Thursday, September 3, 2020

August Books Three: Classics and Short Stories

 Here's the final instalment of my August book list. 

Uncle Vanya 

Three Sisters

The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov

Three plays, one of which (The Cherry Orchard) is supposed to be a comedy, but seems just as depressing to me as the others. All are populated with people who are bored, trying to kill someone else or themselves, depressed, drinking heavily, wishing they were elsewhere, doing jobs they hate, partnered with the wrong person, and short of roubles. Meh.

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

This is a pleasant and funny book. There is no plot to speak of, just a series of vignettes about life in the village of Cranford, all of which revolve around a group of older women who inhabit a certain social station. The story is told from the point of view of a woman who lives in a different village, but who has ties to Cranford. She makes frequent long visits and receives letters. Before this was a book, it was published in instalments in Household Words, a publication edited by Charles Dickens, between late 1851 and mid 1853. i really enjoyed this book and I laughed more than once while reading. There is tragedy along with the funny parts, but the women of Cranford find ways to care for one another along the way. I got my free digital copy from Project Gutenberg here

The Progress of Love by Alice Munro

This was the first book I bought at the local charity shop after we moved. We were on our way to the library to pick up requests that had come in, when we popped into the shop. It’s a collection of short stories by one of the best short story writers around. I love a good short story collection and this one did not disappoint. If you like short stories, Munro is always a good writer to turn to.

Machines in the Head: Selected Short Writing by Anna Kavan, selected and with a foreword by Victoria Walker

I include this short biographical note about the author because it pretty much sums up what her stories involve. The stories were sort of weird and sometimes disturbing. I'd red about this collection in a book email months ago and this is a book that was sitting in the library since March. It is hard to say what I thought about it. I didn't exactly dislike it, but I am not inclined to rush out and find any of her other work, either. I suppose I can say that I am glad I read this book by this author I'd never heard of and I'll leave it at that!

I'm really glad I finally got to Cranford, which I highly recommend, and I am reading another Gaskell now. It's been cool and rainy--perfect for tea and books. I got some new-to-me tea the other day--white tea with vanilla and a chocolate tea. Both are excellent. I hope you get to spend some time today with your beverage and book of your choice!


Vicki said...

I need to read more older books. Sometimes they are better than the new ones.

Shari Burke said...

For some reason, I've been drawn to the older books lately. I love Project Gutenberg--I've loaded my e-reader. But sometimes for the longer ones, I'd rather read a book and not a screen, so we've bought some from Book Depository and ebay. I'm enjoying finding new-to-me Victorian authors and revisiting a few books that I last read a few decades ago! :-)

Lowcarb team member said...

I might have to get Cranford and add it to my reading list.

All the best Jan

Shari Burke said...

It's a pleasant read and not long. It's nice to read stuff that makes me laugh sometimes :-)