I'm afraid I have no Anna Karenina update this week. I have started reading part three after a rather disturbing end to part two. Kitty has returned refreshed and healed from a German spa where she went to recuperate after her illness (read: Vronsky broke her heart), which just goes to show you what love or rejection can do to a person's soul. Now the scene has switched back to Levin and his farm, where his older (and very intellectual) brother has come to stay. Family is great but they don't let you get on with your work as you'd like! So here I am and am looking forward to getting back to the book, but I have an obligation read that needs attention. Oh, and I've started collecting similar reads (like What Happened to Anna K), so if anyone has any suggestions, please do share.
As for my obligation read, I am wondering if I am ever going to finish. I'm working on Edith Pargeter's The Brothers Gwynedd, which I will be posting on one way or another on Wednesday. I am feeling very ambivalent about the book. On the one hand I do like the story, which is set in Medieval Wales, but on the other I am struggling with it. Pargeter is a serious writer and if you like your fiction heavy on the history, you might get on well with this book. I think it is a combination of being under pressure to read by a particular date (and will fess up--I have had the book for a while, so I can't say I have any good excuse for having waited to start except it looked like only 184 pages...and surely I can do 184 pages in a week or two...).
The thing is, the story is made up of four individual novels, which are collected in one very large volume (782 pages to be exact). It's lovely, but the print is very small and there is not much in the way of white space--text from top to bottom and from the outside of the page and into the gutter. Somehow it makes me tired to read so much text without any visual breaks. Solid paragraphs and not a whole lot of dialogue. I think this is my problem--for example, it literally takes me almost my entire fifteen minute break at work to get through 2-1/2 pages! The publisher must have had to do this to squeeze in the entire quartet. So really when I think I am reading only a couple of pages I am probably reading twice as many. So that 184 pages is really 352 (or at least that is how many pages the individual volume had when I looked on Amazon). Still, I should be able to manage that in a week, and I haven't so far. So, this is what I've been reading instead of Anna K. However, the book is too heavy for either the stationary bike at the gym and way too heavy for my treadmill, so I do get a bit of a reprieve. So, you'll see how the saga ends on Wednesday (for book one anyway, I'm reading the other books in the following months). Keep your fingers crossed for me.
I'm still dipping into my Dorothy Whipple and Daphne du Maurier novels (and a little bit into a couple of mysteries), but dipping is just about it. I'm already contemplating summer reads, but more about that tomorrow.
Now a question. I go through these uncertainties every other week. Or maybe at least a couple of times a year. When you are clicking around the book blogosphere and seeing what other readers have been reading do you ever start questioning your own reading choices? I don't just read posts, I also like looking through people's sidebars and see what they have just finished or what they have on the go. Everybody has such different tastes, but often I see books that I think look so lofty and intellectual and I think what good books they are reading. Then come and look at my own sidebar and see what a hodgepodge I have going and I really need to get more serious. I say this a day before I plan on sharing more than a few comfort reads waiting in the wings.... I see lofty and intellectual and think I'm going to do that, too, then get a thriller in the mail and promptly sit down and start reading. Surely there must be a happy medium, but I'm not sure I've found it yet.
Now I am going to read another page or two of my Edith Pargeter novel!