On the 2nd day of reading…

On the 2nd day of reading my library gave to me:
two writers’ loves.

Sometimes the best inspiration for your life comes from the past.
In the case of the non-fiction books, which I’m adding to my summer reading list, the two authors were inspired by 20th century poet W.H. Auden and 19th century author Jane Austen.

audenI’m a fan of Alexander McCall Smith’s books, and enjoy his gentle humour and pace.

In his thin book What W H Auden Can Do For You, he discusses his admiration for the works of Auden. If you have read any of McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie books, you’ll know that Auden’s poems are often mentioned in regard to Isabel’s musings on the problems of moral philosophy and day to day life that those books address. Many of us only know of Auden because of the use of his Funeral Blues poem in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. austen

I’m interested to discover why McCall Smith believes that the poet changed his life, and how Auden’s work can be a guide to living a better life.

My second literary guide will be A Jane Austen education : how six novels taught me about love, friendship, and the things that really matter by William Deresiewicz.

There are some who persist in the belief that Jane Austen wrote silly little romances for and about upper, middle-class Regency girls who only wanted to get married. Deresiewicz was, in his youth, one such critic, until he began studying her work and discovered not only her deft, satirical social commentary, but life lessons that were just as relevant in this century as in the 19th. I’m looking forward to following his course of study and understanding, and avoiding the pitfalls of becoming a Mrs Bennet or a Sir Walter Elliot or, spare me, a Mrs Norris.

If you have a favourite author as your guide to a better life, please let us know in the comments.