Reading notes November 2018

Finished in November

1. By What Authority? by Robert Hugh Benson

Set a generation after The King’s Achievement, during the later part of Elizabeth’s reign. There are minor characters who were in the previous work and it’s interesting to see them from that perspective. I read this book some years ago, but had not previously read the sequel and so those characters didn’t have the same resonances at the time that they do now. It’s not a very happy novel, though ultimately uplifting. I thought it handled the conversion very well and the relationships. The aging Queen Elizabeth is a fascinating character. Bella read this one too and she loved the character of Mary Corbet and the humorous passages.

In Progress

1. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery

I’m slowly working my way through this story of the first woman to hike the full length of the Appalachian Trail. In addition to telling Emma Gtewood’s story, the book also tells about the trail’s history. I was hoping to read it to the kids, and I’ll probably still read them some excerpts, but there’s quite a bit about Emma Gatewood’s terribly abusive marriage, which makes for a dark reading for adults. Though it’s an interesting counterpoint to the narrative of her journey. it’s definitely not kid-friendly. I rather wish the publisher would print a young reader edition which leaves out the dark, abusive stuff and just tells the fascinating story of the hike and the Trail.

2. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

I’d dropped this one for quite a while, just got sidetracked and it wasn’t what I was in the mood for somehow. But Dom and I got to see Hamilton in Boston in October and that kicked me back into the book. Now I’m gaining some momentum. Currently reading about Hamilton’s interest in financial stability and the end of the war, the need to pay soldiers, the desperate attempt to keep the officers from mutinying.

3. Omeros by Derek Walcott

I just love this poem, but for some reason it’s taken me years to get through it. I think it’s partly that I can’t usually read it when the kids are around, I’m often too tired for poetry at the end of the day. It’s a perfect book for waiting rooms, for taking outside to read in the sun… but those opportunities don’t happen often enough.

I can’t believe I only finished one book all month. I feel like there must have been another book that I’ve forgotten that I read. Something.

3. By What Authority? by Robert Hugh Benson

Set a generation after The King’s Achievement, during the later part of Elizabeth’s reign. There are minor characters who were in the previous work and it’s interesting to see them from that perspective. I read this book some years ago, but had not previously read the sequel and so those characters didn’t have the same resonances at the time. I really like that the protagonist is a Puritan girl and that at the beginning of the novel she’s the one with the highly developed inner life, not her Catholic love interest. The story is definitely told from a Catholic worldview, but does try to be fair to the Puritans and the Church of England rector and his wife and depicts them as being Christ-loving and well-intentioned, real people.

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