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Reading Journal: Currently Reading

Yesterday I started reading Marilynne Robinson’s debut novel, Housekeeping. The novel is the story of Ruth and her sister, Lucille, as they’re raised first by their grandmother, then her sister-in-laws, then by Sylvie, their eccentric aunt. According to the back cover,

Ruth and Lucille’s struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience.

While reading Housekeeping I’ve learned that this is a book to read slowly. This book is lyrical, so well-written. I’ve been keeping a pencil with me every time I continue the story because of the beautiful passages I want to go back to later on. Like this passage,

If heaven was to be this world plunged of disaster and nuisance, if immortality was to be this life held in poise and arrest, and if this world purged and this life unconsuming could be thought of as world and life restored to their proper natures, it is no wonder that five serene, eventless years lulled my grandmother into forgetting what she should never have forgotten.

Originally published in 1980, Housekeeping was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1982. It didn’t win though Robinson later won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for her second novel, Gilead.

12 thoughts on “Reading Journal: Currently Reading”

  1. I have this book in my TBR pile along with Gilead (but I think I’ll tackle this one first). Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the whole novel once you’re finished with it.

  2. I’m doing the Pulitzer Project, so I have Gilead on my tbr pile. The fact that everyone says it’s so slow intimidates me a little bit, but I do enjoy books with beautiful writing, even if there isn’t much of a plot. I’ll keep the fact that her writing is to be savoured in mind and make sure I pick the right moment to try her.

  3. I agree with you about this book–reading slowly is the key. I tried to read this one several years ago and could not get into it, but think I was just not in the right reading mood for it. I see it around and think, “I should give that one a try again!” Looking forward to your review.

  4. Vasilly – Housekeeping is one of my all-time favorites. I still see images from that book in my head. I can’t wait to see what you think of it.

  5. I hated Gilead, so I didn’t feel a big need to read anything else by her… I might change my mind one day, though.

  6. Thanks, J. Kaye!

    Steph and Vivienne: I’m loving it so far. It’s a pretty good read.

    Nymeth: That’s a great way to do it. Make sure you’re in the right mood.

    Kim: I hope you do give it a try when you’re in the right mood.

    Gavin: The images are great. Robinson really knows how to paint a picture for the reader in words.

    Kailana: I hope so. =)

    Tedyree: I can wait to read your post.

  7. I read Housekeeping several years ago with my book club. It was definitely a book to read slowly – the writing was absolutely beautiful! For some reason though, I’ve hesitated to pick up Gilead.

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