Hello, all. As winter fades away, I’ve realised hibernation can’t really be a lasting thing, and also that I love reading enough to make time for it, instead of trying to find time (this has never, ever worked for me). Spring hasn’t arrived just yet; the flowers have yet to bloom, and the evenings are still chilly, but when I wake up in the morning, the frosty dew that used to coat our lawn in midwinter is no longer there, and I’ve been seeing the occasional white butterfly flitting about. So, yes, spring is well on its way, and meanwhile, I’m back in my little corner of the litblog-world – here to stay this time, I hope.
Not sure if I’m brave enough to re-introduce my habit of monthly reading lists; I’ve grown quite accustomed to only reading a book at a time. I’ve also stopped mass-hoarding books, although I suspect this might have more to do with the fact that I’ve no money to spend these days! Anyhow, the gigantic to-read pile in my study is slowly diminishing in size; I’ve only got fifteen-and-a-half unread books on my shelf. Most of those have been mentioned previously, but here are some new finds:
- Orientalism, Edward Said
- Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
- To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
- Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, Herbert P. Bix
Currently reading Madame Bovary. I’ve only read one Flaubert before this – a short story called A Simple Heart – so it’s been lovely to bask in the sheer lyricism of his prose. I love Flaubert. Not sure how I feel about the actual book though. Immature as this sounds, I still find it hard to read a book in which the characters are unlikeable. By this I’m not necessarily referring to antagonists, or ‘nasty’ characters; just ones which are difficult to sympathise with. And I keep getting distracted by other books, like the Hirohito. Okay, so I told a lie – I still haven’t gotten into the habit of reading a book at a time. It’s more like one book from my set reading list (i.e. readings for uni), one work of fiction and one work of non-fiction and usually a Harry Potter besides all that. I find that the classics tend to be ideal summer reads: books to be read when you have a lot of time on your hands. With the exception of heavily plot-driven novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo or anything by Wilkie Collins or Victor Hugo, they’re so quiet they need my full attention. And seeing as the new semester’s just started, I don’t think I’ll be able to devote my full attention to anything for the next few months.
But, alas, it’s that time of year again! A time of speculation and frenzied reading! Man Booker time. Do I ever bother reading the entire Booker longlist? No. Will I this year? Not likely. A few look irresistably good, though. Byatt’s The Children Book, for one, is a book I’ve been meaning to read ever since I saw that gorgeous Art Nouveau-inspired cover. And Coetzee’s Summertime doesn’t sound bad either, though I have no idea what it’s about. From title alone, Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel) will be on my reading list. Love and Summer will not. Sounds like cheap daytime television.
P.S. Anyone who’s followed my blog for a while will know of my cover fixation. Vintage will be publishing “beautiful new editions of nine Man Booker Prize winning titles”. Yum. Couldn’t really find a decent picture, but follow the link, and you’ll be able to see if you sort of squint at the screen. Very secretive, these publishing houses.