Summer Reading

Fanny found it impossible not to try for books again.  There were none in her father’s house; but wealth is luxurious and daring–and some of hers found its way to a circulating library.  She became a subscriber… amazed at her own doings in every way; to be a renter, a chooser of books!” Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

“I cannot comprehend the neglect of a family library in such days as these.” Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Amen to that!  There are 78 books on my wish-list for our homeschool library.  Some of them I can easily acquire at the local library, but many of them I just can’t.  They’re out of print.  And besides, most of them are books we’d want to devour over and over again, so I’m going to pinch my pennies and see what we can do to acquire them.

The boys are keeping up with the library summer reading program.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, the program is open to pre-readers as well, so we just need to keep track of how many books we read to them.  Rascal is insatiable; he could keep us up for hours every night with “just one more story.”

Meanwhile, I had a chance on Memorial Day to visit my favorite used bookstore here in town, a very ecletic place where you can buy/sell/trade and which I almost never leave empty-handed.  It is the place to go if you want to purge a bookshelf–trade the old volumes in and receive credit for the books in their store.  One summer, thanks to my family cleaning out shelves and some of our own contributions, we came up with $140 in credit!  Alas, it is gone now.  Every time we plan a trip to this bookstore I scan our shelves to see if I could possibly get credit this time, but now most of our books are “friends.”

I am busy collecting books for Princess that I never read when I was little but wish I had.  I do have the Little House series that I still read from time to time, but never owned the entire set until I found this store.  I’ve added to my stash of L.M. Montgomery tomes (I had never read beyond Anne of Green Gables until I was over 20, believe it or not) and am branching out into her other series of books.  Louisa May Alcott is also getting a healthy portion of shelf space in the library here.

Amazingly, I’m also finding time to read some myself.  Every summer I read Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park more than once.  I haven’t put my finger on why exactly I like this book, but every summer I follow Fanny Price from her obscurity and unloved beginning to her moral triumph in the end.  I berate Edmund Bertram and alternately laugh at and despise Aunt Norris. Then I move on to Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell.   Last year I read that book back-to-back five times.  Only once this year, so far, because then I moved on to Mrs. Gaskell’s North and South, and while I love the BBC movie, I don’t think the book compares with Wives and Daughters or the next book  I read, Cranford.  From Cranford I moved back a bit and picked up Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, and you know, I have a sneaking suspicion that Elizabeth Gaskell might be edging Jane Austen off her twelve-year pedestal as my favorite authoress.  Or perhaps there’s room on there for the both of them.  🙂

3 thoughts on “Summer Reading

  1. I saw the BBC miniseries Wives and Daughters last year and loved it, so then picked up the book… but never finished it– only because I chose to pick it up on the way to Rome and never had time to read it after I got off the airplane.

    I definitely want to pick it up again, although I’ll have to buy another copy… the thick tome was abandoned in my bedroom on Via Affogalasino in June because it was ultimately “one more souvenir… or Wives and Daughters…” I had to leave a pair of shoes behind, too… and Rick Steve’s Dublin… and a shirt or two…

  2. Have you ever seen the British television show Foyle’s War? I can’t remember if we’ve talked about it or not. Anyway, that’s one of the reasons I watched Wives and Daughters, because one of the main characters from Foyle’s War plays Roger Hamley. And after I started watching W&D, it almost became a game— how many actors/actresses can you recognize from Foyle’s War episodes or other BBC films??

  3. I haven’t seen “Foyle’s War” yet. I know what you mean about looking for period film regulars as you watch different movies! It gets crazy when you also start recognizing costumes that they’ve reused as well as buildings. We finally saw “Amazing Grace” last week (good film!) and I almost had to bite my tongue to keep from asking Haus Meister and our seminarian friend whether the facade of a building in Bath was also used as the facade of John Dashwood’s house in London in the Emma Thompson version of “S&S.”

    Ok, so most of the movies I’ve seen recently are period films. Can I help it if they’re better than the stuff in the theaters lately? 😉

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