Saturday, April 23, 2011

Enchanted summer

My goodness! Has it been a month since I made a last post? I guess I should post more reviews, no? Especially because I've been reading a lot these past few months. And since summer is in full swing here in Manila, I give you two wonderful books on my favorite season. The first is a novel by Elizabeth Von Arnim, The Enchanted April. (Yes, this has been turned into a movie and a play, which I heard are both good too.)

The Enchanted April is simply that -- enchanted. It's the type of book you read on a lazy afternoon. I read it with a smile on my face the whole time. Von Arnim's novel, about four Englishwomen who spend April in a castle in Italy, makes you fall in love. The prude, spinster-ish lady finds her soft side. Two thirty-somethings reignite their love for their husbands when they invite them to stay at the castle. And a beautiful but pessimistic young English lady discovers that she can indeed fall in love. The Enchanted April is the kind of novel you force people to read, especially to your friends who have become too disillusioned about finding or rekindling romance.

Another recent read which I simply enjoyed is Tove Jansson's The Summer Book. To call this book a novel may be too much of a stretch, for it's composed of several short vignettes. Jansson's novel focuses on Sophia, a precocious 6 year old, and her grandmother. The two stay in a charming and unspoiled island in Finland during the summer.

Summers in Manila are harsh with just one type of weather -- hot. On the other hand, the weather depicted in The Summer Book is anything but predictable, with raging storms one day and cheery sun-kissed days the next. The characters' experiences during their stay in the island are just magical. Sophia and her grandmother build a miniature venice, they study local bugs and worms, and they explore caves, forests, and other landscapes in the island, just to name a few.

Thank heavens that NYRB has decided to publish these titles. I just love them NYRB titles. Clean and readable typefaces, elegant covers, thick book paper. And they look good on the shelf too!

Read these books if:
  1. Summer is your favorite season.
  2. You know that summer is not all about going to the beach, getting a tan, or drinking piña colada. It's about catching up on your reading too.
  3. You'll read anything published by NYRB.

11 comments:

Stepford Mum said...

Yay, Peter!! Glad you're back :) And having a happy summer too! I love Tove Jansson's writing, but I want to read The Enchanted April too now.

ןıuǝ oɟ ɟןıƃɥʇ said...

the cover of the Summer Book looks like a quite backwater of Palawan.

kwesifriends said...

I want to read the Summer Book but I never enjoyed Summer season.

Book Dilettante said...

Sounds like nice travel books...

Book Dilettante

Peter S. said...

@Stepford Mum: The Enchanted April is truly one magical book. It will appeal to the British in you, Iya. Hehehe.

@line of flight: Hmmmm... I never noticed that!

@kwesifriends: Oh, why is that? Is it because of the humidity? Hehehe.

@Book Dilettante: In a way, these are travel books.

C.B. James said...

I recently got The Summer Book. I'm looking forward to it. Glad to have you back, too.

Peter S. said...

Hi, C.B. James! I can't wait to read what you think of The Summer Book!

Ryan G said...

I hate the Summer as heat is one of my least favorite things, give me snow anyday over tempertures about 90 degrees.

Both books sound wonderful though so I will be looking for them.

Peter S. said...

Hi, Ryan! There are days that I wish we had snow here in Manila!

Mrs. B. said...

We're certainly having a very hot summer! I loved the Enchanted April when I read it a few years back. Definitely enchanting. I haven't read Summer Book yet.

Peter S. said...

I just love, love, love the weather, Mrs. B!