Tuesday, June 12, 2007

So many books for girls, so little time


You'll remember last week I mentioned that every Tuesday I'm going to tell you about a book I own and why I'm saving it for you and on the same day tell you about a book I'm getting rid of because we don't have enough space in this house for all of these books and all of your stuff, too. I write these as part of 5 Minutes for Moms' Tackle it Tuesday because if I didn't, this task would never get done and I would just let these books stare at me from their special spaces on the bookshelves.

This week, I'm introducing my first real book review as well. The great people at Harper Collins sent me a review copy of "How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life," by Mameve Medwed
, in return for a review on this blog. I'll do anything to get free books so I do not feel bought in anyway here.

I chose this book after seeing a review copy was available through BlogHer. Or, after I tell you this story, perhaps you'll think this book chose me.

First, a little background about me, your mother. In college, as an English major, reading classic literature was pretty much all I did. One of those classic writers became a minor obsession of mine. Virginia Woolf. From the beginning, I was consumed by her stream of consciousness writing, her tale of being a strong woman, suffering from depression after not being able to be with her true love -- another woman -- and then the fact that she killed herself. I had very little in common with her, yet I felt I knew her. I felt I had something connected to her. That's when I realized that sometimes a little piece of us comes from the books we read and their author's, too.

I tell you all of this because as soon as I started reading "How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life" I quickly realized there was a little connection to Woolf in the novel, The author mentions early on another book, "Flush," which is a biography of Barrett Brownings' dog written by none other than Virginia Woolf. More importantly, I own a copy of "Flush," which I proudly picked up at some obscure used book store in Provincetown, Cape Cod, a few years ago when your Da! and I vacationed there.

So, to get to the review here, "How Elizabeth ..." is pure chick literature. I do not read chick lit, typically. I prefer literary fiction that is about women, or by women. However, this book was very well done. There is even a little twist at the end that made me feel refreshed that it wasn't just another "single girl hits rock bottom, but is saved by a man" story.

What I loved about the book, besides it's lightness and refreshing topic -- the main character is an antiques dealer and she goes on "Antiques Roadshow" -- is that she is also highly educated and speaks on a higher level than most chick lit. My avoidance of such books has a lot to do with main characters obsessing over shopping and money. This novel doesn't speak to materialism in that way. This is different. It's great beach reading, or just sitting in the yard with a glass of lemonade reading.

And, if you're someone like me who needs to learn to love what you have, it speaks to that, too. In a big way.

So, for all of the reasons above, "How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life," by Mameve Medwed will be staying on our shelves and I hope that you will read it someday.

Sadly, something has to go this week. I'm choosing "Three Junes," by Julia Glass. I just didn't like the book much at all.

Tackle It Tuesday Meme


MorningSong said...

I love how you write to your daughters! Precious.

jennyr said...

wow! so many books indeed! great tackle!

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I love this idea. I am making a similar attempt to clear clutter and books are the hardest things to part with, even the ones I don't like. But I have made a rule that, to conserve limited bookshelf space, any new book I get has to displace an old book I don't like as well, and off to the library donation bin it goes.

Crystal said...

Your blog is adorable, what a great idea! Nice tackle to:)