I blame it on all the rain we've been getting (surely it has nothing to do with me . . .). It has been raining almost nonstop here for the last week or so. Rain and then rain and a little more rain. I have felt soggy and had wet feet for days now and I am ready for sunshine and warmth and want to be able to sit outside and enjoy some decent spring weather. But you know how all that rain makes everything grow like crazy right? Well, a riot of books have sprung up on my night table. They are like weeds the way they take over. It's not my fault. Or not too much anyway.
I've actually been reasonably pleased with my reading so far this year. I have had a nice variety of books and have been happy with the progress I've made each month. April was the 'slowest' month but I still averaged about two books a week, though don't be too impressed since interspersed with average-length books have been much shorter graphic novels, a juvenile story and other shorter novels. I am not sure this will be the year of hefty epic stories for me, but maybe it is time to think of a long-term read. Most likely it would be a classic, and I have not done well with reading the classics of late in general. I'm sure something good will come along, it always does.
So, to try and stay on track with my reading I think I might put down on paper, so to speak, my reading plans for May. It is a long month and so might be a good time to try and get under control that 'riot of weeds', I mean pile of in progress books. And while I have been tempted frequently by new books, I have managed to try and stick with and finish books on my night stand. Only the piles are getting a little precariously tall there, so maybe a little pruning is in order to try and get it all growing in a nice direction. Even if I have not started a lot of new books, I have been thinking a lot about books that are 'next up'.
I have a few holdover books that I had hoped to finish in April that will be my main reads at the moment. Hill by Jean Giono is really good, but it is lush and descriptive and screams to be read slowly, so I am listening. Rather than just reading to finish I want to savor it, so a few pages each day with an eye turned towards the mailbox in anticipation of May's read. I'm looking forward to reading something translated from Russian and Teffi's 'memoir'(?) sounds really interesting: "is a deeply personal account of the author’s last months in Russia and Ukraine, suffused with her acute awareness of the political currents churning around her, many of which have now resurfaced."
One of my longest night-table-sitters is Juditch Koll Healey's The Canterbury Papers, which I am rereading as I wanted something historical set in Medieval times and it fit the mood perfectly. It has been languishing through no fault of its own simply because it is a hardcover and I don't always like to carry heavier books around with me. But it is definitely time to finish it. I've already been thinking of which book will take its place and am leaning towards two other new books (also, alas, hardcovers)--Anthony Quinn's Freya or Helen Simonson's The Summer Before the War.
I am also hoping to spend some quality time with Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child. It was that book that I Had to Start Reading because it seems to be the book I most often Want to read but then pass up. So I give myself 'permission' to pick it up and what happens? I start reading, like what I'm reading, and then promptly get distracted. Sigh. So very typical of me and my reading whims.
And I have a few review copies that need attention. I am slowly working my way through Jussi Adler-Olson's The Alphabet House, which makes me nervous to read (it has one of those settings where you know things are not good and bad things are going to happen), so I pick it up with trepidation but then find myself getting lost in the story--turning pages in fear yet can't quite bring myself to put down. It's time to start Juan Gomez Barcena's The Sky Over Lima, which is out later this month. And I think I will be slowly chipping away at Andrew Dickson's Worlds Elsewhere, which is chunky and full of interesting insight and information.
All these books will keep me quite busy, though I am sure I will add a few new ones into the mix. I plan on reading James Salter's The Hunters a bit later this month for the Literature and War readalong. Maybe a chunky classic (or other chunky novel), maybe a new graphic novel and I still plan on reading a good coming of age/beach story AND a good lawyer story (maybe Caro Fraser, Sarah Caudwell or one of Frances Fyfield's books) and who knows what else will pop up this month. And it isn't too soon to think about looking once again at those New Year's reading thoughts since (scary) we are soon to be approaching the mid-year mark! Hmm. I seem to be feeling particularly ambitious today, don't I?