My own little personal 'tournament of books' today. I am limiting the choices to just two. These are the two books on my pile that not only have other readers waiting for them but that have due dates not so far off into the distance. Now I could happily pick up both and just dive in and read, but realistically that won't work since I know I cannot drag two hardcovers around with me. I am trying to make a concerted effort when it comes to not attempting to read (and carry about more importantly) more than three books at once. Well, not literally at once, but three books over the course of a day. I am at the point of no return (yes, must keep avidly reading to find out who our culprit it) of Lisa Jewell's The Girls in the Garden and should finish in just a day or so. Time to think about what is next in line.
Technically Delia Ephron's Siracusa is next up if I am going by check out/due dates. But I have another contender that is also beckoning. Do I stick with Delia since she was here first? Or do I just let Maggie O'Farrell cut in line. I want to read both of them. Can I squeeze in both in the next two or three weeks? It sounds like lots of time, but there is that whole work thing that gets in the way Monday through Friday.
So, in Delia's favor: I listened to a very interesting podcast that sold me immediately. It is set in Italy on the coast of the Ionian Sea and has the "pacing of a psychological thriller". It's told from alternating perspectives of the four people involved. How about a teaser to compare:
"I have a snapshot of me standing on Finn's shoulders when I was twenty-nine, a trick we'd perfected. I would sprint toward him and work up enough steam to climb his back to his shoulders. I look triumphant and not a little surprised to have done this--it was unlikely I would ever stand on a man's shoulders, having been neither a cheerleader nor a gymnast, and I am not physically daring (a deficiency). I was unhappy that day on a Maine beach fifteen years ago, but you would never know it from the four-by-six glossy. Finn and broke up that afternoon."
It's less than 300 pages, which means it will hopefully not take me longer than any other average size book to read.
In the opposite corner is Maggie O'Farrell's This Must Be the Place, which has garnered some very good reviews. I have read and enjoyed O'Farrell's work before. She won the Costa Award. It is set in part in Ireland, which is another place I love. It is a "novel about family, identity and true love", and the dust jacket promises me it is "a sophisticated, spellbinding summer read". It does have nearly 400 pages but flipping through the book it has not only photographs but descriptions from an auction catalogue which intrigues me to no end. And like Delia's book this seems to be written also from more than one perspective and moves back and forth in time.
Okay, your turn Maggie. Time for a teaser from you now:
"There is a man."
"He's standing on the back step, rolling a cigarette. The day is typically unstable, the garden lush and shining, the branches weighty with still-falling rain."
"There is a man and the man is me."
Hmm. Could go either way. I fear there is nothing for it but that I will have to read them both. Maybe a day off from work ensconced in some quiet corner of a coffee shop? When you check books out from the library (or buy them) I think each book should come with a little bonus free time in which to read it. And hey, due dates are really more like guidelines. Surely there must be a ceiling on how much a person can accrue in overdue fines.
(She hastily remarks . . . Not that I would ever do that of course).
Has anyone read either (or maybe even both?!) of these books yet? Input is always welcome.