Reading Materials: February 2017

8. My Story: 50 Years in the Shadow of the Near Great, R. A. Gray (Library)

R.A. Gray was Florida’s Secretary of State for over 30 years, from 1930 to 1961. In 1928, he and his wife, Grace, built the house in which we now live. He wrote at least three books, and I’ve decided to read them all this year (and obtain my own copies if I can find them!). My Story is a fairly straightforward account of Mr. Gray’s life from his birth in 1882 until 1958, when this book was published. His father was a poor Methodist minister, and Gray’s descriptions of his early life in rural north Florida remind me how very wild-wild-west this area was until well into the 20th century. There’s not much in the book about the house itself, but Gray’s life was very interesting, and his prose was highly readable. I did find a few photographs, interior and exterior, of our house in its original location:

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I tried to re-create this picture, but was somewhat thwarted by the proximity of the house to our neighbor’s fence, and the large number of trees and bushes in the way:

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You get the idea.

9. Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1), Gail Carringer. (Library loan) I picked this book up at the library because it looked intriguing – Plucky British aristocrats! Dirigibles! Tea! India! – but alas. As I read it, I felt I was missing some crucial background information on the characters, and a bit of research suggests I was. The author previously penned a five-book series called The Parasol Protectorate, and the main character of that series is the mother of the main character in this one. I found the writing to be decently good, but overly cute in places. For example, I did not need a description of every outfit worn by the characters, or constant reminders that such-and-such behavior is scandalous. We get it. It’s Victorian England. I think I would probably give the other series a try before reading further in this one.

10. The False Prince, Jennifer Nielsen. (Middle School book club) This book was outstanding. Not “outstanding for a middle school book” but a genuinely good read. Highly recommended.

11. An Abundance of Katherines, John Green. (borrowed) Another solidly good book from John Green, although the sheer number of footnotes was giving me David Foster Wallace tingles. No surprises here, just a thoughtful and well-told story.

2017 Totals
Fiction: 8
Non-Fiction: 3

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