Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happy Birthday To:

Roald Dahl
September 13, 1916

"So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Summer's End

This weekend marks the unofficial end of summer here in the US.  It also marks the end of this year's summer reading challenge.  I was able to explore the evolution of the detective novel by reading six classics of the genre.  From its beginnings with Poe's C. Auguste Dupin stories to the modern phenomenon of Scandinavian crime fiction, my summer has been spent watching the master detectives untangle some of the most perplexing crimes.  I enjoyed the majority of them and more reviews are on their way.  In the meantime, here is a glimpse at what is on my "to read" list for the rest of 2012:

-Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas:  This acclaimed biography tells the story of one of the heroes of the German resistance.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a theologian who made the dangerous decision to voice his opposition to the Nazi regime.  As time goes on, Bonhoeffer's forms of resistance diversify and intensify and he would soon find himself involved in one of the most famous assassination attempts in history.  I have admired Bonhoeffer's writing and stories for years and am very excited to get into this one.

-The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers: This classic of Southern literature was published in 1940, but remains popular to this day.  It is on the TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 list and was a selection of Oprah's book club in 2004.  It tells the story of a deaf man named John Singer and the people he encounters in a 1930s Georgia mill town.

-Shirley by Charlotte Bronte:  This is Bronte's second published novel.  It is set in Yorkshire during the industrial depression resulting from the Napoleonic Wars as well as the War of 1812.  It was the title character that changed the use of Shirley as a distinctly male name to a distinctly female name.  It is another step in my quest to read every novel by the Brontes.

-Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton: This book is considered a classic of Christian apologetics.  Chesterton presents a unique view of the Christian faith and asserts it as the answer to all human needs.

-Mary Anne by Daphne du Maurier: The author of Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel continues to explore strong women with this 1954 novel.  It is the fictionalized account of the life of her great-great-grandmother, Mary Anne Clarke, who was a mistress of the Duke of York in the early 1800s.  In a society dominated by men, Mary Anne uses her cunning with and resourceful mind to gain power in a city at war.

-The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope: This 1894 adventure novel is set in the fictional kingdom of Ruritania.  After the king is drugged and unable to attend his coronation, an English gentleman on holiday who bears a striking resemblance to the monarch is asked to stand in for the king to prevent political upheaval.

-The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel: This 2009 historical work tells the story of the rescue of European art and architectural treasures during World War II.  A few select men were sent by the Allies to follow the armed forces and work to limit the damage to Europe's most important architectural works during battle.  As time went on, their role changed to hunting down the masterpieces of European art that had been looted and hidden by the Nazis.

I'm looking forward to some great reads this fall.  I hope that each of you enjoyed your summer reads and are ready to jump in to a new set of classics for the remainder of 2012.