The Secret Life of Violet Grant (Beatriz Williams, 2015 – Amazon.com)
I highly recommend this book! Vivian Schuyler – a struggling young reporter in 1960s NYC – receives the suitcase belonging to her great-aunt Violet, who had gone missing in Germany in 1914 after supposedly shooting her physicist husband and running off with her lover. How’s that for an opening? The writing is clever and witty, the characters are charming, and it’s set against the twin backdrops of the start of World War I and the fashionable 60s, when feminism was just getting started and young people were starting to shake things up.
Many thanks to my friend Emily for letting me steal this gem off her bookshelf for a while!
American Blonde (Jennifer Niven, 2014 – Amazon.com)
What do you do when you’re a WWII lady pilot and decorated war hero, now that the war is over? Become a movie star, of course! Which is exactly what Velva Jean did – and ended up fighting the movie industry when her best friend and fellow actress turned up mysteriously dead at a dinner party one night. The studio wants her to let it go, but will she? An interesting look at the studio system of the 1940s, when the movie moguls had all of Los Angeles in their deep pockets…
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1922 – Amazon.com)
I never had to read this for school, and I never saw the movie, so I figured I’d find out what all the hype was about. For such a short book, there’s an awful lot packed in there!! I honestly felt like I needed to be in an English class or a book club in order to get the most out of this — I knew there was a lot of symbolism, and I was able to pick out a lot of it, but I know I missed quite a few things. And the language is so beautiful!
Now I need to see the movie; I’m not sure how they could get so much content and such a short story into a full-length feature.
Re-reading: Re-reading certain books has a calming effect on me, and sometimes reading new material is a sure way to keep me awake at night so I go to some old favorites instead. In the last couple of months I re-read the first two Harry Potter books, and the fourth book in Jan Karon’s Mitford series, Out to Canaan.