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It is 25th March, the downfall of Sauron and the end of the War of the Ring, and therefore Tolkien Reading Day. Most years I forget to take part, but today I decided to mark the occasion by reading the first chapter of The Hobbit. This was my first exposure to Tolkien; it appeared in a book of children’s short stories (fairy tales etc) given to me by my great-uncle Tom when I was about 9 or 10. It was only when I got to junior high school and saw a copy in the library that I realised that it was properly the beginning of a wonderful book, and my love of Tolkien and all things Middle Earth began there. It is also the 75th anniversary of the first publication of The Hobbit, so all seems very fitting.
And now that I have started it I think I will add it to the list of reads I’m making for the Once Upon a Time challenge; but more of that later!
Despite quite a bit of travelling this week I only managed to finish one book: The Telling of Lies by Timothy Findley which is one of my big re-reads.
But the opportunity to go book shopping in Glasgow plus some temptations via the internet meant that the following new books arrived in the Bride’s home this week:
- The Storyteller by Antonia Michaels – “a spellbinding tale of suspense, danger and transformative love”
- Mudwoman by Joyce Carol Oates – “extraordinarily intense, racking and resonant”
- HP Lovecraft by Michel Houellebecq – “indispensable reading for anyone interested in Lovecraft”
- Fated by Benedict Jacka – Camden. Mysterious relics in the British Museum. Probability Mages
- Spitalfields Life by The Gentle Author – the book of the blog, a lovely thing in itself
I am currently thinking of signing up to Carl’s Once Upon a Time challenge, and also the 24 Hour readathon in April. I’ll post on those separately once I’ve (a) made my mind up and (b) started the appropriate book piles.
And at least the sun has been shining; spring is just around the corner.
Only finished one book this week, though have started a couple of others. The one I did finish was Blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris which was really compelling as I said in my post last week. I have continued to read and love The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters and have started one of my big re-reads.
New books arriving chez Bride this week are:
- Immortal Queen by Elizabeth Byrd – Mary Queen of Scots in a 1970s style
- Eat Him If You Like by Jean Teule – “A true story. Tuesday 16 August 1870, Alain de Money, makes his way to the village fair. He arrives at two o’clock. Two hours later, the crowd has gone crazy; they have lynched, tortured, burned and eaten him”. A short but apparently powerful story.
- The Suicide Shop by Jean Teule – “Has your life been a failure? Let’s make your death a success”
- Unwritten Secrets by Ronald Frame -“Mariel Baxter, a famous American soprano, has suddenly cancelled all her recitals and flown to Vienna. In the 1980s she came to the city to study the art of lieder singing with the reclusive Ursule Kroll, one of the brightest stars of the Nazi era and a favourite of the Fuhrer himself. The two haven’t communicated since Mariel’s unexpected departure over twenty-five years ago. So why has Mariel come back?”
I have loved Ronald Frame for a very long time and may write a post just about him in the near future. He pops up again because on a long trip back home from Manchester I played about on the Amazon app on my iPhone and downloaded some of his stories for the Kindle app on my iPad (which I don’t talk about very much because although I have quite a few books on there I haven’t actually read any). But this week I’ve bought quite a few, namely:
- One Day by David Nicholls, because I thought it was time that I did
- Carnbeg Picallili, Mysteries of Carnbeg and A Carnbeg Affair by Ronald Frame, beacuse of my liking for Carnbeg as a setting
- Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah, because I read a very good review (but have forgotten where, sorry)
This week I have alot of travelling (Manchester and Glasgow) and some time off so I’m hoping to get a bit of reading done.
Astonishingly I haven’t talked about books that I have read at all this year, my last one being Mister Creecher in December, so it’s nice to not only have finished a book but to be able to talk about it. And this is going to be an interesting one as I feel as if almost everyone in the world who is likely to read The Hunger Games has already done so, and I came to the book having read quite a bit already about the film version which will come out very soon.
I’m not really going to talk about the story as that’s kind of out there already because of the huge popularity of the trilogy and the film and the internet chatter about who is playing whom and what changes may have been made. And I suppose in some respects its difficult to give a full review to a book which clearly doesn’t stand alone; it ends at a point where you can guess that the story is going to take off in another direction.
I’m also aware of the criticism some have made of the author and whether she had or hadn’t read (or seen) Battle Royale which has similar themes (though I may not be competent to comment on as I haven’t seen/read it) and should therefore have acknowledged its influence.
So I read it with all this stuff in the background and the distractions perhaps made it difficult to get into the story but once I did get involved I really wanted to find out who was going to survive. It has real pace and some very interesting observations on how people behave when they are forced to fight not just for their own survival but the fate of their community as well.
Katniss is a very attractive heroine and there are some fabulous supporting characters, but it felt unfinished to me because it’s clearly part of a sequence and perhaps I can only really take a complete view when I’ve read the other two, which I fully attend to do. However, I did enjoy it and do want to know how the whole thing turns out.
Feeling fairly pleased with my reading this week. I finished Hell Train by Christopher Fowler which I thoroughly enjoyed and is now on my backlog pile of books to post about in detail, which I’d like to clear this week. I continued to read and love The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters and also started and finished Blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris which was really compelling.
New books arriving chez Bride this week are:
- The Tiger in the House by Carl van Vechten – “a passionate cat lover offers a treasury of anecdote, fact and lore concerning the cat’s independent nature and other traits; the cat’s long association with the occult; the cat in folklore, music, art and fiction; the cat and the poet; literary men who have loved cats; and much more” Can’t have a cat of my own because of the Book God’s asthma so this is the next best thing (I hope); it was originally published in 1936
- London Fragments by Rudiger Gorner – on ten strolls through London, the author explores the capital’s literary landscape
Haven’t yet decided what to read this week on my commute (Glass Book is far too big to lug about with me); possible focus on shorter works I think to try to get me back on my reading target.
I’m trying to avoid challenges this year given that I seem so prone to reading slumps and any kind of pressure which implies that I must read this thing at this time plunges me back into paralysis, but this was too much to resist. It is being partly hosted by Harriet Devine, and takes place between 23 and 29th April.
I had already planned to re-read a Muriel as part of my Big Re-Read project so it all fits in quite neatly.
And who knows, I might even get around to finishing this at last.
A fairly quiet reading week. I was tempted by a combination of the Book God and Silvery Dude to pick up The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters which I’m thoroughly enjoying – one to savour slowly, not just because of the prose style but because I’m reading an enormous hardback with a delicate cover which means I can only really read it safely at home.
Only one book arrived this week, picked up because of a review by dovegreyreader, and a subsequent mention in Lizzy’s Literary Life – Dickens’s London by Peter Clark which looks fascinating and a good companion to some planned wandering around London. I’ve ordered the other book Lizzy has mentioned as well
I had hoped to have a few more additions to the stacks but failed in my attempt to spend my birthday book token yesterday; still something to look forward to though.