Into The Light

A continuation of my 2020 reading arc. Emerging from the shadows and into the light. I will admit I hoped for perfect timing--reading Circling The Sun would coincide with the waning of COVID--silly silly me. Some very nice reading--time well spent.

East of the Sun by Julia Gregson

I will admit to being a bit behind in entering the books I have read this year (2022) into the website, but in my defense it has been quite the year. This book is about young English women known as the "Fishing Fleet" who sailed to India during the colonial times in search of husbands. This was a very good read, way more complex of a story than the romantic blurb on the back described. I would read more of this author.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

A book that dovetails neatly into many of my categories. Readers/ reviewers seem to be divided on what to make of this book. I fall on the side of "loved it" with a few caveats.

I loved the old fashioned language, niceities (sp) and the little synopsis of chapters at the beginning of each. The mystery was compelling and the plot was complex, it kept me engaged throughout.

Caveat--it was extremely long, I kept losing the thread that entwined the characters together. To me, it left several plot points and characters dangling--but it could have been me losing that thread yet again. Not sure I still really understand it. The author ended several plot lines by killing the characters in the middle of their story.

Caveat--I did not understand the zodiac charts (at all) nor did I understand their importance to the story or plot. While I do have a category devoted to the Zodiac and the Zodiac signs--I myself don't read my horoscope nor have I ever had my chart read.

The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization by Arthur Herman

This is a book that often caught my eye while browsing the shelves of many a bookstore--but up until now I had no interest in reading about Aristotle or Plato--however, I have always been fascinated with Plato's parable of the cave. It seems eerily preminiscent of humanity's love of looking away from reality--prefering to stare at flickering images projected on a cave wall, a TV screen or a smart phone. I thought this was a perfect title to round out my "Into the Light" category. 

Reviews are pretty black and white about this book--but for me it served as a perfect introduction to how the memes of Aristotle and Plato have wound their way through society from the Ancient Greece to Modern Day Western Society.

Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy

Love me some Maeve Binchy and I managed to squeeze in two of her books in 2020. I know that I read this back in the 90's but I didn't remember anything about it--so it was like reading it for the first time. Big and sprawling--a comfortable curl up in a blanket with a cat, a cuppa, and a snack.

All Clear by Connie Willis

The conclusion to Blackout which I had read earlier in this arc of reading. I love Connie Willis and I loved being right in the thick of the London Blitz. Some complain that her books are too long--I say the more time with these characters and Ms. Willis the better.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Look at me--I managed to sneak in another classic--one that I have always meant to read but never did. It is about a woman's infidelity. It was shocking for its time--especially that a woman wrote about infidelity in the late 19th century. Pretty readable for a classic--hate me if you must but I found the ending a bit of a cop out. I wanted the author to give her main character more strength of mind--but maybe that is just a side effect of looking back through 21st century goggles.

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris

I really do wish that the word spirituality could be freed from its religious tethers. This book did help me understand the science and reasoning behind the concept of the "Self" as a separate "I". But besides advising one to mediate, and well, duh, and I do agree with his reasoning but this book left me saying--meh. The quest continues...


Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen

A page turner about two sisters and a secret revealed on-air during a morning news show. I enjoyed it while reading-couldn't but it down- but felt that a lot of the drama was contrived for effect especially later in the book.

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon

This is a book that I have wanted to read ever since I stumbled across Kathleen Norris's Acedia & Me. This book totally changed my understanding of depression and cleared up many of my miscomprehensions. A completely readable long haul door stop of a book but sadly enough still as relevant today as it was groundbreaking back in 2001 when it was first published. I am finding it an unexpected resource that is going to help me further understand my thought that --in relationship to a quiet meditative mind the gift of language seems to be a bit back handed. Always reading always learning.

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

I read and loved Ms. McLain's "The Paris Wife"-- in fact I think I may have read it twice by accident. So it was a no-brainer that I picked this book up out of $2 bargain bin as soon as it was spotted, and put on a TBR shelf. How delightful to find it nestled away just in time to perfectly fit into this category. It is without a doubt one the best books in this category--and this category is chocked full of must reads.

Hi! I'm Debbie. Here at Categorically Well-Read I give an extra layer to the reading life. Learn more about me, check out my current category of books, submit your own suggestion, or check out my latest post.