Showing posts from June, 2015

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015.

Incredibly, we're at the half way point of 2015. Summer has arrived in a way - right now it's very overcast, a few patches of blue sky, mainly white clouds but there's also a very heavy black cloud over the village, and it is 27 degrees. Exceptionally muggy. But my plants are all doing well in it!
And here we are, half way through. Accordingly, this week's Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish is - 
Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015:
1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865).

2. Virginia Woolf by Michael Whitworth (2005).

3. Hippolytus by Euripides (428 B.C.).

4. Boece by Geoffrey Chaucer (1378 - 1371).

5. The Frogs by Aristophanes (405 B.C.).

6. Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope (1865).

7. The Life and Letters of Leslie Stephen by Frederick W. Maitland (1906).

8. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (1866).

9. Linda Tressel by Anthony Trollope (1868).

10. Kilvert's Diary by Francis Kilvert (1938 - 1940).

Looking forward to wha…

Villette by Charlotte Brontë.

Villette is Charlotte Brontë's final novel and was published in 1853. Virginia Woolf referred to it as Brontë's "finest novel" (in The Common Reader First Series: '"Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights"'), and George Eliot wrote, "Villette! Villette! It is a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre. There is something almost preternatural in its power."

Sadly for me, however, I could never quite get into it. I first read it a few years ago, I think actually it was for Allie's last Victorian Summer, and I hated it. The second time around I felt I was always on the precipice of falling into it, in the first half I came oh so close but never quite, then suddenly without no discernible reason any hints of Brontë magic packed up and left and I spent the final 250 pages either praying for it to return, or just for it to finish. Last year The Telegraph published an article on Villette,
It is also an astonishing piece of writing, a book i…

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles.

Oedipus Rex, or Oedipus the King (Οἰδίπους Τύραννος, 429 B.C.) is, in order of writing, the second of Sophocles' "Oedipus plays", however, in terms of the plays' chronology it is the first and is followed by Oedipus at Colonus (Οἰδίπους ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ, 406 B.C.) then Antigone (Ἀντιγόνη, 441 B.C.). It is the play that gave its name to Sigmund Freud's 'Oedipus Complex', which Freud describes (in The Interpretation of Dreams, 1899:
Being in love with the one parent and hating the other belong to the indispensable stock of psychical impulses being formed at that time which are so important for the later neurosis.Freud goes on to invoke Oedipus:
I refer to the legend of King Oedipus and the drama of that name by Sophocles. Oedipus, son of Laius, King of Thebes, and Jocasta, is abandoned as an infant because an oracle has proclaimed to his father that his son yet unborn would be his murderer. He is rescued and grows up as a king's son at a foreign court, until he…

The Diary of a Nobody by George & Weedon Grossmith.

"’s the diary that makes the man. Where would Evelyn and Pepys have been if it had not been for their diaries?"The Diary of a Nobody is one of the finest pieces of comic literature of all time, written by brothers George and Weedon Grossmith (and illustrated by the latter) and published first in Punch (1888-89) and then in book form in 1892. 
It is the diary of a Mr. Charles Pooter, a lower middle class clerk working in the city London and living in Holloway (London Borough of Islington). It begins on his move to his new home, The Laurels on Brickfield Terrace (see Harry Mount's article 'Finding Pooter's House' for The Spectator) in Hollway, which Pooter describes in the introduction to his diary:
My dear wife Carrie and I have just been a week in our new house, "The Laurels," Brickfield Terrace, Holloway—a nice six-roomed residence, not counting basement, with a front breakfast-parlour. We have a little front garden; and there is a flight of t…

Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe by George Eliot.

Silas Marner is George Eliot's third novel (following Adam Bede, 1859, and The Mill on the Floss, 1860) and her shortest novel, and was published in 1861. She described it as "a story of old-fashioned village life" (indeed most of her novels are set in the past - only Daniel Deronda, 1876, was set around the time she was writing), and to Blackwood (her publisher), she said she doubted that it would interest anyone "since Wordsworth is dead", but, "it sets in a strong light the remedial influences of pure, natural human relations."
In it she tells the story of a weaver, Silas Marner, who had left his town in Northern England having been framed for a crime he did not commit - stealing from a deacon from the Calvinist congregation in Lantern Yard as the deacon lay seriously ill. Having been excommunicated from his church and rejected by his fiancé Silas moves to pastoral village of Raveloe in the Midlands where he lives as a recluse, spending all his time…