Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron

I read this book for the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge. This is the first book in the series. When I first discovered this series over five years ago, I started with the fifth book since it was the one I found in the bookstore. This time I have started with the first and am glad of it.

When I first read these books, I had only read Jane Austen's novels and was unfamiliar with her life. This series lured me into reading about her life and her times in Regency England. I remember that I checked out a cookbook with Martha Lloyd's recipes (it even had a recipe for white soup!). I bought Jane Austen's letters edited by Dierdre LeFaye. I asked for a membership to the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) for Christmas (and got it!). I am so grateful for these novels because they returned a desire to learn to me at a time when my personal growth was stagnant (I had just finished my Master's and was in a groove of teaching the same literature in English I every year).

As regards this book in particular, I enjoyed the rediscovery that Jane had initially not liked Lord Harold Trowbridge. Since I have been read what was out five years ago and have only read the new ones as they have come out (and not reread any older ones), I am so used to the idea that Jane and Lord Harold are "friends." It was fun to remember her first suspicions and that I had suspected him of the murders the first time I read this novel.

When I finish one of these novels, I am amazed anew at Barron's word choice and mastery of Jane's style.

It has taken me a while to get this one read along with the other books I am reading for my various responsibilities, but I have this one finished and can't wait to start my second one. My goal is to read one a month from now on.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

This book continues the story of Dr. Robert Langdon (The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons). This thriller explores Freemasonry in Washington, D.C.
I enjoyed the interesting tidbits about nation's capital. The paintings and places referenced are always interesting in Brown's work.
Once again, it seems as if Brown cannot stay away from heresy. In fact, it seemed as if in the last few chapters of this book he tried very hard to add heresy on purpose. I suppose this might the result of his commercial success after the heresy of The DaVinci Code.
Yay Me: I figured out Mal'akh's secret as soon as the first clue was given.
Yay Me 2: A students came to the library last year looking for books on symbology after watching The DaVinci Code. We didn't have anything last year for him, but a book came in on the topic just last week. I took it to him and he was so excited. It made my day!