Sheepish aside: the Bloggies make me jealous. I was reading some of the blogs that are up for awards, and they're wonderful, and I wish I could be them. But I'm not 1) funny, 2) poignant, or 3) topical. Or really 4) well-researched or 5) interesting to others, for that matter.
Okay, back on topic. I'm almost done The Firebrand, and the end is definitely the best part of the book. The whole book--tone and style as well as plot--conveys the sense of impending doom. I think the rest of it was a little too long, and also a little too simplistic in character development.
I finished The Song at the Scaffold, which was much better than I had expected. It was an old book about nuns in the French Revolution, and I thought it would be light. But it wasn't--it was very internal, very much about the nature of grace and faith, and also a very grim portrait of the Revolution. It made me think a lot, actually, about something that was very peripheral in the book--how violent revolution becomes inevitable after a certain point, because situations become so polarized that there's no way to start the process of backing down to a sensible medium. Looking at France, for example--who could have instigated a change in how lavishly the rich lived? How could they have done that. I can't think of an example--this is the reason that a happy medium--specifically the middle class--is such a useful thing.
And--here's the part that's so exciting! I think I'm going to the bookstore tonight! I've decided what to do with my gift certificate, and I think the time has come. The funny part is that I'm buying two books I've already read, so I'm not adding to my pile of things I need to read. But they're to lend and reread.
Actually--I've been buzzed about this all day, and now that the time is closer, I don't really feel as excited any more. I think I might hold off. The point would be to go into the store with this same thrill. Get the most for my money.