Thursday, January 9, 2014

She Doesn't Care Much For Literature

"She doesn't care much for literature, she just wants to read a good book."  Who said that or something like it?  I read it recently...I don't know...somewhere.  The where and the who escape me.  But when you think about it, unless one is an academic, don't we all just want to read a good book?  It is the reason I read book blogs, and a little of why I write one myself.  It is also how I get myself into a bit of trouble every now and then.

I was looking at my on-line library account this morning and began to realize exactly how out of hand things are getting.

The following Holds are waiting for me to pick up, which I have to do by tomorrow or they will be put back into circulation:

Life After Life, Kate Atkinson
Tell The Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt (a copy each of the audio and the paper book)
Lucky Break, Esther Freud

However, after I do pick them up the traffic backup will get very dicey since I already have the following out on loan:

From Time To Time, Jack Finney
Time And Again, Jack Finney (which I am currently reading);
A Pale View Of The Hills, Kazuo Ishiguro
Started Early, Took My Dog, Kate Atkinson
Caleb's Crossing, Geraldine Brooks
The Time Traveler's Guide To Medieval England, Ian Mortimer;
The Summer Book, Tove Jansson
The English Girl, Daniel Silva
Murder is Easy, Agatha Christie (audio)
Bring Up The Bodies, Hilary Mantel (audio and my current commute read).

All are due at the end of the month, although I can renew them.  Nevertheless, I will probably return the Jansson and the Mortimer unread this weekend, along with Caleb's Crossing, which I was only going to read for a book club.   I wasn't crazy about Brooks' Year of Wonders and I probably would not read anything else by her at my own choosing.  I will probably return The English Girl, which pains me.  Well, let someone else read it and I'll get around to it this summer perhaps. Silva's books are good beach books.  And Agatha might have to go back since I am fully into Bring Up The Bodies, which is over 12 hours long, I only drive one hour per day, and I drive it 5 days per week.  Easy math tells me it will take weeks to finish it.

Since I'm talking about it, is not Hilary Mantel's writing just exquisite?  I mean really.  Today, as Cromwell was remembering the sounds at Austin Friars, he notes that one of those sounds was "the whisper of ink across a page..."  Can't you just hear it yourself?  Can't you see the quill, and the wooden desk, and the precious paper?  All of that in an economy of words that is nothing short of brilliant.  If my car didn't know the way to work without my telling it how to get there I would probably be in Macon at this very moment.  But it does and I'm here. The frustrating thing about an audio book is the inability to rewind to that precise thing one wants to hear again.  I will probably buy a copy of the book in any event, so I'll be able to find it again.

And, of course, there are the books I own.  I couldn't wait for River of Smoke, the second book in the Ibus trilogy by Amitov Ghosh to be published but held off reading it for so long that I may have to re-read Sea Of Poppies first because I can't remember many details other than the fact that I loved it.  But I didn't find it an easy book to read, so I am not looking forward to diving back in.

I have no idea what made me order The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson right before Christmas, but apparently it was a "must have" and when it came in the mail I had nearly forgotten all about it.  A friend and colleague gave me three thrillers last month which are still on the back seat of my car by authors I never read.  Scott Turow, Baldacci (whose first name I can't remember), and another one whose first and last name I can't remember.   He also gave me The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling that is currently sitting on the floor under my office desk and has been for several months which makes it one less space for the cleaning crew to vacuum. Although I'd like to read them, none are high priority.  I always worry about being asked about them.  Touchy situation when someone actually hands you a book and expects you to read it.

I am expecting the sixth Flavia de Luce book, The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley, to be shipped out to me next week from Barnes & Noble.  [Ah-ha!!  Steve Berry!  That's the one whose first and last name I could not remember. I suddenly did.  Frightening.]  When it arrives I know I'll drop everything else and will probably finish it in a weekend.

I know I need a solid reading plan; but, I would follow it only so long and then someone in a blog would mention something absolutely wonderful...such a good book...a book that you can read read.  You know the kind I mean.  And when they did, I would fly off the handle and track it down with single-mindedness only to find that when I eventually did get it into my hot hands I would be off on another tangent.  It is just, I don't have to tell you.  You know.


  1. I believe in tangents so don't worry about the solid reading plan! As for people handing you a book and expecting you to read it, anyone who knows you knows you will read the book ... eventually. Enjoy juggling all those reading experiences!

  2. Tinky, I guess we could have worse problems than too many good books to read, right? I still owe you the cheese straws recipe, I haven't forgotten.

  3. Heh, yeah, I know :) Can I just say I hope you take out The Summer Book to read another time. It is a really wonderful book. And Mantel, yes! Oh my goodness she is such a good writer!

  4. Stef, You are, like, the fourth person to encourage me to read The Summer Book. I had never even heard of it until a few months ago, and forgot about it,and then was reminded again. Maybe I won't return it just yet.

  5. Oh, don't not read Tell the Wolves I'm Home! Make sure to get that one read, no matter how dicey the library check-outs situation otherwise. It's awfully awfully good.

    Re: River of Smoke - I think you are okay diving straight in without rereading Sea of Poppies. The two books aren't closely linked enough, I don't think, for it to be a problem. Such was my experience.

  6. Jenny, You have convinced me! I not only kept Tell The Wolves I'm Home in book format, I also got it in audio. I have to do a little day traveling, so I thought I'd listen to the audio while driving and then resume by reading when I reach my destination for the night. I started the book version, and only 25 pages in, I already like it a whole lot. Thanks for the advice on River of Smoke! I want to love it as much as I did Sea of Poppies.

  7. Oh dear yes, I do know! But now I've come to accept that I can't seem to manage without a hundred or so good books to choose from.... Never mind, there are worse vices to have! I often think I should have a reading plan but I never stick to one. Greed and impatience always get the better of me. It's funny, I do think reading makes me a better person, but it must be in an abstract way, because I'm sure my worst traits come out over book owning. :-)

  8. Ah, Litlove...greed and impatience. That sums it up perfectly, doesn't it? A reading plan will never suit me. Besides with such limited time on the planet I say grab the book that beckons at the moment.

  9. "the whisper of ink across a page" is, indeed, nice.