Monday, July 31, 2017

A Seismic Shift in My Reading Direction and Selections

For the past 3-4 months, dating back to April, I've noticed that I haven't been enjoying the books I've chosen as much as I would like to. Most have been somewhat amusing or interesting, but I realize that for months I haven't been enamored of the books I've chosen to spend time with.

This state of affairs is neither the books' faults nor my fault. My problem is in my selection of books to read.

It's been hard to handle my "reading blahs" because I so thoroughly enjoyed almost all of my reading in  2016, and in early 2017, so much so that a mere glimpse at my 2016 book list fills me with longing for the golden past. (See Sidebar.)

In short,  I realized I must take a different tack to save my reading life.

I've decided to return to authors whose books I've loved in the past. I'll try to carefully choose some  of their other books and see where this experiment takes me.

For example, I was so swept away by Devices and Desires by P.D. James, which I read in early July. She is one of my penultimate authors. Reading D&D was such a wonderful experience--it made me remember why I love to read. (See previous posts.)

Right now I'm reading A Misalliance by Anita Brookner, whose novel Hotel du Lac is one of my all-time favorite books. I'm really enjoying  A Misalliance--the character of Blanche Vernon is a rewarding challenge-- she is a very lonely character who is not easy to fathom, yet who is worth the time it takes to get to know better. Lots of depth here.

Blanche Vernon reminds me of the main character in the Barbara Pym novel I read much earlier this year, A Quartet in Autumn. This book was a stellar ***** read, so more of Barbara Pym's novels are on my TBR list. Yet!! Those of you who have read Brookner and Pym know that a steady diet of these two authors can be wearying. The challenge is to sprinkle their books in among the rest.

One of  Danielle's recent posts in her blog "A Work in Progress" (see Blogs sidebar)  reminded me that I loved the depth and sincerity and drama of the first Maisie Dobbs novel, Maisie Dobbs. Though I read  it years ago, and vowed to read another, I haven't yet.  So now I have Birds of a Feather  (the second Maisie Dobbs novel) at my fingertips.

And so on to Elizabeth George! I have read three of Elizabeth George's Lynley novels. There are so many more, and I never read the first few that won her loads of awards. The very first of her Lynley novels, A Great Deliverance, should arrive in Wednesday's UPS delivery. UPS is the only company  that will actually deliver to the door of our wilderness abode. (The UPS driver is our good friend Carson, who arrives with a peanut-butter dog biscuit for Sasha!)

I haven't read Elizabeth George in years. Even though she is still writing and publishing, her books do not sell as well as they did during the 1990s and the 2000s. But I am going back to this writer I love.

May I end by saying that I've been disappointed by the recently published books I've chosen to read and that have been so highly acclaimed this year? I assume it must be me.

I'm eager to see where this experiment takes me.


  1. I remember you saying how much you enjoyed Devices and Desires, makes me want to go back and reread it. I loved the early books by Elizabeth George, and even some of her later books that were very long. But there came a point when they just got too long for me. I think I could enjoy re-reading those early ones.

    1. Oh, how I hung on to every page of Devices and Desires! I now own most of P.D. James's books, except the few I have never read. Yet I know I could turn to some I read a decade ago, and I would love it just as much. The world she creates around her characters is stunning to behold. I am always mesmerized and never disappointed.
      I loved A Great Deliverance, even though I don't think it has the same power to SHOCK today as it did when it was first published in the late 80s. Still it was every bit as stunning to me, nevertheless. Stellar.