So here we are in lockdown, library closed , charity shops closed, second hand paperback shop closed, nothing else for it I will have to read the books I already have………..
John Mortimer- Summer’s Lease- this had been put in our to go to the charity shop box. I decided to read it before we let it go. So glad I did, pure escapism- all the way to Tuscany. Molly hires a villa there for a three week holiday, dragging along her husband, three daughters and saddled with her old Pa- in his 70’s, but still going strong , nudge, nudge, know what I mean kind of way, on the prowl for old flames, and recalling the page boy/ tomboy girls he rogered in the 1950s and 60s. Along the way Molly falls in love and solves the problem of swimming pools which mysteriously empty themselves. It was turned into a TV series with John Gielgud and Lesley Phillips. Here’s a link to the series-
What really tickled me about our copy of the book is that we bought it second hand from a leather shop which also sold old books on the Greek island of Thassos, on one of our many holidays there.
A nice read.
Margaret Mitchell- Gone with the Wind- someone said that they would be reading some big sweeping epic of a book to get them through this time of Covid-19. This sounded like a good plan and as I have been intending for some while to re-read Gone with the Wind, now seemed like the ideal time. Basically it is a love story set against a backdrop of the American civil war and the reconstruction of Atlanta , Georgia. Lauded still as a great novel it has been criticised for its treatment of black people. I was interested to see what I felt about a book I had enjoyed in my 20s.
It is a good book. It’s well written and the main larger than life characters are believeable. It was written in the 1920s and published in the 1930s. It reflects the attitudes of the time in which it was written, and the minor characters are stereotypes from the black slaves- the Mammy figure- to poor whites, crackers, bootleggers, scallawags and carpet baggers.
Scarlett O’Hara seems to be based on Margaret herself with bits of her grandmother thrown in. Ashley Wilkes, Southern Gentleman , who is totally lost when the old way of life vanishes, may have been based on a early love of Margaret’s who was killed in WW1-and who can compete with memories of a young woman’s fallen hero. Margaret’s first husband sounds very like Rhett Butler ( who reminded me of a mixture of Heathcliff and the Great Gatsby). Margaret lost her own mother to Spanish flu in 1919, and may have been the inspiration for Ellen O’Hara- Scarlett’s mother.
It’s a jolly good read, I did enjoy it very much, I could empathise with the feelings around a lost way of life whilst acknowledging that the one lost in the novel was only nice for a very few lucky families. It drew me in totally at times, and gave me food for thought as I contemplated how it reflected the values of the time in which it is set and in which it was written. It entertained me and distracted me from our current situation. Very glad I re- read it. I am going to add it into my top100 books. This one is a keeper- I may well re-read it again one day.
It is over 1000 pages, and so for one month only I have just read two books. Not quite sure what I shall pick off my book shelves next.
Have you read anything good this month, I’d love to know and had you ever read either of the two I have read this month?