I’ve always heard that if you have ambitions to write you should write the novel that you would want to read, the novel that embraces all your passions and literary likes. Well, thanks to Carlene Bauer there’s no need for me to ever write my own novel – she has written my perfect book.
Frances & Bernard is an epistolary novel set during the late 50′s through the late 60′s and chronicles the evolving relationship between a novelist and a poet. Their passionate and intelligent letters illuminate the difficult choices we all make about love, self-worth, creativity and spirituality. It is endearing and bittersweet and will make you laugh, cry and think.
With a mid-century setting, a New York vibe, characters who are based on Robert Lowell, Flannery O’Connor and others of their smart literary set, witty book talk, earnest spiritual discussions and honest observations on art and romance it ticks every one of my boxes. I wanted to re-read it immediately after finishing. It is a book that captured my heart and my mind and I think it will be a forever favorite.
Have you ever encountered the most perfect book for you?
When Mary Stewart died in May I was terribly sad, but so grateful that she’s left us a legacy of charming, sophisticated, witty and intelligent suspense novels (and her Merlin series) to feast on for generations to come. I enjoyed last year’s Mary Stewart Reading Week so much and I thought it would be a wonderful tribute to Stewart to once again read her novels and celebrate her work during the week of her birthday. So, I invite you all to join me in reading Stewart’s fantastic novels from September 14 through the 21 of this year.
I’d also like to invite anyone who’d be interested in writing a guest post for the week to let me know. You can write about your discovery of Stewart’s novels, your favorite of her books, her heroines, anything you’d like. Please email me if you’re interested at gudrunstightsatgmaildotcom.
Thanks to my friend Charles for creating the badge again this year. Feel free to use it on your own blogs to let others know about the event.
I’m really looking forward to the week! I think it’s a great way to honor Stewart’s legacy. You can see all the posts from last year here.
The winner of a copy of The Mountain Lion is Michelle. Congratulations!
Have a beautiful Sunday.
The third birthday of Gudrun’s Tights was actually over two months ago, but I completely let it slip by. I admit that I have been a bad blogger lately, but I’m still here and I’m still reading and I still love the book blogging community. I had a bit of an upset this past week and was feeling really blue. It was the kind of heartache that consumes your existence and makes it hard to see the good things in life. On Friday night I was so, so sad and, in an effort to distract myself, I started reading blogs. And you know what? It worked! I began feeling like myself again. Just being reminded of the things I enjoy in life, the things I am passionate about, made all the difference. And from there I moved on to reading about the new Virginia Woolf exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and fantasizing about finding a way to make it to London before the exhibit closes. Yes, just back to my normal self. Of course, my heart is still bruised and slightly broken, but these things pass. Thank goodness literature (and people who talk and think about it) is here to sustain us during the hard times. Novels are truly better than any self-help book I’ve ever read.
One of my favorite books from last year was The Mountain Lion by Jean Stafford. It is a powerful coming of age novel set in Colorado and has as a character one of my favorite young girl protagonists of all time. I think this novel deserves much more recognition than it gets and I’d love for everyone to read it, but for now I am giving away one copy of this hard edged, compelling story.
The giveaway is open to anyone from anywhere until Friday, July 18, at 11:59 pm, Pacific Time. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner next weekend and also notify them by email.
To enter, please go to the entry form here.
Thank you all for reading and for being passionate and excited about books. You have enriched my life immensely.
Also – Mary Stewart Reading Week is still on the calendar for September 14-21. A badge will be coming next week sometime.
Have a great Sunday!
Last Friday I left home at 5 am to drive up to my grandparents’ house in Springerville, Arizona for Independence Day. I got to town right before the parade started, but I unfortunately didn’t get any good photos of the floats. I did take lots of pictures around the ranch, though, so here is a look at the family homestead. I’ll be back in a few days with a book-related post!
I’ve been feeling a bit down lately – I’m blaming it on the heat – and nothing cheers me up more than buying new books. Here are a few I’ve acquired over the past month:
Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger – I bought this at my local Barnes & Noble after finishing My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff. I tried reading The Catcher in the Rye earlier this year and didn’t connect with it so I think starting with some of Salinger’s short stories might work better for me.
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh – I’ve checked a copy of this out of the library a few times and couldn’t bring myself to read it because it was grubby and smelly. Sometimes you just have to buy your own copy.
Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart – I bought this in anticipation of Mary Stewart Reading Week ( Sept. 14-22), but I might read it before then as I am looking for escape these days.
God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam – I read Claire’s post about Jane Gardam with curiosity and made a mental note to read her some day. While foraging at Half Price Books just a few weeks later I came across this novel and knew it was meant to be.
Mrs. Ames by E.F. Benson – I found this book on the same Half Price Books trip and, though I know nothing about it, it’s from Bloomsbury Group and by the Mapp & Lucia author. In my basket it went.
Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser – Our last book sale at the library was for half-off all paperbacks and this was included. Originally $1 I was able to buy it for only .50 during the sale. I couldn’t pass it up! I might read it for Paris in July.
What have you bought lately? Does buying books cheer you up?