Saint Clair Shores, MIUSA 48080
October 30, 2013
I read whenever I can. I bring my Kindle almost everywhere. I take reading very seriously. I like to mull, analyze, and ponder what I read. My undergraduate major is in English, and although I chose a different career (law), studying literature is my avocation. My tastes are fairly high-brow, but not too obscure. I prefer character-driven works to plot-heavy books. My favorite authors are Austen, Eliot, and Dickens. I also enjoy Ian McEwan and the underappreciated Alice Thomas Ellis. Lately I've been interested in adding more American authors and post-1900 works to my literary diet. My enthusiasm for Mad Men is making me curious about mid-20th century works. I don't read a great deal of non-fiction, but I always try to get in a few books on history or biographies every year. Currently, I'm re-reading McCullough's John Adams biography, and reading Portrait of Dorian Gray for the first time. (I'm sorry I'm too late for that discussion.)
Middlemarch, by George Eliot. Eliot's characters are very real to me. I deeply sympathize with Dorothea's quest to live a meaningful life, and Lydgate's ambitions of advancing medicine. They are good people, with the best and most honorable intentions, but they are undermined by their own poor judgment of others. It was written around 1870, and takes place around 1830, but Eliot's insights remain valid today. Also, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are my Austen standouts. I especially love Austen's barbs at human foibles. Another favorite is Lolita. I often associate first-person narratives with mediocre hack writing, but Nabokov is brilliant with it! He gets us right into Humbert's mind, almost making the reader forget what a scoundrel he is. One final comment for Bleak House: The cast of characters is fantastic! They are believable, even when they are extreme. Dickens is amazing. His characters are simultaneously over-the-top, and yet believable.
Solar by Ian McEwan. I'd love to hear what others think about the rather despicable protagonist. Also, Turn of the Screw. The goings-on in that book seem obvious to me, yet I know other readers disagree. I'm sure that would make for good discussion.
I'm a 47-year woman, dedicated to my daughter, my profession, and my crusade against malaise, ennui, and mediocrity. Reading good literature is a big part of that crusade. I'm always looking to discuss books with other readers.