SAHM the Libby
I started a book club on meetup.com called Book Snobs of North Seattle. We've read Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz, The Vagabond by Collette, Portrait of a Marriage by Nigel Nicolson, and Dead Souls by Gogol.

I liked Palace Walk but was really more interested in the women in the book and it mostly covered the men and boys. I guess the second book of the trilogy follows the women and the third must follow little Naima who is supposed to die early. Several of the members of my group very much wanted to forgive the father for his tyrannical behavior but did not excuse Yasin at all. Yasin was looking for some control over his own life with his disgusting affairs and so I felt some forgiveness for him, but the culture was no excuse for the father to me. Even his friends called him overly harsh and extremely jealous. The only good thing I could say was that though he didn't treat his wife like the treasure she was he did know it intellectually.

I love Collette. The Vagabond is my favorite I've read of hers, it feels the most true and real. Some question her place in literary writing. She's no five course meal, she's a box of Godiva chocolates, rich and delicious, and a little sinful. I love her.

The Portrait of a Marriage was fascinating to me. There's sort of a stereotype I think of the upperclass homosexual marriage of convenience and this wasn't it. They truly loved and respected each other. The most important thing to me was that the children always felt secure in their parents marriage, though Nigel does say Vita was a bit cold and distant. Some in my group didn't want to forgive her this. I had to say if we're going to forgive the Muslim father in Palace Walk because of his culture then why can't we forgive Vita for hers. Upperclass turn of the century English woman a little cold and distant, shocker. Very breifly toward the end Nigel talks about Virginia Woolf and this is the best part of the book. He says she would talk to them (the children) interestedly and in earnest, saying "Go away Vita can't you see I'm talking to Nigel and Ben." I love that, I love that she was good with children. Dying to read Orlando now, V. Woolf based the character in the book on Vita.

Dead Souls, I read this book a bit distracted. I had a kind of cyber stalker and other unfun situations happening. I wish that they hadn't tried to rescue what he had burned. Sometimes it's best to just respect the author. It reminded me greatly of Don Quixote, it only lacked a Sancho Panza. But there is a great scene where one of his servants says something to the effect of, "Oh if you want to give me a beating I'm sure I deserve it and a great man like yourself would surely give me such a beating as I would deserve." It was terribly funny and dark, just as it should be. It's a satire and commentary on the bureaucratic society and the petty Bourgeois still something we like to satirize today.

Right now we're reading The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, for Halloween obviously. They won me over to reading this when they told me she was the author of the short story The Lottery, shiver.
After that is the Satanic Verses.
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1 Response
  1. I've been interested in autodidacts ever since reading Kendall Hailey's The Day I Became An Autodidact (which I should review on my blog soon.

    Anyway, I have given you an award! Come over to my blog and check it out:

    http://www.theliterarylioness.com/2010/11/versatile-blogger-award-and-blog-hop.html


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