Saturday 22 February 2020

Currently reading (a lot of books!)

My good reading month continues but choosing the right books for my mood is testing me a little bit. I've abandoned these two.

The first because I suddenly felt bored with books about people moving to Italy or France and all seeming a wee bit samey. A quote from another book I'm reading, The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway instalment), sums up my feelings:

'She [Michelle] is watching one of those programmes where people buy a house in Tuscany and then seem surprised that everyone there speaks Italian.'

Well quite. And Fair and Tender Ladies was just not hitting the mark for me. I put it back on the shelf for another time and Under the Tuscan Sun has gone into the charity shop box.

I'm also struggling with this:

A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell will be excellent I suspect. It's a WW2 story about the Jews in Italy and what happened to them when the Italians surrendered in 1943. I'm finding it confusing but will persevere... at my own pace... slowly, slowly.

I am definitely not struggling with this:

Ruth Galloway never disappoints. This is book number eleven in the series and although it's about child abduction and murder, which I'm never comfortable with, it's still terrific and a pageturner.

I'm continuing on with this:

It wasn't until I got to page 188 that I found two stories I actually really liked. Not that the rest were terrible, just not to my taste. But An Unprotected Female at the Pyramids by Anthony Trollope and Mrs. Badgery by Wilkie Collins were excellent. Both feature overbearing women, although they have reasons of course and there is a certain sadness behind those reasons involving lone Victorian women trying to survive in what was then essentially a man's world. Both stories were very effective and made me realise I haven't read enough by either author. Dr. Thorne by Anthony Trollope is on my shelf for this year and so is Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White.

Two travel type reads that I'm dipping into as the mood strikes:

A Sense of Place: The Best of British Outdoor Writing edited by Roly Smith is mainly different people climbing hills in wild places. Beyond the Footpath: Mindful Adventures for Modern Pilgrims by Clare Gogerty, is a book about pilgrimages, not just holy ones but to things like mountains, forests, particular ancient trees such as 1000 year old yews in churchyards, and so on. These are both perfect 'dipping in and out of books'.

So, Goodreads tells me that I'm currently reading six books because added to the five mentioned here I'm also reading The Morville Hours through the year. I didn't realise it was quite as many but weirdly it seems to be working very well for me. I have one main book that I'm concentrating on and the rest I'm dipping in and out of as the mood takes me but still getting through them. This is quite a new approach for me this 'mood' reading and I really like how unstressful it is and 'relaxing'. And if a book is not suiting me then 'no pressure' I put it to one side for another time or the charity shop benefits. It seems you can teach an old dog new tricks.



DesLily said...

Wow..!! and Wow again! The movie of Under the Tuscany Sun was good but I could tell reading would not. Glad you liked the piece on The Woman in White! I got lost now and again as it was written by a few viewpoints... but I still liked it. (Good old Wilkie) I got the the Murrow Boys but one chapter at a time in between a book i liked lol... that was a first for me! (yea me! lol)

Sam said...

Love the quote.

Looks like you're falling into the same pattern I'm in with several books sort of around and supporting the main book you're reading. That seems to help me because as soon as I find a book going stale on me, I'm able to move on to something else. I think that keeps me from abandoning more books than I would otherwise abandon.

Cathy said...

It took me a bit to get into A Thread of Grace, but I really liked it. Trollope and Collins have long been favorites of mine, although I tend to prefer Collins' other novels instead of his two well-known ones. And Dr. Ruth Galloway? I'm currently reading The Lantern Men and begrudging every second I'm not reading it. As you said, she never disappoints.

Cath said...

Pat: Thank you for your 'wows'. LOL!!!

I didn't even know there was a movie of Under the Tuscan Sun until I started to read this book. How come I've never heard of that?

I haven't read The Woman in White yet but soon. I know I keep saying that. LOL His short stories are really good.

Sam: That quote really tickled me. Elly Griffiths is very good at these little comical real-life observations.

Yes, that's exactly the way I seem to be reading this year. Bit of a departure for me as I usually have a fiction and a non-fiction going and that's usually about it. Now I seem to have one going for every eventuality!

Cathy: I'm pleased to hear you say it took a while to get into A Thread of Grace. I will persevere as I'm sure it'll be worth it.

I've read a couple of Trollope's Barchester novels and some of his travel writing, loved it all but haven't read any in a while. Need to put that right this year and Collins too.

Well, I've finished The Stone Circle now and the book had the first chapter of The Lantern Men at the end. So I read it and 'gosh', I was not expecting those personal developments at all even though there were hints in The Stone Circle. Wow. Must find myself s copy now.

Judith said...

Cath, I could read this post again and again. I should. Lots of great suggestions here. And I must say I admire the way you've chosen a book to struggle with, at your own pace, and I say I need much more of your gumption with my reading.
AND CATH!!! I so loved and loved A Woman in White, which I read last March, that I know you will love it, too. I'm so nostalgic about my reading of it. I literally sunk into it, luxuriated in it. It is a total page-turner, fascinating, totally.

Judith said...

Sorry to leave yet another comment. But what do you think of The Morville Hours?

Cath said...

Judith: I don't think it harms me to persevere and even struggle a bit with a book. Especially if I know it will eventually grip me. And a Thread of Grace is getting there... I'm still a bit confused about who's who and why etc. but it's set in the Alps so that is *always* a plus.

I'll be getting to The Woman in White this year, sooner rather than later I suspect. So looking forward to it.

The Morville Hours is delightful. I'm reading it through the year so at the moment am not reading it, if you get me. Waiting for Spring to begin and then I'll be off again. *Such* beautiful writing. Writing to - I'll use the word you used - 'luxuriate' in.