Two topics on my agenda this morning. First up, what I read last week.
Don Fernando by W. Somerset Maugham
A paean to Spain's golden age of enormous creative energy, Don Fernando begins with the vivid tale of Loyola's life and conversion, discusses the writings of St Teresa and the paintings of El Greco, and comments with sagacity and wit on such illustrious figures as Cervantes, Luis de Léon, Lope de Vega, Velasquez and the creator of Don Juan.
My take: This was a fascinating book to me. First of all, I've never read any nonfiction by Maugham. His nonfiction almost reads like his fiction does, which I love. He incorporates anecdotes and stories into what is essentially a long essay on Spanish literature.
My recommendation: This is definitely not the book for everybody. If you majored in English, you might find it interesting. Otherwise, I'd imagine that few people would care much about this subject matter. I liked it, but didn't love it.
The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
A divorced woman returns to her childhood home where she confronts the memory of her parents' confounding yet deep bond. The accidental near-drowning of a child exposes the fragility of the trust between children and parents. A young man, remembering a terrifying childhood incident, wrestles with the responsibility he has always felt for his younger brother. In these and other stories Alice Munro proves once again a sensitive and compassionate chronicler of our times. Drawing us into the most intimate corners of ordinary lives, she reveals much about ourselves, our choices, and our experiences of love.
My take: I love this book. It's the second time I've read it, and it was better this time around. Munro is an amazing author. Her writing is beautiful, and her stories are intricate and complex, but not confusingly so. This particular collection deals with love that is unromantic for the most part, but still very moving.
My recommendation: Read it! Just make sure you're in the mood for short stories!
I've noticed that a lot of people have been sick lately. My son's class is one big germ factory, and I'm lucky I haven't gotten sick. The reason for that? I'm pretty sure it has a lot to do with the acupuncture I've gotten weekly for the past 2 years. I have a number of health problems, so my immune system is basically nonexistent. I've always been the first person to get a cold or the flu. Plus, I was notorious for getting stress-induced illnesses. BUT that changed a couple of years ago when I started getting acupuncture. Since then, I've gotten maybe 2 colds. And they weren't bad ones, either. Seriously, it's amazing. I never would have believed it, but it works. For reals.
Now, I know acupuncture isn't for everyone. Some people (my husband included) would never consent to have needles stuck in them, and it can get expensive. But for those of you who are always getting sick, I highly recommend acupuncture! I find it incredibly relaxing and the needles don't hurt. Try it!