Book reviews and another miniature book haul

I fully intended to have a TBR post on Tuesday, but last weekend was quite full and I didn’t get much reading done. We celebrated Mr. TBR’s birthday with a day long movie marathon and then a jaunt out to the country for pancakes, an excellent time all around.

I have not made any progress in The Company of the Dead, but I did *finish* two books this week!


The Flamingo’s Smile: Reflections in Natural History by Stephen Jay Gould

This book is a compilation of essays first published in Natural History magazine throughout the 80’s. I’ve always understood Gould to be a scientist who writes for “the people”, that is, people who aren’t scientists and so do not have the in-depth vocabulary that science books sometimes requires. Despite this, there were moments where I had to stop and look something up because I just wasn’t sure what Gould was saying. That being said, I enjoyed the book and I feel like I did learn quite a lot. I especially enjoyed the essays on taxonomy, which is a subject I find endlessly fascinating.

The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith

Goodness, this book. It’s a bit like Pride & Prejudice, only if Mr. Bennett was very nearly as foolish as Mrs. Bennett. It’s got it all – a cad of a man, a daughter who makes poor choices, trying to rise above one’s station, an older wealthy benefactor, miscommunications all over the place, all that you come to expect from literature of the 18th century. The prose is a bit flowery and at the same time amusing to read.

“‘Sir,’ replied I, ‘your present observation is just, when there are shining virtues and minute defects; but when it appears that great vices are opposed in the same mind to as extraordinary virtues, such a character deserves great contempt.’ ‘Perhaps,’ cried he, ‘there may be some such monsters as you describe, of great vices joined to great virtues; yet in my progress through life, I never yet found one instance of their existence: on the contrary, I have ever perceived that where the mind was capacious, the affections were good.'”

Is that not the longest possible way to say “people who are both good and bad are not acually good people.” “I disagree.” ?? I enjoyed this book quite nearly as much as I’ve enjoyed each Jane Austen book I’ve read.

Which is an excellent segue into my mini book haul! I popped into the Friends of the Library bookshop while returning some DVDs to the library. They had a few goodies in their free bin. The first book I picked up is Sanditon, by Jane Austen “and Another Lady”. This is one of the manuscripts that was left unfinished when Austen died, and it seems that the first 11 chapters are hers while the remainder is by this mysterious other lady. It was free, and I’ve been wanting to read her lesser-known works, so this should prove interesting!

I also came away with a copy of Bret Farrar by Josephine Tey – I already had a copy, but *really* didn’t like the cover (the one on the left), and this one is far nicer. Doesn’t it look like a broody gothic mystery? I don’t mind covers that promote tv/movie tie-ins, but what is that guy wearing?!



About sarscoff

Late 20's, Canadian, library technician, wife, dog mama, reader of all things written.
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