19 June 2011

Bits and Bobs - the reading groove edition

   
Not being able to think of a good illustration for this post, I did a
Google search on "bits and bobs". Little did I know there is a British
puppet duo of that name. Seems like as good a picture as any for this post.
Although we all love to read, it is still wonderful to find oneself in a true reading groove. You know, the exact opposite of a reading funk. The kind of mood where everything you pick up is splendid and you just want to consume as much as you can.

You know what gets in the way of such a reading groove? Blogging.

Because I want to stay in the groove as long as possible, I am eschewing reviews for a bit and switching over to list mode:

After posting about my Virago haul recently, a few of you were desirous to know which 17 VMCs I managed to snag. Unfortunately I had already mixed them in with my existing VMCs and with a few exceptions I don't remember which are new to me and which I already had. So we all miss out on that fun list and picture. I will do better next time.

I just finished Carol Shields' novel Small Ceremonies. It was a re-read for me. I love Shields' work and have decided to re-read all of her novels. As I did the first time I read it years and years ago, I enjoyed Small Ceremonies quite a lot. But it also reminded me that I often have quibbles with Shields' endings. For some reason they leave me wanting something different. Not so much so, however, to make me not want to read her books. She was a wonderful writer. I wish she was still around to write more for us.

I also just finished Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton in a beautiful NYRB edition. I must say I didn't enjoy it the way that most bloggers have. I understand why it is a good book. And I liked the beginning and the ending, but the middle had way too many trips to the pub and drunken nights to hold my interest. It got kind of tedious in that regard.

And this evening I just finished a re-read of The Debut (A Start in Life) by Anita Brookner. For those who have not been living under a rock, you will know that I am gearing up for International Anita Brookner Day on July 16th. And since I have read all of her novels already I have decided to start over and read them chronologically. I loved all of her novels the first time around, but I really got so much more out of The Debut this time around.  I look forward to reviewing it for IABD.

After I finished the Brookner tonight I wasn't quite sure what to move on to. So I did what I often do when looking for my next read. I comb through my TBR piles and pick up a handful of books and give them a good look over to see if any of them rise to the occasion. Tonight I picked up Life and Death of Harriet Frean by May Sinclair, A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor, Every Good Deed by Dorothy Whipple, Butcher's Crossing by John Williams, Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, Vanity Fair by William Thackeray, and Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope.

Usually when I play this game I read the openings of each of the books and decide which one speaks to me most at the moment. I started with the Trollope. Then I moved on to two of the others, but I had this irresistible urge to go back to the Trollope. So I didn't even make it through my stack. Trollope won the day. Not a total surprise given how much I like his other work. And since a I finished the Barsetshire series a few years ago I have been wanting to begin the Palliser novels. Still I was a little surprised how quickly and thoroughly Can You Forgive Her? pulled me in.  So I need to quit blogging and get back to reading. After all, it is only midnight.

8 comments:

  1. My reading has gone awry - mainly domestic stuff. Just blogging only now.

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  2. Hooray for Trollope! I've read the last Palliser book (for a college class--I'd never start at the end otherwise),and I really want to go back and read the rest.

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  3. I hate that when no book is speaking to me! Or when one just spoke to me too loudly, and I can't bear to let another into that space for a while...

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  4. I love Carol Shields as well. I've not read Small Ceremonies yet. I'm spacing out her books. I want to save one or two for my old age.

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  5. I'm disappointed about Slaves of Solitude but, now I think about it, not *entirely* surprised. But I don't know why.

    In the same way, although I love Life and Death of Harriett Frean, I'm not entirely sure you would... but I'm confident you'd like the Elizabeth Taylor.

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  6. Mystica: I know the feeling.

    Teresa: Reading the last in a series first is like fingernails on a chalk board.

    Rhapsody: I agree, the worst is when no book seems to interest me.

    CB: I feel a little bad I didn't review it. Maybe when I read it a third time (sometime in my old age).

    Simon: When I first bought Slaves of Solitude a year or so ago, I was told by one blogger that it was the finest something or other so I had high expectations right off the bat.

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  7. I know what you mean! Blogging takes so much time sometimes - I'm woefully behind on writing reviews at the moment because of that very reason.

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  8. I was doing well with my reading and I had several reviews written and scheduled, but I put my current read down for a couple of days and now my interest has waned. Not the book's fault. I shall pick it up again later today, but for now I am just catching up on blog reading.

    I like how you read the first few pages of a book from your stack. I never do that and I really don't know why. My books just stare at me from the shelf and it's whatever one catches my eye.

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