Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
This is going to be a quick post to finish up my read-along comments before my review. I’ve been left little time for reading lately, let alone posting, that I’m falling behind!
Honestly, the drama and copious introspection about how and why people commit adultery is getting rather wearying, especially given the limited aspects of Emma’s character.
Her reconnection with Leon Dupuis is telling, as he is no longer the simple, infatuated provincial law clerk but now a sophisticated man-about-town, after his three-year stint in the city. They begin a passionate affair, yet meanwhile her debts are piling up as she is regularly cheated and manipulated by M. Heureux. Although Emma still attempts to delude herself into believing she is living a fulfilling life, her spiral downward increases. For me, the most tragic part in the novel is where Emma, feeling the screws of debt tighten around her, asks for help from a number of people who either try to use her in her desperation, or cruelly turn her aside. Rodolphe, her former love, rejects her in her need and this final abandonment appears to extinguish any hope.
Finally, rejected by each man she hopes will save her yet neglecting to go to the one who will (Charles), Emma takes arsenic and her death brings further consequences. Charles is immersed in a grief which finally brings about his death and poor Berthe, their daughter, is condemned to live in poverty and toil.
I must admit I was somewhat glad to see this book come to a close. I’ll try to gather my scattered thoughts into a coherent review in the next few days. Many thanks to C.J. at Ebookclassics and Juliana at Cedar Station for being wonderful hosts for this read-along!
Well, it’s time for an update on my History Reading Challenge hosted by Fanda at Fanda Classiclit. As much as I would rather plow along than muse over what I’ve read these past 4 months, I realize that a retrospective look at my reads is a valuable way to gauge if I’m on track or behind my goals. As it stands, I haven’t finished anything yet, but I am making progress.
I am about 40% through Susan Wise Bauer’s The History of the Ancient World. I had originally made it a buddy read AND created a schedule so I could finish it by the end of June. As it stands I am behind in the schedule, so I would have to step it up to finish in time. However, I am making notes with each chapter so that slows my progress. I may drop this extra task for now so I can keep moving along. Needless to say, my buddy, who will remain nameless, is even more behind than I am.
I’m interested in what methods other readers use to keep themselves on task with a book that, while it is not a chore, may not be as attractive as their other reads …..?? Scheduling, willpower, what ….?
I’ve also begun Red Land, Black Land by the author of the famed Amelia Peabody Egyptian mystery series. I’m only 5% into this one, but so far it’s quite interesting. I’m building my knowledge on some on the information that I’ve gleaned from The History of the Ancient World so I’m not having to think as hard to place some of the historical characters. I am finding the structure of Mertz’s writing somewhat disorganized, or perhaps I should say not as well organized as I would have expected. It doesn’t take away from the joy of reading her history, but it does make it sometimes a little harder to follow her train of thought.
Cicero’s Defense Speeches is so far my favourite of all my history reads. Cicero’s rhetoric is not only brilliant, but fascinating to read. My favourite speech, as yet, is Pro Roscio Amerino (For Roscius of Ameria) which presents Cicero as a young 26 year old giving his first speech for the defense in a criminal court. This speech definitely has a different flavour to the other speeches; he takes more risks and is even a little cheeky whereas the speeches from when he is a well-know orator are more carefully contrived. I wish this book was required reading for all upper high schools students to expose them to some excellent rhetoric and logic. It’s certainly impressive. I’m 33% through this book and can’t wait to read more.
I don’t have any other history books “up next”; I’ll simply try to focus on these three so I will eventually be able to finally say that I’ve finished something!