MiddleMarch by George Eliot


This is my second reading of Middlemarch, a forever book, that remains on my shelf to be read time and again.

One of my favorite Mr. Brook's quotes: "I went into science a great deal myself at one time; but I saw it wouldn't do. It leads to everything; you can let nothing alone."

The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason

This novel follows a young Viennese medical student to the Eastern front during the winter of WWI in 1914. Even though he has minimal experience (ok basically none) there is already a severe shortage of trained medical personnel. He becomes the single doctor in a freezing, partially destroyed and deserted church that is serving as a field hospital. One nurse and a few orderlies. 

This book is one of the best books that I have read this year- a fantastic depiction of the ravages andthe travesties that was WWI. I will put this on my forever shelf and no doubt read it again. First though I am sharing it with friends. I will definitely read more from this author.

Forever Books

These are the books that sit on my "forever" shelf---books that I will devote valuable reading time to read over and over again.

Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

I stumbled across this book in my youth. I loved it. I have read it multiple times. This book is most likely the beginning of my love of the epistolary style.  I will have to admit though (especially in the age of metoo) it gets a little creepier with each re-reading. But as with Gone With the Wind it will remain one of my forever favorites.

Meet Me At The Museum by Anne Youngson

This book deeply resonated with me-however, I read it while sitting on the floor by my terminally ill cat (I miss him so much) who found solace laying with his head cupped in my hand. I am planning a very much anticipated re-read hopefully soon. I will write more about this book at that time.

A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey

This is probably my favorite book and this is at least my fourth journey through these letters. Sometimes a book comes across your path at just the right time and so is the case with this one. I found myself reading it again in December 2019 at just the point when I needed nothing more than a strong talking to by fiercely independent woman, like Bess, who strongly advocates being in charge of your own financial destiny. Love her or hate her, Bess's outspoken audacity makes me laugh out loud at her nerve.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

This is one of my all time favorite books, it lives on my forever shelf, loved it as a young girl, loved it as a young mother, and still love it as a crazy old cat lady.

It is an innocent tale about the perils of being "different" and an intelligent woman in Puritan New England. There is romance, family, and friendship. If you have never read it I highly suggest that you do. 

Mrs. Palfrey At The Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor

Another late addition to this category and another book I couldn't resist digging into. I never heard of Elizabeth Taylor, the author, until I joined Twitter @DebbieVignovic and found @JacquiWine - she has proved a treasure trove of #TBR. A recent heatwave has caused a spike in my reading. Rest assured I will be reading the rest of Elizabeth Taylor's novels.

This story is set in 1960's London and revolves around the unexpected friendship that develops between the recently widowed Laura Palfrey and a young struggling writer Ludo Myers. After the death of her husband Mrs. Palfrey makes the decision to move from Scotland to London to be near her 26 year old grandson. She takes up residence in the Claremont Hotel and is quickly surrounded by a group of other elderly residents.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Hands down one of my all time favorite books and a refreshing relief from the proceeding non-stop tales of domestic violence. It is a book I keep on my My Shelf, this is the second time I have read it and I think I liked it even more than the first time. It is the romantic, and sad, and beautiful love story of time-traveling Henry, who has  "chronological displacement disorder" which means his travels both forward and back in time are random and out of his control. It is also the story of Clare the woman who becomes his wife. I look forward to reading this again and again.

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

A very simple, short story--a classic tale of a friendship that grew out of the shared love of books. This true story is told through the 20 years of transatlantic correspondence between New York City based author, Helene Hanff and the English proprietor and staff of Messrs. Marks & Co., the sellers of rare and secondhand books located at 84 Charing Cross Road, London. The book is mostly set in the late 1940's and 50's giving a compelling look at the deprivation felt by Englanders immediately following the second World War. I will read this book again and again.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

I had often glanced at this book as I browsed through the shelves of many a book store. I am glad I resisted its lure until now and it has proven to be a perfect fit into multiple categories. I will read this book again with pleasure (and indeed I have). This book is also set in England, as it emerges out of the shadow of the second World War. A London author who is looking for the subject for her next book receives a letter from a stranger who lives on the island of Guernsey--he had found her address in a book he had bought secondhand. They begin a correspondence, she travels to Guernsey, it turns into a love story, not just romance, but the power of books to transform lives. This novel has a strong back drop of history and is told using the literary style of correspondence, a style I adore, we read the letters shared between herself, this stranger, her editor, her fiancee, and the fellow members of this Guernsey based literary society.



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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.