Book Reviews for April

My writing plans for this afternoon did not include blogging. Since I’m supposed to be editing one of my fictional projects instead, I hope you’ll forgive me for bypassing the usual introductory fluff and simply saying:

Here are some books I read in April.

And here is what I thought of them.

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1. Clouds of Witness (A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery, #2) by Dorothy L. Sayers

I’m following through on my resolution to befriend Dorothy L. Sayers, you see? And I’m enjoying myself in the process.

The mystery was only of passing interest to me, but the colorful cast of characters and scrumptious turns of phrase made for abundantly delightful reading.

A collection of lines that tickled my fancy:

“…somebody was [sitting here]; he’s left the impression of his sit-me-down upon the cushion.”

“Mr. Parker was not the kind of man to be deterred by the difficulty of buying ladies’ underwear in a foreign language.”

“‘You know,’ said Wimsey, ‘I think there’s often a great deal in what one’s mother says.'”

“Did your ladyship dine on the way up? No? Most unwise, my lady, to undertake a long journey on a vacant interior.”

“‘You said, ‘the glass-blower’s cat is bompstable,’ retorted Lord Peter. ‘It’s a perfectly rippin’ word, but I don’t know what you mean by it.'”

2. Dorothy L. Sayers: A Literary Biography by Ralph E. Hone

Please refer to first paragraph of previous review.

It seems the author’s main goal was to write a biography that his subject would have approved of. The result was a book that makes the reader feel less like they are getting to know Dorothy L. Sayers personally than they are being told about her by a circumspect mutual acquaintance. As a greedy and intrusive reader, I might have relished a few more insights into Sayers’s faith and personal life. But I believe Hone achieved his objective.

If nothing else, I now know to never omit Miss Sayers’s middle initial when writing out her name, lest I should incur her wrath from beyond the grave.

3. The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery

I have a deep and abiding love for the 90’s television series “Avonlea” (also known as “Road To Avonlea”, but I don’t know where the Road To part came from, because it was never called that when I was growing up). The sets, costumes, and scenery are perfection. If it’s not quite on par with Anne of Green Gables, well… it’s the next best thing you’re going to get.

Can you believe something like this ever came on the Disney channel??? The 90’s were a very different era.

Given this obvious love and nostalgia, it was probably inevitable that I would stumble upon the literary inspiration for the series, at some point. Finding The Story Girl at a thrift shop, I recognized the connection and eagerly parted with fifty cents to bring it home with me.

There are always difference between books and their screen adaptations. I know this. We all know this. In Avonlea/The Story Girl, the discrepancies are even more significant than usual. I was a little traumatized at first. No Aunt Hetty? No great Aunt Eliza (my favorite character from the series)? No Gus Pike?!?!?! It’s sacrilege, but after the first few chapters, my preference was firmly in the adaptation’s favor.

Reading on, however, I was able to enjoy the story for its own sake and realized that, at their hearts, the book and series have more in common than not. Getting that taste of idyllic childhood on Prince Edward’s Island is what it’s all about. And I’ll take all of that I can get.

4. Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love by Laura A. Smit

The title and description of this book might lead you to believe that it is centered on the subject of unrequited love. And, OK… it is. Which is great. As the author points out, pretty much everybody has had to either experience rejection, or reject someone else. Even if you haven’t, you know someone who has. And yet how many books out there actually offer counsel on the subject, from a Christian perspective? I know of one, and this is it.

This book covers a lot more than unrequited love, though. Smit runs the whole gamut of singleness and relationships, too. I will go so far as to say it is the best book on any of these subjects that I’ve read, offering a wealth of wisdom and common sense. The world needs those things.

So…

Are you single? Read this. Happily in love? Read it. Unhappily in love? Read it. In a position of advising/comforting any of the above? Read it. You might not like all of it, but that just means you need it all the more.

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Here’s another Avonlea image, just to send you off with. Because, gah. I love it.

Now if you’ll all excuse me, I have some editing to do. Have a great week, guys.

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