05 April 2008

March Book Report; The Letter G

I read two books, and otherwise caught up on some magazines for the month of March. Overall, quite a successful enterprise.

My book of the month for the Book Awards Reading Challenge was, coincidentally enough, March, by Geraldine Brooks. (This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2006.) I chose this book for two reasons: 1. I was curious to see if it worked, and 2. I've read good things about Brooks' writing, and, since my mother's name was Geraldine, figured I should give her a try.

March is the story of Mr. March - the father who is absent for most of the book Little Women. I will admit to being extremely skeptical of this choice - as I told a friend, I really don't like people messing with my classics! And to be honest, I didn't really spend too much time worrying about Mr. March when I read Little Women, though his daughters and wife spent a lot of the book being concerned, and missing him.

I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the book. Geraldine Brooks very clearly made sure to pay attention to the details of the original story, and to be sure that it was told in a proper historical context. Mr. March is, from what I have read otherwise, also based on Bronson Alcott, who has always fascinated me. The story takes us through Mr. March's life, from his time as a young man, traveling through the south selling household goods, to his meeting and eventual marriage to Marmee, to his experiences as a chaplain in the Civil War. The story manages to be complex without being confusing, and I found Mr. March to be pretty interesting, both as an individual, and in his observations about people he knows, including Thoreau and Emerson. Brooks has an excellent descriptive style, so that it is not hard to imagine the places Mr. March visits, even if you have never been there.

I'm glad that I read this book, since it was a complement to Little Women, without being sentimental or too intrusive on the story of the March girls. I would recommend it to anyone interested in seeing what someone could do with the slightest information about a character in the original story.

Next up was Laced by Carol Higgins Clark. I was at the library, and looking for something that I thought would be an entertaining, quick read. I saw this book, and though I have never read any of her titles, I have read a lot of her mother, Mary Higgins Clark. The story was about an antique lace tablecloth that goes missing during the main character's honeymoon in Ireland. So, we have: lace, Ireland, mystery - all things I like. What the heck, I gave it a try.

It was in fact, an entertaining and quick read. The depictions of the people encountered in Ireland, and the places visited by the couple trying to solve the mystery was really enjoyable, reminding me of certain things and locations that I remember from my trip there a few years ago. The mystery was mystery enough, not requiring a lot of tracking of details, which was fine, since my brain was just not in the mood. When I find myself looking for something similar down the road, I may try another Carol Higgins Clark book.

In the meantime ...
G is for

Garden Kitty!

He is my constant companion when I'm home, and often "assists" me when I am writing posts, by sitting in front of the screen, and occasionally pawing the keyboard. He joined the family a few years back, after being a stray who was living in our garden for a month or so. We referred to him as "Garden Kitty" to differentiate between him and the inside cats. When Hurricane Floyd hit, we brought him inside, so he would be safe.

He is a very good kitty, and a sweet boy, if very skittish. He never received a proper name, because we thought of too many good ones, and couldn't decide! His middle name is Ignatius, though, after St. Ignatius Loyola (this is what happens when you are the product of a Jesuit education). So even though Garden Kitty is, as The Tim says, "more of a title than a name," it's what he answers to, and it suits him now like no other name would.

Though ... as you can see from this photo, sometimes it's hard to tell which end is where ...


Carol said...

And I can see that Garden Kitty is gallant, glowing, and gorgeous.

Even if his name is goofy.

Ann said...

I really liked "March" and then when I read the acknowledgments in the back found my neighbor thanked! It turns out he helped with many of the Civil War facts and they then became friends. It sounds like Ms. Brooks is a very nice person as well as a great writer!

Kathleen said...

I really enjoyed March, too, as well as her first book Year of Wonders. Interestingly, she's married to Tony Horwitz, who wrote Confederates in the Attic, which was also a very good book.

Happy "G" to Garden Kitty from Jetsam's doppelganger, Riley!

Carrie K said...

He IS the Garden Kitty. The cutie pie.

I loved Year of Wonders but haven't read March. Yet.

The Knitting Blog by Mr Puffy the Dog said...

How nice to have March fill in some missing details of one of your favorite books! I'm not sure if it is accurate or not, but in the Jane Austen Book Club, she mentions that Jane's nephew said that Jane said Mary and Kitty (from Pride & Preducie) eventually were married too - and I felt happy to know that - LOL. The mystery sounds like fun summer reading. Garden Kitty looks just like my sister's cat - Mr Puffys is now hiding under the table!

Lorraine said...

Bridget- I don't like messing with the classics either.

I've been reading alot of mind candy lately- as my brain just can't retain anything.

What a lovely GK!

Quilting Mama said...

What a wonderful acknowledgment for GK - he's such a sweet boy. Wow - he's been in your family for almost 10 years.

My Floyd memory is watching the museum staff trying to cover the glas wall to protect the glass flowers.

March sounds like an addition to my ever growing reading list. Thanks for the recommendation.

Brigitte said...

Aw, Garden Kitty, it's so nice to see your sweet little face!

knitseashore said...

Does your vet call him Garden Kitty too? I am in this squidgy mood where I'm so happy to see that my new girls now have last names at their vet, because they belong to us instead of a shelter. Instead of just Rosie, she's Rosie Lastname. So is your kitty Garden Kitty Lastname?

I'm on an Anne Perry marathon since she's coming to the LBS this week. :)

Carol said...

You do the best reviews! I like Mary Higgins Clark too, it's a long time :) Garden Kitty looks great in flowers ;-) He is quite the cutie pie!

amanda said...

GK is such a cutie!! I really like CArol Higgins Clark books, they are fun easy light mystery reads- perfect for Summer! However you might want to also check out her Christmas mysteries co-written with her mother-- I AM A SUCKER FOR THESE! ha ha