Home Feed
Add Review, Blurb, Quote


Joined June 2017

reading now icon
Pericles by William Shakespeare
post image

My next audio. I was really indecisive on what to choose. It was supposed to be A Town Called Solace, but I didn‘t like the narrator in the sample. Next choice was Bewilderment. The narrator seemed better but didn‘t feel right. So I balked on both and found something else - this. And the beginning has been simply terrific. Shirley Jackson was such a special author.

44 likes2 stack adds
The Promise | Damon Galgut
post image

The Booker Prize winner is a satirical and dark look at white owners of a large South African farm. Galgut‘s writing comes across really confident on audio, but also seems to be searching for the right balance of serious themes, human characters, satirical and simple humor. I wouldn‘t call it perfect, but I enjoyed it.

Cathythoughts Great picture & review! I really enjoyed this one too 1d
52 likes1 comment
The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
post image

I thoroughly enjoyed this classic - which was new to me. It‘s a terrific novel. Apparently the first novel to really cut into the culture of the New York leisure class, through the life of Lily Bart, it was a instant success, a big seller and put Wharton securely on the map. It made for great reading for the #whartonbuddyread

Cathythoughts Such a good book ❤️💔 1d
batsy It's a brilliant book! 23h
53 likes1 stack add2 comments
post image

Spent my morning finishing this. Louisiana is a pretty young place, with everything on the surface, except the salt domes, formed in the last 60 million years, and largely, as pictured, in the last 7,500 years.

post image

A road trip to New Orleans and this book happened. I‘m about half way through.

Leftcoastzen So pretty! 3d
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen it was just checking us out (New Orleans City Park sculpture garden) 2d
arubabookwoman I still miss NO 35 years after leaving! 2d
See All 6 Comments
Nute Whoa! Lovely! 2d
Graywacke @arubabookwoman well, suddenly my daughter is very interested in Tulane. 🙂 I miss it a lot too. Such a great place to just walk around. 2d
Graywacke @Nute yeah, that. 🙂 2d
50 likes6 comments
The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
post image

House of Mirth - to the end of the book.

Lily continues her economic downward spiral, from secondary socialite to laid off milliner. When she is at her lowest there are hands reaching out, offering help. But she was unable to bring herself to accept it. It‘s a curious aspect of the book. Why not?

But, also we have finished a special novel and a classic. Share your overall thoughts.

(Early post as I‘m traveling tomorrow.)

CarolynM Bother!! I got busy this week, barely read anything and completely forgot about this😩 I'll look forward to reading everyone's comments once I finish the book. 1w
Graywacke @CarolynM well, i am early. ☺️ But, look forward to your thoughts whenever you finish. 1w
See All 33 Comments
mdm139 Overall, I liked the story. The anti-Semitic aspect did bother me to the point of wanting to put it down. I was hoping for a happy ending. I thought maybe she had. Her low point on the bench where Nettie found her. And then she would pay of Trenor and marry Seldon. But Wharton killed her off! Wanted to just toss the book up into the air at that point. But I can see why it was popular at the time and it is better written than her other books. 1w
Cathythoughts @mdm139 I hear you ! What an ending , so upsetting. @Graywacke I really enjoyed this reread & had forgotten a lot of the story ( except the end ) .. Beautiful writing , I was very struck with the baby in Lily‘s last dreamy moments , of the purity of the baby & of Lily‘s goodness & how wounded she had become in her life. I loved this book 💔 1w
Cathythoughts @Graywacke I don‘t know why she couldn‘t accept help , she‘s worn out , feels herself beyond help.. sadly she was heading only in one direction. Tragedy. (edited) 1w
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts I was thinking that every time she tried to ask fo help in the past there were strings attached, often ones she didn‘t realize until later. And she always ended up worse off than before. Maybe she was too exhausted to play the mental chess to figure out what the end result of accepting help would be. 1w
Lcsmcat @mdm139 I agree that Wharton‘s writing is maturing in this one. I won‘t say that it‘s her best book (we‘ve got a lot to go!) but it shows marked improvement over Valley of Decision. 1w
Lcsmcat The saddest part for me was not Lily‘s death, but that she never really learned how to be happy. She would catch glimpses of it, but never managed to figure it out. Was her “fatal flaw” that she was always comparing herself to others? That she had no interior life? That she had never learned to be anything other than ornamental? Or a combination of all this. 1w
Currey @Lcsmcat Agreed, but she did accept help from Gerty and Carry. It was the big offer from Rosedale that she had to assume came with strings. Was she too proud to ask Selden for help? In her own way, I think she thought she did ask Selden for help ( be that person I need you to be). 1w
Currey @mdm139 @Lcsmcat Wharton has come a long way from Valley. What I found remarkable is how she took some of the same indecision/fate themes and transposed them to an environment she knew well. 1w
Currey @Lcsmcat Hmmm, no interior life… yes, she thought happiness was the luxury of a warm quilted bed and really that is the rare moment when she does seem happy. I will think about this 1w
Graywacke @Currey @Lcsmcat This line stayed with me “She wanted to get away from herself, and conversation was the only means of escape that she knew.” ( page 15 in my edition) 1w
Graywacke I agree Lily was always tragic. A self-destructive contradiction, always fighting herself into not making the helpful decision. (She was never willing to confront the cost.) And a master of the moment, she was always willing avoid the larger picture - but that larger picture was always so hard to face. 1w
Graywacke @Currey @mdm139 @Lcsmcat So far from Valley! 😂 But sharp catch, I can see she does repackaged many of those same themes. (The last section of her last consciousness felt to me very much like the author of Valley - I should add, in a good way.) 1w
Graywacke @Currey @Lcsmcat I keep thinking her rejection of help is a key point here, more meaningful than it seems. Partially help comes with a cost, which she learned bitterly. But - it seemed she couldn‘t break her social structure and codes (even everyone else did). And yet, she maybe didn‘t want what she was supposed want by code - a rich yucky husband. If she gets her inheritance…does she marry? 👇 1w
Graywacke More than the code, there seemed to be an independent streak in Lily. She wanted the freedom the men had, and the women didn‘t. A part of her wanted to be in control and to actually be in the boardrooms with Rosedale and Trenor, but making her own investments, independent of anyone‘s support. She couldn‘t. 1w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts @Cathythoughts I think I sensed the ending early on - a dark Pride and Prejudice - I did not expect her death, but a dark road ahead. But it‘s still sad to confront. If Selden could just have been a little more assertive … well, a lot more. @Cathythoughts so glad you enjoyed. Easily one of the most rewarding books i‘ve read in a while. I adored this. 7d
Graywacke @mdm139 on the antisemitic side - it‘s curious how much I liked Rosedale on closing the book. No angel, but he never turns away, and sincerely wanted to help her just because he felt bad for her. So, I personally feel more forgiving now. Perhaps he becomes an emblem of the times - nuveau riche Jew confronting antisemitism of the rich, but still just plainly human inside. 7d
Currey @mdm139 I also was impressed by Wharton‘s handling of Rosedale. She never relieved him of his “social climbing Jew” label, no doubt reflecting social conventions of the time, but made him human and likable in the end. More likable than Selden actually because he understood what Lily was going through in a way that Selden tied up with all sorts of pride and rules of class/gender/society took too long to break away from 7d
Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat Excellent point about the ‘ strings attached‘ … her trust was gone ! You understood her 👍🏻💔❤️ 7d
arubabookwoman I have been reading along, but unable to post due to some RL issues. And now I am a week behind. I will try to finish by early next week, read the posts here and possibly comment. I will say I read this probably 30-35 yrs ago, and loved it, and I have loved what I've read of it so far this time. 7d
llwheeler I admit I wasn't expecting that ending! I keep coming back to the image of her as the hothouse flower. Carefully pruned and cultivated for one particular function in one particular environment... 7d
Lcsmcat @llwheeler And then the environment was taken from her, and she couldn‘t survive. 💔 7d
Lcsmcat @Currey She did seem able to accept small help, but not the big life-changing type. And I think it was because she couldn‘t imagine a different life as being a happy one (until the end, with Nettie). And by then it was too late. 7d
Lcsmcat Did it strike anyone else that she was left $10,000 in turn of the century dollars, and believed that was being left in poverty. And her “set” called that being disinherited. It‘s more money than my mother made in 1964 as a teacher, and she raised 3 kids on it. So Lily‘s ideas were twisted by her mother‘s fear of “dinginess” and her being surrounded by the super rich. 7d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I marked that escape by conversation quote too. Lily seemed pursued through the whole book by fear of true introspection. 7d
Lcsmcat @Currey @Graywacke @mdm139 I came to feel differently about Wharton‘s portrayal of Rosedale by the end, too. I feel like Wharton showed us his humanity in glimpses of him with children, in his trying to help Lily, etc. And I think he truly loved her, not just for what she could do for him. But like all that class, he was thwarted by his desire to penetrate the upper echelons. 7d
Graywacke @arubabookwoman wish you well and look forward to your comments. 6d
Graywacke @llwheeler i like that image. 6d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I haven‘t been able to context what $10,000 was then. I just looked up a calculator: “$10,000 in 1905 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $314,305.68 today, an increase of $304,305.68 over 116 years.” Wow. 6d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat of course she was supposed to inherit $400,000 which is roughly $12.5 million today. 6d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke It was way less than she thought she was getting, but hardly poverty. If someone gave me $314k in a lump sum, I don‘t think I would feel impoverished. (I‘m willing to make the experiment 😂) 6d
38 likes1 stack add33 comments
Pericles | William Shakespeare
post image

Spending the first part of my morning reading the introduction to Pericles for our next #shakespearereadalong

(Unfortunately not one of the better Signet introductions.)

post image

Starting this next. I‘ve had great and also unreadable experiences with Schiff. Hoping for the former.

post image

(Edinburgh, 1934 photo)

My first read of Spark required some patience, and continual thinking and rethinking, trying understand what she is doing. 1930‘s school teacher Miss Brodie is presented as inspirational, a remarkable independent spirit, having the full devotion of her selected girls, and yet there is an odd uncomfortable aspect to her. Spark literally repeats points over and over, in different contexts as the reader‘s perspective evolves.

Graywacke Spark was first a poet, with a satirical outlook and she combines them so well you don‘t see the satire until she is ready for you to. This is a special autobiographical-inspired, novel. What do i read from her next? 2w
Suet624 I hope some day to get to this book. 2w
Ruthiella I‘ve read The Driver‘s Seat, which is so bizarre and this one which I found delightful and funny 2w
See All 14 Comments
Graywacke @Suet624 just 150 pages (and my edition has two afterwards). 🙂 Have you read others my MS? 2w
Graywacke @Ruthiella noting! Thanks. 2w
Suet624 @Graywacke I didn‘t realize it was so short. I haven‘t read anything by Spark. 2w
Graywacke @Suet624 for what it‘s worth, I was advised not to start with this, but I have no regrets. This is ultimately a 5-star read for and I‘m looking forward to more. 2w
Suet624 @Graywacke good to know. It‘s been on my list forever and you‘re inspiring me to get to it. 2w
Graywacke @Ruthiella I knew I had another novel by her here, but realized it is A Far Cry from Kensington. 👍 2w
Bookwomble I loved both the film and tv adaptations of the book, which I only got around to reading a couple of years ago, and loved that, too. Spark does an excellent job of drawing a lovingly detailed picture of what, ultimately, turns out to be a vacuously narcotic personality. I've got Memento Mori on the old tbr pile to read at some point. 2w
Graywacke @Bookwomble yes. that nails it. Memento Mori has been recommended to me. I‘m curious. And maybe i will check out the movie sometime. 2w
Bookwomble @Graywacke My phone's autocomplete chose “narcotic“ when I had intended “narcissistic“, but perhaps it was right in some degree 🙂 2w
Graywacke @Bookwomble i translated the autocorrect. 🙂 2w
Bookwomble @Graywacke 😁👍🏻 2w
48 likes14 comments
post image

(Car service morning.)

I‘m reading Muriel Spark for the first time, and rewiring my brain for whatever she‘s doing here in the mindsets of the mid-1930‘s. Somehow unsettling.

