I don't know what's gotten into me, but right now I'm feeling the opposite of a reading slump. The end of the year 2015 is approaching and all I can think about is whether I'll manage to finish books that are on my currently reading list, simultaneously picking up and finishing other books in between. Right now I'm really struggling with myself to at least not start anything big in the week to come, because I have this ambition of finishing Gone with the Wind by the end of this year, which may or may not be achievable. I'm still a slow reader even if I rush.
I'm probably not making any sense right now, so I'll just make a quick list of some of the books I've read in December so far, and add a few words of praise.
Love and Friendship by Jane Austen (on Goodreads) It's a novel in letters, in which the main character writes to her friend's daughter telling the story of her life. This book really messed with my head. This novel was written when Jane was in her early teens, so I wasn't expecting a masterpiece. Halfway through the book I was thinking "not bad for a 14-year-old" or "that's so cute seeing Jane mastering the written word". But then I started suspecting something. Was it... sarcasm? Is this a humorous piece? And so it was! When I read other reviews of this novel, it turned out to be a parody on romance novels that were popular at that time. Jane was writing her novel to entertain her own family. Having found that out, I was able to enjoy the book a lot more. Yes, there are some harsh corners. You can tell that these are her first steps in literature. Still it was a pleasant read.
St. Clare's book series by Enid Blyton (on Goodreads) I'm only half way through the books, but I'm enjoying the stories immensely. These books are about the life of twin sisters as they attend the St. Clare's boarding school. I love boarding school stories. And these particular books are so full of kindness and good-natured humour. The twins and their schoolmates deal with all sorts of problems and seem to be getting into trouble all the time, but in the end they always try to own up to their mistakes and do what is right. I love how all the stories emphasise on how it's important for children to have their fair share of both hard work and play.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (on Goodreads) I think, everyone knows this story. The main character Mary goes to live with her uncle, who turns out to have a deep dark secret. He's hiding his invalid son Colin from the world, unable to even look at him because he reminds him of his beloved late wife. It's a story with a miracle waiting to happen. Later in the book, when the kids make up a game of magic, I started feeling as if I was reading a book on psychotherapy. It was a bit awkward, but it reminded me of what I've once read about self-talk and positive thinking. In the end I couldn't read this as a children's book anymore. Maybe I'm too old for this kind of stories. I don't know.
I gave all of these books three stars out of five. Watch out for more blog posts from me. I've got another batch of mini-reviews coming soon. =)