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Book 17

  1. Matheson, Richard — I Am Legend (161 pages)
  2. McCarthy, Cormac — No Country for Old Men (307 pages)
  3. Dexter, Gary — Why Not Catch 21?: The Stories Behind the Titles (213 pages)
  4. Ryman, Geoff — 253 (366 pages)
  5. Wyndham, John — The Day of the Triffids (267 pages)
  6. Kurkov, Andrey — Death and the Penguin (228 pages)
  7. Chesterton, G.K. — Orthodoxy (183 pages)
  8. Gibbs, Christopher H., ed. — The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (334 pages)
  9. Sendak, Maurice — Where the Wild Things Are (48 pages — though only 1 page will count towards my tally)
  10. Hurston, Zora Neale — Their Eyes Were Watching God (215 pages)
  11. Clarke, Arthur C. — Rendezvous With Rama (245 pages)
  12. Clarke, Arthur C. — The City and the Stars (246 pages)
  13. Chesterton, G.K. — The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (205 pages)
  14. Tepper, Sheri S. — Beauty (468 pages)
  15. Slawson, Douglas J. — Ambition and Arrogance: Cardinal William O'Connell of Boston and the American Catholic Church (186 pages)
  16. Belloc, Hilaire — The Great Heresies (166 pages)
  17. Waugh, Evelyn — Brideshead Revisited (326 pages)

Page count: 3922.

Continuing a recent trend of reading books by Catholics, I was recently drawn to Brideshead Revisited. Never before has my reading material solicited so much attention from all sorts of random people, who apparently couldn't seem to resist commenting on it. I finally asked a couple of these people if this was required school reading in the UK. One suggested that while it wasn't, many did read it at school, but she attributed its popularity to a miniseries starring Jeremy Irons as Charles Ryder. I'd never heard of it before but have since downloaded it and am looking forward to watching it.

Brideshead Revisited is a sumptuously written book that drew me in from the very beginning. It is essentially the reminiscences of a British captain during wartime looking back on his life spanning the two world wars starting with his youth at Oxford. Or is it really the history of the great house at Brideshead, a metaphor for something much bigger?

Waugh paints (no other word quite captures it—how fitting that the protagonist was a painter by trade) the characters who drive his story carefully, brushstroke by brushstroke, as we watch them take form and evolve before our eyes. There are moving moments of sublimity throughout. I never wanted to take a break and had to force myself to put the book down for sleep or work. Like the protagonist, I am sad it is over but glad to have experienced it.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
sanba38
May. 24th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
Charles has been described as dull for a main character. But there'
s not really a plot to the story, is there?

I don't think most folks over here had any inkling who Jeremy Irons was until BR aired on either Masterpiece Theatre or Great Performances on PBS.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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