Tuesday, October 8, 2013


     A few weeks ago I joined a study group on Women in Literature - one of the many organized by the OLLI people (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at Northwestern University.  They offer about 50 different classes a week that last til the holidays.  The classes are led by the students themselves and meet once a week.  So far I've read four books, I'm on my fifth now.

     1. Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks:  a historical novel based on the life of the first Native-American to attend Harvard College in the 1660s in Martha's Vineyard.  I had read already two other novels by Brooks and enjoyed them immensely.  In Caleb's Crossing a young Puritan woman - Bethia - writes her story in scraps of paper she scavenges since she's not allowed to write or learn anything for that matter.  

     2. The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante: translated from the Italian The Lost Daughter is an unusual work of fiction.  "The hardest things to talk about are the ones we ourselves can't understand" says the narrator of this economical novel, Leda, a professor who goes on a summer vacation to a house on the coast of Italy.  Strong and unconventional, Leda shows us a world that's not necessarily pretty but nevertheless exists.

     3. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton: a classic novel about late 19th century in the New York upper class and the mores, traditions, conventions, and rituals that must be followed lest you become a pariah.  Never mind if you love someone.  You must marry who has been chosen for you.

     4. Toby's Room by Pat Barker: what a surprise! I had never heard of this author despite the fact that she has published numerous books and won several awards.  Toby's Room takes place in pre-WWI and during WWI - London.  Told through the eyes of a young woman - Elinor - who studies art and finds herself conflicted about the war between her pacifist ideals and her love/affection for her brother who is a soldier.  

This week I'm reading So Big by Edna Ferber.  Will let you know what I think.


No comments:

Post a Comment