Whoops – here’s a title: Sex, Literature, and the Volga (George Eliot, Edith Wharton, bell hooks, Helen R. Hull, Nicola Humble, Susan Richards)

Dear Reader:

Book Journey is hosting It’s Monday, What are You Reading?

So, seemed like a good chance to tell you what I’m in the middle of…  I have seven books going – violating my own “2 books at a time” informal rule…  Three are from the library for limited times, one’s for a readalong, and two are big and I just wanted to get them started, one I couldn’t resist starting.

142) Middlemarch by George Eliot (hard copy)

Finally – I’m off!  I’m just a couple chapters in, but I’m planning on using this for the November’s Autumn classics challenge for February, answering the following questions (about which character?  Not sure yet):

Level 1
What phrases has the author used to introduce this character? What are your first impressions of them? Find a portrait or photograph that closely embodies how you imagine them.

Level 2
How has the character changed? Has your opinion of them altered? Are there aspects of their character you aspire to? or hope never to be? What are their strengths and faults? Do you find them believable? If not, how could they have been molded so? Would you want to meet them?

Level 3
Try writing a short (four sentences +) note or letter as the character, addressed to you, another character, the author, anyone.

154) Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee (hard copy, Wharton’s 150th birthday)  #19

I’m just a few chapters in, but note that this week’s New Yorker has a Jonathan Franzen essay about Wharton in honor of her 150th birthday. His thesis is she’s hard to sympathize with because she was rich…  Interesting idea.  You can read the first page or so here (to read the whole thing you need to subscribe or get ahold of the hard copy magazine).

155) Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks (hard copy, for Feminist Classic readalong)  #20

I’m just a couple chapters in – we’ve started commenting about it here.

157) Landfall by Helen R. Hull (hard copy)  #22

Anice is a successful publisher in New York City with a handsome faculty husband, Clif, who has affairs, currently with one of the top undergraduates in his department.  She’s set to leave him when… life gets in the way.  Typical Hull, great writing, more explicit, female-oriented references to sex than you’d expect out of a 1953 book.

181) A Very Great Profession: The Woman’s Novel 1914-39 by Nicola Beauman (hard copy, library)

Nicola is a? the? founder of Persephone Books.  She wrote this book in the early 1980s when she was with Virago Press.  She organizes her discussions about the authors writing about women’s lives between WWI and WWII around topics (Feminism, Domesticity, Sex) and includes a list of the authors discussed with a blurb about them in the back.  Interestingly, Persephone and Virago have republished some of these authors, but I found that I could get a surprising number of books by these authors in their original editions at Popek’s Used and Rare Books.  Of course, I showed self-restraint and didn’t, but it is nice to know that I could.

183) Lost and Found in Russia: Lives in the Post-Soviet Landscape by Susan Richards (kindle, library)

I’ve been wanting to learn more about current Russia.  This is a great chance – Susan wrote an earlier book: Epics of Everyday Life: Encounters in a Changing Russia and this book chronicles her return to Russia to try to figure out what is happening USSR dissolution.  So far, she’s spent days on a riverboat with supposed mobsters and stayed illegally with a cult-loving wife of an alcoholic in a formerly “closed” town.  Her visa runs out and she leaves to return another day (this is just a few chapters in).  So far (1992 or so) the country sounds like an unbelievable, crazy mess.

184) Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books by William Kuhn (kindle, library)

Jackie loved books and worked for a publisher during the 1970s and 80s.  This book chronicles what books meant to her and uses the books she chose and edited to discuss her loves, passions, and concerns.

Happy reading, Ruby



  1. chris

    Oh my goodness – I quit paying attention for a few days and the whole look of the blog is modified 🙂
    By the way – you’re killing me! All these amazing, interesting sounding books and not nearly enough time to keep up … meanwhile I’m cramming my head full of digital literacy (not nearly as interesting as modern Russia) and feeling that all the interesting reading is going on around me without me. Sigh.

    Thank you for reminding me that I’m not worthy to be considered a book reader – seven at once! (I’m reminded of the little tailor, “Seven in one blow!”) Hope you’re taking good care of your eyes, they certainly are getting the workout.

    • Oh, Christy: I’m sorry – digital literacy does sound interesting though. I’m glad I showed my clear “reader” superiority – that’s always the goal… 🙂 If you want to hook up a feed between our brains, hurry over, Ruby

    • And Christy, I just changed the blog theme this morning – this one seems more bright and cheery and spring-like. Don’t worry, you aren’t behind (YET!). Ruby

  2. chris

    Ah ha! I’m on the verge of being behind – I knew it! And I would love to get a direct feed of your knowledge into my head. In turn, I can offer insight into how to get algae out of a fish tank (temporarily) and which television shows are popular with boys age 6-10. I know. it isn’t exactly a fair trade but I like you so I’m willing to let you take advantage.

    Oh, I would like to read a good book….

    • Hi: Right, because you have so many 6-10 boys at home… I know what tv shows golden retrievers like: Squirrels on the Bird Feeder and Whose that Dog Walking by my House!!!?? Ruby

  3. This is like the most unique collection of Monday reads I’ve ever come across on a blog. I love it.

    • Hi Cassie: Interesting blog name, I’m going to guess you have young kids? Yes, I am nothing if not eclectic! Thanks and thanks for stopping by, Ruby

  4. chris

    I just borrow the boys – my three nephews. And “whose that walking by my house” is super duper popular with Bull Terriers.

  5. You have some fantastic looking reads here! Enjoy!

  6. Reading Jackie sounds so good! I think that the books that people love tell us so much about them. Have a great week, Ruby.

    • Hi Lindsey: Thanks for coming by – yes, wouldn’t it be great if we all had a book written about our books! Happy reading, Ruby

  7. That’s a lot of books at once, and they all sound so different and interesting! Love your title of the post here too. heh

  8. I would like to read Reading Jackie, although I don’t like biographical books. I think this book would be a good choice to begin reading this genre.

    Jess@ jessysbookend.blogspot.com

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