“But she was not out of place amongst her own kind, the vigorous daughters … with shrewd wits, high-coloured cheeks, constitutions like horses, logical educations, hearty spirits and private means.”

54 likes1 stack add
The Fortune Men | Nadifa Mohamed
post image

My 6th from the Booker longlist. Based on the true story of Mahmood Mattan, a Somali immigrant in Cardiff, executed for a murder he did not commit in 1952, in a horrible trial where his own lawyer called him a savage in court. A gritty dark opening, it becomes something beautiful, transforming for us a sketchy, but innocent, Mattan into someone warm, human, fascinating, and ultimately graceful in the face of the unfathomable.

The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
post image

House of Mirth : Book 2 ch 1-8

Monte Carlo and the French Riviera. Poor Lily. Bertha Dorset betrays her, she is disinherited, dependent on Carey Fisher‘s plans and Gerty Farish‘s compassion. Even Rosedale has rejected her. What do you make of Lily and this world and her response? (And who is Norma Hartch? No spoilers please.)

Graywacke “It was before him again in its completeness — the choice in which she was content to rest: in the stupid costliness of the food and the showy dullness of the talk, in the freedom of speech which never arrived at wit and the freedom of act which never made for romance. The strident setting of the restaurant..,emphasized the ideals of a world in which conspicuousness passed for distinction, and the society column had become the roll of fame.” 2w
Lcsmcat “what she craved, and really felt herself entitled to, was a situation in which the noblest attitude should also be the easiest.” Kind of sums up Lily. She wants to see herself as good and different, but not put in any effort or have any personal unpleasantness. 2w
See All 46 Comments
Lcsmcat And yet she doesn‘t use the letters when Bertha betrays her. Is that because she knows it‘s despicable, or because they‘re to Seldon? 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yeah, good question. Did Rosedale get it right? (This is really high stakes stuff. No one is likely to succeed cleanly. I‘m not sure Lily gets that.) 2w
Currey @Lcsmcat I have to admit that I appreciated the honesty of Rosedale. He knew what he needed and how to get it even if it seemed a game to him. To Lily, it was her life. 2w
mdm139 “And sometimes I think it‘s because, at heart, she despises the things she is trying for.” We were suspecting Lily didn‘t really want to get married last week. 2w
Currey @Graywacke @Lcsmcat I was working on the assumption that she did not use Bertha‘s letters because it was despicable but now you have me thinking….is Lily simply not wily to know how to use them? (edited) 2w
Lcsmcat @Currey It really shows the difference in their (R & L) power and autonomy, doesn‘t it. Lily could not be direct and get what she wants, because the life she sought didn‘t allow for unmarried women to be direct. Also, males were much more upwardly mobile than women! (edited) 2w
Currey “”she works like a slave preparing the ground and sowing her seeds, but the day she ought to be reaping the harvest, she oversleeps herself or goes off on a picnic.” (Carie Fisher about Lily) 2w
Currey I liked this one about Gerty‘s friendship with Lily: “Having once helped Lily, she must continue to help her; and helping her, must believe in her, because faith is the main-spring of such nature‘s”. 2w
Lcsmcat @mdm139 Right. And maybe doesn‘t want to be like these people, but has been so indoctrinated by her mother that she can‘t see any other way. 2w
Lcsmcat I think Lily is so conflicted. And Gerty, stable, faithful, disciplined to be kind and helpful Gert, serves as a foil to show us how scattered Lily is. 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat direct - yes, she doesn‘t. Oddly Carrie Fisher does do direct. And Rosedale does too. He basically tells Lily he wants her because she is of her value, and later he doesn‘t because she doesn‘t have that value. Definitely direct. There was a comment about his kindness that struck me - when with Carrie‘s daughter. Something about kind within his ambitious way. (edited) 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Carrie does direct because as a multiple divorcée she‘s already weathered the storm and come out ok. Lily doesn‘t have that option unless she were willing to risk being permanently cast out. I think R is kind, but also laser focused on getting where he wants to go. 2w
Graywacke In the @Therewillbebooks podcast they bring up how Wharton later openly explained Lily. That Wharton wanted to show how that world would destroy what‘s beautiful. 2w
Graywacke Also in that podcast they note that this book was an immediate hit. This is what set Wharton in the literary pedestal and immediately. I find that interesting because of what it seems to say about her readers. There is an exposé aspect to the book. 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yup good points. It‘s interesting Carrie opens up to Lily only as she is about to fall. Selden saw the tension. Carrie saw the fall. Maybe. Anyway she never would have talked this way to Lily in book 1. 2w
Graywacke Any thoughts on Selden in this section? 2w
Graywacke @Currey on the letters - I think Lily is not willing to go low. She seems to have the kind of principles that won‘t let her actually hurt anyone (worth noting that this “anyone” doesn‘t include the servants) 2w
Graywacke @mdm139 @Currey these two quotes are terrific. They tell us a lot about who Lily is. 2w
mdm139 “If he clung to her, it was not in order to be dragged up, but to feel someone floundering in the depths with him: he wanted her to suffer with him, not to help him suffer less.” I hate when people do this in real life and I sense some foreshadowing here. 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I can see the shadenfreude her readers could have experienced! Kind of like people who love celebrity scandals. I wonder if those of her day would have recognized any individuals? 2w
Therewillbebooks I think a character like Lily was Wharton's way of satirizing the frivolity of this world. Lily isn't quite ready/willing to do what it would take to remain in it, but she knows no other way of life. 2w
mdm139 I am glad Lily didn‘t use the letters. She may not have used them because she didn‘t want to hurt Seldon. Or maybe because she didn‘t want to lower herself to Bertha‘s level. Either way it showed she has some decency. 2w
Cathythoughts “ that Wharton wanted to show how that the world would destroy what‘s beautiful “ great point. !! I feel Lily is sinking … and again I‘m struck with how ultimately alone she is .. there is a homelessness about her .. In reality & in her spirit. Her aunts will !!! I was so shocked & sad for her when I heard the will (edited) 2w
Graywacke @Therewillbebooks thanks. I was thinking it‘s a high stakes game. This is big money. The players, the women, have no other income but marriage and inheritance, and the alternative is poverty (well, not necessarily, but…it‘s a distinct possibility. Of course, they can marry down a notch or several.) So it‘s cut-throat covered with smiles. The presentation is frivolous, but I don‘t the world itself was. Not sure Lily sees the true ugly underside. 2w
Graywacke @mdm139 She is really admirable in that way, with the letters. What would you have done? 🙂 2w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts her state is so sad. (I keep wondering who she is if she gets that inheritance. ) 2w
BarbaraBB Loved this one 2w
CarolynM I've been away from home and I'm a bit behind. I'll catch up in time for next week. Still enjoying it🙂 2w
Louise Please keep me on the group list. I hope to catch up once things settle down a bit here. 2w
Graywacke @BarbaraBB it‘s really a terrific novel. 2w
Graywacke @CarolynM no worries. I have my issues coming up. I‘m traveling next weekend. Not sure yet how to manage our finishing this book. 2w
Graywacke @Louise definitely. And wish you well. 2w
Lcsmcat As we think about finishing this one, what is the group‘s feeling about when to start Madame de Treymes? I think it‘s a 2 week book. Short but not a novella. Do you want to wait til January after the holidays, or take two weeks in December? 2w
Currey @Lcsmcat I would appreciate waiting until January but a short book could also be squeezed in there if people are eager. 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat you get points for thinking ahead. I‘m ok with December as long as we avoid the holiday weekends. 2w
mdm139 I don‘t really care, but waiting for January may work better. There are lots of readathons in December and winter games and people are trying to finish any year long reading challenges and goodreads goals. 2w
Cathythoughts In terms of next book , I‘m easy & I‘ll go with the flow. Madame de Treymes .. exciting, I‘ve never heard of it .. I‘ll order today. Is there a list of the books we are reading in order ? I can look back over the posts & see. 2w
mdm139 @Cathythoughts if you got to The Mount‘s (her home is now a museum) webpage there is a link to her published works. We are reading that list in order. The novels/novella section. The list is in publication order. 2w
Cathythoughts @mdm139 @Graywacke Thanks so much !! Got it … I can order in advance, if I‘m going to read all her work it would be nice to have the books 💫 2w
Lcsmcat @mdm139 @Graywacke Thanks for jumping in with the list for @Cathythoughts . For those who prefer ebooks many of hers are out of copyright (at least in the US, check your local laws) and are available free from Project Gutenberg. https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=Edith+Wharton+&submit_search=Sear... 2w
llwheeler For the timing of the next book, I'm ok either way. 1w
36 likes46 comments
The Promise | Damon Galgut
post image

My next audiobook, the Booker Prize winner.

JamieArc I really enjoyed this, but wonder how it would be on audio. He does this interesting meandering thing with the narration, where the person speaking changes without you realizing it at first. It took a bit to get used to, but I ended up really liking it. I wonder how that would go on audio. 3w
Graywacke @JamieArc interesting. I suspect it will loose the ambiguity as the narrator just changes voices. But I‘m curious now 3w
BarbaraBB Enjoy! 🤍 3w
See All 8 Comments
Cathythoughts Looking forward to your thoughts! I loved it 👍🏻❤️ 3w
Graywacke @BarbaraBB @Cathythoughts thanks, Cathy, good to know. I‘ve actually read enough about it, plus that award, that I think I need to be careful not to have unfair expectations. 🙂 (I will actually start when i drive into work today…shortly) 3w
Suet624 I‘m reading it right now too! 2w
Graywacke @Suet624 what do you think? Not sure how much is the reader, but the 1st hour has the feeling of a very assured author to me. (edited) 2w
Suet624 @Graywacke I‘m really really enjoying it. It feels like a movie that slides slowly from person to person so effortlessly, tell each person‘s view at the moment. 2w
45 likes1 stack add8 comments
A Passage North: A Novel | Anuk Arudpragasam
post image

My fifth audiobook from the Booker longlist, this is all in the head of Krishan, a Tamil from Sri Lanka who experienced the civil war only from a distance. Now he reflects on the Tamil loss, the war‘s horrors and on his own life, with some philosophical touches. Carefully worded, meaningful and readable.

It demands your full attention, so a little challenging on audio. But definitely a pick, and I enjoyed it.

Cathythoughts Great review 👍🏻 I‘d like to read this one sometime 3w
batsy I loved his first book and am so keen to read this. Nice review! 3w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts thanks. It‘s rewarding. Hope you have a chance to read it. 3w
Graywacke @batsy he‘s so young, I think I kind of assumed this was his first book. ☺️ I‘ll look up his other book(s). Hope you are able to read this one. 3w
53 likes4 comments
The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
post image

(From Reynolds Mrs. Lloyd)

The House of Mirth : Book 1 ch 9-15

A masterful presentation and some dramatic fallout.

We‘re about half way. How are you enjoying? Thoughts on this section, or this world and all its crazy social pressures and hierarchies.

