And I have. Been reading that is, but slowly. Here we are, well past the middle of the month, and I've read four books, am in the middle of two more but not that close to finishing either. And nor have I been particularly busy this month. So what this is all about I don't know. I suppose some months the mad enthusiasm is just not there. I've also done several jigsaw puzzles and that really does eat up your spare time. I suppose what I ought to do is look into audio books then I could listen while I puzzle.
Anyhooo, a quick update. The first book I finished but have not reviewed is Persuasion by Jane Austen. I read this partly because I fancied a reread after eons and eons but also for the Back to the Classics challenge which is being hosted by Books and Chocolate.
I balk at the idea of trying to write a long, intelligent review of such an iconic book so this will not be that! The heroine of Persuasion is stoical, sensible Anne Elliot. The gist of the story is that she broke off her engagement to Captain Wentworth eight years ago after pressure from her family and very close friend, Lady Russell. He wasn't, in their opinion, a suitable match for a girl born into high society despite the fact that the couple were very much in love. But now he's back and has made his fortune on the high seas and of course is much more acceptable. The problem is, he's harbouring a grudge against the family and who could blame him. Anne, of course, still loves him but sees no way of getting him back and has to watch while he courts the two daughters of a family related to her by marriage, apparently determined to take one of them for his wife. You have that thing sometimes when you finish a book that you have loved and felt like you were holding your breath as you gobbled it up, and then a week later you feel like picking the book up again and reading it at a much slower pace. It was a beautiful book and I feel like I devoured it too quickly. It's so long since I read Persuasion that I'd forgotten all but the accident in Lyme Regis and a little scene at the beginning where Anne is being physically overwhelmed by her sister's two small children and Wentworth rescues her by snatching them away. Loads of characters I'd forgotten such as Anne's two awful sisters and the vain father who judges everyone on how beautiful or handsome they are. I adored the Musgroves who took Anne to their hearts and treated her as a human being worthy of their time. And I loved the west country setting, rural Somerset, Bath, Lyme Regis, all beautifully depicted. I will read this again but next year I think, let the dust settle for a few months and then 'try' to read it slowly over a couple of weeks rather than three or four days. The trouble is, like a lot of people, I find Austen's writing so very compelling.
Next up, a complete change of scenery, The Black Seraphim by Michael Gilbert.
Actually... 'not', I lied. The setting for this is Melchester, a fictional cathedral city within reach of Bath, Winchester and Salisbury and definitely, like Persuasion, a West Country novel. But then Michael Gilbert was educated in the town where I live so hardly surprising he sets novels down here. I digress. (Sorry, I love these little details.) James Scotland, a twenty five year old pathologist, is suffering from overwork and has been told by his doctor to take a rest. He returns to Melchester to the cathedral close and choir school where he taught briefly some six years ago. But goodness me, it's a quagmire of hostilities and polarisation based on various issues and James is in it up to his neck immediately. The murder amd mayhem in this book is quite subtle, the Archdeacon dies in a nasty manner but it takes them a while to realise he was done away with as they all want to think well of The Cathedral Close inhabitants. The book is quite character based and people like The Dean, The Archdeacon, The Dean's daughter, and James, the main protagonist, are well fleshed out. There's humour too, as with all of Gilbert's books. I didn't think it was quite as good as his other cathedral close book, Close Quarters, and the reason for that is that there were so many people in this that I struggled to keep track of who was doing what to whom and why. There was a decent twist at the very end and I liked that. All in all, not one of Gilbert's best but nevertheless, excellent.
So I've just started this:
In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu is a book of supernatural stories that I've had hanging around for years and not read. I've just started it and already think it's very good and M.R. James was a fan of the author apparently so that must mean something.
I hope you're all enjoying autumn and finding some good books to read.