So the much hyped Olive Kitteridge was
Make no mistake, Elizabeth Strout is an exceptional writer and her stories are deeply moving. I loved her humor, her characterizations and eloquent observations about the sometimes ineffable qualities that make people tick... but I reckon life is hard enough without having to read about it over and over again. Did not appreciate the fact that I had to grope about for my bearings in every other chapter as a bevy of new characters were introduced; who, while interesting; unraveled threads that led mostly nowhere. Soo unsatisfying.
Just about devoured Gone Away Lake and Return To Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. Love the vintage cover art. Wasn't expecting much, but found myself entirely lost in the enchanting summer adventures of a pair of cousins who stumble upon and bring life to a small Victorian ghost town that lies decaying by a dried-up lake. Utterly charming! For a children's book, the writing was impeccable. Funny too, I laughed out loud quite a bit. This line made me devoutly thankful for my own cousin-friend: “Now isn't that nice!" said the old lady. "If cousins are the right kind, they're best of all: kinder than sisters and brothers, and closer than friends.” Trufax! except I'm fortunate in that my siblings are both exceptionally kind.
Another gem where one cousin, Portia, describes the other: Julian has "about a hundred thousand freckles on his face, all sizes, and the same color as his hair. He says it's the influence of the carrot on his appearance; that when he was a little kid, carrots were the only vegetable he'd eat, and he ate them every day for every meal except breakfast. So he turned orange. Uncle Jake always says, 'Good thing it was carrots and not spinach.'" Bazinga! This Julian reminds me of my own nephew; an intrepid young naturalist in the making, wandering around collecting inchworms & butterflies, overflowing with entomological factoids and a bubbling enthusiasm for the ephemeral. Basically this book is how life should be. *wistful sigh* Maybe I should just stick to kid lit.
Next on the formidable and ever-growing Reading List:
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Just thought I'd throw in a pic of Mr Thornton nee Richard Armitage for good measure and also because no mention of North & South is complete without his mug. Yes, I am shallow like that.