Here we are, the last prompt of the year. Time for "A Celebration"! If I didn't manage to do anything else in regards to any reading goals I might have had, I have read all my monthly prompt selections (and in a few cases even read more than one book). I didn't get to gather my pile together for a picture (maybe I will over the weekend) but I can share the titles I have in mind. I am pretty sure I will start with a young adult novel by Maud Hart Lovelace called Carney's House Party (and which comes in an omnibus edition with Winona's Pony Cart). I have long wanted to read her and this sounded sort of refreshing and light and indeed pretty celebratory.
"In the summer of 1911, Caroline "Carney" Sibley is home from college and looking forward to hosting a monthlong house party—catching up with the old Crowd, including her friend Betsy Ray, and introducing them to her Vassar classmate Isobel Porteous. Romance is in the air with the return of Carney's high school sweetheart, Larry Humphreys, for whom she's pined all these years. Will she like him as well as she once did? Or will the exasperating Sam Hutchinson turn her head?"
I know MHL wrote a lot of books and they follow a particular cast of characters, but I am hoping it won't matter if I read this on its own. And likely I will be inspired to pick up her Betsy-Tacy books as well. I had to order this one and it should arrive this weekend, so I have some bookish mail to look forward to.
I do have a few other contenders, and all but one are already on my shelves somewhere.
Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh -- "In the years following the First World War a new generation emerged, wistful and vulnerable beneath the glitter. The Bright Young Things of 1920s London, with their paradoxical mix of innocence and sophistication, exercised their inventive minds and vile bodies in every kind of capricious escapade. In these pages a vivid assortment of characters, among them the struggling writer Adam Fenwick-Symes and the glamorous, aristocratic Nina Blount, hunt fast and furiously for ever greater sensations and the hedonistic fulfillment of their desires." A satire on the decadent lifestyles of the Bright Young Things.
Carnevale by M.R. Lovric -- "The setting is faded yet decadent- think gondolas, palazzi, delicate food and amorous trysts ... A lavish description of a sensual education that drips detail and drama." (Elle Magazine)
The Shooting Party by Isabel Colegate -- "It is the autumn of 1913, and Sir Randolph Nettleby has assembled a brilliant array of guests at his Oxfordshire estate for the biggest shoot of the season. An army of servants and gamekeepers has rehearsed the intricate age-old ritual of the house and hunt. The gentlemen are falling into the prescribed mode of fellowship and good-humored sporting rivalry. The fashionable ladies are exchanging the latest gossip. Everything about this splendid weekend would seem a perfect affirmation of the privileges and certainties of Edwardian country life.
And yet, as Isabel Colegate so elegantly dramatizes, it is not."
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf -- I have read this about three times now, and now maybe a fourth it will come easy and make sense? "Direct and vivid in her account of Clarissa Dalloway’s preparations for a party, Virginia Woolf explores the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman’s life."
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll -- "In 1862 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a shy Oxford mathematician with a stammer, created a story about a little girl tumbling down a rabbit hole. Thus began the immortal adventures of Alice, perhaps the most popular heroine in English literature. Countless scholars have tried to define the charm of the Alice books–with those wonderfully eccentric characters the Queen of Hearts, Tweedledum, and Tweedledee, the Cheshire Cat, Mock Turtle, the Mad Hatter et al.–by proclaiming that they really comprise a satire on language, a political allegory, a parody of Victorian children’s literature, even a reflection of contemporary ecclesiastical history. Perhaps, as Dodgson might have said, Alice is no more than a dream, a fairy tale about the trials and tribulations of growing up–or down, or all turned round–as seen through the expert eyes of a child." I have never read this and should in any case plus there is the mad hatter's tea party which would be an especially good celebration!
Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss -- This novel opens with a New Year's Even party! Maybe I need to try and squeeze this one in just after Christmas but before New Year's? "Welcome to SoHo at the onset of the eighties: a gritty, not-yet-gentrified playground for artists and writers looking to make it in the big city. Among them: James Bennett, a synesthetic art critic for the New York Times whose unlikely condition enables him to describe art in profound, magical ways, and Raul Engales, an exiled Argentinian painter running from his past and the Dirty War that has enveloped his country. As the two men ascend in the downtown arts scene, dual tragedies strike, and each is faced with a loss that acutely affects his relationship to life and to art. It is not until they are inadvertently brought together by Lucy Olliason—a small town beauty and Raul’s muse—and a young orphan boy sent mysteriously from Buenos Aires, that James and Raul are able to rediscover some semblance of what they’ve lost."
I may not have any end of year party celebrations on my own agenda, but I can at least read about a few (and it might even be better than the real thing actually). And while I had been giving a little thought on next year's prompts, I have not started a proper list, but I will be working on it now in earnest.