Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book Love: The Thirteenth Tale

I'm on a huge reading kick. I mean, I always read, but lately it occurred to me how many good books there are in the world versus how much time it would take to read said books. Ohmygosh... there isn't enough time! So I started a list of books that I want to read (which is right now somewhere way over a hundred, if you had something you think I should add please let me know.) But first, I had to read this month's book club book, The Thirteenth Tale. And oh how I loved it, which only reinforced in me that I have a lot of reading to do.

Book Name: The Thirteenth Tale
Author: Diane Setterfield
Category: Fiction-Literature
Pages: 432

Brief Description (borrowed from Borders): Sometimes, when you open the door to the past, what you confront is your destiny. Reclusive author Vida Winter, famour for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author's tale of gothic strangeness... featuring the beatiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

Why I bought it: It was our chosen Book Club book for the Naughty Novelists!

Book Love: This book is a little bit gothic, which I wasn't sure I'd be into but I loved it. The main character basically grew up in a library (did I mention that my list of "to-reads" grew a lot after reading this book? It mentioned sooo many classics!) and her character has a troubled past, which goes well with another of the main characters, an author named Vida Winter. Also this book has an AMAZING surprise ending. I wish I could discuss it with you, but I don't want to ruin it for those of you who haven't read it (that what Book Clubs are for!)

Quotable: Whenever I read books, I dog-ear the pages that have quotes on them that I love. Then when I finish the book, I go back through and read all of them. I just recently started writing all my favorite quotes down, too. Usually I have 4-5 quotes I like, but some writers just have an amazing ability to put things into words and in those books there might be 8-10 quotes I like. In the Thirteenth Tale I found 14! I'm not going to share all of them with you, but here's a few so you can get an idea of what a great author Setterfield is:

I posted one in Quote it last week.

"People disappear, when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both natural and dreadful. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. THrough the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you.They can alter you. All this even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a king of magic". -p17 (see I told you... gothic but beautiful!)

"I'm sorry," I heard her say. "One gets so used to one's own horrors, one forgets how they must seem to other people." -p54

"He put an arm around me. 'I know, ' he said. 'I know.' He didn't know of course. Not really. And yet, that was what he said, and I was soothed to hear it. For I knew what he meant. We all have our sorrows, and although the exact delineaments, weight and dimensions of grief are different for everyone, the color of grief is common to us all. 'I know,' he said, because he was human, and therefore, in a way he did." -p389

"He was standing motionless, arms stretched out on either side of him, eyes closed and face turned skyward. All the happiness in the world was falling on him with the snow." -p395

Bottom Line: If you like classics, or books where one of the themes is a love of literature-- you'll enjoy The Thirteenth Tale. Or if you like gothic novels and ghost stories... you'll like this as well!

Availability: You should be able to find it anywhere! Now, get reading!

By the way, I am now on to reading Jane Eyre, and next in line is the Great Gatsby!


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