Graywacke Brief hopefully helpful summary: Lily returns to her aunt‘s and is confronted by a servant with some letters. She puts on a show at Bry‘s, stunning everyone. Gerty loves it. Gus Trenor goes all creepy. Selden is amazed, then hurt and runs off. And Lily is all over the place and desperate to pay Gus off. 3w
Graywacke I noticed the book page has a podcast just released two days ago on our book. I haven‘t listened yet and don‘t know anything about the presenters, but if it interests, check it out. https://anchor.fm/peter-murphy8/episodes/Episode-72-The-House-of-Mirth-e19kolf 3w
See All 32 Comments
Graywacke Some quotes: “To a torn heart uncomforted by human nearness a room may open almost human arms, and the being to whom no four walls mean more than any other is, at such hours, expatriate everywhere.” 3w
Graywacke “She might have married more than once — the conventional rich marriage which she had been taught to consider the sole end of experience — but when the opportunity came she had always shrunk from it. “ - the sole end of experience… !! 3w
Currey I have to admit I am loving the book even with all the horrid social conventions for women of the time. Gerty‘s introduction has provided a nice balance to Lily although she too dreams of marriage. She at least has a higher aim in life also. Wharton has been brilliant at making Lily‘s plight feel as if it is not the result of Lily‘s own decisions and yet clearly her indecision is at the center of everything. (edited) 3w
Lcsmcat Crazy busy morning, but I will chime in this afternoon. Thanks for sharing the painting! 3w
mdm139 I was really hoping Lily would be more progressive, especially when Gerry got some more page time. Become a woman before her time and realize she doesn‘t need a man to save her. Lily is a bit naive - she really didn‘t think Gus would want something in exchange for paying her doubts? A bit disappointed in Seldon as well - running off so quick and assuming the worse in her and not giving her a chance to explain. 3w
mdm139 The painting you picked for the post is on the cover of my copy. 3w
mdm139 “She was realizing for the first time that a woman‘s dignity may cost more to keep up than her carriage, and that the maintenance of a moral attribute should be dependent on dollars and cents, made the world appear a more sordid place than she had conceived it. “ 3w
mdm139 I am also wondering if we will see the letters from Mrs. Dorset to Seldon any more. If they have a bigger rule to play. 3w
Currey @mdm139 I was wondering the same. I suspect that once again Lily may have made the “wrong” decision there by even acknowledging that she knew they existed. 3w
Graywacke @Currey I‘m loving it too. It‘s so much better than most I‘ve been reading the last several months. I found the look into Gerty fascinating. And I agree Wharton blurs cause and effect. I think Lily is responsible for her actions and also a victim of this crazy world she is not responsible for creating. 3w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I had a crazy morning too. 😐 I‘m family uber lately. Just not getting a break. 3w
Graywacke @mdm139 so much in that quote. And glad you now know where your cover comes from. 🙂 (or…at least I now know why that picture comes up every time I Google-search this novel). Lily definitely is not progressive. I think on a conscious level she isn‘t interested in criticizing this world. It‘s more her unconscious that undermines her. I‘m not sure she was naive exactly with Gus. Maybe. But 👇 (edited) 3w
Graywacke he really only offered her a business tip - same as Rosedale gave him. The costs is different for her. But I think she imagined him decent and not expecting that kind of return… on the surface he is decent. 3w
Graywacke @mdm139 @Currey very nosy and curious what‘s in those letters. I was also fascinated at the servant/guest relationship. Whoa. Bitter hierarchy there. Lily is so easily cruel. 3w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I wondered if Gus Trenor actually invested Lily‘s money, or if he gave her money under that guise. A “polite fiction” if you will, since he felt entitled to “perks”, and she felt she must pay him back. 3w
Lcsmcat @mdm139 I highlighted the quote about a woman‘s dignity too. 3w
Lcsmcat “It was horrible of a young girl to let herself be talked about; however unfounded the charges against her, she must be to blame for their having been made.” This one is still true to a degree today. 3w
Lcsmcat Gerty was the saving grace of this section. Gus and Rosendale gave me the creeps, both expecting things from Lily just because they have money and they want her. They‘re so used to having everything their way that Gus tantrums and R thinks if he just waits a bit he can have her. Seldon isn‘t much better, attributing Lily‘s looks to himself and then running off at the first hint that she isn‘t on the pedestal where he placed her. (edited) 3w
Lcsmcat But I don‘t blame Lily. All her upbringing was aimed at running with the fast set. And her Aunt hasn‘t done anything to show her a better way to live. She reminds me of a character in a Greek tragedy with a fatal flaw she can‘t avoid. 3w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat had the same question about Gus‘s investment. Completely agree about Selden - dramatic but silly response - and yes, he built her up on a pedestal. 3w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i was thinking, if i had grown up with Judi Peniston - the anxiety would be suffocating. So much extreme judgment 3w
Graywacke So I listened to the There Will Be Books podcasts. It‘s quirky, very much male, and not to everyone‘s taste. I enjoyed it. The best thing I got out of it is the point that Lily really doesn‘t want to married to anyone. Period. She wants to be free and independent, and also live this wealthy lifestyle. She just can‘t find the money. Her smoking and gambling can be seen as aspects of her independence, or desire for independence. (edited) 3w
CarolynM I was starting to think this about Lily too. Still enjoying the story🙂 3w
Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat I love your Greek tragedy idea about Lily.. and @Graywacke so interesting to read your points about Lily‘s gambling ( a frightening addiction) I‘m on Chapter 12 .. a bit behind , but I‘ll be caught up by next weekend…. I‘m really enjoying the book 3w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke That‘s a great way to look at Lily‘s life. I don‘t see the gambling is so much a reflection of that (it was epidemic for women and men in that social class as far back as Georgianna, Duchess of Devonshire) but the fact that she was so beautiful and yet unmarried at 29 does. She alludes vaguely to early offers of marriage and we saw what happened with Gryce. 3w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts glad you‘re enjoying. What do you think of Lily? 3w
Cathythoughts @Graywacke I love Lily! Underneath her mask , I see her as lost & vulnerable. Trapped in a life & wanting to be free. I see her as very solitary , directionless., rudderless. I worry about her. (edited) 3w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts There is something especially appealing about her. I‘ve been thinking about that and her flaws and what that says about her. She seems extremely vulnerable, and maybe that is part of her appeal. As for that mask, I think she feels like she should like it, and hasn‘t considered that she may not. 3w
41 likes32 comments
post image

Was a little worried this would feel overdone, but it really is a beautiful and rich play. Enjoyed the revisit.

(And it was kind of cool to read this after spending so much time reading Petrarch. There are lots of references. R & J first meet speaking a sonnet together.)

40 likes1 stack add
The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
post image

The House of Mirth : Book 1 ch 1-8

A catastrophic opening 8 chapters? Wondering what we all make of Lily Bart and her world of characters, the dark undercurrent of financial distress and its compromises? And of what we make of Wharton‘s construction? The reader‘s questionable sense of seeing a big picture even as we are always in the moment - in Lily‘s thoughts, and briefly in Selden‘s. Are you enjoying?

Lcsmcat Random thoughts: Sometimes I feel like Lily doesn‘t stand a chance, given her upbringing. But I love her anyway. And Seldon? He‘s more self-aware than Lily, but does it make him happier? I‘m glad Lily won‘t be marrying Gryce. And I‘m not thrilled with Wharton‘s antisemitism either, but we‘ve seen a lot of that in literature of this era, haven‘t we? 4w
rubyslippersreads I‘m running behind, but will catch up on comments when I can. 4w
See All 42 Comments
Currey @Graywacke So glad we read Valley of Decision, as there are so many parallels with Lily born to a higher economic class and destined, as least according to her mother‘s wishes, to grasp the heights due to her beauty. Also Lily believes that she can and should use her wealth (which is yet to be attained and would actually be someone else‘s wealth), to “do good” although even she doesn‘t know what that means. 4w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat the antisemitism - oye. Of course I can‘t help but sympathizing with Rosedale, and cursing all the antisemitic bastards. It‘s the flip side of The Rise of David Levinsky. 4w
Graywacke Some quotes I wrote down - but they is not that representative. This is a really rich text. Anyway- a favorite: “She wanted to get away from herself, and conversation was the only means of escape that she knew.” 4w
mdm139 “The afternoon was perfect. A deeper stillness possessed the air, and the glitter of the American autumn was tempered by a haze which diffused the brightness without dulling it.” I am enjoying Wharton‘s writing better in this one. I keep forgetting it is set in America as well. I am getting Austen vibes. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a poor woman is want of a rich husband. 4w
mdm139 “Don‘t you ever mind not being rich enough to buy all the books you want?” 4w
Graywacke On Gryce and Maria Van Osburgh: “the two had the same prejudices and ideals, and the same quality of making other standards non-existent by ignoring them. This attribute was common to most of Lily‘s set: they had a force of negation which eliminated everything beyond their own range of perception.” 4w
Currey @Lcsmcat I agree with you that the antisemitism as personified by Rosedale is disturbing. I agree with you also that Wharton is setting us up for Lily‘s fall while making sure that we empathize with Lily‘s struggles. So far I am really enjoying the book as I had some trepidation about reading about “society” again. 4w
mdm139 “One of the charms of tea is the fact of drinking it together…” 4w
Graywacke Oops - delay. Back again. I always have to read this one twice to get it right. And i read a criticism within, subtle: “In the rosy glow it diffused her companions seemed full of amiable qualities.” 4w
Graywacke Lily and Lawrence: ‘Freedom? Freedom from worries?‘
‘From everything — from money, from poverty, from ease and anxiety, from all the material accidents. To keep a kind of republic of the spirit — that‘s what I call success.‘
Lcsmcat @mdm139 I love the quotes you pulled. And I too had to remind myself we weren‘t in England! 4w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @currey - I find Lily is so curious, and fatally hybrid. She wants to master her world and but actually also wants something completely different. And the two completely cancel each other out. She can only be master of the moment, but brilliantly so. Fortunately she‘s not reflective… and… 👇 4w
Graywacke I suspect her non-reflective aspect is what makes this novel work. She sees everything and so thanks to her we do too. But she is only in the moment. So (1) As readers we can see both the moment and the bigger picture. (In a weird way (maybe) it allows us to be voyeur: we see everything while concealed by being part of the bigger picture she can‘t see.) And (2) It also allows her to careen towards whatever disaster the plot has coming. 4w
Graywacke @Currey interesting comparison with VoD. I‘m glad we read her earlier works too because it gives me some insight in how Wharton works. (I have two things in mind: We know she‘s ruthless and won‘t hesitate to ruin Lily for literary impact. She has no mercy. And we also know that Lily‘s observation of the female compromise is Wharton‘s passion. She was fiercely feminist in a non-listening world.) 4w
Graywacke @mdm139 @Lcsmcat definite Austen vibes. And I completely agree about enjoying the writing here more. I think this is somehow a much better writer. 4w
Graywacke @mdm139 love that we were both posting quotes at the same time. Great quotes. 4w
Graywacke Anyone else continually contrasting with Willa Cather? They‘re so different in perspective and purpose but they overlap here in NYC c1900 and I can‘t help feeling Cather read Wharton, and thought, “huh…” 4w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke She‘s a very different writer than Cather, but I do see some similarities. And she‘s coming into her own here. The introduction in my volume said that it was prior that Mirth that Henry James advised her to write about New York as she saw it. 4w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Do you think this is really as she saw it? I feel some caricature. (That‘s fascinating, by the way) 4w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I think there‘s still some caricature here. She‘s moving in the direction of realism though, and “writing what she knows” more than she did in in Valley. 4w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat definitely more than Valley! 🙂 4w
Currey @Graywacke @mdm139 @Lcsmcat Great reflections on our being voyeurs in watching and seeing more than Lily herself can. I love that Wharton is presenting us with a feminist perspective while none of her characters can be true feminists in a world where marriage is almost the only door to any kind of safe haven from poverty. 4w
Lcsmcat @Currey About the feminism, what about Seldon‘s cousin Gerty? Is she there to show us that, if you didn‘t aim to be “society” you had more options as a woman? Do you think we‘ll see more of her? 4w
Currey @Lcsmcat I hope we meet her. Lily seemed to feel her life was not enviable but perhaps Gerty herself is a member of Seldon‘s republic and has some freedom? 4w
CarolynM I am enjoying it very much, it has made me laugh out loud a few times. I agree with everything @Lcsmcat said in her first comment and, like @mdm139 I am enjoying the writing more than previously. The "society" thing is frustrating, not just in terms of money but the whole issue of what is acceptable behaviour depending on your status including (but not limited to) as a single or married woman. 4w
Cathythoughts I am really enjoying this too … I love the writing & the descriptions of Lily & her clothes & laces & jewels are gorgeous. Yet this society is the “ gilded cage “ as she describes it .. and for all her cunning , I feel her vulnerability & her longing to be free … 4w
Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat I agree with all you say in your first comment too , and @CarolynM the society thing IS frustrating! I can feel the deep frustration in Lily … she‘s caught in a web (edited) 4w
Cathythoughts QUOTE: “ Her intentions in short had never been more definite; but poor Lily for all the hard glaze of her exterior, was inwardly as malleable as wax. “ … “ She was like a water-plant in the flux of tides “ ….. Oh Lily ❤️ (edited) 4w
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts Great quotes! Perhaps that‘s another implication of her name. In addition to “gilding the lily” maybe we‘re supposed to think of her as a water lily, buffeted by the movements of the “water” she lives in. 4w
Graywacke @Currey @Lcsmcat I found an article on Gerty yesterday (but it has significant spoilers, so maybe wait till later to read). The article claimed that after Lily and Selden, she is the most interesting character. https://zachoward.com/2015/11/09/gerty-farish-edith-whartons-stunning-portrait-o... 4w
Graywacke @CarolynM glad you‘re enjoying! 4w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts great quotes and glad you‘re enjoying! 4w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat I hadn‘t considered her name in that light. A kind if lily, how fitting, in many ways - cut flowers for show, for example. Thanks for highlighting. (Any thoughts on “Bart”?) 4w
Graywacke @CarolynM @Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat - interesting thoughts on society and the gilded cage. Nothing to add, but thinking about this strange heavily structured and kind of removed world. It doesn‘t seem so long ago… 4w
Cathythoughts Oh I must have a look at that article you shared !! Thankyou, sounds interesting 4w
Lcsmcat Thanks for sharing the article! Since this is a reread for me I‘m not going to wait. One comment about the title, it‘s from Ecclesiastes 7:4 “ The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” I can‘t help but wonder how someone who obviously knew the Old Testament, and therefore should have known that the Jewish people are “the apple of God‘s eye” could have been so anti Semitic. 4w
llwheeler I'm behind already... I have started though and hope to catch up this week 4w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat thanks for the reference. (For what it‘s worth, the antisemitism here is racial and social, not really religious. And I think that was the nature of how the old wealthy families viewed the successful Jewish entrepreneurs with their rags-to-riches immigrant stories and nouveau riche sensitivities.) 4w
Graywacke @llwheeler no worries. Enjoy. Jump in whenever you finish this section. 4w
33 likes42 comments
The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
post image

