Books I read this week: October weeks 1 and 2

Here are the books I’ve been reading.

Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Centuryby Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger was a great read. The ups and downs of the Taylor/Burton relationship are all laid out, and there’s lots of gossip, but it never gets trashy or mean spirited. The love between the two of them is the core of the book, and it was definitely a love for the ages. It’s unfortunate that alcohol addiction came between them.

Curiously, Elizabeth didn’t conisder herself-nor Grace Kelly, for that matter- truly beautiful. She felt that being too impeccable, too groomed, too studied- “so that you can feel the vanity behind it”- made beauty boring. Her ideals of feminine beauty were women like Lena Horne and Ava Gardner, earthier women ablaze with life and heart.

I’ve been waiting for The Brothers Cabal by Jonathan L. Howard for quite some time. I inhaled the three previous books in the series, and this one was just as much fun. Johannes Cabal is a necromancer who stole his soul back from the devil, and his brother Horst is a twice (thrice?) dead vampire with impeccable manners. When a group with dangerous intentions raises him to be their Lord of the Dead, they get something a bit different than they expected.

‘Are you deliberately collecting animated heads, Johannes?’ he asked.

Cabal frowned, then accepted the point. ‘Not deliberately. It just happens.’

I have quite literally been reading the Collected Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay for 7 months. I started it in March of this year. I parceled it out over that time, and therefore I do not now hate St. Vincent Millay as I could have if I’d read straight through. Her poems are gorgeous, she has marvelous turns of phrase.

It well may be that in a difficult hour,

pinned down by pain and moaning for release,

or nagged by want past resolution’s power,

I might be driven to sell your love for peace,

or trade memory of this night for food.

It well may be. I do not think I would.

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov is one of those books that has been on lists of “books you must read!” forever, and I’ve never read it. But there was a copy at the bookstore with the new Vintage Magic cover, and so I bought it. It’s not at all what I expected, but I’m not really sure what I expected. It’s the story of what happens when the devil visits a Russian town. As you would imagine, things go awry, and lots of people end up in the lunatic asylum. Only two people make it out unscathed (well, relatively); the master and the woman he loves, Margarita. The master is called such by Margarita because of the book that he has written about Pontius Pilate- she considers him a master of his craft. I went in thinking that the two of them would do battle with the devil, which is not at all what happens. Apparently there is lots of social commentary about life in Russia at the time it was written, but I missed a lot of that. What I did get was the humor (madcap at times), the horror, the exhilaration. It’s a great read, I enjoyed it a lot.

Itby Alexa Chung was a total impulse buy. I enjoyed Alexa on 24 Hour Catwalk, and flipping through this book I saw things that made me smile, so I bought it. It’s basically a scrapbook/lookbook of things that have influenced her style, with snippets of her thoughts about them. I kind of wish that I just read it at the bookstore- I don’t know how much I’ll delve into it again- but it was a fun little read.

I also read a draft of a book that a friend of mine wrote, that you will all want to read when it’s published.

I’m currently in the middle of Don’t Point that Thing at Meby Kyril Bonfiglioli, which is entertaining.

What are you reading?

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