Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Books

18. The Close: A Young Woman's First Year at Seminary by Chloe Breyer
As it says in the title, this is a book about the author's first year at an Episcopal Seminary in New York. I looooved this book. I thought it was so honest, and interesting to read about this woman's struggles with her beliefs and what the church taught, along with how to be the best minister she could. The book also made me interested in the Episcopalian religion, which seems to have many of the things I like about Catholicism, plus woman priests! And gay people! yay! Anyway, this is a great book.

19. Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland
The story of a fictional long lost Vermeer painting. It was ok, but didn't really grab me. My favorite parts were at the very end, when the actual creation of the painting was described.

20. The Rector's Wife by Joanna Trollope
Seeing this book around the house, R became concerned about all the reading about religion I have been doing. I didn't really mean to read two religiously themed books so close together, it just happened. I found this book for cheap at a used bookstore, and it looked interesting so I picked it up.

This book is the story of an English vicar's wife who kind of comes to a crossroads in her life, regarding her purpose and independence or lack thereof. I thought it was a very interesting look at how women can be made to be simply appendages of their husbands, and are often assumed to have the same interests and goals as their husbands, whether or not this is actually the case. I really enjoyed this book as well, especially because the main character was so engaging and sympathetic.

4 comments:

katie said...

I saw The Close at a bookstore a couple years ago--but ignored it because I was down on seminary students. I am still not so keen on the inner workings of seminary students, but if you liked it maybe I will have to check it out sometime.

Laurie said...

I was actually going to recommend it you -- I thought of you a lot as I read it. She is down on a lot of seminary students too.

meeegan said...

Cool descriptions, Laurie. Is the The Rector's Wife set in the present day? That would make a difference to me, regarding how the central character expected her life to be, and expected marriage to change it or not to change it.

Laurie said...

The time setting of The Rector's Wife was really hard to pin down. It was published in 1991, and is definitely set in modern times. I would guess it is supposed to be in the 70's or 80's. Probably the mid to late 80's.

A big part of the main character's problems were that her husband was a priest, and everyone assumed that because he was dedicated to the church, she should be as well. A couple of times she repeated that she chose the man, not the church. The book also drew parallels between being a clergyman's wife and a military wife, as both can be so encompassing and have very specific expectations for how wives of men in these professions should be.