I have read me some books.
But it's 10.18pm, the fire is dying down and lately there have been far too many 1.00am bedtimes and I'm ready for bed so this is going to be quick and dirty.
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I've spoken about this several times recently, but can report that I finally finished. Verdict: Far too long, in need of a bloody good edit, waffly, inconsistent, irritating and dated. As previously reported, I read this back in the day and was impressed and inspired but now I'm old and cynical and I just cringed at a lot of it. (Sorry Stephanie).
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I think I wrote about this too; I'm getting repetitive aren't I? Mr Soup is now reading this as I saw him perusing the bookshelves and thrust it into his hands, assuring him he'll love it. He is. Fast, interesting, characters you engage with, colourful. Also the cover is pretty.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. My god, I loved this book. I finished it last night and I'm feeling completely and utterly bereft. It would make a great play, or an opera as Ann Patchett said herself in an interview. The story is gripping and I became totally enamoured of the characters as they lurched toward the-ending-that-couldn't-be-helped. (Although the epilogue was surprising). I've been listening to this on audio tape during my commute to work and as it came to the final tape I was filled with the dread of the knowledge that it would end and my companions of the last week or so would be gone, either dead or devastated by the events of the four and a half months that the book covers, and also that I couldn't somehow prolong it. Which is exactly what you're meant to feel. It's beautiful, elegant writing too. Just wonderful. I've put it on the bookgroup list for later in the year.
Now in the car I'm listening to The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan but I am still grieving for the Bel Canto folk and can't quite get hooked into Amy Tan's characters just yet. I feel like an adulterer; it's too soon. It is read by Tan herself though, which is a bonus. I remember thoroughly enjoying The Joy Luck Club and also The Kitchen God's Wife but Tan's books are getting a little repetitive now. Ah well, it was the only decent story tape on the library shelves last night and my tape of Black Swan Green by David Mitchell hasn't yet arrived. (His Cloud Atlas was one of the best things I read last year).
Last bookgroup book was Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. I read the first three pages and returned it to the library. Life's too short.
Next up for bookgroup is the imaginatively titled Heroic Australian Women in War by Susanna de Vries, nominated by our group's resident nonfiction reader. The sorts of books this member of the group recommends never ever appeal to me, but I've dutifully borrowed it from the library and it looks interesting really. The last nonfiction book she recommended also didn't appeal but it turned out to be a little ripper - Into the Blue by Tony Horwitz who happens to be married to Geraldine Brooks. And has a connection with one of our bookgroup members which I suspect was why it was chosen. Anyway, it's good having members of the group who push you to read things out of your comfort zone. Heck, out of any of my zones.
A friend is lending me her Geraldine Brooks' People of the Book which I've been dying to read but when I put it on hold at the library I was 97th in the queue, which means I'll get it roughly in 2011. I'm trying to cut down on my book buying, even though most of the books I purchase are from Savers and cost between $1.00 and $3.00 We just don't have the space despite a study with a whole wall of built in bookshelves, two floor to ceiling bookshelves in the dining room and another in one of the bedrooms. Oops, well that's why I just bought one of these, only ours is a 16 cube version and it's not on wheels. I built it all by myself the other night with only the aid of an allen key and I'm proud to say it is not the least bit wobbly. It's still empty but I look forward to a big book rearrange this weekend. It's totally made the family room, which is a room I've never found particularly attractive or welcoming. (Our lounge room, on the other hand, is purdy).
Ok, well that wasn't quite so quick or dirty and now it's definitely time for book and bed. Right now I'm reading Saturday by Ian McEwan, whose books I haven't readily enjoyed thus far. Was bored by Atonement (but loved the film) but liked Enduring Love very much (but hated the film). I'm only on the first chapter so we'll see. Time to take a cup of tea to bed and try chapter two.
P.S. Can I just say, half the books listed here were recommended to me by the inimitable BabelBabe. Without BB I never would have discovered all these wonderful authors, and on her recommendation I've put more Patchett books and one by Allegra Goodman also on my holds list at the library. Thanks BB, you are my literary guru, y'know lovey.