A Novel Approach – Summer Reading

During the long car ride to take my son to his college orientation the last two days, I finally got a chance to catch up on some reading. Yes, I have read seven or eight poetry collections since I’ve been home, but I haven’t had a chance to dig in to a novel. Until this weekend.

First, I read about twelve magazines that had piled up over the last month. Then I tackled Matthew Pearl’s novel The Last Dickens, a book I received for Christmas and had not yet had time to read. I loved his former book The Dante Club and its strange combination of historical figures, literature, and mystery. This one did not disappoint.

Based on the real fact that Dickens did not ever finish The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Pearl’s story unravels a mystery that takes place in England, Boston, and India and encompasses the birth of the American publishing industry, Dickens’s tour of the US the year before his death and some pretty far-out inventions of fiction. A very satisfying read, especially since I had the chance to read it all in one sitting. If you are a literature AND history nerd like me, you would probably like it, too. Of the two, I probably preferred The Dante Club, but both books are worth a look.

And I will finally get to take my first summer trip to the library tomorrow – after an eventful first week off of school where I attended two great poetry readings, chopped off the tip of my right ring finger, had a wedding anniversary and a birthday, and took my son for his college orientation, I am ready for some down time with some good books. Let the reading commence.

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