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A librarian I admire, but don't agree with

The Librarian was, of course, very much in favour of reading in general, but readers in particular got on his nerves. There was something, well, sacrilegious about the way they kept taking books off the shelves and wearing out the words by reading them. He liked people who loved and respected books, and the best way to do that, in the Librarian's opinion, was to leave them on the shelves where Nature intended them to be. Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms.

Top Mysteries Challenge review: The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers

Genre: Mystery
Year of publication: 1934
No. in series: 10
Series detective: Lord Peter Wimsey
Type of mystery: Murder, theft
Type of investigator: Amateur
Setting & time: The Fens, England; contemporary

An accident strands Wimsey and Bunter for several days in a small Fenland village on New Year’s Eve. Several months later, when an unidentified body is found in a grave originally dug just after the new year, the parson asks Wimsey to come and investigate, which he does with his usual insight and tenacity.

This is another excellent mystery by Sayers, a well-written and dense puzzle plot. The plot features something that can be either a plus or a minus point, namely a gimmick few people know much about, in this case change-ringing. The (thankfully short) passages on change-ringing read like Chinese to me, and probably to most people, but other than this is an easy read, too easy perhaps, because I figured out just about the whole plot development way ahead of Wimsey, all except the fina…

Meme: Top ten favorite couples in literature

Funny how the brain works. Yesterday I completed a post on something else to post today, because I had only managed to think of 3 couples I liked enough to put on the list, but this morning I had a list of 12 ready in my head when I sat down at the computer, without having given it a conscious thought. Here is the originating post, and here are my 10 entries:


Elizabet Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The ultimate romantic couple. Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley, from Emma by Jane Austen. Great chemistry and a good example of friends falling in love.Oscar Hopkins and Lucinda Leplastrier, from Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey. This is more for what they could have had than for what they actually had, but they were perfect for each other.Min Dobbs and Cal Morrissey from Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. For their fast, funny and furious repartee and undeniable chemistry.Nina Askew and Alex Moore from Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie. A perfect fit. And…

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Originally published in October 2004, in 2 parts.
Book 33 in my first 52 books challenge.

A lot of people are familiar with Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats only through the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats. Many probably don’t even know these delightful verses existed long before Cats was composed. Ironically enough, the most famous song from the musical is not in the book: “Memory” was apparently based on some notes Eliot had written for more cat verses that were never published.

As far as I know, these verses were originally written for the children of some friends of Eliot’s. They are often dismissed as being trivial and simplistic, especially in comparison with the sombre verses of The Wasteland.

To tell the truth, I have never much liked The Wasteland, even if I did manage to get an ‘excellent’ for my smarmy essay about it in a modern literature class I took when studying for my B.A. degree in English. I much preferred The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock.

But back to Old Possu…

Top Mystery review: A Coffin for Dimitrios by Eric Ambler

Alternative title:The Mask of Dimitrios
Genre: Thriller
Year of publication: 1939
Type of mystery: Murder, fraud, espionage
Type of investigator: Amateur
Setting & time: Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, France, the years between the World Wars

Story: By chance, mystery writer Charles Latimer comes across information about a master criminal, Dimitrios, and decides, out of curiosity, to trace the man’s career.

Review: This is well-written and Dimitrios’s ‘career profile’ is realistic but it’s oh, so bloody boring and predictable that it took me 4 months to finish because I kept falling asleep reading it. I can only conclude that it made it onto these lists because it was undeniably ground-breaking in its time.

Rating: 2 stars
Books left in challenge: 78
Place on the list(s): CWA # 24; MWA # 17
Awards: Booker Prize, 1988

Chunkster Challenge and Global Challenge Review: Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

Here is my first Chunkster Challenge read.

Genre: Historical novel
Year of publication: 1988
Setting & time: England and Australia, 1850s and 60s
Page count: 520

In 1865 an English Anglican minister and an Australian heiress, both of them gambling addicts, meet aboard a passenger ship to Australia and this meeting leads to a strange and fateful wager. But before coming to that point, we get to see how they became who they are and how each became addicted to gambling and all the little things that brought them together.

This is one of those long, juicy novels that a reader can immerse themselves in without feeling compelled to read it in a single sitting. There is nothing inherently thrilling in it (until towards the end when the wager is made), but the slowly unfolding story and wonderfully realistic characters Carey has created and stocked the book with provide an entertaining and juicy read. 4+ stars.

Awards: The Booker Prize, 1988.

