Books I've read

Sandra's book montage

The Catcher in the Rye
The Great Gatsby
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
Lord of the Flies
Little Women
A Tale of Two Cities
Memoirs of a Geisha
The Lovely Bones
The Secret Life of Bees
Under the Tuscan Sun
The Da Vinci Code
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Hobbit
The Golden Compass
Pride and Prejudice
The Time Traveler's Wife
Jane Eyre
The Notebook

Sandra's favorite books »

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Privileged and The Damned

I wanted to share another book review with you.

As with Palladio I really enjoyed this book.
Cynthia and Adam are a young couple who get married and we follow that marriage until their children, April and Jonas, are of college age.  At that time Adam and Cynthia are fabulously wealthy; Adam runs a hedge fund and they have a foundation that does good work.  Jonas is studying Art History at college (art seems to be a bit of a theme with Dee) and April is 'enjoying'the lifestyle of a New York trustafarian.
I liked Adam and Cynthia, to the extent that I stopped reading the book for a time as I thought something awful was going to happen to Adam, but I don't really believe that you should.  Adam does some illegal things and both have little idea of loyalty to anyone beyond themselves and their children (and Cynthia's father).  I think it is the love for each other that redeems them.  The back of the novel calls it an 'epic love'.  I'm not sure I was persuaded of that but they clearly love each other greatly and are redeemed by their desire to put their money to good use
It's enjoyable to have a peek into the world of the super-rich but as with Palladio I feel slightly bemused why I liked the book so much.  I will probably read more Jonathan Dee so perhaps I'll understand better in the future.  

At the moment I'm reading a book about Evelyn Waugh and the Lygon family of Madresfield who were the models for the Flytes in Brideshead Revisited.  It's really interesting and I have been amazed by how much of Brideshead he took from his/their lives including Charles's reaction to the chapel at Brideshead Castle.  When I've finished it I'll let you know more about it.

Are you interested in the Salem Witch Trials?  I am but in a very cowardly way i.e. when I've visited Salem (in Massachusetts) I've never been to any of the witch related sites and you'll be delighted to know that means I don't have any witchy pictures.  I'll use a Hallowe'en picture from Salem instead (to cheer up the blog - I know, any excuse!)  Anyway the point of this was that last night, on National Geographic Channel,
there was a programme about the trials, or 'crisis' as they were describing it.  The 'host' of the programme was someone called Katherine Howe.  I've had her novel, The Lost Book of Salem, on my bookshelves for a while now - long enough for it to have been re-issued.  I'm planning to read in the next few weeks/months and will share my thoughts with you but the programme was very interesting and suggested a new theory for the cause of the 'crisis'.  I won't say what in-case you want to see the programme (it's being repeated in the UK and I think will be on in the US in the autumn).  Howe was inspired to research/write about the trials because of a personal connection to the tragedy and also because she was living in Marblehead.  If you page back through the blog you'll see some of my pictures of historic houses there and I think you can understand how she got so attracted to the past. 

The picture above is from outside a B&B from October 2006.  Salem goes all out for 'Haunted Happenings' right through October  but there are also interesting maritime and literature associations that
make it worth visiting.  This is the House of Seven Gables and inspired the book by Nathaniel Hawthorne (who added the 'w' to his name to try and disassociate himself from one of the witch trial judges).  It's an interesting place to visit but would be very spooky at night I think.  Salem is accessible from Boston by Amtrak or ferry and if you had a car you could combine with a trip to Marblehead.  There is a trolley service which takes you round the main sites (including the Peabody Essex Museum which is well worth a visit).  By the way, the witch trials themselves took place in Salem Village which is now the town of Danvers.  As I'm too chicken to go in any of the witch museums in Salem you won't be surprised to know I haven't made it there yet.

Well, that's more than enough of my waffle so, thanks for reading.

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