Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly "Quick Lit" post to share what I've been reading. I enjoy everything Modern Mrs. Darcy writes on her blog, but I especially love "Quick Lit" because it gives me so many great ideas for books to read. Here's what I've read this month:
At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen. American society girl Madeline, her husband Ellis, and their friend Hank travel to a small village in Scotland in 1944 in hopes of sighting the Loch Ness monster and getting Ellis back into his parents' good graces. As Madeline befriends the locals -- ordinary people whom Ellis looks down on -- she starts to discover the truth about her marriage and what she really wants from life. This is fairly light fiction, and the general premise does sound pretty far-fetched at first; but it's a very good novel with an interesting WWII backdrop.
Friends for the Journey by Luci Shaw and Madeline L'Engle. A collection of reflections, interviews, and poems on the theme of friendship by writers and longtime friends Shaw and (the late) L'Engle. The book feels a bit dated, but it was interesting to read the writers' perspectives on their own relationship and other friendships, particularly in relation to friends' shared faith in God. I loved the poetry, too, especially Shaw's.
This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women - eds. Jay Allison and Dan Gediman. This book, originally based on a 1950's radio program, presents several dozen short essays on the theme "This I Believe." It includes many well-known figures from Helen Keller to Leonard Bernstein to Bill Gates, and many people who are not famous as well. It has an "America is great" undertone that I found off-putting at times, and not all of the essays are equally interesting, but it's a thought-provoking book; my book study group read it and it sparked an excellent discussion.
A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey: Seasonal Celebrations, Traditions, and Recipes by Jessica Fellowes. I chose this one for sheer pleasure, and it didn't disappoint. Each chapter focuses on one month of the year and has a different theme, such as The London Season, Farming, The House Party, The Sporting Season, etc. The book combines photos and behind-the-scenes descriptions of the TV show with information about the time period, including recipes. (For other Downton Abbey books by Fellowes -- who is the niece of Downton creator and writer Julian Fellowes -- see The World of Downton Abbey and Chronicles of Downton Abbey. If you're waiting for season 6 of Downton like I am -- and I know you are -- these books may help tide you over.)