So I‘ve begun. The introduction to the introduction insisted I read the book first and the introduction afterwards. I know that logically if they think that they should put it as an afterword. But, still, I‘m charmed by that.

Lily is awfully terrific with her crowd that “had a force of negation which eliminated everything beyond their own range of perception.”


Cathythoughts That‘s nice about the introduction tip 👍🏻 1mo
48 likes1 stack add1 comment
The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
post image

Just a reminder (not at all because I almost forgot myself…well 😁☺️). See you Saturday.

House of Mirth
Oct 30 : Book 1 ch 1-8
Nov 6: Book 1 ch 9-15
Nov 13: Book 2 ch 1-8
Nov 20: Book 2 to the end

Lcsmcat I‘m loving this reread! 1mo
CarolynM Thanks Dan 1mo
See All 12 Comments
rubyslippersreads Thanks for the reminder! 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i put the World Series on mute and read the first couple chapters tonight. Lily Bart is quite something. 1mo
Cathythoughts Thankyou !! Lily ❤️ 1mo
Louise Thanks, Dan! I hope I can remember how to speed read! 🥸 1mo
Graywacke @Louise You‘re always welcome to post late. (I think this one reads better slowly.) 1mo
Louise @Graywacke Thanks, Dan. I‘m going through a really difficult time at the moment, and I‘m not always in the right headspace for reading things on a schedule. 🤦🏻‍♀️ (edited) 1mo
Graywacke @Louise not fun. 🙁 I wish you well and hope life gets easier soon. 1mo
Louise @Graywacke Thank you, Dan. Much appreciated. 4w
35 likes2 stack adds12 comments
A Passage North: A Novel | Anuk Arudpragasam
post image

Next audiobook, from the Booker longlist. I‘m finding this a little tricky to follow on audio so far.

post image

This is something to think about. A look at artificial intelligence from a couple different angles, and exploring some human psychology while doing so. The sun worship is so strange and beautiful and disturbing; and the reasoning - what kind of statement is Ishiguro making about religious faith? I‘m still thinking, but it‘s an easy read and very pleasant on audio.

@Hooked_on_books what do you think about where this almost went? 🙂

Hooked_on_books There were so many places I thought this might go! I thought grooming Klara to potentially become Josie was so chilling. And then I was sure Josie‘s dad was going to kill Klara when he suggested taking the fluid out of her head. And I thought the end was good but so depressing! Couldn‘t they reboot the AFs for someone else instead of tossing them into a warehouse to slowly die? This book says so much about people and our behavior. 1mo
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books oh i so agree with your last sentence. Yeah. Wow. Her dad was such a mystery. What did he do to her, and why? And did it affect her? But mostly replacing Josie was deranged … and never resolved. 1mo
Hooked_on_books I think there‘s a lot that‘s unresolved in this book and it really works, since that‘s how our lives are. I don‘t think Josie‘s mom ever interrogated (that we saw) how problematic her replacement plans for Josie are. She was putting so much energy into that instead of just being with her daughter or trying to help her improve. Part of me would love to see a related book told from her perspective so we can get into her brain a little bit. 1mo
See All 10 Comments
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books oh, that might be a tough book. Chrissie (eek, i don‘t know how it‘s spelled) was really worked up and bonkers. And I agree about all the unresolved stuff. It‘s odd how her survival saves a lot of other problems. … I was thinking about this conversation. A lot happens at the end. Is Rick telling us Josie is different? It‘s interesting because of course Klara as a replacement could not have foreseen that. She presumably 👇 1mo
Graywacke 👆could only imitate what she‘s seen. 1mo
Hooked_on_books I feel like Josie and Rick were naturally growing apart at the end, but didn‘t pick up anything about Josie being different, except of course for the gene manipulation she had before the action starts that‘s never described other than the consequence of her illness. I think Klara realized by the end that she could not have fully mimicked Josie—she had more insight on that than Josie‘s parents after she learned. 1mo
BarbaraBB Fabulous comments. Makes me reconsider my opinion. 1mo
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books I understood the genetic editing to be a cause of her illness, that she had to survive that at some risk. ?? As for Josie‘s change - I could be making that up. Just seems that we know she has a fluid experimenting personality, and Rick is more constant and settled. So their distance with maturity might mean Josie chose a different version of herself than the one with Rick - or it might not mean anything. ☺️ 1mo
Graywacke @BarbaraBB Thanks, and that‘s really cool of we‘re making you reconsider. 🙂 1mo
Hooked_on_books @BarbaraBB That‘s great! Even if one didn‘t like this book much, I still think it provides much to talk over. It would be a great book club book. 1mo
43 likes10 comments
The Fortune Men | Nadifa Mohamed
post image

Next off the pile. Started it today.

Cathythoughts Look forward to your thoughts 👍🏻❤️ 1mo
batsy Look at that pile 🧐😍 1mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts thanks. I‘ll certainly post something when I finish. 1mo
Graywacke @batsy ☺️ 1mo
35 likes4 comments
post image

Pictured is the original cover from August 1929 (not my copy!). The stock market crashed in October.

An odd mess of a first novel - an allegory for American capitalism that can‘t decide if it wants to be a boys‘ adventure novel or a deeper thing. Some good, some curious, some very awkward. I was struck by how arrogant this author must have been.

Il Filostrato | Giovanni Boccaccio
post image

Image is from a 1414 illustrated manuscript.

A random library find, and curiosity. This is a translation of a 1335-ish epic poem, considered Chaucer‘s main source of his Troilus and Criseyde. The poetry is translated as prose, which is odd, but made for quick reading. It has its moments, and a vivid sex scene, but felt a little plot heavy and slow, with extended bits on really really desperate love/lust pangs and tears.

Il Filostrato | Giovanni Boccaccio
post image

Ok, when was the Toyota Cressida considered a luxury car? (This introduction is from 1986)

Lcsmcat Yeah, not my idea of luxury, but I guess luxury is subjective. 1mo
31 likes1 comment
post image

Started a new audiobook this week, my 4th from the Booker longlist, and so far good stuff. I‘m really into it.

Hooked_on_books I‘m listening to this one this week, too! I‘m really enjoying it. 1mo
Ericalambbrown This is such a good book! I really love Ishiguro‘s work 1mo
BarbaraBB Looking forward to your thoughts, I was a bit underwhelmed while I‘m a fan of Ishiguro 🤷🏻‍♀️ 1mo
See All 11 Comments
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books ooh, cool. I‘m finding it a bit of a mystery sort of thing. Who is Rick? Why does this AF have feelings? What is wrong with Josie? That kind of thing 1mo
Graywacke @Ericalambbrown this is the first time I have read him. (I‘ve meant to for years…but, well…he was part of a long list of “meant to‘s”) 1mo
Graywacke @BarbaraBB interesting. I think I tend to agree with you about underwhelming stuff. 1mo
Hooked_on_books Yeah, it‘s like peeling back the layers of the onion as we gradually learn what is happening. And an interesting way to approach looking at the human condition. 1mo
JamieArc @graywacke I agree with you about the mystery thing. Wondering what “lifted” meant kept me turning the pages. 1mo
Graywacke @Hooked_on_books huh, yeah. An onion. (Sorry if that brings up Shrek in my head…☺️😁). Got a little spooky for me at the falls. 1mo
Graywacke @JamieArc i‘ve heard that word, “lifted”, once so far. But it left me really curious… 1mo
BarbaraBB I hope not of course, I hope you‘ll end up loving it 🤞🏽 1mo
51 likes11 comments
Light Perpetual: A Novel | Francis Spufford
post image

The fictional alternate lives of five children killed by the Woolworth V2 rocket, which killed 160 people in 1944. This takes snapshots of their lives, one day every 15 yrs. What comes out is a post-WW2 history of the cultural changes of a fictionalized southeast London suburb. It‘s in some ways very simple, but also has something to it that is a little hard to pin down. Seems the more I think about it the more I appreciate it.

Crazeedi Wow this is something I didn't know, sounds intriguing 1mo
Ruthiella Glad to hear a positive review! I loved Golden Hill by Spufford. 1mo
Graywacke @Crazeedi it‘s on the Booker list. But I should warn you (and anyone else reading this) it‘s not universally liked. It‘s hard to explain why in a short review. Roughly it‘s essentially plotless and a little slow and a little too writer-friendly. Critics tend to like it more than readers. For me, i spent a chunk of the book wondering whether or not I was enjoying it, and the whole book wondering whether I should be. It‘s better in hindsight. 🙂 1mo
See All 6 Comments
Graywacke @Ruthiella I only just heard of Golden Hill when reading about this one today. Glad you mentioned it and liked it. I‘m now very interested. 1mo
Crazeedi @Graywacke it has an interesting plot line, that's what drew me to considering, I never knew about this. Thanks for the info ❤ 1mo
Graywacke @Crazeedi I agree about the plot line. A curious thing is - how essential is this plot line set up to the heart of the book. I caught a few subtle ties while reading, and looking at the whole thing I‘m finding it ties in well in several different ways, some in the sense of 20th century themes. But it‘s possible the whole book could exist as just the lives of 5 ww2 era kids, without that setup. 1mo
49 likes6 comments
Paradise | Abdulrazak Gurnah
post image

Simply wonderful.

(I‘ll try to write an actual mini review in the comments.)

Graywacke Gurnah takes us into the world of caravan trading in what is now Tanzania, and what was then a cultural melange, a world of merchants from different parts of Africa, Arabia and India, along with the leftovers around that trade, under German colonial rule. No dates, but there is an automobile, and a war coming; and the traditional ways, along with all their tragedy and risk and romanticism, are coming to an end. (edited) 1mo
Graywacke My first time reading the new Nobel Prize winner. The book was a gift, and came with a heavy recommendation. It took me two years and that prize to finally open it up and see why. (edited) 1mo
BarbaraBB I am happy to read that he is a “readable” author and will now buy the book too! 1mo
45 likes2 stack adds3 comments
Ada, Or, Ardor, a Family Chronicle | Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov
post image

A wavering pick. Incest - romantic incest, insatiable incest. And an imaginative world that is parallel to ours but different…a little like Nabokov‘s privileged indulgent world might have been had the Soviet Revolution never happened. I liked it a whole lot, then I didn‘t and got bored with all the sex, and it kept going (for 600 pages). And I set it aside only to realize I missed it and really did like it. It‘s an oddly endearing parody.