Friday Night Folklore: The Parsimonious Farmer

Once upon a time there was a farmer and his wife. They were well-off and had many children but only kept a few necessary farm hands. The farmer was a terrible skinflint and it was his habit to guard the food supplies and hand his wife whatever food he wanted cooked each day, which was always too little to satisfy anyone. Likewise all his other actions were designed to save money and conserve supplies. His wife was greatly wexed by this behaviour, but there was little she could do, as he held the keys to the larder.

Once the farmer decided to test his wife and see if she would follow his instructions to save and scrimp when he was not there. He told her that he had to go away on some business for two days and gave her instructions on how much food to use while he was gone. As soon as he was out of sight the good woman ordered the shepherd to bring the sheep home to the farm so she could choose the fattest animal for slaughter, to relieve the hunger pangs her husband’s cheeseparing had …

List Love 1 (updated October 14, 2013)

Updated in August 2016, to show changed status of books. Books are shown in red.

I have a mania for lists, especially lists of books, films and travel destinations. I enjoy reading them and either agreeing or (sometimes violently) disagreeing with them. Sometimes I check these lists against my own lists, and sometimes I check myself against the lists:
How many of these books have I read or want to read?
How many of these films do I own on DVD?
How many of these travel destinations are on my bucket list?
Etc.

While I don’t look at “best of”, “greatest” or “must see/do/read/watch” lists as absolutes, I do consider them to be indicators, if not of quality then at least of taste and popularity within certain demographic groups. I decided it would be an interesting feature for this blog to take a look at book lists and how they relate to myself: how many of the books I have read or want to read, how many I am not interested in reading, and so on. This looks set to be an endless task, be…

A quotation that made me laugh

"If you're pretty nasty when you're twenty and just as nasty when you're forty and nastier still when you're sixty, and a perfect devil by the time you're eighty—well, really, I don't see why one should be particularly sorry for people, just because they're old. You can't change yourself really. " From By the Pricking of my Thumbs by Agatha Christie

Story: Substance, structure, style, and the principles of screenwriting

Originally published in September and October 2004, in 2 parts.
Book 32 in my first 52 books challenge.
Edited out some non-review stuff.


Author: Robert McKee
Year published: 1998
Pages: 466
Genre: Non-fiction. Story structure, screenwriting, practical film theory
Where got: Student book store

This is apparently one of the best books available to people who want to learn screenwriting, and is required reading for many courses on the craft. And no, I’m not about to run off to Hollywood to become a screenwriter. This is one of two set books for the university course I’m taking on media translation. Since a lot of media translation consists of translating movies and TV series the teacher thought it would be a good idea if we were well acquainted with the way such material is built up. In order to become a good screen translator, one needs to be aware of the extra-linguistic content of the story one is translating, not just the linguistic aspects. This is why I’m reading the book.

Reading progre…

Short stories 241-250

From Brazil:
“The Attendant’s Confession” by J.M. Machado de Assis. A sordid tale of murder and greed.

From Peru:
“The Legend of Pygmalion” by Ventura García-Calderón. A poetic and tragic interpretation of the Greek legend of Pygmalion and Galatea.

From Venezuela:
“Creole Democracy” by Rufino Blanco-Fombona. A rather brilliant little story about vaqueros summoned together for an election. Recommended.

From Nicaragua:
“The Deaf Satyr” by Rubén Dario. An idyll, a tale spun off from two Greek legends. About the cruelty of fate.

The remaining tales in the book are all by authors from the USA.

The Specter Bridegroom” by Washington Irving. An entertaining and subtly satirical little ghost story in the form of a fairy tale. Recommended.

Mrs. Bullfrog” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. A funny little tale about the choice of a spouse.

Journalism in Tennessee” by Mark Twain. A typically Twanian funny tall tale.

The Man and the Snake” by Ambrose Bierce. A chilling psychological tale. Recommende…

Looking at multiple covers for the same book: Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors

While looking for covers to include with my recycled review of this book (scheduled for re-publication in the distant future), I came across 4 different ones and thought it might be fun to do a comparison of them. I didn’t specifically check, but they will be either from different countries and/or different editions, although they actually look like they were designed with slightly different reader demographics in mind.

