A remarkable novel by a fugitive slave woman in the 1850s, a treatise by Martin Luther on freedom and faith, and four fantastical lands visited by an English surgeon with a generous helping of satire.
These last two months have been a little busy – overtime at work tends to lead to naps after dinner, and then summer has a fair number of events another things to keep one busy. My reading, therefore, slowed down a bit, but I’m determined to pick up the pace and resist the naps haha.
On to my latest reads!
16. I think I purchased this book before I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin (another find from BookOutlet.com – I think it was in the Classics section), but after reading that book my interest was piqued even more for this novel. The Bondwoman’s Narrative is written by Hannah Crafts, a fugitive slave woman from North Carolina. Henry Louis Gates, Jr purchased this manuscript from an auction and went into great research to determine the author, her owner, and the surrounding history. The introduction is a lengthy analysis of the handwriting, vocabulary, even the kind of paper and ink used to research the author and her origins. I usually don’t read introductions, but I read every word in this one. The story itself is of a mulatto slave woman and her tales of her owners, fellow slaves, and escapes ultimately leading her to freedom in New Jersey. It was a remarkable tale. One of the really fascinating parts of this whole book was the fact that Gates left the narrative largely in its original style – grammar, spelling, and paragraphs (the original manuscript was void of periods and a lot of punctuation, so he added them to give the text easier readability, as well as providing a few notes of what some words really meant). The author, Hannah, was an incredibly well-read house slave and her writing definitely shows it with her references to novels such as Bleak House and Jane Eyre. I cannot recommend this novel enough!
17. I read this a few years ago, but Martin Luther is always worth a re-read. On Christian Liberty is Luther’s 1520 treatise discussing the seemingly contradictory ideas of a Christian being free from sin and death but at the same time being a servant to others. This also talks about justification by faith and not by works. I will admit that it took me a good number of reading passages a few times to really digest Luther’s words (I’m not a theologian and a number of terms/concepts take me a while to grasp and understand, but I love to learn), but Luther uses a lot of Biblical support for what he has to say and he uses a lot of good examples. It’s only about 80 pages, so it’s not too long of a read.
18. I got this book at a Barnes & Noble earlier this year on a whim – probably because I didn’t want to spend too much at the store, and this was one of the cheaper pocket books. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift is told in Lemuel Gulliver’s point of view as he shares his voyages to four lands – first to a place where he is a giant compared to the inhabitants, next to where he is the little human against giants, the third being a floating island (and a few quick trips to other islands), and lastly a place where horses are the civilized race and humans are deformed, primal savages (very much like Planet of the Apes, which I loved). Gulliver shares the customs, histories, and politics of his native England with his various hosts, which receive a range of reactions and opinions. It’s a delicious story of satire and I enjoyed looking further into the endnotes on certain passages. The novel lacks dialogue, so for me it took me a little longer to read this book than others. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it’s worth a re-read in a few years.
Bible reading: In June I read 1 and 2 Kings. For July I read Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, and Tobit from my Lutheran study edition of the Apocrypha. I’ll likely read from both the Old and New Testaments in August.
My next three books are chosen, and I’m already about 1/4 done with the first one! (Hint: dialogue really helps speed things up haha). Until next time, Happy Reading!