‘That is very kind of you,’ said Dorthea, looking up at Mr. Casaubon with delight. ‘It is noble. After all, people may really have in them some vocation which is not quite plain to themselves, may they not? They may seem idle and weak because they are growing. We should be very patient with each other, I think.'”

George Eliot, Middlemarch

Summer Fiction Round Up – Part II (Late Summer)

So Labor Day has come and gone, just like that. The school year has started, nights are crisp, you get the picture. I already saw a tree with orange leaves last week. I have no words for this. So, as we transition into fall, I’ve compiled the rest of my summer reading list. These books wind down the sunny and social pace of summer, take things a little slower, and give pause to mull things over. The more serious side of the summer fiction, if you will. Continue reading

Summer Fiction Round Up

Read anything good by the beach or pool this summer? Or perhaps lounging lazily in the shade or three-seasons room? (That last one has been a favorite for me this year, I will say.) While this not-quite-summer has definitely sped by at a disturbing pace, I realized that I have managed to get in quite a bit of reading. Probably less personal enrichment reading than I should be doing for this blog, but I was entertained nonetheless. And isn’t that kind of what summer is about? Not taking things so seriously for a few months?

If you’re looking for a few good reads to take you into the fall, here are a handful of titles for your perusal: Continue reading

Winter Reading Escapes

Uncle.  I officially cry uncle on this winter.  I give up.  Shoveling and snow boots have lost their luster; my puffy coats have had WAY more than their share of time on display.  I’m ready for the weather to break.  To wear all those cute shoes languishing in my closet, to stop wearing long johns to the office.  BUT, this is mid-Michigan, so we’ve got a healthy month left – although, does anyone remember that AH-mazing St. Patrick’s Day about three years ago where it was 80 degrees?  That was pretty crazy.  So we might not be too far away from a break in the snow? (Hear that hopefulness?)

Whatever the weather may bring, we’ve still got to tough it out, and by this time, if you’re like me, you’re a little “over” winter activities.  The next few weekends will be spent with home-baked goods, take-out, and lots of reading.  Hunkering down, if you will.  With that, I bring you a handful of titles to help you get lost in the lives of others, right in your living room (or your bed, I won’t judge).  These are captivating binge-worthy reads; and while they might not totally change your life, are the literary equivalent of a really good movie.  They’ll make you sit back and really think, or exercise your imagination, or just transport you to another country or time period for awhile. Continue reading

Evening Class – Maeve Binchy

This is the first book I’ve read of Maeve Binchy’s, and while it isn’t her first or her most recent, I thoroughly enjoyed it – enough to put a few more on my hold list at the library.  Each chapter is told from the perspective of someone involved in Aiden Dunne’s recent undertaking – an evening Italian for Beginners class at a local school.  Aiden has taught at the school for many years, and believes he is a shoe-in for becoming the next principal.  When his aspirations are dashed as he watches a slicker teacher he dislikes get the position, Aiden is placated by being given his other dream – an evening class for the otherwise rundown school.  Binchy has a way with characters, making them all likeable and yet realistic at the same time.  Nothing seems prescribed.  One gets the feeling that Binchy would have been warm woman to meet – the kind you would like to have a standing weekly coffee date with, just so her positivity rubs off on you. In this novel, the individual stories of the characters become wound around one another, so that by the end, you have been given the last few months of each person’s life and are caught up with everyone.  Binchy’s writing makes you realize that everyone you meet has a story to tell, no matter how mundane it might look from the outside; and that a community can be created in the unlikeliest of places.

Evening Class by Maeve Binchy