What was my reading material while traveling? I finished Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame while in France, and read two of Flaubert's Three Tales as well.
Hunchback is such a powerful book that I find the characters living in my head--including one of the main "characters", the cathedral itself. Touring and performing in the cathedral, and climbing the towers to see the bells close up were greatly enhanced by reading this book. I found Hugo's discourses about architecture and the advent of printing fascinating since I am a librarian, and am presently--and seemingly for eternity--a home renovator. My enjoyment of the book was also heightened by both reading it in print and listening to an audio version. I find that reading a book and listening to it are very different experiences.
South Tower above Emmanuel, the current big bell--it would have been Big Marie in Quasimodo's time.
Flaubert's first story, A Simple Heart, takes place in the countryside around Deauville, an area of France that we visited. We also stayed in Rouen, where Flaubert spent much of his life. Our choir performed at the cathedral there, which has a lovely stained glass window we saw that inspired his second story, The Legend of St. Julian Hospitator. I'm looking forward to reading more Flaubert.
Since you asked, John was busy reading The Three Musketeers, and Antonia read A.J. Jacobs' The Know It All, and began Hunchback. (Regarding The Know It All--all you have to do is read the introduction to get hooked. Just ask me--I read it in the ER waiting room on Saturday).
Kristin Lavransdatter (published 1920-22). I couldn't work or sleep until I finished it. Historical novels often excel at portraying a time period--this book, by a well-deserving Nobel prize winning author, succeeds at history, character development, dialog, and plot. Heartily recommended to anyone who wants to be consumed by literature!
The school year will be starting soon, so I am reading two of our student book club selections: The Camel Club, by Richmond/Henrico County native Baldacci, and Hearn's Across the Nightingale Floor, which I expect to like much better.
What are my readers reading this summer?