26 October 2007
It feels a bit weird, showing you my bed, you know.
Let’s not think too much on that. Try and focus on the reading matter on the bedside table.
I’m on a roll at the moment, reading some of the best books I’ve come across in years.
First up was Bill Bryson’s biography of Shakespeare which I gobbled down in a matter of days. Fast, no-nonsense and thoroughly engaging, and has been added to the growing pile of bard biographies on our shelf.
I quickly followed this with the new Tracy Chevalier book Burning Bright which I’ve wanted to read for a few months now so I bought it for Mr Soup for his birthday (along with The Kite Runner which I had to return to the library when I was halfway through. I put so much love and thought into my partner’s presents, don’t I?) Anyway, it was quite mesmerising (the Chevalier, I haven’t made it back to the Kite Runner yet) and I promptly put two more of Chevalier’s books on hold at the library (The Lady and the Unicorn and Falling Angels).
At the same time as I was reading those two, as seen on my bedside table, I was listening to Anita Shreve’s Light on Snow on audio book in the car. I’d listened to another Shreve recently, called something totally forgettable like Where or When and it was abysmal. You know, in my humble opinion. Boring, pointless, occasionally histrionic and with odd bits of sex and rude language abruptly thrown in here and there as if to garner a certain corner of the market. So why did I borrow another Anita Shreve from the library? Well, I was desperate and it was either that or another Maeve Binchy. The shelf was bare. Actually speaking of Binchy, I did listen to one of hers called Scarlet Feather, read by her cousin and it was delightful. And the accents were contagious so I found myself sounding like a leprechaun for a couple of weeks.
Anyway, back to Shreve - Light on Snow was great, despite my low expectations. The narrator is a young girl and it’s partly a coming of age tale, partly a straight story about love and tragedy and healing. Recommended for a light, quick read.
Next I moved onto the wonderful Salley Vickers and the only novel of hers I hadn’t read thus far, Mr Golightly’s Holiday. Vickers is such an intelligent, engaging writer and this book is very richly layered. It’d be a wonderful book group book. At first you think it’s just a quiet, gentle book about life in a village from the point of view of a visitor come for the summer. But as you read on, little hints are dropped such as the visitor’s ‘great work’ and his sadness for his dead son and you realise something else is at play. Go read this one and then email me with your thoughts. (I now officially love all of Vickers’ books).
Now I’m reading Charmian Clift’s book Mermaid Singing for bookgroup next month. I’m only on the second chapter so far but it’s making me want to chuck it all in and go live on a Greek island. As you do. Well, as Charmian Clift and George Johnston and their children do. Every time I hear Clift’s name I think of my dear ex neighbour who was quietly obsessed with her and had collected every piece of writing Clift ever produced, done lots of extra research on her life and was considering a deeper study thesis type thing. I wonder if she ever did.
And in the car? Listening to the long, rambling and thoroughly enjoyable White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I think if I were reading this I’d have given up by now. There is a very slow bit early on and I can well see how people may toss it aside in impatience. A touch of judicious editing would have helped, again in my ever so humble opinion. However I’m currently on tape 14 of 16 so am at the point where I can’t wait until the next time I’m in the car alone so I can hear the next bit. I’ve wanted to read this novel for years, ever since it first came out to all that hype and excitement and all those awards. Smith’s two other novels, On Beauty and The Autograph Man were among the stack of books Hilary the Blogless generously gave me (thanks again Hilary), so I’m looking forward to reading those this summer.
As for tomorrow?
Tomorrow I’ll be running a craft market stall all day and in the evening we’ll be celebrating with a plate of baked beans.