Skip to main content

Reading repors for May and June 2007

Just poking my head in to report on my reading :-)

May:
In May I finished a book on average every 2,4 days: 13 books that total 3562 pages. I started reading some of these books months ago and had been reading them on and off since. I have always liked having a wide variety of books to read and I mix together books that can be read over a long time with books that are best read, if not quickly, than at least over a period of just a few days.

I started reading The Literary Gourmet three years ago and would pick it up every now and then and read a chapter and then put it on the shelf again. I thought it had great promise when I first got it, but I was disappointed with it. The book is a collection of food and eating passages from famous literary works, with recipes researched by the author/editor and adapted and tested by chefs. I think a book like this is probably most interesting when you have read the majority of the books mentioned in it, and I have not, which is probably why I found it disappointing.

I finally did read The Wasp Factory, prompted by someone mooching it from me, so I read it in an afternoon and was not disappointed. The humour is as dark as it gets and it's an imaginatively gruesome account of what can happen when children are allowed to run wild.

Unreviewed:
Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory
Beryl Bainbridge: Harriet said...
Susan Donovan: Knock me off my feet
Mark Gatiss: The Vesuvius Club
Robert A. Heinlein: The Star Beast
Holly Hughes ed.: Best Food Writing 2001
Linda Wolfe: The Literary Gourmet
Margery Allingham: Death of a Ghost
Peter Tremayne: Hemlock at Vespers
Mary Saul: Shells
Thomas Stevens: Around the World on a Penny-farthing

Rereads:
G.K. Chesterton: The Innocence of Father Brown
Terry Pratchett: Moving Pictures

--

June:
It has been a long time since I finished so few books in one month – only six – and all of them before June 10th. I finished the last one at the airport on my way to the USA, during a three hour delay. The next three weeks were so full of sights and adventure that I was generally too tired after dinner each night to do more than write in my journal and fall asleep. I did buy several books that I am looking forward to reading.

One of the books I did finish before setting off on holiday was Titus Groan, the first part of Mervyn Peake's famous Titus trilogy. It is like a huge meal put together from many small dishes that need to be eaten slowly with frequent breaks so as not to cause indigestion. I started reading it in April and finished it at the beginning of June and now I'm looking forward to starting the second book, Gormenghast.

I am working on some reviews, but I'm not making any promises as to when I will publish them.

Unreviewed:
Meyer Berger: The Eight Million
Andrea Camilleri: The Shape of Water and The Voice of the Violin
Giles Milton: Nathaniel's Nutmeg
Mervyn Peake: Titus Groan
Rex Stout: Too Many Cooks

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book 40: The Martian by Andy Weir, audiobook read by Wil Wheaton

Note : This will be a general scattershot discussion about my thoughts on the book and the movie, and not a cohesive review. When movies are based on books I am interested in reading but haven't yet read, I generally wait to read the book until I have seen the movie, but when a movie is made based on a book I have already read, I try to abstain from rereading the book until I have seen the movie. The reason is simple: I am one of those people who can be reduced to near-incoherent rage when a movie severely alters the perfectly good story line of a beloved book, changes the ending beyond recognition or adds unnecessarily to the story ( The Hobbit , anyone?) without any apparent reason. I don't mind omissions of unnecessary parts so much (I did not, for example, become enraged to find Tom Bombadil missing from The Lord of the Rings ), because one expects that - movies based on books would be TV-series long if they tried to include everything, so the material must be pared down

List love: 10 recommended stories with cross-dressing characters

This trope is almost as old as literature, what with Achilles, Hercules and Athena all cross-dressing in the Greek myths, Thor and Odin disguising themselves as women in the Norse myths, and Arjuna doing the same in the Mahabaratha. In modern times it is most common in romance novels, especially historicals in which a heroine often spends part of the book disguised as a boy, the hero sometimes falling for her while thinking she is a boy. Occasionally a hero will cross-dress, using a female disguise to avoid recognition or to gain access to someplace where he would never be able to go as a man. However, the trope isn’t just found in romances, as may be seen in the list below, in which I recommend stories with a variety of cross-dressing characters. Unfortunately I was only able to dredge up from the depths of my memory two book-length stories I had read in which men cross-dress, so this is mostly a list of women dressed as men. Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb. One of the interwove

Icelandic folk-tale: The Devil Takes a Wife

Stories of people who have made a deal with and then beaten the devil exist all over Christendom and even in literature. Here is a typical one: O nce upon a time there were a mother and daughter who lived together. They were rich and the daughter was considered a great catch and had many suitors, but she accepted no-one and it was the opinion of many that she intended to stay celebrate and serve God, being a very devout  woman. The devil didn’t like this at all and took on the form of a young man and proposed to the girl, intending to seduce her over to his side little by little. He insinuated himself into her good graces and charmed her so thoroughly that she accepted his suit and they were betrothed and eventually married. But when the time came for him to enter the marriage bed the girl was so pure and innocent that he couldn’t go near her. He excused himself by saying that he couldn’t sleep and needed a bath in order to go to sleep. A bath was prepared for him and in he went and