Have you ever looked for a book that you know you own (or maybe owned, past tense), but no matter how many piles you move and stacks you sift through you just can't find it? I seem to be having exactly that problem with Pat Barker's Regeneration. I've looked on two occasions now and can't find it. I either gave it away or sold it, or am looking directly at it and not seeing it. Ever since I found the second book in the trilogy, Eye in the Door, at a library sale I've wanted to read it. And of course she has a new novel, Life Class coming out soon, so its been on my mind. Not that I would start reading it right away or anything, but the elusiveness of the situation is bugging me.
I gave up on my first book of the year yesterday. I didn't even add it to my sidebar as it is a library book and I thought I could quickly squeeze it in. It was to be one of my Winter reads, but I just couldn't get on with it (I made it about 35 pages). As there is another reader waiting for it, I knew I had to get it read soon as the due date is approaching. Well, now I guess they get it sooner rather than later. It sounded perfect for me, a historical novel set in 18th century Wales, written from a young woman's point of view in diary format. Frankly once I started nothing about it appealed to me anymore. The writing just didn't do it for me and neither did the character's voices. I feel bad as every Amazon review I read was very positive (though how often do I agree with or go by those?). It's rare that I outright don't like something, but that's the way it goes sometimes. It's definitely better to move on to something that I will enjoy.
The library book I am reading, Mary McCarthy's The Company She Keeps, is moving very slowly for me. The writing is very clever and I like her style, but I guess I am not overly keen on the episodic format. It started out very good, but I'm on the third story of the collection (there are six longish stories) and it's all very slow going. I do plan on finishing it, but I think I might set it aside when I finish the story I'm reading. Rather than trying to finish it all in one go, I think I might just read the remaining stories here and there. I just need to have it finished by the end of next month for it to count for the library's reading program. I do have a book lined up instead, The Shape of Sand by Marjorie Eccles. It is a novel of suspense set in the Edwardian and WWII era and moves back and forth between England and Egypt. Hopefully I will do better with this novel. At the rate I am going I won't get five library novels read before February 29!
I started reading a new novel, which promises to be good (at least I hope so, it's probably too soon to tell). I've been meaning to read some fiction by Margaret Forster, and I finally settled on Diary of an Ordinary Woman. It begins in 1914 England with thirteen year-old Millicent starting a diary--going through the decades until contemporary times. I do have to mention that I've seen some criticism about the book as it begins with a prologue which makes it appear that this book is based on real diaries. In reality the book is a complete work of fiction. I wouldn't have minded if she had skipped that as it does seem misleading. Hopefully this novel made up of diary entries will go over better than the last. At least I like her writing style much better.
The Longlist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award have been announced (thanks to Lost in Translationfor the link). After reading and enjoying Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses (one of my favorite reads last year), I am going to have to take a closer look at their list.
Shall I throw my two cents in worth about the Masterpiece Theatre presentation of Persuasion? I sort of liked it....though I do have a few quibbles with it. My biggest problem--why did Mary Elliot act that way? Her behavior was nothing short of jarring. I know she is meant to be an annoying, sickly younger sister, but the Mary in this version was distracting. I did like the actress who played Anne, but I wish she hadn't that startled look on her face for so much of the film (jaw dropped open). Why they had her running about at the end of the film was beyond me. It's no wonder she didn't drop at Captain Wentworth's feet when she finally found him! However the scenery was so lush and beautiful and the costumes so lovely, I couldn't help but like it otherwise. Certainly the Amanda Root version is excellent, but I wouldn't mind watching this newer version again. In any case it makes me want to go pick up the book and start rereading immediately (which I plan on doing eventually this year). Now I'm curious to see Northanger Abbey.
I also watched the first three episodes of The Tudors over the weekend. I'm sure its chock full of historical inaccuracies, and it is rather racy (I forgot what cable TV is like...), but I have to say it was an entertaining romp! It's visually gorgeous to look at, and I admit I've already got the next episodes queued up next at Netflix. I consider it a good movie for entertainment purposes rather than educational purposes! I've always been more interested in his wives, but I wouldn't mind reading a biography of Henry VIII and more about this period sometime as well. More books to add to my list.