BarbaraBB That is quite the review. I have had this book for years but it never appealed. Now you‘re review changes that! 1mo
Graywacke @BarbaraBB thanks! I had a lot of trouble wording this, so nice to know. Curious on your take if you read it (and also a little worried about nudging you on a 600 page plunge. 🙂) 1mo
BarbaraBB That 600 pages is mostly scaring me off. Plus my edition has a very dense typeface. 1mo
40 likes3 comments
Sanctuary | Edith Wharton
post image

(I‘m out of picture ideas for this one, so my kindle library.)

Wharton‘s 3rd work of fiction, a novella from 1902, consists of two connected parts around Kate Peyton, née Orme. First a naive Kate discovers her fiancé has conned an inheritance and still marries him. In part 2 her son has a moral quandary. Kate is passionately well-meaning, morality driven and likable, but strained by circumstance, and ultimately humanly flawed.

Cathythoughts Great picture & summary … I loved Sanctuary.. food for thought , as always with this author 👍🏻💫 2mo
50 likes1 comment
Il Filostrato | Giovanni Boccaccio
post image

My first library book since Covid. And it‘s entertaining so far. (My pup isn‘t impressed, though.)

Cathythoughts Lovely picture 👌🏻 2mo
47 likes1 comment
Paradise | Abdulrazak Gurnah
post image

Waiting for a new car battery and getting into a 1994 novel by the new Nobel laureate. Oddly I own two books by Gurnah, but have never read him before. (1st 20 pages were slow. Next 20 absolutely wonderful.)

BarbaraBB I‘m impressed you have two of his books. How did you get them? I mean did you know him and how? 2mo
Bookwormjillk I‘m impressed as well. I couldn‘t find a copy. 2mo
Graywacke @BarbaraBB back in 2009 when I first joined the Club Read (on LibraryThing) i was in awe of all these titles that sounded so wonderful and I bought a bunch. By the Sea was just another of those titles. (Most of them are still on my TBR). Then 2 yrs ago Lois gave me a hard time for not having read it and sent me her copy of Paradise. ☺️ 2mo
Graywacke @Bookwormjillk i have heard this a lot (I feel a little flush with two novels.) 2mo
51 likes1 stack add4 comments
post image

Sunday morning.

Daisey Perfect! I enjoyed Shakespeare along with breakfast this morning as well. 2mo
Emilymdxn This looks like an excellent morning! 2mo
batsy Lovely! 2mo
Graywacke @Daisey @Emilymdxn @batsy - it was all three. 🙂 (@Daisey saw your post. Looked good!) 2mo
47 likes4 comments
Sanctuary | Edith Wharton
post image

(5th Avenue 1903 - at 42nd street)

A complicated little novella. In part one Kate Orme discovers “life was honeycombed by a vast system of moral sewage.” In part two the now widowed Kate Peyton fights to protect her son‘s morality, at some cost. Either a nice or uncomfortable story, depending on your take, but regardless with memorable characters and, within the prose, dark revelations about life. Did you enjoy? Thoughts?

Graywacke One quote: “For here, at last, life lay before her as it was: not brave, garlanded and victorious, but naked, grovelling and diseased, dragging its maimed limbs through the mud, yet lifting piteous hands to the stars.” 2mo
Cathythoughts I really enjoyed this one. I‘m not sure what I think of Kates decision to marry & control the child. That she would be saving this unborn child 🤷🏼‍♀️ .. and I‘m not sure what actually happened in the end. I presume Dick did not use his friends work for the competition & finally the title #Sanctuaty makes sense .. it all got a bit confusing for me & I‘m thinking about it a lot. Look forward to seeing what others think .. 👇🏻 2mo
See All 46 Comments
Cathythoughts 👇🏻also Dick “ didnt go under “ & if he had he wouldn‘t have ‘ come up alive again ‘ .. maybe I‘m reading too much into it .. but the suicide in the lake at the beginning … I have suspicions about that.. 2mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts i enjoyed this too. Thinking about the drowning and Dick. I‘m not sure he was in danger of going under, per say. I‘m not even sure what he was considering was immoral. He certainly was smothered by mom. 2mo
Cathythoughts He certainly was !! I love your picture 💫❤️old New York (edited) 2mo
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts Nice catch of the drowning symbolism! I missed that. I think Dick‘s dilemma was less than Dennis‘s, but @graywacke I do think it would have been immoral to pass someone else‘s work off as his own. But for Kate to marry someone she could not respect in order to save a not only unborn, but unconceived child was a difficult stretch for me. It was an awkward plot device IMO. 2mo
Lcsmcat I think Wharton might have made more of this as a longer work where more could be shown of the years between the marriage and Dennis‘ death. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2mo
Lcsmcat Some quotes I marked. “she found transient relief in that dispersal of attention which makes society an anesthetic for some forms of wretchedness.” 2mo
Lcsmcat “she had sacrificed her personal happiness to a fantastic ideal of duty, and it was her punishment to be left alone with her failure” 2mo
Lcsmcat “Love such as hers had a great office, the office of preparation and direction; but it must know how to hold its hand and keep its counsel, how to attend upon its object as an invisible influence rather than as an active interference.” 2mo
Lcsmcat “If she might expiate and redeem his fault by becoming a refuge from its consequences?” 2mo
Lcsmcat “She had begun to perceive that the fair surface of life was honeycombed by a vast system of moral sewage.” 2mo
Lcsmcat “a world where honour was a pact of silence between adroit accomplices.” 2mo
Lcsmcat And, maybe the key to part 2, from book 1 “Yet Mrs. Peyton ought at least to know what had happened: was it not, in the last resort, she who should pronounce on her son‘s course?” 2mo
Lcsmcat Those are in reverse order, obviously. Sorry to spam the feed but I‘m traveling today and hit a spot with cell service. 😀 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat ( @Cathythoughts ) - thinking this through in a modern sense, Denis was stealing from the rightful inheritor. Dick could have acknowledged Paul‘s contribution and then there is no moral dilemma and Paul‘s nice idea gets shared. 🤷🏻‍♂️ 😁 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat As for Kate - all I can say about her decision is I think it tells us something about her - she is a lot more selfish in her morality than she fully realizes, and it‘s a little strange. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat the quotes are terrific. There is so much in so many of these lines, and in the manner of the expression. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Yes, Kate‘s morality is selfish and arrogant. She is the only one who can save any child of Dennis‘ ? Any other wife he chose would be unable to be moral? It‘s a bit of hubris! 2mo
Louise Fascinating comments! I‘m a little behind with the reading but will chime in when I finish the book! @graywacke @Lcsmcat @cathythoughts 2mo
Graywacke @Louise enjoy. I think it was my favorite book for September. 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yes. Same for her son. There‘s a quote (searching… ) - “As she sat there in the radius of lamp- light which, for so many evenings, had held Dick and herself in a charmed circle of tenderness, she saw that her love for her boy had come to be merely a kind of extended egotism.” 2mo
Currey @Graywacke @Lcsmcat I totally agree that she was full of a strange hubris, that she was the only one that could save an unknown child….and that her own moral sense is the correct one in any situation. I also thought that the whole relationship with her son verged on being obsessive and maybe even a bit sick but that may have been more normal at the time. Strange and haunting but not for any of the obvious reasons. 2mo
Currey @Graywacke @Lcsmcat The son “doing the right thing” in the end was a bit of a twist in that we had been set up for his claiming his friend‘s work as his own. However, his mother actually did not believe in him, never actually believed in him….as clearly she had to marry his father to save him from the very beginning…. 2mo
Currey @Graywacke. @Lcsmcat I did appreciate moments of humor: “ I think that she likes to be helped first, and to have everything on her plate at once” 2mo
Graywacke @Currey I don‘t think it was normal for then. Especially to fight over your son with his fiancé. ? (for what it‘s worth, I liked Kate and finished the book liking her. She was nice to hang with and she was passionately well meaning and had positive influences on people. She just has some really weird aspects.) 2mo
Currey @Graywacke Yes, I agree. I also liked Kate, I just thought she was odd….but hey, I like odd people and characters. 2mo
arubabookwoman When I started reading this one I was immediately reminded of our 1st Wharton where the man who published the letters to get $ to marry, failed to tell his future wife and suffered guilt pangs ever after. Here, the future wife is told of her future husband's moral failures ahead of time, and it is she who suffers. I thought that was where this was going. 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻 2mo
Lcsmcat @Currey @Graywacke I liked the quote about being helped first, too! Very character defining! I liked Kate, too, but still found her hubris unsettling. I think her obsession (for lack of a better word) over Duck was part of that. She had to keep him from being like his father. 2mo
Lcsmcat @arubabookwoman Oooh, nice point! 2mo
arubabookwoman I almost missed when Kate decides, "I better not let this morally deficient man marry another (unsuspecting) woman and have a child he'll pass this trait onto without my being there to prevent the child turning out like him." Then I saw it turning into a nature v. nurture tale. (edited) 2mo
arubabookwoman I liked Kate, and didn't find her to be a too overbearing mother. I think she tried to teach her son as best she could, but in the end I think she was pretty much leaving the decision up to him. The worst thing she did was tell his fiancée, in the hopes that the fiancée might show her true colors, he would see the light and make a good decision. 2mo
arubabookwoman @Graywacke I liked Dan's point about why he didn't just incorporate the inherited design, but give credit. 2mo
arubabookwoman I'm really enjoying in the 3 we've read so far (which I've not read before) Wharton's themes of the moral ambiguities we live with, and the choices we face all the time--what makes us "good" people? I'm also enjoying her themes/comments (sometimes in your face and sometimes just snarky asides) about the place of women in society. Looking forward to the continuing Wharton journey! 2mo
CarolynM I have to agree with @Graywacke about Kate's morality being a selfish thing and I thought her reasoning for marrying Denis was hard to process. But we have to remember the mores of the time, it was hard for a woman to make any contribution outside marriage and motherhood, so in that sense she probably thought she was doing her best for the world. I also thought there wasn't really moral equivalence between Denis's dilemma and Dick's... 2mo
CarolynM ...Denis's problem seemed to me to be about embarrassing the family by acknowledging his brother's wife whom he didn't think good enough. That sort of pride seems to me inherently different from the likely damage to your self respect of representing someone else's work as your own. 2mo
llwheeler I enjoyed this book! I liked how no one was portrayed as clearly good or bad. Everything is shades of grey. 2mo
Graywacke @arubabookwoman glad you‘re enjoying! that‘s such an interesting observation about the various flawed husbands. Also good point about the nature vs nurture game she is playing with here. I felt Kate‘s influence was stronger than that, but subtlety so. Clemence tells her she interfered by reading his thoughts. She doesn‘t have to say anything to kind of rule him (and conquer the unpredictable nature). Anyway, i liked her too. Ready for HoM. (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM was Denis really concerned about honor or was it a convenient excuse to justify getting the money? 🙂 Hope you‘re enjoying! 2mo
Graywacke @llwheeler she does finesse. Glad you enjoyed too! 2mo
Graywacke @jewright @Louise @Sace @Suet624 @arubabookwoman @Currey @catebutler @Catherine_Willoughby @crazeedi @mdm139 @emilyhaldi @rubyslippersreads @KathyWheeler @llwheeler @CarolynM @Cathythoughts great stuff on a somewhat overlooked (and often panned in personal online reviews. But why?) novella. I‘m really looking forward to House of Mirth! We‘ll meet up after the first 8 chapters on October 30. 2mo
CarolynM I didn't read it as being about the validity of the will, but going back over it now it is all very vague on that score, so yes, it may have been only about the money. Casting the woman as an unmarried mother in those days was a pretty despicable thing to do whatever the reason. This morning I'm no longer sure what I think about it. 2mo
Graywacke @CarolynM 🙂 Wharton has left us a little uncomfortable three times now. But you bring up a point about the drowning. An unmarried mother commits suicide and no one thinks she would have been fine. Is Wharton poking at the sexist culture there, the dependence of women on men for financial support and social dignity? 2mo
mdm139 I am a week behind but I finally finished the novella. I found it the most easily read so far and much more likable characters. 2mo
Graywacke @mdm139 agree completely. Glad you caught up. 2mo
34 likes1 stack add46 comments
Ada, Or, Ardor, a Family Chronicle | Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov
post image

Ok, is this entire book just about sex? Underage incestual sex. I‘m 250 pages in and that‘s been about the only theme. Dense prose in 2 1/2* languages (plus a code) full of literary references, but all about variations of sex.

