My last Watcha Reading Update was in September…whoops! (Still working on An Autobiography…Sort of. It is somewhere in my room. Probably.)
I’ve read quite a few books since then, mostly fiction, which don’t fit in the Watcha Reading format very well. I don’t usually read them all at the same time. However, my ban on getting anything new from the library until I’ve read what I have has got me juggling several books at once. I just finished Reading Women: How The Great Works of Feminism Changed My Life by Stephanie Staal and the audio book The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I am currently reading The Story Girl by Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Candymakers by Wendy Mass, and re-reading Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers. I’ve got The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad on audio book.
Reading Women was disappointing. I didn’t expect to agree with the author’s take on the feminist texts, but I hoped to at least feel challenged. Instead I was bored. At 29, the author gets married, has a kid, and moves from New York City to Annapolis. The book emerges from her struggle to “be a Mom” and a “have a career.” I might have been more sympathetic if the author and her husband didn’t both work from home and co-parent their one child and if the move didn’t entail buying a three story house. Her “rediscovery” of feminist texts such as A Vindication of the Rights of Women, The Yellow Wallpaper, and The Feminine Mystique made for only a nominally interesting read that I nearly gave up on several times. However, you won’t find this one in my end of the year 1 star reviews, because despite my annoyance with the author’s first world problems, I found I did like the author and she takes a stance against pornography which I appreciated. So…1.5 stars.
I read The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins this year and enjoyed it so I figured I would enjoy Collins’s other famous novel, The Woman in White. However, it wasn’t as good. It was very Gothic, dramatic, and dull. I didn’t like any of the characters and the females were always fainting or wishing they were a man. It was interesting enough to keep me engaged for over 25 hours, but not one I’d read again.
I’m not very far into The Story Girl, but I’ve struggled to keep myself interested. The book is only 177 pages so I assumed I would whip through it in an afternoon. However, I’m confused by the multitude of characters and bogged down by the weirdly cramped font of this copy. I like the idea of it, though, and am pretty sure I’ll get into it more the farther I go.
The Candymakers was recommended to me by my cousin Ella years ago and I am only now getting to it (sorry, Ella!) I like it so far! It is super creative and reminiscent of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory while still feeling original. The book is 450 pages and I’m only 100 pages in, but I like how several underlying mysteries have surfaced. There is the overt plot (who will win the competition?) but also some subtle ones (why did The Candymaker stop all tours?) I look forward to seeing how it all plays out!
Gaudy Night is book 12 in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, and probably my favorite of all of them. I love anything by Dorothy L. Sayers but this books is particularly well done. There isn’t as much mystery but there is a lot of discussion about being a woman and an academic. Also, it takes place at Oxford University, so every line paints a familiar picture for me. We’re reading this in one of the book clubs I belong to and I’m excited to discuss it more fully with my friends.
Finally, I am listening to The Secret Agent. This is my third try with this book, once before in print and once audio, but this time I am determined to finish it. I didn’t make it through Heart of Darkness but I will make it through this one!