Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Books By Mail--Always a Pleasure

I returned home from work this evening to find a package waiting for me. I looked at it a little perplexed, thinking maybe it was the Indie book purchase I made on "Indie Book Day," but thought that was a bit fast! By the way, I purchased Harriet Evan's second book Going Home, since I so enjoyed the first one. Anyway, I ripped open the package to find that I'd been sent a couple of ARCs from Sourcebooks. To be quite honest, since I don't generally go seeking out books...mainly because my library book list and TBR pile of books I own or have been given along the way, is just too big..., so I was pretty surprised, but in a very nice way. In hindsight, I did later remember where they had come from (thanks sourcebooks on BookBlogs). The first was Loving Mr. Darcy by Sharon Lathan. (Pretty regal looking cover eh?)

I'm actually about 120 pages into the first book in this series, Mr. & Mrs. Darcy: Two Shall Become One, and have grown to like the fluidity of the language, descriptions of the house, etc. I won't lie though either, the "honeymoon" phase has really gone on for a lot longer than I would have expected. Maybe it's my own skepticism, since I'm not upset at Lathan for tackling P&P or even having these iconic characters cohabitate, but I found myself a bit disbelieving that people actually swoon over one another like this. So, the part of me that is self-indulgent and still hopes that all my single-girl fantasies will find such "swooning" affection kind of likes the book, and the other half of me is ticked and feeling ripped off because it's not real (right?).

Anyway...(because I know you want me to get off this point), the second book I received was Darcy and Anne by Judith Brocklehurst. This one looks like an interesting take on Anne de Bourgh, cousin and previous intended for Mr. Darcy. It's a pretty small, short book, but with a pretty little cover, so we'll see! I am excited though to include them in my pile of books to ship over to my mom's place for the summer. :) Thanks for these!

On a different note, I did want to comment though on something I'd been thinking about in connection to keeping this book blog. Many of my reviews center on my escapist reads. I realize that I haven't shared much about what I'm reading and teaching at school. As the year starts to wind down, and in doing one last major review with my AP Literature students, I realized what amazing literature there is available for us to read, and how I feel like I barely scratched the surface with my students. Have I exposed them to some really great pieces that will stretch their reading abilities and make them want to explore other reading options? Have I effectively taught these pieces of literature in a way that they now feel they not only understand them, but can also appreciate them? I'm not really sure, but I have great hope that they do.

Having rambled on about that, I have to close with the novel I'm teaching right now, Night, by Elie Wiesel. In his famous, Pulitzer Prize winning novel based on his experiences during the Holocaust, we learn about how far fear and hate of any one person or group can go. We also learn about the human need for survival, even in the face of greater horrors than seem expressible on paper. Today, in class, we read the scene in chapter three where Elie and his father are being marched from selection to processing. As they are walking, they see the pits of burning children and adults, and Elie denounces God and decides to commit suicide when they reach the electric fence. In the end, he doesn't make it to the fence, he doesn't commit suicide, and he doesn't denounce God as he recites the Kaddish (Jewish prayer magnifying God's name and often spoken over the dead). As with most Holocaust literature, I'm reminded of how desperately the human psyche hangs on to the possibility of good, and uses that possibility as a reason for going on with life. Don't we also, day to day, seek for the good that we think we might reach someday? Once again, I'm given much to think about and consider.


  1. What a powerful book you're sharing with your students!! I read Night quite a few years ago and it has stuck with me all this time. You're doing a beautiful job!!!

  2. Hi Becky! How wonderful that you have received an ARC of my second novel. AND that you are enjoying the first! I really appreciate your comments. Of course, I do get a chuckle out of your skepticism. Yes, my invisioned future for Lizzy and Darcy is a bit mushy and ultra-romantic, but hey, don't we want a honeymoon like that? I'll let you in on a little secret: I have been married for nearly 23 years so the swooning isn't quite as dramatic and continuous, but let's just say I am not writing a fantasy. :)

    Enjoy your reading adventures! Sincerely, Sharon Lathan

  3. I remember reading Night in high school English class--a very powerful book.

  4. Night is absolutely chilling, isn't it? One of the most unforgeable books I have ever read.

  5. Hi Becky, I just wanted to make a comment about Mr & Mrs Darcy. Yes it can be like that, the 'honeymoon' phase. I have to say I've just celebrated my 25th anniversary and whilst my husband is only like it in private, not unlike Darcy, he is very romantic and mushy! The first years of marriage are meant to be like that, well that's what I think anyway. I hope one day you find your own 'Mr Darcy'.