*1/2 because of the scattered transliterated apparently Russian phrases, usually paired with presumably playful translations.

Petrarch and His World | Morris Bishop
post image

The second biography I have read of Petrarch this year. This one is older, from 1964, and by a 1930‘s translator of Petrarch‘s Canzoniere (under the title The Love Rimes of Petrarch). Petrarch led an interesting life and left behind extensive personal writings in the voice of someone who sounds modern and familiar, even exposing their inner insecurities. The first modern man, or at least the earliest one widely identified… 👇👇

Graywacke … or maybe just the first person to come across as relatable. Anyway, the biography is well done, with extensive interesting translated quotes (and lovely illustrations by the author‘s spouse, Alison Mason Kingsbury). It‘s not, however, a the translator‘s critique of the Canzonierre that I was maybe hoping for. 2mo
Graywacke Pictured is Kingsbury‘s illustration for Vacluse, Petrarch‘s place of self-isolation near Avignon, where he did an extensive amount of his writing. 2mo
38 likes2 comments
House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
post image

(!) Note the date change (!)

I moved this schedule up two weeks to avoid Thanksgiving in the US. (Thanks @Lcsmcat for the breakdown. Page numbers are from my edition.)

House of Mirth
Oct 30 : Book 1 ch 1-8 (86 pages)
Nov 6: Book 1 ch 9-15 (72 pages)
Nov 13: Book 2 ch 1-8 (80 pages)
Nov 20: Book 2 to the end. (51 pages)

Cathythoughts May I join ?? I‘d love to .. 2mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts yes! Adding you. (We are reading Sanctuary this week. You‘re welcome to join us there too.) 2mo
See All 7 Comments
Cathythoughts Thankyou !!! I‘ll try my best for Sanctuary… but I‘ll definitely be ready for House of Mirth 😍 2mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts Oh, awesome. Have you read HoM before? (All Wharton will be pretty much new to me.) I‘ll tag you for Sanctuary. (I just started this morning. ☺️) 2mo
Cathythoughts Tjankyou ! just got Sanctuary on my kindle ( I‘ve never read it ) 👍🏻 I read House of Mirth a few years ago .. excited to reread it with you all .. 2mo
Graywacke @BookishTrish the key House of Mirth post. 🙂 2mo
42 likes7 comments
Sanctuary | Edith Wharton
post image


Wharton‘s third book of longer fiction is a roughly 100-page novella (depending on your edition). We‘ll discuss Saturday next week, Oct 2.

34 likes3 comments
Measure for Measure | William Shakespeare
post image

Whoa, was Shakespeare just trying to provoke? His look at variations of self righteousness within variations of power and control makes an odd play in that it really leaves most of the audience unsatisfied. The bad guys aren‘t punished and the good one is strained by dilemma, and then mid-play she becomes a humble role player. It leaves a lot to talk about and led to some great discussions in #shakespearereadalong

The Sweetness of Water | Nathan Harris
post image

Strange is the wrong word, but I thought it had some oddities. The dialogue is colorful and quietly dynamic, except when it's not. The prose in contrast is straight-forward and plain and clean. The contrast, exaggerated on audio, is kind of endearing. I enjoyed this.

My second from the Booker list, a novel on the immediate aftermath of Civil War, beginning days after surrender in Georgia.

Tamra On my TBR shelf thankfully! I‘m glad to hear you enjoyed - I‘ll bump it up. 2mo
Cathythoughts I really enjoyed this too ❤️ 2mo
Graywacke @Tamra @Cathythoughts I‘m still thinking about this. Has a charm and something distinct about it too. 2mo
39 likes3 comments
Light Perpetual: A Novel | Francis Spufford
post image

Chasing the Booker longlist. I‘ll probably start this Monday.

post image

I don‘t want to carry my old edition of Nabokov‘s Ada around, so I‘ve started this paperback to read at my lunch breaks. Steinbeck‘s first novel from 1929. (I just saw one Litsy review that said it shows the racism of its time. Eek. Hope i didn‘t choose too poorly here.)

Cathythoughts It can only be good to go there 👍🏻❤️ good luck & i hopes it‘s good 2mo
Cathythoughts The title is brilliant 2mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts it‘s been entertaining so far. It‘s like almost an obnoxious adventure story, except the author insists on little elegant detours observing the world around and the sky. 2mo
46 likes3 comments
Ada, Or, Ardor, a Family Chronicle | Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov
post image

Started this today, a 1969 edition.

(Trying this again. I tried to delete a comment i was writing and deleted my post.)

Graywacke @Leftcoastzen - Sorry, your comment got zapped too. But, yes I love these old editions. This comes from my in-laws, who would have bought it in 1969 and then kept till I pulled it from the to-donate shelves ten years ago. I have one other from them, tagged. (I have an image of it there, from 2 years ago) - (edited) 2mo
Leftcoastzen Nice , even better with a family history. 2mo
46 likes2 comments
Measure for Measure | William Shakespeare
post image

Isabella, what just happened?

Measure for Measure Act 5 - #shakespearereadalong
The Duke directs a show, performing his version of justice on everyone, and then… just kind of sneaks a marriage proposal to a nun.

Well then. Was justice served? On Angelo? Lucio? Claudio? Barnardine? What just all happened to Isabella? Thoughts?

(I have so much on my mind that I‘m posting ~7 discussion questions in the comments. Feel free to respond or ignore.)

