Book notes

It’s a good day when you come home and find three books in your mailbox! I came home yesterday and found three Bookmooch books: The Places in Between by Rory Stewart, So Many Books, So Little Time, by Sara Nelson, and Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro. And now, as I have no points left at Bookmooch, I’ll have to wait until someone mooches a book off of me before I can get any more.

I’m determined to finish Dracula this weekend. It’s been too long since I’ve finished a book, and I’m getting anxious. I want to start something new! And I’m closest to finishing Dracula, so that’s what it’ll be.

What I really wanted to talk about, though, is Frances Burney’s Journals and Letters, which has been so much fun to read. She meets nearly everybody famous in eighteenth-century England, it seems. She’s good friends with or hangs out at parties with Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke, Hester Thrale Piozzi, and David Garrick. And the part I just began has her meeting King George III, and Queen Charlotte. She eventually becomes an attendant in the queen’s court, which it turns out she doesn’t like at all, since she has little privacy and time to herself. Reading her journals reminds me that the London literary world was fairly small and everybody seemed to know each other. Burney was very famous after the publication of Evelina; everyone wants to meet her everywhere she goes. She is painfully shy about her writing and seems to hate the attention she gets. However, the voice that comes through in the journals and letters makes me forget how famous she was. She seems so unassuming and quiet and doesn’t draw any attention to her success as a novelist that she comes across as just a regular person with a rather extraordinary life instead of the famous, very talented person she really is.

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