The first thing you notice on the first cover is the title, which is good. The title and author’s name are nicely balanced with the focus point of the image (the candle) leading from one to the other with a vertical line. This is a gothic-style cover with swirling smoke and a candle in an old-fashioned candle-stick reflected in a multi-faceted mirror and thus manages to convey not only the title with imagery, but also a hint at mystery and possible horrors (the slightly “off” appearance of the candle and stick), and even romance, because it’s so soft. It blends into the…

Friday night folklore: A Kindly Offer

Many Icelandic folk tales warn against offending the hidden people. This is one of them:
Once upon a time a teenage boy was herding sheep far away from the farm, way up in the mountains. The weather was hot and sunny and he was both tired and thirsty but nowhere did he see any water he could drink.
He was passing by a large cliff face when he heard a sound that seemed to come from inside the rock and thought perhaps there might be water trickling down the cliff face, so he started looking around. He could now clearly hear a sound as if of a butter churn being worked and suddenly it seemed to him that there was an opening in the cliff. Inside he could see a young woman who was churning butter. This sight startled him, but he couldn’t help looking at the girl, who was scantily dressed and very pretty. 
The girl looked back at him and said: “Are you thirsty? Would you like a drink?” This frightened him and he ran away as fast has he could. When he got home he told the story to a wise man who…

Now reading: M.R. James

I am reading Ghost Stories Of An Antiquary by M.R. James during my lunch hours and coffee breaks at work, and I came across this funny and somewhat acid quotation which reminded me of similar sentiments expressed by numerous writers, especially those writing in and of the 18th and 19th centuries:
Sir Richard was a pestilent innovator, it is certain. Before his time the Hall had been a fine block of the mellowest red brick; but Sir Richard had travelled in Italy and become infected with the Italian taste, and, having more money than his predecessors, he determined to leave an Italian palace where he had found an English house. So stucco and ashlar masked the brick; some indifferent Roman marbles were planted about in the entrance-hall and gardens; a reproduction of the Sibyl's temple at Tivoli was erected on the opposite bank of the mere; and Castringham took on an entirely new, and, I must say, a less engaging, aspect. But it was much admired, and served as a model to a good many …

It’s okay – someone else didn’t like it either

Scenario 1: It’s a book so wonderful that all the critics and reviewers are falling over themselves to praise it to the skies, it’s been shortlisted for several awards, and your highbrow cousin who teaches college literature can’t recommend it highly enough.

Scenario 2: Everyone is reading it, it has a budding cult following and a Hollywood movie is in the making. 6 people have recommended it to you already because oh-my-God it’s their favourite book in the whole world!, and it’s been on top of the best-seller lists for months.

Outcome: You acquire a copy of either book, open it and by page three you’re wondering what everyone sees in it. Because you don’t like it. Not after 3 pages, not after 20, not even after the last page is turned. The reasons vary. It may be the writing style, or the story, or that indefinable something that makes a book come alive for you, but you just couldn’t get into it. It might be because you found it boring, or because you thought it was trying too hard…

Reading journal: Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

I am at the half-way point of this long novel. The titular characters have only just met for the first time, aboard a passenger ship to Australia. Lucinda is returning home after a visit to England and Oscar is leaving England to serve as an Anglican minister in New South Wales. The back-story leading up to each of their embarkations aboard the Leviathan has been unfolded over more than 200 pages and numerous short chapters, but I would be hard put to say exactly when the actual main thread of the story appears.

The story is told by an omniscient narrator parading as a descendant of Oscar's. I haven't got far enough in the story to know if Oscar and Lucinda end up having descendants in common, but the narrator refers to Oscar as his ancestor but not Lucinda, so I doubt it. The story, up to the embarkation aboard the ship, is an unfolding of the influences that have made the titular characters as they are. Both are socially awkward and find it difficult to read people, but whe…

The Old Man Who Read Love Stories

Originally published in September 2004, in 2 parts.
Book 31 in my first 52 books challenge.


Author: Luis Sepúlveda
Original title: Un viejo que leía historias de amor
Translator: Peter Bush
Year published: 1989, 2002 (translation)
Pages: 128
Genre: Literature
Where got: Any Amount of Books, London (second-hand bookshop)

The Story:
All Antonio José Bolívar Proaño wants to do is to live his life quietly, read the love stories the itinerant dentist brings him twice a year, and be left alone. Then a hunter is stupid enough to kill some baby ocelots (a protected species) and the enraged mother ocelot begins killing every human she can find. The village is threatened, and the mayor sends out a search party, forcing Antonio to come along. Antonio is saddened by the whole situation, but has no choice but to follow orders and hunt the creature down.

