Weekend Reading

Now that I’ve gotten over my Elizabeth George kick, I can finally dig into that pile of books my amazing college roommate gave me last week. There have also been a few shopping indiscretions since last I posted (also known as Why I Should Not Be Allowed into Bookstores). Despite the fact that I now have far too many books to choose from, I’ve managed to narrow down this weekend’s reads to the following:

1. Austenland by Shannon Hale.

Despite loving the Austen books, I’ve been very wary and more than a little bit cynical about all the modern spin-offs that have mushroomed on the shelves recently. I adore Melissa Nathan’s Pride, Prejudice & Jasmine Field, but I otherwise tend to stay away from Austen-named books– until someone recommended Austenland to me this week. The premise is a clever take-off on Austen mania, a Pride and Prejudice obsessed American traveling to an Austen-themed resort. I’m ridiculously excited about reading it.

2. Captives of the Night by Loretta Chase.

Anything by Loretta Chase is always pure gold. Her research… her use of language…. Don’t even get me started. So when this appeared in the stack my roommate gave me, it went right to the top of the pile (despite the man with the strange haircut on the cover. Regency heroes should not use that much hair gel).

3. Journal of a Residence in India by Maria Graham.

Proof positive that the plucky, globe-trotting Englishwoman isn’t merely the invention of modern novelists, Maria Graham zigzagged across India in 1809. She explored erotic drawings in remote caves outside of Bombay, attended nautch dances thrown by natives of Calcutta, and camped her way across the countryside, all the while remaining every inch a gentlewoman. Her journal makes fascinating reading– and a great rejoinder to those who like to begin sentances with “Women in the nineteenth century would never have….”

What are you reading?


  1. Lois on May 30, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I’m going to be starting Delicious by Susan Mallery, then reading a bio about Jane Austen by GE Mitton. Had it for a while, but finally decided to read it. LOL 🙂


  2. Jessica on May 30, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Someone loaned me Kite Runner, so probably that…then a trip to the library as I’ve promised myself a week of reading, films, and other leisurely activities after turning in my dissertation this morning. I also need to finish Ghandi’s autobiography, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, and Freres des Tranchees, one of the books on which the film Joyeux Noel is based.

  3. Amy on May 30, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    This weekend I’m reading “Death in Lacquer Red” by Jeanne M. Dams, murder mystery set in South Bend, IN, 1900 with a Swedish maid trying to solve a murder. It’s full of details of the time and the experience of immigrants as well as those “in service.” But I probably won’t read the next one.

    Finished Crimson Rose last weekend so it’s back to “the pile”. Does anyone know if “The Far Pavilions” by M.M. Kaye is set in the same time period as the upcoming “Night Jasmine”?

  4. Lauren on May 30, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Hi, Amy!

    “The Far Pavilions” is set considerably later. It starts right before the mutiny of 1857 and goes up through the 1880’s. It’s the book after “Night Jasmine” that will be set in India (“Night Jasmine sets up the India link that gets played out in the following book), in autumn of 1804. Since I’m a huge M.M. Kaye fan, I was very much surprised when I was doing my research by how different the India of 1804 was from the Victorian India of her books. You can see some trends that came to fruition there beginning to develop, but on the whole it’s a very different environment.

    As you can tell, I’ve spent waaaay too much time thinking about this!

    Oh, if you like India-set, M.M. Kaye type books, I highly recommend Valerie Fitzgerald’s “Zemindar”. Sadly, it’s out of print, but there must be used copies around somewhere.

  5. Camille la Flamme on May 31, 2008 at 1:28 am

    I’m currently re-working my way through the Narnia series. C.S. Lewis writes so simply, yet intricate patterns of implication and symbolism weave their way round his words.

    I’m also quite proud of myself for having been in love with the character of Prince Caspian BEFORE Benjamin Barnes showed up on-screen. ^^

  6. Angie on May 31, 2008 at 11:48 am

    I read Austenland this summer, and enjoyed it. It’s a funny, lighthearted read, full of inside jokes for certain enthusiasts 😉

    I am finishing up Diana Wynne Jones’ The Pinhoe Egg (yay for young adult fantasy!)before moving on to some of the great suggestions I’ve seen on here 🙂

  7. Chelsea :) on June 1, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Shannon Hale is one of my favorite modern day authors! I was hesitant about Austenland, too, but it really is a great light-hearted read. My only complaint that it wasn’t longer!

    Chelsea 🙂

  8. Desiree on June 1, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    I am reading the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. It is sexy and hilarious. It makes a great read sitting out in the sun with a lemonade or even something stronger.

  9. Laura on June 2, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    I actually have a few that I’m going to be working on, all having to do with Jane Austen.
    First is By a Lady Amanda Eloyt, then Me & Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter
    and confessions of a jane austen addict by Laurie Viera Rigler. I’m a little wary too about people taking on my beloved Jane, but Im willing to give it a try!

  10. Caitlin on June 2, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    I am reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I just got done reading the first two books of the Pink series and absolutely loved them! I love how there are two love stories going on at the same time, that’s such a cool idea. I also just got done re reading the Twilight series because I am so hooked on that series, I just really love love stories! Even if they are a bit unrealistic I still can’t help myself.

  11. Gina on June 2, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    I went shopping and bought:
    The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
    The Song of Summer (or maybe “FOR Summer”….I forgot) by Eva Ibbotson.

    I started “Red Necklace” and found that it moved a bit too fast in the beginning, but got better throughout. Haven’t started the other yet, but everyone says she’s an amazing author – can’t wait to read it!

  12. Jane on June 3, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Currently reading Mueller’s Frank Wedekind Four Plays: Volume Two. I just finished reading Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Can’t wait to catch the Broadway play. Though it didn’t get good reviews, I’ll go see anything with Ben Daniels in it (loved him in Aristocrats). = )

  13. Rebecca on June 3, 2008 at 11:27 am

    This weekend I started (and finished) Jennifer Donelley’s “The Winter Rose” (second in a trilogy that started with “The Tea Rose”). It was INCREDIBLE and I recommend the whole series to everyone here!

  14. Gina on June 3, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I have a book of Jennifer Donnelly’s (sp?) called A Northern Light. I’ve been meaning to read that too. That’s moving up my list now… 🙂

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