I've promised myself that during the coming year, I will be more careful and avoid reading crap. There were points in the past few months where I became so bogged down in terrible writing that I was stymied, unable to go forward or backward. Thankfully, with I Capture the Castle, I've found the perfect novel. It is so wonderfully written, so brimming with insight and well-drawn characters, that I feel absolutely recharged. In Cassandra, we have such a lovable main character that it's hard for me to think of another protagonist I've encountered in the past year who is more fun to listen to. No, I'm drawing a blank. But all of the characters are excellent. I felt a pang of dread just for a moment in approaching the last few pages, afraid we were going to be presented some sort of hackneyed coupling, but thank God, no, it was all so perfectly well done. I noticed that Smith wrote four volumes of autobiography toward the end of her life, and it would be very interesting to get a look at them. I believe they're out of publication, however. Sometimes it's a bit sad when you find a book like this - an absolute gem - and there seems to be little pointing to her secured place in literature.