Translation, technique and plot:
The translation is well done and the story has no translation flavour.
The narrative has a flowing, lyrical quality that c…

This one goes in the “strange, unusual and more-likely-to-fail-than-succeed murder method “ file

Q: What is one of the first things a rational person would think about when planning a cold blooded murder? A: Choosing a fail-proof murder weapon and method. Right?
Q: Mysteries abound in strange and unusual murder methods, and risky ones can be found in quite a number of them, but when you combine the three, what do you get? A: A murder that defies even suspended disbelief.
In this case of The Irish Manor House Murder by Dicey Deere the method is so unlikely and so likely to fail that it is just ridiculous. The killer has no way of knowing that shooting a piece of knitting needle into a horse would kill the horse – it was just as likely to have simply made the horse rear up in pain and gallop off uncontrollably, and even then the rider had a good chance of surviving a fall off the horse. Besides, I find it hard to believe that a pop gun is powerful enough to shoot an approximately 4 cm piece of knitting needle – which by the way have blunt tips – so deep into solid muscle that it sink…

Global Reading Challenge: Red Sorghum by Mo Yan

Genre: Literary novel
Year of publication: 1987 (English translation: 1993)
Setting & time: Rural China, mostly in the 1920s and 30s

This novel takes place in Shandong Province in eastern China, mostly before and during the second Sino-Japanese war. The narrative jumps back and forth between times and characters, but at the heart of it is a dramatic family story that begins in the 1920s when a greedy father sells his daughter into marriage with a leprous wine distiller and one of the men who escorted her to the wedding falls in love with her. The story is told by a narrator, the grandson of the central couple, who recounts their histories before and after they met, and the consequences of their meeting as they echo down the years.

The story is about tough, resilient and passionate peasants who are repeatedly driven to extremes by internal and external situations, during a tumultuous time in Chinese history. The descriptions of the war are often grotesquely and viscerally realistic…

Friday night folklore: North and down to Hell

There is an idiom in Icelandic that is used as a mild form of swearing: “Farðu norður og niður!”, which literally means “Go north and down!”, meaning simply: “Go to Hell!”. This story is an attempt to explain the genesis of that idiom.
Once upon a time there was a man in the north of Iceland who went fishing alone in an open rowboat whenever the weather allowed. One day when he was finished for the day and began to row home, a strong wind started blowing and pushed him out to sea, farther and farther away from land, so that he feared that he would be blown out to open sea. He was also very worried because the farther away from land he drifted, the darker it became, until finally he could hardly see from one end of the boat to the other for fog and darkness.
Eventually he struck land, jumped ashore, pulled up the boat and made it safe. But when he touched the land with his hands in the darkness, he could feel that instead of sand and gravel the beach was made up of ashes and coal. He did…

The great National Geographic bathwater disaster

This post by Matt reminded me of the worst book (magazines actually, but they are as precious to me an any of my books) disaster ever to befall chez Bibliophile.

I was living in the first apartment that I owned, a large one-bedroom place with a huge south-facing balcony and a stunning view of Skagafjörður. My apartment was on the first floor of a three-storey apartment building and one Sunday morning my upstairs neighbour decided to take a bath. As people will do, she left the tap running and went to do something else while the tub filled. The water must have been running pretty fast, because the bathtub overflow drain couldn’t handle the flow, and the water filled the tub and flowed over the side and continued to do so for some time while my neighbour was busy elsewhere in the apartment.

The first anyone knew about the accident was when water started dribbling, flowing, and finally gushing, through the outlet in my ceiling where the hall light was connected to the electricity suppl…

Short stories 231-240

From Croatia (as part of Yugoslavia):
“The Neighbour” by Antun Gustav Matoš. GSS. A rather melodramatic story about a cultural misunderstanding.

From Slovenia (as part of Yugoslavia):
“Children and Old Folk” by Ivan Cankar. GSS. About the strange wisdom of children, the sorrows of the old, and about war. Recommended.

From Serbia(as part of Yugoslavia):
“At the Well” by Laza K. Lazarevich. GSS. About a young woman whose behaviour disrupts the family she married into and how the wisdom of the old redressed the problem. Recommended.

From (what was) Czechoslovakia (when the collection was published):
The Vampire” by Jan Neruda. A charming tale that turns chilling. Recommended. (This appears to be the same translation).

“Foltýn’s Drum” by Svatopluk Čech. An entertaining little tale of servants and gentry and moral differences. Recommended.

