Readathon Reviews

I fell into a post-readathon, post-school semester abyss. I don’t know what happened. I wanted to share a few thoughts on what I read during last Saturday’s Readathon and these reviews are embarrassingly brief. Oh well.

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Loving by Henry Green

I picked up this NYRB modern classic for my Classics Club Spin book. Loving was everything I hoped Downton Abbey would be and wasn’t and it was also like a more readable and likable Ivy Compton-Burnett novel. It was an upstairs-downstairs tale, with more downstairs than upstairs, and it was mostly all dialogue, but written in a way that enabled me to understand who the heck was talking.

The book begins with the death of an elderly butler and the unexpected promotion of Raunce, the head footman, to his place and that starts a series of life-changing events for everyone involved. This was a quick and satisfying read.

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Margaret the First: A Novel by Danielle Dutton

I have a pet peeve; I cannot stand it when book reviews say that a book is “luminous.” What does that mean exactly? Now I know. I read this book and the first word that popped into my head was luminous.

This slim historical novel about Margaret Cavendish is written beautifully, fully fleshes out the Duchess of Newcastle’s life and milieu, and is unabashedly feminist. All in under 175 pages! As I was reading the writing and Margaret’s tone reminded me of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando; I was pleased to read in the author’s note that Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and other writings inspired Dutton to write about Margaret Cavendish.

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Mortal Trash by Kim Addonizio

Poetry is like other forms of art, like, for example, painting. I can appreciate the mastery of a painting and still feel that it isn’t to my tastes. In short, I didn’t enjoy this collection as much as I had hoped. A third of the poems intrigued me, a third I can barely remember, and a third grated on my nerves for whatever reason. Addonizio is an excellent poet and has contributed much to the profession, but the poetry she writes is not my jam. I’m a more lyrical appreciating type poet.

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The Bookshop: A Novel by Penelope Fitzgerald

A re-read! Florence Green is a widow and has decided to poem a bookshop in her small town. The bookshop is haunted, a snobby woman in the town seeks to destroy her venture, and work continues to increase for Florence. This book reminded me of Barbara Pym, but the ending is definitely more of an Anita Brookner ending.

Did you participate in readathon? Let me know in the comments!

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