Saturday, September 24, 2016

Late September Catch-Up with Books

It was with huge surprise that I discovered just this week that I've read 46 books this year so far. Despite the fact that I keep a list on this blog, I had absolutely no idea. I haven't been trying to meet a goal or anything like it. I've read quite a number of books that have been 500+ pages. What this all proves is that I've spent a great deal of time reading in 2016, perhaps more than any other activity. This fact does not surprise me. Gads.

I have been trying to balance my reading.

I finally got around to reading Willa Cather's O Pioneers!, and I did enjoy it very much, though--spoiler here-avert your gaze--I was very shocked by the tragedies at the end. I will comment more when I do my Classics Club review.

Catherine Lowell's debut The Madwoman Upstairs was wonderful. If you like mysteries set in academia and if you like the Brontes and if you are into classic English literature you will like this sharply smart and witty romp of a novel. Pretty quirky, too, so one must be forewarned about that, but as you may know, I love a quirky heroine. Actually, all the characters are humorously quirky. A charmer.

Right now I'm reading another Classics Club novel. (Yes, I am behind.) I'm thrilling to My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier, which was published in 1938.

And, because I always have another book going while reading a Classic, yesterday I read a sizable chunk of Ishiguro's most recent novel, The Buried Giant. It's set in post-Arthurian England. The main characters, an elderly couple, are "Britons" from the west of England. The husband and wife journey east to try to locate their son. "Saxons" are everywhere as they travel east. This novel is not historical fiction, although my interest in that genre has been propelling me forward. It's really a fable and fantasy, though not one that will have the reader feeling too comfortable.

Perhaps Ishiguro never read  Lois Lowry's multi-award winning classic novel of the early 1990s, The Giver, but it seems to me that every single theme in Lowry's book is in Ishiguro's. In this way, Ishiguro's novel, while a departure for him, is not entirely original, but I don't think he was aiming for absolute originality at all. I have to say it is likely that he was unaware of Lowry's YA classic. And I have to say that both books encompass universal themes. Do pick up a copy of The Giver  if you haven't already. The Giver is just as interesting for adults as it is for YAs--mind-blowing.

I have many more books I'd like to read this year before midnight on  New Year's Eve.

I had overwhelming health issues this year that made reading my favorite sport, but I must say that it's true that opening a door into a book can be just the most wondrous part of life.


  1. I'm sorry to hear about your health issues, Judith. I hope things are better now, or at least improving. I'd planned to start reading My Cousin Rachel this week, but was thwarted. Purchased a $2.99 kindle edition that turned out to be a children's version! I returned it, but amazon had no ebook of the regular adult edition. Went to the library, but their copy was unreadable - old, brittle, and smelly! Then I went to B&N and they didn't have it either. Guess it was not meant to be! I bought a copy of Julian Fellowes Belgravia instead and am loving it. Take care.

    1. JoAnn,
      I would be so irate with Amazon over that children's version of My Cousin Rachel. I also know EXACTLY what you mean by musty, mildewy, horrid old copies of books sitting in a library. IMO, I think it's worth seeking out another copy somehow when you feel you want to read it. Very worthwhile, if you discount the first 30 pages, as The Washington Post stated in its review of the novel a lifetime ago! Yes, a bit plodding in those first 30 and then wonders.
      I'm so glad that you are loving Belgravia. Oh! Am I going to get a hold of that!
      Yes, I will take care and focus on my physical exercise and thank you for that,

  2. I'm very sorry that you haven't been well, I hope you are on the mend now. I loved My Cousin Rachel but you should read her book The King's General, if you haven't already read it. I think you would love it.

    1. Katrina,
      I'm going to put The King's General on my list right now. I know I'll love it. Thank you for the suggestion!