From Greece:
The Priest’s Tale” by Demetrios Bikelas. A sad tale about a man with rabies. (This appears to be the same translation. The plain text fi…

Botswana Time by Will Randall

Genre: Travelogue, memoir
Year of publication: 2005
Setting & time: Kasane, Botswana; early 2000s

Will Randall went to South-Africa to attend a friend’s wedding and maybe do some travelling, but eventually found himself volunteering as a teacher at a small school in the town of Kasane in Botswana. He ended up being the class teacher for the first grade class and also coached them in football, taking them on outings and to football matches with teams from other schools, and making friends with their parents.

This is a funny and mostly positive book, told with typically British self-deprecating humour. The descriptions of the people and places are delightful and make one want to visit Kasane. While the book is mostly light-hearted, Randall does mention and is clearly displeased with, the racist attitudes of some of the white people he met in the country, and he also does not shirk away from mentioning the HIV/AIDS problem that is decimating the adult population of Botswana, which he …

Top Ten Feel-Good Books

I found this Top Ten Picks meme over on the Random Ramblings blog and decided to participate.
This could just as well be titled My top ten perennial reads. These are books I return to time and again when I need consolation, familiarity, comfort, relaxation and/or guaranteed entry into the story world. In no particular order:

Gerald Durrell: My Family and Other Animals. Memoir. This is a cosy, comfortable and occasionally very funny read that is perfect for those chilly winter afternoons. It will transport the reader to sunny Greece and into an eccentric family with an oddball cast of friends and hangers-on. Abounds in wonderful descriptions of nature, people and animals. First encountered when it was published in an Icelandic translation when I was about 10.Lucy Maud Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables. Coming-of age novel. A good soother for frazzled nerves. Another book I first read in translation, and re-read over and over throughout my teenage years, along with books two and three in…

When is a book worth reading from start to finish?

I decided to rework this old essay from my original 52 books blog and re-post it, because this subject seems to be on people’s minds right now, at least considering how many of the book bloggers whose blogs I regularly visit have written about it in the last couple of months.
Everyone has different criteria for deciding if a book is worth finishing.
Some will read any book to the end, slogging through piles of tripe or suffering endless boredom just so they can say they have read it. Several people I know of did this with The DaVinci Code and/or The Name of the Rose. (Please note that I am not belittling either book. It just so happens that many people think the former is tripe and the latter is boring).
Others will give it a couple of chapters (or 50 pages or so in the case of “chapterless” books like those of Terry Pratchett) before deciding.
Still others will read the reviews, read the blurb, skim the book and read the ending, and then decide they’re not interested.
Each method ha…

New challenge for me

Looking at the books I posted in the Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I've Never Read meme, I realised that they all have something in common: these are all long books, or, in the case of Brennu-Njáls Saga, relatively long.

Since I have finished the Bibliophilic Book Challenge and am on the verge of finishing the Global Reading Challenge, this meme provides me with a new challenge: to finish the year with some of these big, fat books. To that end I have signed up for the Chunkster Challenge.



I figure I can read one chunky book per month in addition to my shorter reads, and since there are four months left in the year, I am signing up for the intermediate level: Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? I will choose three books from the abovementioned list, and the fourth will be my final Global Reading Challenge book, Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda.

Now reading: A Hovering of Vultures by Robert Barnard

A suspected con-man starts up a literary society to honour two little-known authors of the Edwardian era, but gets murdered. Among the suspects are a number of fans of the authors and some literary poseurs out to profit from their reputations.
Here the two main investigators are discussing the murder:
“Maybe,” said Mike Oddie, as they walked back to the car, “we shouldn’t be concentrating too much on the people at the Conference. Maybe we should be asking ’cui bono’?” “And what does that mean?” asked Charlie. “It means ‘Who gets his hands on the loot?’” “I always heard that Latin was an economical language.” “It is. Multum in parvo. ‘A lot in a little.’” “It’s like being sidekick to Lord Peter Wimsey,” Charlie complained.

Review: Anne of Green Gables

Originally published in September 2004, in 2 parts.
Book 30 in my first 52 books challenge.
Slightly edited for clarity.


Author: Lucy Maud Montgomery
Year published: 1908
Pages: 280
Genre: Literature, classic, coming of age story
Where got: Amazon.co.uk

I was quite young when I discovered L.M. Montgomery’s Anne books. The first four books were translated into Icelandic a long time ago and my mother had all of them. I loved reading about Anne’s escapades and her growing up on Prince Edward Island. I was only allowed to read the first three books as a child, as my mother considered the subject matter of the fourth book to be too serious and beyond my childish understanding. I only got to read that book when I was in my teens and found it to be rather melodramatic.


