02 June 2013

Reading report for May 2013

I finished 11 books in May, 6 of them rereads. Two others I had started reading some months previously but then stalled. It was nice to reduce my stack of partially read books, even if just a little. Another 2 were audio books, both Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, one a re"read" and the other a first time "read". I generally prefer to read books rather than listen to them the first time I encounter them, as I feel that I absorb them better off the page, but with all the audio books I have listened to in the past 2 months I feel I am regaining my ability, acquired during my childhood and teens when I listened avidly to plays and book readings on the radio, to perfectly follow and enjoy books aurally.

The relatively low number of books read, as well as both the rereading and the audio books, may be "blamed" on other activities: I have been quite busy with some of my other hobbies, especially painting and sewing, and with tidying up and attempting to de-clutter my apartment. When this is the case, I prefer to read books I know well and can put down at a moment‘s notice without losing the enjoyment of their reading, or to listen to audio books while I attend to things like tidying or simple painting that do not require much concentration.

This month's stand-out among my first-time reads was Narrow Dog to Carcasonne by Terry Darlington. At first I found his style a bit unusual and slightly difficult, but I got used to it and highly enjoyed reading about the Darlingtons' adventures in their canal-boat. I also enjoyed Climbing the Mango Trees, part one of TV cook, cookbook author and actress Madhur Jaffrey‘s autobiography. As for the rest, see the notes after the titles in the list.

All the rereads are among my perennial comfort reads, but I must especially mention Le Nid des Marsupilamis (The Marsupilamis' Nest), which never fails to enchant me. This mocumentary piece of natural history was published in Icelandic (as Gormahreiðrið) when I was 10, and I was lucky enough to receive a copy which has held up remarkably well considering I and others have probably read it hundreds of times. I would quite like to get my hands on a copy in the original French, as I really need to practice reading in that language.

The Books:
  • Benjamin Daniels: Confessions of a GP. Memoir. Reads like a blog brought to book form, with each chapter a complete unit in itself. This is not necessarily bad, but does make it a bit disjointed.
  • Terry Darlington: Narrow Dog to Carcasonne. Travelogue.
  • Franquin: Le Nid des Marsupilamis. Comic book. Reread.
  • Stella Gibbons: Cold Comfort Farm. Comic novel. Reread.
  • Goscinny & Tabarry: Le Tapis Magique. Comic book. Reread.
  • Madhur Jaffrey: Climbing the Mango Trees. Autobiography.
  • Terry Pratchett: Unseen Academicals. Fantasy. Reread.
  • Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night. Murder mystery, romantic. Reread. Audio book.
  • Dorothy L. Sayers: Busman's Honeymoon. Murder mystery, romantic. Audio book. I didn't care much for the mystery in this one, but enjoyed reading about the further development of Harriet and Peter's relationship.
  • Sir Walter Scott: The Talisman. Historical novel. Reread.
  • Peter Stanford: The Devil: A Biography. History. An informative and sometimes terrifying journey through the history of Old Nick.


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