Monday, October 3, 2016

My October Book List

I quietly imagine myself sitting by an old chimney, a fire crackling, a wool blanket draped over my shoulders, the window curtains pulled back to the sight of rolling mountains and an overcast sky, and the scent of warm apple
cider cooking over the stove. But since that isn't the scene of my current reality, there is one aspect of it that is true. There are apple hand pies baking in the oven, filling my kitchen with the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. So as I sit at the dining table, the view of my small patio surrounded by tall red brick walls, I sip on some tea and pick up a book to dive into my next adventure.


1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

This story follows the character Jane, from her childhood, growing up as an orphan under her abusive aunt, to her as a governess at Thornfield Hall. Although feelings develop between her and her employer, she is faced with the tension of her beliefs and his secret. This inner conflict has left her to decide whether she should leave or stay.

2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

This story takes place in London and Paris during the French Revolution. The story follows Dr. Manette as he is reunited with his daughter, after being wrongly imprisoned in the Bastille for several years. He and his daughter return to England where their lives are interfered by a case of treason.

3. A Room of One's Own by Virginia Wolf

In response to being asked to address women and fiction, Wolf provides a lecture that is further extended into the book A Room of One's Own.  Her main point being that women need a steady income and a room/space of their own in order to write creatively.


1. Tales of a Wayside Inn by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I loved the poetic descriptions and rhythm in this book. Here is a short excerpt from one of my favorite tales, The Falcon of Ser Federigo, lines 141 to 148. Federigo is a man who loses all his wealth trying to win the heart of his dream woman, Monna Giovanna. As a result, he becomes poor, left to live on a small farm, with his pet falcon. After several years, it is the falcon that brings a visit from the now widowed Monna Giovanna. But it is the sacrifice of the falcon and the death of her son that brings Federigo and Monna to wed.

Two lovely ladies, clothed in cloak and hood, 
Passed through the garden gate into the wood,
Under the lustrous leaves, and through the sheen
Of dewy sunshine showering down between. 
The one, close-hooded, had the attractive grace
Which sorrow sometimes lends a woman's face; 
Her dark eyes moistened with the mists that roll
From the gulf-stream of passion in the soul; 

2. As You Like It by William Shakespeare

The story begins with sibling rivalry. Duke Frederick has taken the throne from his brother, forcing his brother to flee to the forest of Arden. He soon banishes his niece (Rosalind) as well, who flees to the forest with her cousin (Duke Frederick's daughter) and the court clown. Oliver has inherited his father's position and estate, but fails to treat his brother fairly or rightly. His brother is forced to flee into the forest, upon the news of his life being in danger. These events take the reader into the forest, where the theme of love is depicted differently among four couples. I was most interested in the relationship between Rosalind and Orlando, as their interaction takes place while Rosalind impersonates a man. In order to help Orlando's love sick heart, she has him treat her as though she is the woman he loves.

3. The Moon is Down by John Steinbeck

I really appreciated this book, especially the way it allowed you to observe and get to know the struggles and feelings the conquered and conquerers were going through. The setting takes place in a small town, during a great war. Over time, you begin to see how the tactics used to keep order in the small town, increase the feelings of fear and loneliness for the conquerors. At the same time, you witness a peaceful and loving community transform into a people with great hatred and revengeful tendencies. The story provides this picture of humanity that is easily lost during war time, when our main focus is on good versus evil.


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