Thursday, August 6, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - Let's Get Serious

Today's question:
What’s the most serious book you’ve read recently?
(I figure it’s easier than asking your most serious boook ever, because, well, it’s recent!)

My answer:

As most of you know, my reading this summer has been anything but serious. I've been on an extended trip to Italy with The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim, A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi, and most recently Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (my current read). I've had to go back a couple months to find a 'serious' book, but this is the most recent.

by Cynthia Ozick

The book consists of a very short story, entitled The Shawl, about a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp whose baby is killed by the German soldiers. It is followed by a novella, Rosa, showing the same woman's life some thirty years later in Miami.

While the story is harsh and brutal, it is tempered somewhat by the novella...which even offers a hint of hope. I reviewed it in sections for Short Story Monday. The Shawl can be found here, and this link will take you to Rosa. Ozick's prose is crisp and clear. Her novel Heir to the Glimmering World in on my tbr pile.

Visit today's Booking Through Thursday to see more serious reads, and leave a link to your answer.


  1. The Shawl still gives me pause when I see it. Great book.


  2. Sounds like you've got some great reading going this summer. I read Death in Venice years ago and loved it, but I would probably think of it as a fairly serious read.

  3. The Shawl sound interesting. I've read some of Mann, too.

    You'll find mine here.

  4. Wow...this one sounds really good. I'm going to add it to my TBR list

  5. I consider Death in Venice to be "serious." It's interesting to see how different people view the same term. You'd think we would all have the same definition of suce a common word.

    The Shawl shounds very good.

    Here's my BTT as requested

  6. yeah, that sounds pretty serious! i loved HEIR TO THE GLIMMERING WORLD but it's not exactly uplifting, either. Beautifully written though!

  7. Looks seriously good to me! Here's my response.

  8. Lezlie - It sure is...and I have you to thank for bringing it to my attention!

    Jlshall - The more I get into Death in Venice, I can see that it doesn't really belong in the same lighter category as the other two.

    Anthonynorth - The Shawl is a very good book - well worth the time if you get a chance to read it!

    Violet - It's right around 100 pages, so it won't take too much time to read.

  9. C.B. James - I'd only read the first chapter when I wrote today's post. I can now see that this isn't exactly the light read I was expecting!

    Marie - I read the first few pages of 'Heir' in the bookstore and just had to buy it - the writing was just beautiful. I know I'm going to enjoy it for that reason alone, even if the story isn't uplifting.

    Gautami - I think you would appreciate The Shawl.

    Susan B. Evans - Thanks for visiting. I'll be over to check your response soon.

  10. I remember your comments about The Shawl, that would most definitely qualify as a very serious read. It was interesting to go back in my list of books and discover that I haven't read much of anything very serious at all. If pressed, I would have to say that Saplings would be the closest title as it bothered me for awhile after reading it.


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