Here are the four books I read in January:
1. Green Dolphin Street - Elizabeth Goudge. I wrote about my mixed feelings here.
2. Spark Joy - Marie Kondo. Konvert, that's me. I am working on a fangirlish response to this book. Don't know if I loved it as much as The Life -Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but there are some ardent feelings there. Yes. Excuse me, I must now go fold some shirts. Domo arigato.
3. Hangsaman - Shirley Jackson. This was a reread from...I don't know when. Mid-nineties, I suppose. I'd forgotten what a strange book it is. Madness, the college experience...Sylvia Plath could have read this during her days at Smith. I wonder if she did. Something that struck me afresh was the ickiness of Natalie's father. He's not inappropriate in the conventional way, but the way he breathes his stale breath all over Natalie's life, ugh. There's also Tony, Natalie's friend. Read carefully. I did, and my brain hurts, but in a pleasurable way. This is my second favorite Jackson novel after We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
4. The French Lieutenant's Woman - John Fowles. My second faux-Victorian novel in a month! (The other being Green Dolphin Street.) Fowles' book wins for authenticity (Arthur Hugh Clough epigrams!), even though he is so meta. He takes that authorial intrusion and kicks it up a notch. He even puts himself in a railroad carriage with the male protagonist. And the two endings! Meta, meta, meta! I was all squeeeee! and don't let this book end and gotta see the Meryl Streep/Jeremy Irons movie again. Speaking of Meryl, I couldn't get a read on the title character, because although readers hear her voice and see her actions, she's WTF? obscure (Sarah Woodruff makes Sue Bridehead look like Spock) and then further obscured by the author. I'm going to take it that she's some version of the Manic Pixie Girl we always hear tell about.