The Sunday Salon – Thoughts on 3 Books

The roundup this week. I finished:

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

I’m still reading:

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Magicians & Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett

I’m attempting to read The Fellowship of the Ring slowly but with only a few chapters left, I think I’ll be finishing up in the next day or two. I plan to have a mid-book check-in post tomorrow for the Lord of the Rings Read-Along which talks a little bit more about the book so I won’t say much more here.

I’m reading The Magicians & Mrs. Quent on my Nook. So far it’s so so and moving a bit slow but I’m hoping it picks up soon. I’m about half way through the book and there hasn’t been a mention of Mrs. Quent yet but Mr. Quent has finally shown up. I’m curious as to how a few things will be tied up so I plan to keep reading.

Remarkable Creatures was a lovely book. The last Chevalier book I read was The Girl with the Pearl Earring which I enjoyed and Remarkable Creatures was just as entrancing. The main characters, Elizabeth Philpot and Mary Anning, are endearing. Elizabeth is cold, harsh, and way too outspoken for a woman at the time (around 1810) which sometimes gets her in trouble. She takes a minute to grow on you, but once she does, you’re infinitely grateful for her forwardness and willingness to stand up for what she thinks is right. Mary on the other hand is too trusting and you wish she wouldn’t be. While the book is about Mary’s fossil discoveries of previously unknown sea creatures, the ichthyosaurus and the plesiosaurus, and the ways in which her discoveries changed the scientific community and brought about a discussion of the theory of extinction, the book really is about the friendship these two women forge. Elizabeth is an educated spinster from London with no prospects for marriage and Mary is a poor, uneducated girl from the seaside town of Lyme Regis who hunts for fossils on the beach to sell to tourists. Other than the fossils they both love and obsessively hunt, the two have little in common. You get to watch both grow and challenge the men who want to tell them how to act and what to think. It’s a wonderful read and I recommend it.

Sunday here in DC has dawned bright and sunny and I’m off to enjoy the beautiful day. Happy Sunday everyone.

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