Graywacke Q 1: G. Wilson Knight cited all the biblical references and wrote (1949) that the Duke was a paternal Jesus figure. This influenced productions whose tried to emphasize this aspect. 👇👇 (edited) 2mo
Graywacke 👆👆 Mary Lascelles wrote a harsh critical response in 1954, arguing it‘s a conclusion “without considering the ugly reason of the total design.” For example, the Duke caused all these problems to begin with. How do you judge the Duke? Divine? Good? Mixed? Bad? Sick? Satanic? 2mo
Graywacke Q 2: Isabella is viewed from an idealized perfect heroine and a fraud on par with Angelo (self righteous, but not willing to walk the extreme preached). And most critics note she‘s a strong character early and just a role player after 3.1. What do you make of her? What‘s the paternalistic world missing here regarding her? 2mo
See All 97 Comments
Graywacke Q 3: The Berliner Ensemble of Brecht performed a version that emphasizes power and exploitation (“Beneath the surface of Shakespeare‘s reassuring happy ending lurks a very nasty underworld of sexual and commercial exploitation of inferiors which is never cleaned up, only played down and obscured.” Is this perspective enlightening to anyone (else besides me 🙂)? 2mo
Graywacke Q 4: The play requires a lot of nuance to perform. How to humanize Angelo, or avoid a character contradiction in Isabella? How should she handle the Duke‘s weird marriage proposal? And how to set that up earlier? So, is all just incidental stuff, or does it reflect on the success of the play? And, if so, how? 2mo
Graywacke Q 5: (3 posts) My prep post before we started quoted the intro: “Other critics felt that the play, though it had some superb moments, changed course halfway through and that its form could not accommodate the questions that it raised so compellingly.” 👇👇 2mo
Graywacke 👆👆… “There is a third, more recent, interpretation of the play, especially popular on the modern stage. It prefers to see the play as a moden representation of the hidden, explosive sources of desire in men and women, of different, incompatible, and mutually incomprehensible levels of social reality, the touch-and-go, hit-or-miss nature of establishment justice, 👇👇 2mo
Graywacke 👆👆 the abundance of social energy at the lower strata of society, and of the way money can interfere with sex and marriage. The play is seen as an open-ended problem play that raises more questions than it answers and permits divergent interpretations of more or less equal validity. Ambiguity is the very essence of the play's meaning.” Now that we have read it, thoughts on all this? 2mo
Graywacke Q 6: and i quoted: “It is indeed one of Shakespeare‘s most impressive achievements whether we consider the seriousness of the issues it deals with, its characterization, or its construction.” You agree? 2mo
Graywacke Ok, stopping there. Six long, in theory, discussion-provoking questions (they‘re also potentially discussion-strangling. But hope that‘s not the case.) Feel free to add yours. (edited) 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa I hated the ending! So Angelo propositioned her, sexual assault. The Duke pushing her to marry him, a-ok. She should run off back to the nunnery and never talk to any of these crazy men again. And Angelo who treated everyone badly, and duplicitously, not even honoring his agreement with Isabel and trying to kill off her brother anyway…finds redemption,but Lucio goes to execution! Why not just make him marry his “lady” too? I just thought⤵️ (edited) 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa ↪️ the ending was hypocrisy after hypocrisy.🤷‍♀️ 2mo
MoonWitch94 1️⃣ I view the Duke as misguided, flawed, character with a grandiose sense of self! Definitely a mixed bag of a character. 2mo
Lcsmcat Q1: I judge the Duke more harshly than I judge Angelo, and that‘s saying something. He‘s supposed to be the good guy? Christ like? No way!!! And that “proposal?” That implies a question that can be answered. Isabella wasn‘t given a chance to answer. She was just told. 2mo
Lcsmcat Q2: I had similar issues with the change in her I‘s character. Where was all her strength and conviction? 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Q3: Lots of exploitation here! And echoing @Riveted_Reader_Melissa , the wealthy & connected Angelo gets embarrassed and then forgiven for a much more serious set of crimes than Lucio, who gets executed. Definitely raises issues of the problem with power. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Q5: It‘s a “problem play” alright! And I‘m not sure how the problems raised could have been resolved in Shakespeare‘s day without insulting the people in power over him and thus risking HIS life. So maybe this is ripe for a modern retelling in the “me too” era, with a better ending. 2mo
Lcsmcat @MoonWitch94 Agreed! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Still pondering Q4 and Q 6. 2mo
TheBookHippie @Graywacke Q1 It reminded me of parochial school to the point of feelings I‘ve not felt in some 45 YEARS 😳 2mo
TheBookHippie @Riveted_Reader_Melissa 😫agree it was such hypocrisy!!! 2mo
TheBookHippie @Graywacke Q2 Reminded me of people and or volunteers who THINK they KNOW ALL to do good -will be the white savior then learn truth and just disappear … since it was about them and or they can‘t fix it. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @TheBookHippie Right #Metoo all over the place. Angelo propositions her, her brother says why not, then the Duke decides to marry her….does anybody ask what or care what she wants. She wants to be a nun, back off creeps 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa ↪️and everyone at every level of power tries to say what she should do and what‘s right for her (edited) 2mo
TheBookHippie @Graywacke This is Texas. This is people who pay for their mistress abortion but vote to outlaw abortion. This is people who want to control women because they‘re intimidated by the perceived sexual hold women have over men 🤦🏻‍♀️ it is all 😡 Q3 (edited) 2mo
TheBookHippie @Riveted_Reader_Melissa and no one asked her. 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @TheBookHippie Yep, I hated the ending, but I liked how he highlighted the hypocrisy in this play. But I was annoyed that the only one really punished was Lucio and really Isabella 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @TheBookHippie She was very clear that she wanted be a nun, but nobody cared or listened. 2mo
TheBookHippie @Graywacke It reminded me of do we ever know anyone‘s heart, intent or involvement. Were these people recognizable to themselves upon seeing the play. Are these folks reflected of people in the inner circle or society or Shakespeare‘s world and no one would know? Are they Easter eggs? Would love to ask him! Q4 (edited) 2mo
TheBookHippie @Riveted_Reader_Melissa should have phrased it listen truly to her ask to hear her! Which even today rare! 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @TheBookHippie …and all of them basically told her to put that aside and do what they wanted. Lucio, save your brother. Angelo, sleep with me to save your brother (but I‘m going to kill him anyway), Claudio, yea sleep with him and save me, Friar/Duke, say yes, but trick him, Duke, marry me instead. What kind of pawn/shell game is this with her life? The more she tries to help, the more they ignore her wishes. (edited) 2mo
TheBookHippie @Riveted_Reader_Melissa Do you think anyone listened to women as people at this time? Or was this the point? Why are younger women thinking this is a feminist play?! 2mo
Graywacke @Riveted_Reader_Melissa @TheBookHippie Agree, she was silenced. No question. Her last independent thought is maybe with Claudio in Act 3 (but i still thought her pleading in public was at least a little fearless, surrounded by all those powerful men and calling Angelo what he was, no sympathy in sight.) 2mo
TheBookHippie @Riveted_Reader_Melissa I often wonder was the point, this play just in itself or the discussion of it OR was it all sarcasm?! This one made me feel so angry and remember religious school so much 😂 I lost sight a few times! 2mo
Graywacke @TheBookHippie 🙂 (re: “It reminded me of…”) interesting questions. 2mo
TheBookHippie @Riveted_Reader_Melissa all the sex as power or weapon -nothing has literally changed at all. 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @TheBookHippie do they now…really? I‘m thinking it‘s a feminist play because it highlights, again like MeToo, that this stuff and not listening has been going on forever, and in hundreds of years still hadn‘t changed enough. 2mo
TheBookHippie @Graywacke I swear this play had me yelling at my book 😂 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @TheBookHippie See, and I‘m angry and revved up just talking about this ending again. 2mo
TheBookHippie @Riveted_Reader_Melissa Ha. It‘s just so aggravating my brain tries all circling ways to figure it out from multiple views. Never ending in a good space!!! 😡🤪😅 2mo
Graywacke @Riveted_Reader_Melissa @Lcsmcat As I understand, Lucio was sentenced to marriage, whipping and execution and then released from the last two, sentenced only to marriage. (Mom obviously was no consulted). Anyway, his body won‘t be physically reprimanded. (My commentary on this: More Duke games. threaten, but don‘t follow through the worst parts…and seem merciful.) 2mo
TheBookHippie @Riveted_Reader_Melissa I agree it‘s just never ending!! 2mo
TheBookHippie @Graywacke Q5 I think it can be used until the end if time even though it‘s a problem play. I can‘t imagine a day where sex power women‘s rights and aren‘t all hot button topics and means to control and contrive 😫 2mo
TheBookHippie @Graywacke This one has me had more emotions than any other if that counts. 😂🤪Q6 (edited) 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @TheBookHippie The Vox article is very good. 2mo
TheBookHippie @Riveted_Reader_Melissa I thought so too!! 2mo
Graywacke @TheBookHippie enjoyed the linked articles. 2mo
TheBookHippie @Graywacke I have treated this play like a research project 😂 it got under my skin! 2mo
Graywacke @TheBookHippie i think what strikes me, personally, most is the meaning of silence highlighted at the end of the first article, the missing commentary by the the relevant women. (I‘m just thinking. Angelo gets soliloquies (two!), but Isabella does not.) 2mo
Graywacke @TheBookHippie Noting your powerful response. This play certainly had me thinking. And I want to apply it to my Q4. Is that great composition or bitterness against “wrong” composition? The play strikes me as upsetting, but I can‘t decide if I should blame Shakespeare or humanity ( or specifics therein - sexist paternity, self-righteousness, political manipulation…) (edited) 2mo
TheBookHippie @Graywacke Shakespeare making us look at humanity in 1604. 2021 not much has changed it‘s just mind boggling. It‘s probably both. Since it‘s something I constantly advocate, protest and try to create change in law to know in 1604 Shakespeare was saying look at yourselves is both fascinating and frustrating and a bit hopeless I think. 2mo
GingerAntics The ending of this play is truly bizarre. I agree that this could pretty much happen today, if conservative, right-wing, Christians got their way. 2mo
Graywacke @Riveted_Reader_Melissa i should have also tagged you for the question in my last post above. 2mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics bizarre captures aspects of my reactions too. 2mo
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie Thanks for sharing those articles. They make some good points. 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @TheBookHippie The silence is indeed striking. It makes me want to watch multiple productions to see how it gets interpreted by different actors. But also, it could be Shakespeare telling /showing how women are routinely silenced. 2mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke there was very much different things happening in the background, off stage if you will, than what I thought was happening throughout the play. Is the Duke a benevolent crazy person? Did the Duke get some sort of entertainment out of all this? People died!!! Was/is the Duke actually in charge around here? So many unanswered questions. 2mo
GingerAntics @Lcsmcat I hadn‘t thought of it through that lens. That does frame it nicely. This is all about silencing women. Hm. 🤔 2mo
Graywacke @GingerAntics i don‘t think anyone died (other than the pirate R and Marianna‘s brother 5 yrs before, and everyone who will die of syphilis eventually, if they live long enough) but if we called this the Duke‘s convoluted but potentially successful plan to get in the pants of an unwilling nun…well, it fits. (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie @GingerAntics Signet describes a lot of different productions. Some end with Isabella left alone on stage, silent. (Some create Isabella-Duke mutual interest throughout the play so that the end is natural and romantic.) 2mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke still sounds like Stockholm Syndrome to me. 2mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke I had to go back and check this. You‘re so right. I guess it just feels like so many people died, what with execution looming over every act. It just feels like it has so much death. Maybe that‘s just me. 2mo
jewright @Graywacke Q2 I saw her as looking out for herself. Goodness knows no one else is. She refuses to sacrifice herself even for her brother. At first, I was upset with her for this, but as I saw how everyone treated her, I understand it. 2mo
Graywacke @jewright well I certainly agree. (I found it interesting that the signet afterward essays feel she didn‘t much care for her brother and one essay wonders why she ever confronted him in prison. She could have just let him to his fate. (Which I think is roughly @Riveted_Reader_Melissa ‘s take) ) 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @Graywacke See, and I didn‘t think that was odd at all, she went to plead her brother‘s case, so of course she went to tell him how it went, let him know there was no reprieve because Angelo was not a moral man to be reasoned with (in the end she was right there, because he continued and moved up the execution even after she capitulated), and to say goodbye to her brother and sorry her morality, which is why he called her to argue for him, ⤵️ (edited) 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa ↪️ Had no effect on an immoral man. It really stinks that again, that essayist is saying obviously she didn‘t care much for her brother…. If that was true she wouldn‘t have come to argue for him at all, just stayed at the convent. And wouldn‘t have been so upset at the proposition, she would have just left (not caring) and returned to the convent. Was that essay by any chance written by a man? Just curious now. What‘s your guess @TheBookHippie (edited) 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa Seriously, this poor nun trainee gets a message that her brother is to be executed can she please come and plead for his release because she‘s moral and clever and if anyone can convince Angelo it‘s her…she does all that, is basically sexually harassed, propositioned, and assaulted (as far as Angelo knows), but yet she‘s uncaring and doesn‘t really like her brother? Women really can‘t win, no matter what they do, can they? ⤵️ (edited) 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa ↪️if she slept with Angelo she‘s a ruined fallen women, life ruined (mortal and immortal as far as her beliefs), and Angelo will punish her for that too because once she gives in, she‘ll be as bad as everyone else he‘s punishing for giving into fornication, BUT if she doesn‘t, then she‘s obviously an uncaring sister. Talk about Catch-22…but maybe that‘s the point, no matter what she chooses or does, she‘ll still be found guilty & lacking. (edited) 2mo
Graywacke @Riveted_Reader_Melissa i think that is a point. She can‘t win. I don‘t recall which essay it was in, regarding her pale warmth for her brother, but I think it was more than one, written by male and also in a kind of feminist female authored essay (an odd Signet standard thing). It wasn‘t she‘s a bad unfeeling person, it was that her brother didn‘t warrant all that in her value system, and maybe he shouldn‘t have. When he dies, she‘s kinda 👇 2mo
Graywacke 👆not crushed and later (in her hypnotic state?) argues he deserved to die more than Angelo who only had intent (which is messed up logic). But also this play exposes weaknesses in simplified value systems. Angelo breaks, Isabella may be a parallel who is also self righteous and here also exposed. (edited) 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm That was one ending I did no expect! The Dukes‘s announcement..where did that come from? I‘m beginning to think he may have planned the whole thing - clean up the city and get his girl. Q1, the Duke‘s a liar, a hypocrite. The play is not problematic, his character is.😒 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm Agree it has an ambiguous ending. Isabella may be horrified at the Duke‘s announcement. It‘s like déjà vu" ! Those in power preying on the hapless. No wonder she‘s speechless. 2mo
erzascarletbookgasm I‘m with @Riveted_Reader_Melissa ..no matter what, it‘s a no-win situation for her. And that‘s the point, I guess. 2mo
batsy Sorry it's taken me so long; I finished the play but was so unsatisfied with it (never has a play made me so frustrated trying to understand what Shakespeare was trying to convey, if anything) that I was reading the Signet essays and also Marjorie Garber's chapter on it in "Shakespeare After All" where she says ?? 2mo
batsy "There was a time in critical history when the Duke...was seen as a godlike playwright figure, ordering the lives of all the other characters, making sure that things come out right in the end." As readers we do definitely disagree on the playwright's version of things "coming out right in the end", so my easy answer to Q1 is: all of the above :) 2mo
batsy Q2: Isabella is a frustrating and complex character. Her commitment to virtue and chastity has a charge to it that makes her more passionate than the other more "based" characters who don't see lust or sexual desire as bad, so she kind of reminds me of a Joan of Arc type character. But one who is rendered silent in the end in order for things to work out the way the Duke has planned it. From a feminist perspective, that's definitely Not Great. 2mo
batsy Q3 That's enlightening to me, as well. I've read some commentaries that remind us that this play is steeped in "late Medieval morality" and Catholic doctrine (written "after the dissolution of the monasteries", Eileen MacKay says, and also "after the Reformation") both aspects that I'm familiar with only from the bare minimum of knowledge gleaned from popular history, so it is interesting to see how cynical the play is about the Church. 2mo
Graywacke @erzascarletbookgasm @batsy appreciating your thoughtful comments. I might respond a bit more when I have time. The Duke as a Prospero or a Shakespeare alter-ego play director makes sense in some ways, and bothers me personally a lot in some others. (edited) 2mo
mollyrotondo Q2: @Graywacke @Riveted_Reader_Melissa @TheBookHippie I agree with the critics that Isabella seemed like a really strong female character in the beginning. She stood her ground and told her brother off. But then she becomes a role player in the second half of the play. I don‘t know if this was intentional or not. I thought it was very well done when Marianna defends Angelo. Marianna is the opposite of Isabella. She defends a man who scorned her ⬇️ 2mo
mollyrotondo While Isabella is trying to expose Angelo for the creep he is. Yet both women are not valued and are toyed with and given no agency or voice. Women of all kinds get screwed over by men. I was frustrated that Isabella is not a strong character by the end but I do think Shakespeare writes these two women as strong examples of all women being silenced and used. 2mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo I agree you summed it up very well. It is just surreal that this is so relevant to today. Mind boggling. 2mo
mollyrotondo Q1: I definitely don‘t think the Duke should be considered a Christ like figure but I do find what Shakespeare did with his character very interesting. He‘s supposed to be spying on Angelo because he wants to bring proper justice and order since he neglected those duties previously. Valiant endeavor. And the whole time he is the fixer while Angelo is the villain. And then at the very end when he brutishly claims Isabella as his bride ⬇️ 2mo
mollyrotondo ...he proves he is just as disgusting of a person as Angelo and the brother and probably most men at the time. He has no respect for women and is not the restorer of order that we were made to believe in the beginning of the play. I don‘t like the Duke but I like what Shakespeare did with his character. 2mo
mollyrotondo @TheBookHippie oh I know it is disgusting that so little has changed in all of these years. Text like this should be unfathomable to us now but we can all sadly relate. Awful. 2mo
mollyrotondo Q6: I liked this one but I definitely don‘t consider it one of Shakespeare‘s most impressive achievements. It‘s a very thought provoking play that criticizes power and church and morals and law. But it‘s no Hamlet or Richard III or Macbeth. 2mo
TheBookHippie @mollyrotondo Awful indeed. 2mo
Graywacke @erzascarletbookgasm I agree with you about the Duke. I think he's a problem. I kind of feel that S. thought that if anyone doubted the Duke had issues, he threw that marriage proposal (or command? ) in as a little flag. 2mo
Graywacke @batsy regarding being unsatisfied... I keep finding myself thinking this a play with the kind of happy ending the really bothers about everyone. Surely it must have then too...? As for charged chastity - it's not just Isabella, but Angelo, of course. And...maybe the false Friar, aka Duke V. But only Isabella is silenced. And, cool about the Medieval morality play connection. I haven't read Boccaccio yet, but this plot makes me think of him. 2mo
Graywacke @mollyrotondo “I do think Shakespeare writes these two women as strong examples of all women being silenced and used“ - but in sympathy or approval? “he proves he is just as disgusting of a person as Angelo“ !! (The Duke bothers me more than Angelo does, and only Angelo was killing people. So why do I feel so negative to him? I think maybe just because he gets away with it.) @TheBookHippie @Riveted_Reader_Melissa 2mo
Graywacke @mollyrotondo Completely agree, it's no Hamlet, etc. An experiment, but maybe not a wonderful theatre experience (er, as imagined while reading) 2mo
TheBookHippie @Graywacke I agree the Duke is way more bothersome. 2mo
38 likes97 comments
Petrarch and His World | Morris Bishop
post image

