Today marks the last day of Banned Book Week, an annual observance in Libraryland. Every year, libraries around the nation try to raise awareness of our freedom and right to make intelligent decisions for ourselves and to prove we can dually be inspired, as well as know the difference between fantasy and reality.
Last year, I went into more detail about the philosophy behind the observance and listed a few 19th century book titles that have been challenged or banned at some point in the world for various reasons.
In part because I simply could not find eight pre-published reviews on 19th century non-fiction and partially because it is my birthday month and feel entitled to do whatever I please; this pre-published post is going to be entirely of fiction. Yes, sixteen 19th century fiction titles! Are you not besides yourself with joy?! All blurbs come directly from Publishers Weekly. I have not read any of these titles and thus cannot recommend one over another. However, if any readers wish to give their perspective or reviews, I am beyond curious to hear your comments. . . Are your nibs sharpened, your inkwell full, your quill poised?! Let us get to the list, shall we? . . . . Annnnnnnnd away we gooooo!:
Because Cuba is You by Ramon Chao
The latest from Chao (The Train of Ice and Fire) unfurls through the guise of memory, as a man listens to his grandmother, Dolores, tell stories of her youthful adventures. The daughter of a fortune-teller, Dolores (also known as Lola, Lolita, and Lolina) falls for a much older man of the world, yet after he is imprisoned for witchcraft and quackery, she embarks on a journey that shuttles her from her Galician village to Cuba at the tail end of the 19th century. After a series of odd jobs, she becomes a maid for a Cuban political leader. Lolita/Dolores develops a romance with her boss, and she gets pregnant just as the country gains its independence. After being forced to return home by her employer—to avoid any scandal resulting from the pregnancy—she participates in a ritual that provides her with the gift of ubiquity. Able now to exist in two places at once, Lolita/Dolores fights for political change in both Galicia and Cuba, running with the Independent Association of Colour, anarchists, and Spanish communists.
In Calamity’s Wake by Natalee Caple
On his deathbed, Miette promises her adoptive father that she will seek out her mother, the notorious western legend Calamity Jane. What follows is a dark and thrilling adventure through the American Badlands in the late 19th century, brought to life by exacting prose and a gallery of gothic characters (including a hag claiming to be Miette’s dead father’s love an a woman who begs Miette to find her children’s bones at the bottom of a well). By turns cinematic in its rendering of landscape and heartbreaking in its rich depiction of its young heroine. Interspersed through Miette’s story are minor characters’ perspectives and larger-than-life portraits of Calamity Jane0rendered through colloquial tall tales, dime-novels hyperbole, and something close to genuine biography–that lend a fascinating tone to the book and blur the line between the historic woman and the myth she became. As Miette travels the wild country in search of her mother and herself, an early line in the story continually haunts her journey: “One likes to believe in the goodness of people. But the people you meet on the road, well, sometimes the unseen cannot really see themselves.”
Autumn arrived this past Sunday! Can you sense the excitement in the air?! Perhaps it is the nip? Or in other lands, the changing of the leaves? The Harvest Moon? Or if you are like me, you circle the date on your calendar and count down the days leading up to the subtle shift in fashions?
Just this past weekend, I purchased my Fall reticule, along with my costume for All-Hallows-Eve, but more on that later. On Sunday, I broke out my autumn scent and I am slowly morphing my “face paint” from my Spring/Summer palate, to warmer colors to mimic my Autumn make-up inspiration. Yes, yes, I realize this is most peculiar, but as you must know by now I live for Drama! (And not in that pesky modern connotation of emotional and personal issues, but in the way of theatrics, operas, and grand entrances!) Enough, about my idiosyncrasies, let us discuss the Fall 2013 trends and how a 19th Century Modern lady might introduce them into her wardrobe.