When I looked at the number of books I read this month, I felt a little discouraged. Then I looked at the number of pages and realized I did really well! So here goes. 4 books, 1993 pages.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1232 pages). This is it. This is the year I tackle this beast. It’s only been sitting on my bookshelf since the movie came out. Over 5 years ago..... Anyway, Hugo is one long winded fellow. And boy, can he go off on a tangent. There was a lot more military history than I really wanted. And information about the Paris sewers. And convents. It reminded me of Moby Dick in a way. The musical does a much better job of leaving out the truly unimportant stuff. However, I did find it fascinating to get much more background information about the characters, instead of just some brief history via lines in a song! It was cool to learn that Eponine wasn’t an only child. She had 4 younger siblings and Gavroche was actually her little brother! Or that Thenardier fought at Waterloo and was connected to Marius’s father. I did find myself singing songs at the appropriate time, even though very few words of the songs are actually from the novel. I finished in 21 days.
And Both Were Young by Madeleine L’Engle (238 pages). This was very different from A Wrinkle in Time. There was no time/space travel, no mystical ladies. But it was a wonderful novel. Philippa Hunter, better known as Flip, lost her mother a year ago. She adores her father, an artist, but is sent off to boarding school in Switzerland because he can’t keep her with him while he travels for work. Flip is tall for her age and awkward. She immediately hates school and feels uncomfortable around the other girls, most of whom are European and many of whom survived the War. But then she meets Paul, a boy who lives nearby with his father and dog. Flip’s friendship with Paul helps her become more comfortable at school. She also learns that there is a mystery from Paulo’s past. As she helps him learn about himself, she begins to learn about herself. It was a very sweet book. One that I wish I’d read as a young girl. I finished in 4 days.
The Chance by Karen Kingsbury (315 pages). Kingsbury is a Christian author. Christian fiction can sometimes be a little much for me. But this one was pretty perfect. Ellie and Nolan are best friends. At 15, their worlds are ripped apart when Ellie’s dad, in a fit of anger at Ellie’s mom, moves Ellie across the country from Savannah to San Diego. Ellie and Nolan write each other letters, bury thyme, and promise to dig them up in exactly 11 years. Those 11 years are hard for everyone- Ellie, her parents, and Nolan. Nolan has become basketball’s Tim Tebow. And Ellie has abandoned her faith. But as her young daughter says, some people take longer to find their happy-ever-after in Jesus. Can prayer help these two high school sweethearts find each other again? And can faith truly help with forgiveness? I finished in 2 days.
The Heart of Dixie- Southern Rebels, Renegades and Heroes by Frye Gaillard (208 pages). The author is a newspaperman who wrote for the Charlotte Observer for many years, primarily as the Southern Editor. He was born in the 1940’s in Alabama, which meant he came of age in the South during a highly charged civil rights era. This was actually a collection of essays written by him about race relations in the South. It was poignant. And very enjoyable. I’m not a huge fan of essay collections. But I found this one quite fascinating. Maybe because I am Southern. Maybe because of the highly charged racial atmosphere that seems to be permeating our country again today. Either way, it was a great read. And I learned a lot. Some of the figures I already knew about- Martin Luther King Jr, Billy Graham, George Wallace. Others were new to me- Dorothy Counts, Will Campbell, Bill Groseclose. In reading about the situations of the past, we really are experiencing them again. And I hate that. I look at what people went through in the past and I’m sad that we are there again in a lot of ways. I finished in 4 days.
This month’s favorite books goes to (drum roll please)- And Both Were Young. It hit all the buttons for me. But I did learn a lot from The Heart of Dixie.