I hope that it’s been an enjoyable reading week for all.
I read Martha's Vineyard: Isle of Dreams - 5 Stars - There’s so much to love about Susan Branch’s beautiful books. Her style is engaging and cozy and the water-colored illustrations are gorgeous. Her books encourage me to want to try out some of her recipes. If I could, I would give her books away to all my favorite friends. This book is the second in a series of three memoirs. In this one, she’s making a new life for herself after a painful divorce. Her final book (“A Fine Romance”) is my favorite. That one is more of a travelogue through Britain.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“… because commonsensically speaking, a room full of good books had to better for your health than a room with no books in it at all.”
“And you know what helps loneliness? Beauty. Your heart can be sad, but it will leap at the sight of the moon on the water, or when light flickers through the leaves and flutters like butterfly wings on the wall. You might fall back into sadness, but then, thank goodness, you see something else, even the smallest of things, a pink rose in a vase, an amazing line of inspiration in a book, kitty paws the way they fold over each other, and it leaps again.”
“In all my days I’d never considered anything more important than home. In a chaotic world, it was sanctuary, it was where love grew.”
and Boy: Tales of Childhood - 3 Stars - Reading this was such a pleasure, since Roald Dahl’s books were among our favorites when my children were younger. I haven’t yet seriously ventured into his books for adults. I tried to read one of them, but it was dark and I was sitting alone in the car and got seriously scared. I still want to give them a go and haven’t quite given up yet. Anyway, I digress. This is an easy and quick read as far as autobiographies go. It’s not a complete autobiography, however, just enjoyable stories about his childhood. I’ve always enjoyed Dahl’s writing style.
This part touched me. Roald Dahl was sent to boarding school at the age of nine.
“From my very first Sunday at St. Peter’s until the day my mother died thirty-two years later, I wrote to her once a week, sometimes more often, whenever I was away from home. I wrote to her every week from St. Peter’s, and every week from my next school, Repton, and every week from Dar es Salaam in East Africa, where I went on my first job after leaving school, and then every week during the war from Kenya and Iraq and Egypt when I was flying with the RAF.
My mother, for her part, kept every one of those letters, binding them carefully in neat bundles with green tape, but this was her own secret. She never told me she was doing it. In 1957, when she knew she was dying, I was in hospital in Oxford having a serious operation on my spine and I was unable to write to her. So she had a telephone specially installed beside her bed in order that she might have one last conversation with me. She didn’t tell me she was dying nor did anyone else for that matter because I was in a fairly serious condition myself at the time. She simply asked me how I was and hoped I would get better soon and sent me her love. I had no idea that she would die the next day, but she knew all right and she wanted to reach out and speak to me for the last time.”
And his father:
“He harboured a curious theory about how to develop a sense of beauty in the minds of his children. Every time my mother became pregnant, he would wait until the last three months of her pregnancy and then he would announce to her that ‘the glorious walks’ must begin. These glorious walks consisted of him taking her to places of great beauty in the countryside and waking with her for about an hour each day so that she could absorb the splendor of the surroundings. His theory was that if the eye of a pregnant woman was constantly observing the beauty of nature, this beauty would somehow become transmitted to the mind of the unborn baby within her womb and that baby would grow up to be a lover of beautiful things. This was the treatment that all of his children received before they were born.”
The Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris - the original shop doubled as a library, publisher, and boarding house for aspiring writers. It was featured in Ernest Hemingway's memoir, "A Moveable Feast".
MY RATING SYSTEM
Fantastic, couldn't put it down
Just Okay – nothing to write home about
Rubbish – waste of my money and time. Few books make it to this level, since I usually give up on them if they’re that bad.