Thursday, April 25, 2024

Julius by Daphne du Maurier -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

Julius by Daphne du Maurier

Thank you for joining me for Book Beginnings on Fridays. Please share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy, even if you are not reading it right now.


His first instinct was to stretch out his hands towards the sky.
-- from Julius by Daphne du Maurier. This is the current book I'm reading as part of a Du Maurier Deep Dive group I'm in on Instagram. We are getting down the the last few of du Maurier's books. This is the third book she wrote.  Julius, the protagonist, is an unpleasant person, but the story moves along at a clip and is much more entertaining than what we read last month, I'll Never be Young Again (perhaps universally disliked by our group, a first). 


Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag.

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The Friday 56 is a natural tie-in with Book Beginnings. The idea is to share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your featured book. If you are reading an ebook or audiobook, find your teaser from the 56% mark.

Freda at Freda's Voice started and hosted The Friday 56 for a long, long time. She is taking a break and Anne at My Head is Full of Books has taken on hosting duties in her absence. Please visit Anne's blog and link to your Friday 56 post.


-- from Julius:
The driver stopped before a humble white building, almost hidden, squeezed between two projecting houses. “This is a synagogue,” he said, and he spat disdainfully, holding out his hand already for his money.
What makes a story so interesting is Julius's struggle with his Jewish heritage and antisemitism. That is a sympathetic storyline, even though he is so horrible otherwise. The conflict between the two sides of his character gives weight to the story.

A chilling story of ambition, Daphne du Maurier's third novel has lost none of its ability to unsettle and disturb. Julius Lévy has grown up in a peasant family in a village on the banks of the Seine. A quick-witted urchin caught up in the Franco-Prussian War, he is soon forced by tragedy to escape to Algeria. Once there, he learns the ease of swindling, the rewards of love affairs, and the value of secrecy. Before he’s 20, he’s in London, where his empire-building begins in earnest. Driven by a lifelong hunger for power, he becomes a rich and ruthless man. His one weakness is his daughter Gabriel.

Rut or Routine? -- BOOK THOUGHTS



Rut or Routine?

I’m a creature of habit, for sure. There are some things I like to do over and over, the same way, for years. For example, I’m on a board that meets four times a year at an office in the suburbs. I may pass that building 12 or 15 times a year, but only after the quarterly board meeting do I regularly do three nearby things: (1) stop at the Cat Fanciers’ Thrift Shop, (2) pick up yummy things to eat at the Ukrainian grocery store, and (3) fill up with slightly less expensive suburban gas. I’ve been on this board for over ten years and have done those same things after every meeting.

So, should I branch out? Explore other things to do out that way? Break it up and run those errands on a non-board meeting day? Or should I stick with what I know makes me happy? I read an article once that stuck with me. It described some real study that looked to determine whether people were happier when, on repeated visits to the same restaurant, they ordered the same, favorite thing or they tried new things each time. The conclusion was that most people were happier ordering the same favorite and not exploring the menu.

That’s me to a T! I’m often up for some exploring and even a little adventure, but I love my routines. I’ll banish the idea of calling them ruts. Maybe I should call them traditions, not routines, because that has a nobler ring to it. What about you? Do you prefer a familiar routine or are you always finding and trying new things?

Why do I bring this up? Well, because on my post-board meeting rounds last Friday, I found this book at the Cat Fanciers’ shop. (I also found a beautiful pink and green porcelain tea cup and saucer, but my tableware obsession is a different topic!) The book, The Royal Secret by Lucinda Riley (called The Love Letter in the UK), looks terrific. It’s a mystery with a lot of suspense and some romance about “an ambitious young journalist [who] unravels a dangerous mystery that threatens to devastate the British monarchy.” Sounds like quite a yarn!

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