Lists like this, this, and this have sent me to my shelves to reshape my summer reading list.
For a number of reasons, my reading pace has slowed since my last annotated list. I have read five more books, though, for a year-to-date total of 109, 88 of which are RFS. That puts me a dozen books from reaching my goal of one hundred read from shelves.
■ Rodham (Curtis Sittenfeld; 2020. Fiction.) ATY
A sympathetic portrait and engaging what-if. Reviews here and here.
I liked being around other people during the day, and I was relieved to be alone late at night; it was the latter that made the former possible. In fact, setting up my nest often made me think if a Wordsworth phrase I’d learned in English class as a high school junior: emotion recollected in tranquility.
But as a president, would he be ethically casual, irresponsibly magnanimous, vulnerable to his enemies due to weaknesses he erroneously believed he could conceal or at least be forgiven for?
I usually liked other human beings and they usually liked me. I liked their specificity, their often unfashionable clothes, their accents and enthusiasms and the things they cared about enough to seek me out and tell me about, and I liked their belief that I could help them in a measurable way. I wanted — I had always wanted this — for their belief to be accurate.
So often, people let you down; so often, situations turn out disappointingly. But occasionally someone recognizes, acknowledges, your private and truest self.
■ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling; 2000. Fiction.) RFS *
Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat up late in the common room once again that night, talking it all over until Harry’s mind was reeling, until he understood what Dumbledore had meant about a head becoming so full of thoughts that it would have been a relief to siphon them off.
■ Saint Joan (George Bernard Shaw; 1923. Drama.) RFS
THE ARCHBISHOP: A miracle, my friend, is an event which creates faith. That is the purpose and nature of miracles. They may seem very wonderful to the people who witness them, and very simple to those who perform them. That does not matter: if they confirm or create faith they are true miracles.
LA TREMOUILLE: Even when they are frauds, do you mean?
THE ARCHBISHOP: Frauds deceive. An event which creates faith does not deceive: therefore it is not a fraud, but a miracle.
■ Shirley (Susan Scarf Merrell; 2014. Fiction.) RFS
Plucked this from the shelves after reading Sheila O’Malley’s review of the new film. Of course, I was delighted by the serendipity / synthesis / synchronicity at work: I read Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle last month and watched the film earlier this month.
■ King Lear (William Shakespeare; 1606. Drama.) RFS *
If pressed, I would cast my vote for Lear as the best of the plays. It is certainly the one that awes me more and differently each time I read it. (The first time was thirty-two years ago in a graduate course at Temple University.)
ATY Acquired this year
LIB Borrowed from library (including Hoopla and Overdrive)
RFS Read from shelves
* Denotes a reread
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