This will be the first time I read any of the books in the original English, and it will be interesting to see how it compares with the translated text. In the past, some Icelandic translators and/or publishers had an unfortunate ha…

Miss Silver Comes to Stay by Particia Wentworth

Genre: Mystery (cosy)
Year of publication: 1951
No. in series: 15
Series detective: Miss Maud Silver
Type of mystery: Murder
Type of investigator: Private detective
Setting & time: England, just after WWII

Miss Silver arrives in a small village to visit a friend and a few days later is asked to discover the truth in a murder case. A man who has just returned to the village after an absence of 20 years has been found murdered, and right at the top of the suspect list are his former fiancé who broke off their engagement 20 years earlier, and her nephew, but there are also at least two others who could have done it. The former fiancé happens to be the love interest of the Chief Constable of the district who is an old friend of Miss Silver’s, a fact that guarantees that she is given full access to all evidence and testimonies, enabling her to unearth evidence that the police has overlooked, solve the case and unite two sets of lovers.

SPOILERS ahead

This is an unusually good and well plot…

Useful website of the week: When you don't know what to read

Do you ever have this problem? Your TBR may be overflowing and your library card recently renewed, but you just can't find anything to read?

In my case it's a matter of having too many books to choose from, so I decided to try a truly random way of choosing my next book to read. You see, I am trying to read at least 5 of my TBR books each month and I plan to use this method to choose my next book from the TBR stacks whenever I run into this problem. Since my books are all entered into a spreadsheet and I keep a separate list of TBR books and rough genre lists as well, choosing is a simple matter of deciding if I want to read from a specific genre and opening that spreadsheet and then numerically eliminating the books I have read, or opening the TBR spreadsheet if I don't mind what genre I read and choosing at random.

But how to make it truly random? Pointing a finger is hardly going to work, and while closing my eyes and deciding on a random number could theoretically wo…

Friday night folklore: Son of a Ghost

Once upon a time there was a man who greatly desired to marry the daughter of a local clergyman, but was not permitted to do so. Whether this was because of her objections or those of her parents the story does not say, but he swore that he would have her when he was dead if he could not have her while he was alive. Shortly afterwards he died of anger and resentment and was buried in the cemetery next to the church where the girl’s father served. This happened just after Midsummer.
Not long after this a young man, about 20 years old, was watching over the fields around the farm to make sure that no sheep or horses could come in and eat the grass that was to be cut for the winter feed. In the middle of the night he noticed the figure of a man, dressed in a shroud, sneak from the graveyard and enter the farmhouse. He went and peeped into the cemetery and saw that the grave of the man mentioned earlier was open and empty.
The young man had heard the story of the man’s oath. He had his knit…

Progress report for August and tentative reading plan for September

Of the books I named as possible August reads I finished Time and Again and two of the travelogues I brought home after my library visit: Gecko Tails and Botswana Time. Two of the others are going back to the library unread, but the third I would like to read this month. Additionally, I finished the Dickens biography and met the goal to read 5 TBR challenge books, but only 1 of them was a Top Mysteries Challenge book. I find myself losing interest in the Top Mysteries Challenge but I am too far in to stop now and will soldier on. The next time I follow a fixed list as a challenge, I will definitely make it a short(er) list.

As for my plans for September, there is the travelogue I mentioned above, written by an Icelander who spent many years travelling around south and central America. In the Global Reading Challenge I am at the halfway point of the Asian book, Red Sorghum by Chinese author Mo Yan. This only leaves the Oceania book, which will be Oscar and Lucinda by Australian Peter C…

Reading report for August 2010

I finished 15 books in August. Of those, I had started reading two more than a month ago – one in June and one probably at some time near the beginning of the year.

I had an attack of reader’s block in the middle of the month. I would begin a book, only to abandon it after only one reading session in order to begin a new book, or I would read a chapter here and a chapter there in the books I am reading "at leisure", never reading more than 10 or so pages of each book each time. I finally did find a book to settle down with and then it was as if a reading machine had been turned on and I read 5 books in three days, all of them around 300 pages long.

4 of my August books were rereads:
Jennifer Crusie: Getting Rid of Bradley (contemporary romance)J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban (fantasy)J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (fantasy)J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix (fantasy)
These were the only books that did not be…