Book Ten: Little Women

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

And yet another book I never read as a little girl, which I'm sure makes me a terrible, terrible woman. But I'm trying, oh how I'm trying, to make up for it! Here's a lame thing: I thought I knew spoilers for the book (don't read on if your'e one of the two remaining people on the planet who haven't read it and don't know the plot) in that one of the sisters dies. So the whole book I'm waiting for one of them to bite it. And I'm thinking, "I hope it's not Jo! No wait, it better not be Amy! Not Meg! No, not Beth either!" And then I'm about 10 pages from the end wondering, if she didn't kill off Beth, then how in the world is one of the others going to die in so few pages? And then I get to the end and I'm thinking I must have missed something. But no, all are spared. Perhaps I was confusing the book with real life in that one of Louisa May Alcott's sisters actually passed away? Or, perhaps she does kill one of them off in the follow-up, Good Wives?

Okay, and one more thought: this made me realize that I adore stories where the plot follows the seasons. Think Anne of Green Gables or The Fountain Overflows or Meet Me in St. Louis. I'm sure it's a gimmick, and yet it's a gimmick I'm a sucker for every time.

Book Nine: Midnight in Austenland

Midnight in Austenland, Shannon Hale

Yeah, I pretty much chose this for the Read-a-Thon. Which, for some reason, I wrote about over here and now don't have the energy to summarize here. But anyhow, it's a follow up to Austenland, this time with a new heroine and a new, darker plot. See, there's a murder at Pembrook Park, and Charlotte doesn't know if it's part of the act or if it's real. But she's plucky and driven, so she's determined to figure out who dunnit. Throw in some romance and call it good! Enjoyable silliness.

Book Eight: Freedom

Freedom, Jonathan Franzen

I have so much and so little to say about this book. So much because, honestly, there's so much to talk about. But also so little in that I just want to say that I liked it and leave it at that. Because all of the qualifications and all of the explaining one might have to do to really convey how terrific it is could easily be misconstrued. And I tend to be just a little defensive about books I really like. I'll be honest, though, I kind of hated this book during the middle third. But it had me at the beginning and then it really got me in the end.

I suppose if you're the kind of person who passionately dislikes books packed with characters who are unlikeable, then this is clearly not for you. But I think it's good enough to rise above that. Sure, it's hard not to want to scream at these people, "Oh my god, stop what you're doing right now! What the eff is wrong with you???!!!!" But I like that it captured the complex nature of human beings.