Bookends #2 March 2018
Posted by BookerTalk
Today’s Bookends post comes from inside my snowy bower in Wales. My village was in the eye of the storm that came through on Thursday, recording the highest snowfall in the country. Though the snow is still coming down it looks as if the road out of the village is now clear. Hope so because after two days confined to barracks I’m getting a little stir crazy. There is only so much baking, eating, reading one can do….
When I relaunched Bookends last week I said that each post would consist of just three things that have caught my attention, aroused my curiosity; stimulated my interest
- a book
- a blog post and
- an article
So let’s kick off this week with a book that has been in my ‘to read’ collection for a very long time. But since it’s International Women’s Day in a few day’s time (March 8), it feels appropriate to highlight a collection that explores the lives of colourful, intrepid women in history.
Book: Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman.
The women who feature in this debut work are creativly impulsive, fiercely independent and sometimes reckless. In They include a cross-dressing Standard Oil heiress Joe Carstairs, an aviator and writer who lives alone in Nairobi; Lord Byron’s illegitimate daughter; Oscar Wilde’s wild niece, Dolly; and James Joyce’s daughter. This is a work of fiction though Megan Bergman based each story on biographical information (sometimes very scanty).
Blog Post: The Emerald Isle beckons
It’s March so it must be time for Reading Ireland month which is hosted by Cathy at 746books.com. It’s easy to take part — you just read something which is related to Ireland. It could be a book by an Irish author, or set in Ireland or characters who are of Irish origin. If you’re stuck for ideas, Cathy has a list of around 100 suggestions on the site. More info can be found on the Reading Ireland announcement page.
Article: Can novels change our attitudes to death?
In an article for Electric Literature, professor John MacNeill Miller asks whether novels such as Lincoln in the Bardo, which deal with the afterlife, can help address our phobia about death.
Maybe not the most uplifting topic for the end of the week but one that got me thinking about death scenes in literature. Two come to mind immediately: Emma Bovary in Gustav Flaubert’s Madam Bovary and Paul Dombey in Dombey and Son. The first is not how most people would want to spend their final moments on this earth; the second is considerably more traditional though rather sentimental. Have you come across any scenes that are more realistic, neither sentimental nor dwelling on the gruesome?