A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Seriously, It's Time For Another Book Report

March, April, and May were busy months, but I did find time to do some reading.  Mostly I have been AWOL because of my big trips in May (10 days abroad and a week in the Midwest for work).  I've realized that I need to make reading more of a priority - so often I come home from work and it's easier to just sit in front of the TV and vegetate than to pick up a book.  Lately, my favorite pastime has been watching the new BBC series of "Sherlock!" but I'm now out of episodes (can't wait for new ones!!).  Hopefully June will find me reading some books that have been sitting on my shelf for far too long.

In preparation for my trip, I read Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.  If you have ever seen "My Fair Lady," it's the play that musical is based on.  Much of the dialogue in the musical is exactly the same as the play, so I don't feel like I gleaned a whole lot of new facts (although Freddy's sister is a funny minor character that is not in the musical).  SPOILER ALERT: I was disappointed to find that at the end of the play, Eliza Doolittle marries Freddy (in the musical the ending is much more ambiguous).  I don't like that at all - Freddy is not her intellectual equal and he's a total spaz.  Shaw's intimation is that Eliza's only choice is between Freddy, who adores and worships her but is simply a slave who doesn't really know her or challenge her; and Henry Higgins, who treats her with no respect but is able to help her grow and become a better person.  Eliza, there's got to be more to life - have a little gumption!  I saw the play in London, and it was fabulous, especially with Rupert Everett as Higgins!

I also read "Citizens of London" by Lynne Olson, which I highly recommend.  It's about three Americans who lived in London during the World War II and were instrumental in convincing the American people and FDR that America needed to help Britain and enter the war.  The book focuses on Ed Murrow, CBS radio broadcaster; Averell Harriman, millionaire and Lend-Lease program administrator; and Gil Winant, former New Hampshire governor and US ambassador to England.  Olson's prose is engrossing and really readable - she made the streets of wartime London come alive with vivid descriptions and contemporary accounts.  I really liked learning about Gil Winant, who was a gentle and compassionate man, and I think he was a great American.  What really struck me as a read the book was how much the British people had to endure - so much suffering!!  I had heard about the Blitz before but this book made the horror and grimness of it real to me.  It was a terrifying time and I salute the people of London for their courage and determination.  I think if the Blitz had happened in America, we would have whined like little babies.  If you're considering reading the book, just be aware that all these men, though married, had affairs during the war - so just be prepared.

I also did finally finish my two books on American women, but I'm going to post that separately.

1 comment:

  1. Pygmalion is a good one - how fun that you got to see Rupert Everett in the stage version. I bet he was a great choice for that role. Olson's book sounds intriguing. I just finished Brokaw's The Greatest Generation and would enjoy reading more about WWII. Thanks for the update - I love knowing what other people are reading!