Blogger Book Love: Stephanie from Even Cleveland

books via callie.jpg

I’ve had this installment of Blogger Book Love stored away in my back pocket for a little while. It’s so delightful that I’ve been lingering over it, hoarding it all to myself, but I can deprive you no more. Let me just say that Stephanie from Even Cleveland has smashing taste in everything, and books are no exception. Her theme driven posts are a perfect mix of style, culture, music, movies and more. Stephanie really is one of those unique individuals who finds magical connections all around her, and her blog is a delicious peek into the workings of her brilliant mind. If you’ve never visited Even Cleveland, head over ASAP! But first read some of Stephanie’s book picks:

evencleveland.jpg

It’s hard to pick five…I had to pick a theme and stick to it, because I read like crazy, and read all kinds of things…and usually I am madly in love with whatever I’m reading at that very moment. But I like to read fat, meaty novels in the cold winter weather, so here’s four of those with some astringent essays as a chaser:

200902112108.jpg

The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott:This is a series of four interconnected novels set at the end of the British Raj, culminating in the partition of India and Pakistan. It takes E.M. Forster’s plot from A Passage to India and explodes it into a dense, richly colored panoramic view of all the crumbling, stubborn layers of intertwined Anglo-Indian society, with small events as axis points. As I was nearing the end of the second book, I got in my car and drove to the bookstore to buy the last two volumes so that I could keep reading without a stop, and spent the rest of the week immersed. Then, two days after I finished the whole thing, I had this massive revelation about the structure of the whole series that left me reeling. It is brilliant.

200902112104.jpg

Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad: Conrad’s vision of the terrible cost and hypocrisy of idealism and the easy slide to corruption is riveting reading, and his descriptions of the end game of radicalism is eerily prescient. It’s almost as if he foreshadows all the terrible things to come in the Russian revolution. I can never believe that English wasn’t his first language – he is a writing master.

200902112105.jpg

The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: One of the most perfect novels I have ever read. It describes the lives of intellectuals imprisoned and exploited in the Russian Gulag but the central issue is humanity – what it is to be human, and how we fail and succeed in remaining so in intolerable circumstances. The last image is unforgettable. (And if you read it back-to-back with Under Western Eyes, it’s almost a bookending of early Twentieth-century Russian history.)

200902112101.jpg

Middlemarch by George Eliot: I have a dear friend who insists that I will never fully grasp Middlemarch until I am at least forty – that you need a certain amount of time in the world to fully absorb what George Eliot is saying. I say read it anyway, then read it again, because it’s not easy (despite what you may think from Masterpiece Theater adaptations and its inclusion on endless syllabi) and it is endlessly worthwhile. George Eliot is so ferociously bright that you have to have all of your wits about you at all times. You can’t read this half-heartedly, and it will gut you in the end. I don’t think anyone has ever written anything better or sadder about the peril of misguided ambition and self-delusion. Emma Bovary is flashier, but Dorothea’s tragedy is the one many of us live.

200902112110.jpg

The Common Reader by Virginia Woolf: I just read this last fall for the first time, and am already revisiting bits and pieces. I consider myself a common reader – one who ‘reads for his own pleasure rather than to impart knowledge or correct the opinions of others.’ Virginia Woolf was clearly an uncommon reader, and reading these essays on different authors is like getting to sit at her fireside and listen to her discuss her latest read. It’s always thought-provoking, sometimes illuminating, occasionally humorous, consistently inspiring and it makes me want to read like mad.
——————-
Thanks to Stephanie for these terrific recommendations and descriptions–I’ve been on an Indian literature kick and I’m for sure starting up on The Raj Quartet as soon as I finish The Namesake. And thinking of Middlemarch takes me back to the summer I spent studying literature at Oxford…oh to be a student again! While I daydream a little more, be sure to check out previous installments of Blogger Book Love for more of your favourite bloggers and their best-loved books!

Advertisements

Tags:

11 Responses to “Blogger Book Love: Stephanie from Even Cleveland”

  1. stephanie Says:

    Thanks for asking me to do this, Anne – it was so much fun!

  2. stephanie Says:

    Thanks for asking me to do this, Anne – it was so much fun!

  3. Joanna Says:

    What a perfect choice for your blogger book series! I love coming to Stephanie’s blog for her always fascinating cultural insights. These books look so intriguing! I have to get my hands on The Raj Quartet.

  4. Joanna Says:

    What a perfect choice for your blogger book series! I love coming to Stephanie’s blog for her always fascinating cultural insights. These books look so intriguing! I have to get my hands on The Raj Quartet.

  5. danielle Says:

    These assortment sounds so good. Stephanie couldn’t be a better source for this! and I am happy to have discovered this blog through even cleveland!

  6. danielle Says:

    These assortment sounds so good. Stephanie couldn’t be a better source for this! and I am happy to have discovered this blog through even cleveland!

  7. Rachel (Heart of Light) Says:

    I jotted these titles down (the ones I haven’t already read)! I love this series.

  8. please sir Says:

    I love her blog – so nice to read more here!!

  9. christina Says:

    This might just be my favorite book love yet! I love what she said about Middlemarch. I love George Eliot, but I had a hard time with Middlemarch. I’ve been thinking about revisiting it soon. But first, I must read the Raj Quartet. I’ve been on an Indian literature kick lately as well, and that looks amazing. Oh, and I love Virgina Woolf too, so I’ll be reading the essays as well.
    P.S. The Namesake is wonderful. I have the movie if you want to borrow it after you’re done with the book.

  10. Mary-Laure Says:

    I just adored The Cancer Ward by Solzhenitsyn so I may give The First Circle a try…
    I love the picture of the book saturated shelves. I’m just obsessed with books.

  11. Betty Says:

    See, I think Middlemarch strikes a cord with girls too (i.e 18-25)… When Rosamond Vincy has only just met Lydgate she starts fantasising about what china dinner service they will have when they are married. Don’t all girls jump to these ridiculous conclusions, even when a boy just winks at you on a bus, or pokes you on facebook?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: