I am very happy I decided to eschew the Internet for the two weeks we were in Maine. If I hadn't made that decision prior to the trip I think I would have checked in from time to time which would have led to commenting on other blogs, returning emails, and the urge to post something on My Porch. And then all of that would have snowballed as I felt the need to keep up with everything.
The downside to not using the Internet for two weeks is that I didn't review any of the books I read during that time. I took notes so I could write reviews later, but now that I am home I don't really feel like trying to turn those notes into full reviews.
So a recap is all ye shall receive.
The Road to Lichfield by Penelope Lively
Quite enjoyed this easy read. It is Lively's first novel and has all the hallmarks of many of her later works. A main character interested in both personal and public history in both real and pedagogical terms. Another character dealing with memory loss at the end of life. Family drama. Sex. It's all there.
The Birth of a Grandfather by May SartonI really enjoyed reading this as the majority of the action took place on an island in Maine and it is typically and delightfully Sartonian. In some ways I felt like this one was shades of The Magnificent Spinster but for some reason Sarton decided to focus the title (if not the action itself) on the male lead. As I said I really enjoyed it, but if you are looking for a Sarton novel (and I highly recommend that you do) choose The Magnificent Spinster first.
Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery
I can see why this one gets mixed reviews. There were moments I enjoyed it but many others where I found it kind of tedious and pretentious. The kind of book that makes an undergraduate feel deep.
The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
My second time reading this one, but I found just as unengaging as I did the first time so I set it down. I hadn't intended to go back to it, but given Frances' recent review, I may have put it down too soon.
The Tenants of Moonbloom by Edward Lewis Wallant
I really wanted to like this NYRB classic but halfway through it just wasn't doing it for me. I might have persevered if I hadn't been on vacation, but who knows. Oddball Norman Moonbloom serves as rent collector for his slumlord brother and interacts with even odder tenants. Just wasn't in the mood for it.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
I only made it through 600 of the 1200 or so pages but I fully intend to finish it.