I always have a book I'm reading, and I always have a book I'm listening to as well. Librivox is a fantastic resource for public domain audiobooks, read by volunteers. I'm a knitter, and I like to listen to a book while I knit. Recently I finished listening to The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence.
I had already read the fantastic Women in Love for a history class before reading The Rainbow. Lawrence's Women in Love details the most recent generation of the Brangwen family, sisters Ursula and Gudrun. The Rainbow is the story of three generations of Brangwens, from the Brangwen sisters' grandparents to the sisters themselves.
In a nutshell, The Rainbow is about a family's lives and loves. The book has a very grand scale because of the amount of time it encompasses, and the number of different people experiencing love and desire in similar and different ways.
Because the book spans three generations, one must be careful to keep the characters distinct. I found it a little difficult, especially with the first generation of Brangwens and the second. When you categorize characters into wide boxes such as 'the husband' and 'the wife', since most books only have one of each of those characters, it's easy to get them mixed up when a book has several of each!
I found Lawrence's writing style generally pleasant, though sometimes getting a bit too philosophical for me. In Women in Love, every conversation the sisters or their men had was a Very Deep One indeed, and there isn't as much of that in this one, but plenty of introspective internal dialogue. Reading either book will certainly get you thinking.
I might never have read this book if I hadn't found it as a free audibook on Librivox. I like to unwind by knitting and watching TV or listening to something, so I enjoy audiobooks very much. The quality of Librivox audibooks can vary, even from chapter to chapter with a single book. This recording was all done by a single reader, which was nice. The quality is generally good, though some people might find the reader's voice a bit grating. There were a few mispronunciations I found occasionally distracting, but for the most part the reading is fluent and easy to understand.
"Indeed, it was true as they said, that a man wasn't born before he was married. What a change indeed! [...] When he was a child, he had thought a woman was a woman merely by virtue of her skirts and petticoats. And now, lo, the whole world could be
divested of its garment, the garment could lie there shed away intact, and one could stand in a new world, a new earth, naked in a new, naked universe. It was too astounding and miraculous."
Length: 5/10 (1 is the Cliffs Notes, 10 is Shakespeare's entire oeuvre) The book is hefty enough, but it feels like it goes quickly because it's like three stories in one book.
Grade: 90%. The Rainbow is a wonderful, enjoyable, rewarding read.