Tag Archives: reading

Bibliophilic Friday: And Ladies of the Club

Good morning Everyone!

One of the Paperback Covers for the book

One of the Paperback Covers for the book

This week on Bibliophilic Friday, I am going to share with you the first book we’ve talked about that is out of print and not available as an e-book.  It’s worth the trouble of finding it, though.  This is another one of those books that I have read to pieces – I’m currently on my third copy, although this is the first hard bound copy I have owned, and slowly but surely edging my way forward to needing copy number four.

The book is Helen Hooven Santmyer’s And Ladies of the Club.   It is the story of a group of women in a fictional town named Waynesboro in Ohio who form a literary club in the late 1860’s, shortly after the end of the Civil War.  The book follows the lives of these women from the founding of the club through to the death of the last founding member in the 1930’s after Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected for the first time.  This summary does not do the book justice.

If I had to select two main characters for the book, I would choose Anne Alexander and Sarah (Sally) Cochran, as they are named in the beginning of the book.  We follow both of them through the ups and downs of their lives, pregnancies, marital issues, children, deaths and all of the myriad threads that add up to an individual’s life.  The richness of the novel lies not just in the vivid settings that Ms. Santmeyer deftly weaves through the narrative, but also in the way she brings her characters to life – by the end of the book, you feel like you know and are friends with not only Anne and Sally, but many of the supporting cast – Amanda, who received a degree from Oberlin College at a time when few women did, Kitty Edwards, full of spirit and life, Elsa, Sally’s daughter, a women of strong character and kindness and many, many others.  Nor are the only strong characters in the book females – John Gordon, Ludwig and Paul Rausch and Sam Travers are just a few of the males you make friends with.  This is a book that transports you back to the 1860’s, then walks you forward decade by decade until it ends.

The story of the author is also fascinating.  Helen Hooven Santmyer apparently worked on this book for over 50 years.  It was first published in hardback in 1982 and didn’t make much of a splash.  The the mother of a high-ranking editor in a publishing company picked up the book at her local library, absolutely loved it and then insisted that her son read it and urged him to release it as a mass market paperback.  It was a best-seller in 1984 in that format.  Ms. Santmeyer passed away at the age of 90 on February 21, 1986, having seen her book on the best seller list of the New York Times for 37 consecutive weeks in 1984, including several weeks at number one.

Reading this book, which is over 1000 pages long, may seem like a commitment when you first pick it up, but by the time you are through the  few pages, the length of the book becomes immaterial.

Take the time to find this book – even though it is out of print, there are plenty of decently priced paperback and even hardback copies to be found.  Amazon is a good place to look for them, and I’m sure some other sites, like Barnes & Noble, would be good too.  Then take the time to read it.  You’ll be glad you did!

Have a great weekend!


My Kindle

Hi Everyone!

I am running late today, not aided by the fact that neither Kayla nor the dogs have come up with anything interesting to talk about the last couple of days (besides Darwin losing his collar outside, we don’t know how, but we did find it again!)  So, the time has come to talk about my Kindle.

First of all, I love books!  I have shelves and shelves of books at the house, and a few of my office shelves devoted to some personal books also.  I had loaded books onto my phone before, but never did enjoy reading them that way.   

I got my first Kindle two Christmases ago.  I think Mark decided that I was incapable of not purchasing books (and that’s true – I still can’t go into a book store without buying something!)  and was looking for a space-saving option.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that I lobbied for it for months, too. 

The first one’s screen broke about four months ago, so I purchased my second Kindle then.  I cannot tell you how much I enjoy the Kindle!  The best things in my life are my husband and my child, the best gifts my husband ever gave me were the dogs, but the best non-living gift he ever gave me was my Kindle. 

The Kindle is small enough to fit in my purse (granted, I like really, really large purses, because then it is harder for them to camouflage themselves when I lose them somewhere in the house), and the one I currently have is holding 112 books on the device, with 10 magazine issues.  The books include books on science, children’s literature (for me, not for Kayla), science fiction, books on Christian living, history and computers.  Because I like to read such a wide range of books (and I usually am reading 2 or 3 or 4 at a time, depending on my mood), the Kindle gives me a welcome anonymity, so that if I want to read a book on the Franco-Prussian war or re-read Little Women, I can do so unapologetically and without needing to explain.  I used to feel a little self-conscious walking into a restaurant at lunch with some of the books I like to read, but now I don’t. 

Oh, and I have another 61 items in the archives, which include both magazine issue and books I have read and removed from the device, but which I can re-load any time I want. 

Reading my Kindle feels very much like reading a book; the type is made of ink that is electronically arranged, and for those of us whose eyesight is, shall we say, in a state of flux, the type can be re-sized up to a very large font, which is nice. 

Book shopping on the Kindle is fun, too, because I can do it any time of day or night.  There’s nothing like sitting in bed at 10:00 p.m. at night and book-shopping in the privacy of your own home!  In fact, book-shopping is a little too easy; I have to work to restrain myself a little bit.

The Kindle will also let me connect to the internet, although navigating the internet on the Kindle is a little cumbersome, so I only use it as a last resort. 

Because I purchased the cover that goes with the Kindle (and the cover for the new Kindle includes a built-in reading light that runs off the Kindle battery itself – way cool!), it feels very much like a book when I read it.  There is a button you click to turn the page, which feels much more book-like than scrolling on a screen like you do on the computer. 

Do any of you use a Kindle, or another type of e-reader?  How do you like it?  Do any of you have a version that has color?  How does that impact your reading?  What kind of back glare do you get with your reader?  (My Kindle has virtually none, but then it is not color, either.)  I would love to hear from all of you on this subject, because I am curious. 

Well, that’s enough for today.  Have a great weekend!  I hope all of you get a chance to read something good!