Fiction I’ve Been Reading Lately

Dear Reader,

I have been indulging in a lot of fiction lately. It doesn’t inspire as many in-depth posts about ideas but it is a pleasant occupation and occasionally inspiring. Here are some of the books I have been reading:

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton — Many of the books I have been reading are both a) free Kindle books and b) classics I have missed along the way. This one is no exception. I enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down which I will admit is not common for “classics.” The basic plot is (warning: this may be a bit if a spoiler if you haven’t read the book) that a man who is engaged to one woman meets and falls for her cousin.  He does not consummate this relationship and in the end lives a long life with his wife. I liked this. I have never been a big fan od adultery and while I am able to set aside my beliefs in many cases, I think, to enjoy a story, there are also many stories which have irked me by their casual acceptance of adultery as the way to go. For instance, when in college I saw the movie The Piano, I was horrified not so much that the main character betrays her really unpleasant husband but that all my Christian friends loved the movie and found it romantic. I’d much rather see someone tough it out and do the right thing despite their desires than to give in and choose their own wants over their duty.

Allan Quartermain by H. Rider — Another well-known book I had never read and got free for my Kindle. I read this one to see if it would be something my kids would like, either on their own or as a read aloud. In the end, it might be an okay read aloud. I think it would be a bit slow for them to read on their own. They are used to a lot of action and parts of this book are slow. As older books tend to, it can have  a lot of description which slows things down. But I enjoyed the story. I would like to try some of his other books some time, like King Solomon’s Mines.

The Light in the Clearing A Tale of the North Country in the Time of Silas Wright by Irving Bacheller — I heard about this book through another one I read, A Handful of Stars by Frank Boreham.  Bacheller seems to have been mostly lost to the mists of time. I peeked at a couple of his other books and was not immediately riveted. But this one is a real treasure, a true gem. I can’t say enough about it. Many of the characters, including the Senator Silas Wright (whom I had never heard of), are real people but the story itself is fictional. My best recommendation of this book is: Without being sappy or goody-goody, it made me want to be a better person.

The Ladies’ Paradise by Emile Zola — I read this book because of the BBC series based on it which my husband and I had been enjoying. This is one volume of a much longer series about the family. Saga might be a better word for it. To start with, the book is not much like the TV series (shocking, I know). I was amused by how they took the story set in Paris and moved it to London, often keeping the same names but spelling them in a much more English way. I enjoyed this book but  would not rave about it. I think I would have enjoyed it less if I had not seen the series. Because I did, I had its characters pictured in my head and that made them more likeable. Without that, I am not sure I would have liked them so much. It was nice to know that the other books in the series mention a happy ending for the main characters. I like when things end well.

Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte — I have never been a big fan of the Brontes. The books that everyone raves about, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, I really didn’t like. I’d even go so far as to say I hate Jane Eyre. (I feel about it much the same way I feel about the movie The Piano, see above.) But I read this one because it was free and I needed something to read. My conclusion is that Anne is now my favorite Bronte. I enjoyed this book. Even though at a certain point it is a flashback and you know what will happen, it still kept me riveted. And it is another one like Age of Innocence in which someone make s hard choice to do her duty as she sees it, on this case despite pressure to just give up. And (spoiler!) there is a happy, feel good ending. It almost surprises me that Hollywood has not tackled this one.

So now I need more to read; any suggestions?


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Karen in Kansas City on February 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Enjoyed your book selections – some were new to me but I will add them to my (long!) reading list.

    In January I read The Woman in White and The Moonstone, both by Wilkie Collins and both top-notch, and Cranford and Cousin Phillis by Elizabeth Gaskell.


  2. […] I recently read Stepping Heavenward  by Mrs. E. Prentiss. I suspect many of you have preceded me to this book; it seems to be a popular one among Christian women, and rightly so. If you are Christian and female and haven’t read it yet, run, don’t walk, and go get it now. I will admit that I was a  bit skeptical going into it. I don’t tend to like things that are popular in the Christian world, but this book turned out to be  a real treasure. I have said this of a few books, probably less than a handful, but this book made me want to be a better person (read about one of those other books, a real hidden treasure here). […]


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