On Our Bookshelf – December 2018
A list of books I and my family are reading. For posterity, future reference, and general interest. (Links to the books on Amazon are affiliate links!)
Interestingly, I have just finished my second book of the month, and am actually in a lull between books!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I am really looking forward to discussing this at my book club. After two chapters, I had privately renamed the book Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Weird. And then I spent the rest of the book repenting for my swift judgment on a character who had lived a very hard life, and was attempting to navigate herself to ‘normality’.
Eleanor Oliphant left me thinking – hard – about how I might be the type of person who helps people – not by passing their case on to the correct services and authorities, but by being the person to help.
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
After Cranford last month, when I needed a bit of literature for my ears, I pulled up North and South on my Librivox app. I have definitely watched the BBC miniseries with Richard Armitage, but I’m not sure I’ve ever read or listened to the book. I definitely enjoyed the narrator, MaryAnn, which doesn’t always happen on Librivox.
I was surprised by how sultry the book was, given its publication date of 1855. This book is tense, and it is often grim, set largely in a fictional factory town in the north of England. I often think of Mrs Gaskell as writing in the genre of ‘Jane Austen but with death’ – and there is certainly no lack of death, sadness, and grief in this one. Still, I really got into the book and am planning to grab a hard copy if I see one in a charity shop.
Charlotte Mason: Hidden Heritage and Educational Influence by Margaret Coombs
I was on the University of Cumbria website (the University that owns the campus that belonged to Charlotte Mason’s House of Education) and noticed they had a link to a biography on Charlotte Mason.
I read a biography on Charlotte Mason published in 1960 two years ago, but this version was published only a couple years ago, so it caught my eye. Then, I was at the Armitt Museum, which holds the archives from Charlotte Mason’s teaching college, and noticed the biography on sale. The price was a bit high, so I didn’t pick it up there, but Christmas is coming up and I do think I’ll invest. The book was thick, and I like the idea of learning more about Miss Mason’s life and influences.