Happy January and thanks so much for joining me over her at Rainy Night Cottage! A fresh calendar on the wall and a fresh new blog that has yet to be defiled...Yay!
For our 2012 Turn the Page...Tuesday challenge, Adrienne has tossed out the glove. This year she would like us to continue to pull those dusty books off of our To-Be-Read shelves and on top of that to read something each month that has been turned into a movie - and then watch the movie. Sound like fun? Jump right in - you can find the details over at Some of a Kind~
To start the year off, I read Call of the Midwife by Jennifer Worth. This book was given to my by a friend and was such a good read!
I really loved this book and the people in it, from the midwife's to the expecting mothers and everyone in between. Author Jennifer Worth takes us to 1950's London where she lived in a convent and worked as a midwife in the docks district of a city that was still torn up from the war. This is a fascinating memoir written beautifully like a novel. Through Jennifers eyes, we watch as she rings the big bell at Nonnatus House, meeting Sister Monica Joan, an elderly nun whose mind seems to be slipping a bit. We meet and fall in love with Chummy, the newest midwife who comes from a priveledged background and must learn how to ride a bike before she can be sent out on her calls. When Jennifer is sent to Conchita Warren's house she thinks that paperwork must be wrong. There is no way this beautiful Spanish woman can be carrying her 24th child, is there? But it is true, and a year later we ride the thickly clogged streets of a smoggy London along side Jennifer as she rushes to Conchita's side for the very premature delivery of baby #25. She takes us along to meet Mrs. Jenkins, an elderly lady living in terrible conditions who spent much of her adult life in a workhouse for the poor.
There is so much to this story - times that will make you cry and laugh and cover your mouth in shock. It was absolutely wonderful and highly recommended.
This book has been turned into a BBC series. I tried to get it on Netflix but it says there is a loooong wait, so once I get the first disc, I'll let you know how it is. Looking forward to it!
Next, I pulled a dusty one of the shelves - The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier had been lounging around on my shelf for a year or so. I had picked this one up at our local Goodwill because I really liked the other books by this author that I had read. This one was good, but definitely not my favorite of her books~
It's 1490 Paris and painter Nicholas des Innocents has been summoned to the home of self-made Nobleman Jean Le Viste to discuss a commission. Nicholas is a portrait painter, usually dealing in miniatures of ladies, so he is surprised when Le Viste requests paintings of a battle to be used as patterns for several large tapestries. When Le Viste's wife, Genevieve de Nanterre, hears of the tapestries, she takes Nicholas aside and persuades him to instead make paintings that include unicorns and, on top of that, to convince her husband that this is what he really wants. Nicholas is a randy fellow with always an eye out for the ladies. When he takes a liking to the young Le Viste daughter, Claude, he is sent away to Brussels to work with the weavers who are making the tapestries and Claude is sent to a convent to wait out the time until her betrothel to a nobleman chosen by her father.
This is a wonderfully imagined story of the history of these beautiful tapestries and the people who commissioned them, the artist who painted them and the weavers who made them. My favorite characters are the weavers in Brussels; the family of Georges de la Chapelle. They were real, down to earth and extremely hard workers who had a healthy love and respect for each other as the noble people of the story did not. I loved how the author showed us the skill it took to weave these wonderful works of art and how she took a piece of art that little is know about and made a story about it and the people that is truly believable. It could have been...
So what have you been reading? Pop over to Adrienne's place at Some of a Kind to join in the fun and to see what is on other's nightstands!