Friday, 18 April 2008

Bits and pieces

I was quite surprised to see that I haven't done a blog entry here since last Saturday. That's partly because it's been a busy week with family visiting etc. but also I'm back to reading several books at once and haven't actually finished anything to review. It wasn't helped by the fact that I couldn't decide what to read next. This happens to me sometimes and there's often no reason for it apart from a bad case of indecisiveness on my part, ('I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure...') Over the weekend I started another book for Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge, Rats and Gargoyles by Mary Gentle. I'd been quite excited to get this so was quite disappointed when, a few days later, I realised I just couldn't read the thing. Why? Well the writing is quite er... challenging and quite frankly I didn't have a clue what I was reading! It may just be that my mood is wrong so I will try again some other time.

Anyway, I abandoned that and after watching an utterly brilliant episode of the wonderful Foyle's War on Sunday, found myself in an 'end of WW2' sort of mood. So I got The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies off the tbr mountain and have been enjoying that, off and on, all week. I've also been working my way through Nocturnes by John Connolly which is, without a doubt, one of the best macabre anthologies I've read in a very long time. And I'm mad about that cover! Also reading Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, from the library, and that too is an excellent anthology. You never quite know what to expect from Gaiman and I like that.

And then I was reading a post by Stuck in a Book about the books of Richmal Crompton and ended up sitting up late last night reading a couple of short stories from Just William.
I have read a few of the William books before (years ago) but had forgotten how funny they are... or maybe I was too young to really appreciate the dry humour back then. The first story had William going to the cinema (the stories are set in the 1920s) to see several films including a cops and robbers, two love stories and a comedy. The result of which meant he ended up playacting the robbers and knocking his father into the rhododendron bushes, then telling the girl next door he was terminally ill with 'lungs' and, lastly, trying to get his sister engaged to a man she isn't interested in and who isn't interested in her. The second story had William playing gooseberry between his brother and a girl who he's fallen in love with. Except that the girl isn't remotely interested in the brother, much preferring the company of William. He pinches his brother's new bike but it's too big for him and he loses control. The brother and the 'love of his life' are having a picnic in a nearby field... and I'll leave the resulting chaos to your imagination. Wonderful, I plan to read a lot more of these delightful stories.

And I've had one new book buy this week, which is The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke. I keep seeing it blogged about all over the place and have a feeling the stories might be similar to those of Charles De Lint and John Connolly. I hope so.

The weather here is more like February than April... the wind is whistling round the house as I write... and as I have a free weekend coming up I plan to spend at least some of it curled up by the fire with a good novel, or maybe some short stories, or...


chrisa511 said...

I've gone back to reading many books at a time too which I told myself I wouldn't do :p But I couldn't help myself. Same as you, I got indecisive so just started reading a bunch! The problem with that is it takes me forever to finish any of them! I've been dying to read Nocturnes. Ever since reading The Book of Lost Things I've wanted to read more Connoly. Fragile Things is excellent. I always enjoy Gaiman's short stories. You're right, you never know what to expect...they're all so different. Ladies of Grace Adieu is excellent, though I wouldn't compare it to deLint or Connolly. The stories remind me of old time fairy tales...they're really excellent and you feel like you're reading a book straight from the Victorian era. I think you'll like it!

Anonymous said...

I used to never, never read more than one book at a time. But now....I'm finding myself doing it more and more. Is it the blogging? Maybe. I've reading one mystery for the mystery book group, have one going in the car on CD, have been thoroughly enjoying (with slow progress) PILLARS OF THE EARTH. I think I'm going to continue with PILLARS, but read one chapter at time or something because I'm really wanting to move on to a lighter mystery. So, I'll add another one in. Guess it will just take me forever to finish them.

monix said...

I can't cope with more than one book at a time unless they are from totally different genres, otherwise i get the characters mixed up and that can lead to hilarious misunderstandings!

I used to love reading the William books to my children. Like all good children's books, they can be understood in an entirely different way by the adult reader. I think I'll dig them all out again.

DesLily said...

yikes! I could never read so many books at one time! I don't think I've ever even read 2 at once. I've got to finish what I began to start a new one lol... I think I'm glad about this since I sure couldn't afford to go thru books any faster than I already am!!! haha..

I hope your weather gets better soon !! Winter in April sucks! hahaha.. we've had that many times here too though..(just not this year)

Cath said...

Hi Chris. I think reading several books at a time is a bit habit-forming. I tried not to do it I really did and succeeded last month, but here I am this month doing it again. Partly, I think it's to do with the fact that I am reading such a lot of short stories now and, for me, anthologies tend to be 'dipping into' books rather than books I read from cover to cover, straight off.

You won't be disappointed by Nocturnes, it's brilliant. Perfect, I would think, for the RIP challenge in the autumn.

Sooo looking forward to reading Ladies of Grace and *then* I might even attempt Jonanthan Strange and Mr. Norrell! LOL.

Kay: it seems you're like me in that a particular book doesn't suit the purpose, like reading in bed (I like something light) or it's hard going etc. so another book has to be started. In all, I probably have about six books on the go at the moment and some will be a long time in the reading and I have to learn to be a bit more laid back about that fact.

Monix: rereading William after all this time was sheer delight. I knew they were funny but the lovely dry humour took me completely by surprise. Yes, do dig them out! And I'm certainly going to look for more adult books by her. I've read Family Roundabout, which was superb, and have Frost at Morning on the tbr pile, but there are a *lot* more I gather.

Hi Pat, I used to be a strict one book at a time person too. I blame blogging for the fact that I'm now not because I could see what other people were doing and decided it was ok to experiment. Blogging is a bad influence. LOL!

The weather here is still nasty, wet all day yesterday, dry today but foggy. I think we're paying for a mild winter.

Nan said...

I really, really must read some Crompton. I love what you wrote about Just William.

Cath said...

Nan, the Just William stories were wonderfully funny and I think you would like them. Do you actually have any of the Just William books? I can also recommend Family Roundabout, a Persephone book by Richmal Crompton.