Apparently my book needed hug. (Also i had looked up from reading another book to catch him chewing on these bookmarks. So this is his “what? I‘m totally innocent” face. )

Leftcoastzen 😹😻 2mo
Ruthiella Cats are why I can‘t actually use bookmarks with tassels anymore! 😻😹 2mo
virtuousauthoress I get what you mean, I got three such munchkins myself. 2mo
See All 9 Comments
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen 🙂 🐈‍⬛‘s… 2mo
Graywacke @Ruthiella @virtuousauthoress this one stalks my bookmarks when I read. He waits for a weak moment when he can attack them, or just knock them somewhere painfully hard to reach. 2mo
virtuousauthoress Good boy 2mo
Graywacke @virtuousauthoress he is very proud of himself. 🙂…😞 2mo
DivineDiana Very handsome! 😻 2mo
56 likes9 comments
Measure for Measure | William Shakespeare
post image

Judge not…and yet, how to not do that after finishing such a play. More Sunday. 🙂

#shakespearereadalong reminder

36 likes13 comments
The Sweetness of Water | Nathan Harris
post image

My next audio/Booker longlist book. Not a fan of the title. It has an unusual start and I‘m enjoying it so far. But, as with several other longish contemporary novels I‘ve read recently, it lacks some kind of strong hook upfront to draw me in. So, again, just good enough so far to keep me involved.

Measure for Measure | William Shakespeare
post image

“I will not consent to die this day, that‘s certain.”

Measure for Measure Act 4

Our Duke a tried director. Marianna acquiesces to perform her part (yuck), but Angelo, fearing Claudio‘s wrath, undermines the deal and pushes execution anyway. The Duke scrambles for a solution, but then there‘s Barnardine. He does not comply. Order to disorder. And let‘s not overlook our Provost, Pompey or Lucio. Thoughts? Barnardine fans?

Graywacke Ecclesiastes 5:11: ‘The slepe of him that travaileth is swete, whether he eate little or much.‘

Claudio on Barnardine:
As fast lock‘d up in sleep as guiltless labour
When it lies starkly in the traveller‘s bones.
He will not wake.
See All 40 Comments
Lcsmcat Much to say “yuck” to. But I found it hilarious that the condemned B could just refuse to be executed. Why didn‘t C think to try that? 😂 2mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @Lcsmcat Right!? What was that! 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Riveted_Reader_Melissa perhaps Barnardine is just a lot smarter than Claudio… 🤷🏻‍♂️ 2mo
TheBookHippie @Lcsmcat 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼My thoughts too. 2mo
TheBookHippie When the quantity of goods increases, so does the number of parasites consuming them; so the only advantage to the owner is that he gets to watch them do it. CJB this version had me 😱 at what we then read this week 🤯 So what object lesson is Shakespeare teaching ? So many to chose from. Verse 12 The sleep of a working man is sweet, whether he eats little or much; but the overfullness of the rich won't let them sleep at all. Seems to be a theme 2mo
Graywacke @TheBookHippie that first line may explain most of what we see/read in our daily news. But, yeah, what is this play teaching us, exactly? 2mo
LitStephanie @Lcsmcat haha, I know! And they let Barnardine get drunk all the time, too. This prison has been run very leniently for a long time. Angelo is a total a$$hole, but he does deliver swift justice. 2mo
Lcsmcat @LitStephanie Swift, yes. Justice? I‘m not so sure about that. And the Duke‘s not much better, playing with people‘s lives. 2mo
LitStephanie Sorry I have been MIA the last couple of weeks, but I am loving this play. I really enjoyed the banter of the executioner and Pompey (Pompey is my favorite character). 2mo
LitStephanie @TheBookHippie @Graywacke I think one of the great themes in Measure is the struggle to walk the line between crazy righteous prude and total libertine. Angelo is so repressed and harsh he becomes a monster and also ends up committing a crime he has no mercy for in others. But the Duke is just as bad in his own way; he has been lax in his duty to uphold the law, and now no one respects him or the law. 2mo
TheBookHippie @LitStephanie I agree with this. Great explanation. I have to say the unreal religious prude is so accurate. AND CURRENT to today! I do also enjoy this play. It has given lots of pause and thought. 2mo
LitStephanie Lucio is such a trash talker! I love how the Duke is learning what people think of him. He has been a soft ruler, and instead of admiring his mercy, people think it is because he is immoral himself. And I cannot wait to see Lucio get his comeuppance, LOL! 2mo
GingerAntics @TheBookHippie this is so terrifying current 2mo
GingerAntics @LitStephanie the duke is such an odd/interesting character to me. What‘s up with him? I can‘t wait for Lucio‘s downfall either. (edited) 2mo
LitStephanie @GingerAntics I think the Duke is a good guy, but he has really been blind to his own faults as a justice of the peace or whatever he is. He also thinks a bit too highly of his own judgement and can be patronizing. He inflicts cruelty on Isabella by telling her Claudio is dead simply because it works better for his plan, and he loves giving out sage words of wisdom as an imposter friar. 2mo
LitStephanie @Graywacke what kind of a production did that picture come from, OMG! 🤣 2mo
TheBookHippie @LitStephanie the picture is everything !! 2mo
Graywacke @LitStephanie The picture is from an RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company?) production. My search was Abhorson Barnardine. 🙂 I really like your analysis - missing the Goldylocks enforcement. And I agree the Duke is patronizing...so patronizing. oye. I think he's mainly just not doing anything intelligent. He's just being stupid. But glad he caught Angelo's order. What a monster. 2mo
Graywacke @TheBookHippie @GingerAntics religious prudery... hasn't it always been current? 2mo
Lcsmcat @LitStephanie There is some great word play in the scene with Pompey and the executioner! 2mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke It‘s a great production! 2mo
Graywacke @LitStephanie I love Pompey too. So many great lines this act. (Also his illegal bawd to legal hangman transition is meaningful.) 2mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @LitStephanie Some Pompey lines. 🙂 :

“You must be so good, sir, to rise and be put to death.“


“Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are executed, and sleep afterwards.“


“O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night,
and is hanged betimes in the morning, may sleep the
sounder all the next day.“
jewright I felt guilt for enjoying the lines you quoted, but they were so good. This play has some icky factors, but I am enjoying reading it. The language is clever. 2mo
Lcsmcat One of my favorite exchanges in this Act: PROVOST Come hither, sirrah. Can you cut off a man's head? POMPEY If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can; but if he be a married man, he's his wife's head, and I can never cut off a woman's head. 2mo
GingerAntics @LitStephanie he does make a brilliant imposter. Perhaps he‘s just winging it in everything, a sort of imposter in every roll he plays. 2mo
GingerAntics @Graywacke I wish I could say no, but I think both religious prudery and religious hypocrisy are always current. It‘s sad, really. 2mo
LitStephanie @GingerAntics ooh, good point! 2mo
LitStephanie @Lcsmcat I like that bit, too. I love how Pompey is never ruffled by anything. Always calm and just goes with the flow. He seemed surprised that Lucio won't bail him out, but other than that he just calmly accepts everything. He is a survivor, that one. 2mo
batsy @Lcsmcat I loved that bit, it made me snort a bit too loudly 😆 2mo
batsy @LitStephanie I think that's a very elegant way to sum up the themes of the play. I also think it's Shakespeare revisiting his favourite theme of the utter arbitrary nature of the laws that govern society and to expose the hypocrisies and farcical nature of how it's applied. 2mo
LitStephanie @batsy yes, I see your point. Very unevenly applied justice! 2mo
Graywacke @batsy having read act 5, this theme seems spot on to me. It hadn‘t occurred to me that it‘s a reoccurring and favorite Shakespeare theme. 2mo
batsy @Graywacke I might be overstating it but it feels like quite a lot of the plays we've read have a latent "look at people in power twisting the law to work in their favour however they want" theme going on, or I might have read into those plays too much because the local political scene has been a shitshow since, like, forever and I keep seeing parallels ? 2mo
Graywacke @batsy malaysia aside (where I‘m clueless), I want to think this through more. It always struck me how ruthlessly practical his strongest characters tend to be, with power being the purpose, and weaker side players and unrealistic goals being the problem. So twisting the law fits easily in my mindset. But arbitrariness of laws and enforcement is a social commentary, not a human frailty thing. It‘s a different theme…maybe. Thinking… 2mo
batsy @Graywacke That's true. We can never be sure of his intention when writing a play but the rich expansiveness of his depictions allows the reader to read into power struggles in multiple ways; he might have been presenting individualised power struggles between strong and weak characters, or he could have been depicting the ways in which laws are bent to purpose and thus not absolute. Or both. In this play I'm curious about what he's trying to say. 2mo
Graywacke @batsy looking over the plays I‘m familiar with, I see three following legal games: Comedy of Errors, Merchant of Venice, and this one. (Maybe I missed some) As for what he‘s trying to say here - the Signet afterward essays are rich with disagreements. 🙂 Hopefully we can hash over this more next week after we finish. 2mo
31 likes40 comments
Great Circle | Maggie Shipstead
post image

That‘s basically the plane Marian learned on.

The story of flying obsessed Marian Graves, born during WWI, and her twin brother, and the other story of a contemporary jaded actress trying to perform her in a movie. So, a lot of 1920‘s, 1930‘s and WWII and early flight, and a lot of Hollywood. It was not a wow for me. A little too conventional, maybe. But it‘s good and Shipstead has some wonderful moments. Long enjoyable listen.

post image

A 934-page sweeping historical romance on Georgia - the country. It basically covers the 20th century, opening around 1900 and closing around 2003, a pivotal and hopeful year for this place. I‘m not going to rave about this, as I was never carried away, but it‘s nicely written and I enjoyed it all, the vaguer first 2/3 in the Soviet shadow, and all the detail touches in the last 300 pages, especially as the Iron Curtain collapsed.

BarbaraBB Great review. I felt the same. Not raving, entertaining though 3mo
Graywacke Thanks. I remember you mentioning that. I think it‘s a book that can really click with the right reader, but it all depends on how they respond to that tone. But I didn‘t fully respond. ☺️ I also think it got better when Nika started on her own life. 3mo
48 likes2 stack adds2 comments