The first part of my reading year has been spent in the throws of romance, Emilie and Valencourt in Udolpho, Catherine and Henry in Northanger Abbey, Lucie and Charles in A Tale of Two Cities. So to pick up this brash and brittle story of infidelity and divorce was a bit of a culture shock!
‘I always thought during the pain of the marriage that one day it would make a funny book.’ A life lesson that Norah Ephron learnt from her mother was that everything is potential copy. Heartburn is a savagely comic roman-à-clef about the breakdown of a marriage. With recipes. Continue reading “Heartburn”
‘No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine’ from the very beginning Northanger Abbey sparkles with wit and fun. The daughter of a clergyman, never handsome and called Richard and a mother full of ‘useful plain sense’, Catherine has led a sheltered life amongst her ten siblings in an English village. So when their rich neighbours, Mr and Mrs Allen invite her to Bath for six weeks, everyone is delighted. Six weeks of discussing muslins, parading in front of the Pump Room and hopefully making new friends and falling in love!
Catherine is 17, naive and impressionable and thoroughly loveable. Her kind-hearted character is the perfect foil with which to satirise the absurdity of ‘society’, young girls’ intense friendships and the problems of mixing up reality and make-believe! Written for family entertainment, contemporary readers must have revelled in reading about the actual buildings they went to, the streets they walked along and the novels they read. If Dublin could be re-built from Ulysses, what an easier time the city planners of Bath would have! Continue reading “Northanger Abbey”
Happily RoofBeamReader has announced the TBR Pile Challenge for another year! The aim is to read 12 books that have been gathering dust over the next 12 months.
My list in no particular order:
- Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
- Heat Wave by Penelope Lively
- The Lady and the Little Fox Fur by Violette Leduc
- The Beautiful summer by Cesare Pavese
- Death in Spring by Merce Rodoreda
- The Green Road by Anne Enright
- Heartburn by Nora Ephron
- The Cherry Tree by Adrian Bell
- Silver Ley by Adrian Bell
- Young Anne by Dorothy Whipple
- Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
- Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
And two alternates, just in case:
- The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook
- Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
All of these look like great reading to me. Gulliver’s Travels is a book I’ve always meant to read, but keep putting off and I really don’t understand why it’s taken me so long to get around to Birdsong!