I can’t stand feeling that way when reading a book! Easy to read and highly creepy, if you like that sort of thing, but frustratingly lacking a satisfying resolution.
What Matters in Jane Austen? Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved by John Mullan ★★★★☆– author John Mullan examines all sorts of interesting tidbits in Jane Austen’s novels, such as what makes characters blush, what characters read, why her plots rely on blunders and the right and wrong ways to propose marriage. Fascinating and illuminating, it’s the sort of book that makes you realize afresh the literary prowess of Jane Austen. It was wonderful to read right after finishing Northanger Abbey last month.
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin ★★★☆☆– an enjoyable coming-of-age story with an endearing heroine, Rebecca, whose heart is moved by beauty and stirred by poetry. Very Anne of Green Gables-esque with its classroom dramas and small-town spectacles. The multiple Mill on the Floss references were an unexpected bonus. 🙂 I wish the story had had a few more chapters, though; the novel concludes with an unfinished air that leaves one looking for a sequel (there isn’t one, just a companion novel that fills in some more details about Rebecca’s childhood).
I’m linking up with Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy again today; head on over to her blog for more brief book reviews!