I had a serious look at my pile of books on my night table that I grab from every day, and decided I needed to revamp things a little bit. A few I hadn't actually started properly and as it seemed as though I wasn't going to be do so anytime soon, I shuffled them back into my TBR piles. I always feel bad doing this, but I tend to accumulate more books on my bedside table than I can actually manage. Nothing got jettisoned due to lack of interest or because the story was in any way inadequate only thanks to a lack of reading time. So now my sidebar sort of resembles more closely what I am reading, or at least what is sitting on my night stand to choose from daily.
One of the books that was relieved of duties was poor Wilkie Collins. I love Wilkie Collins. He is actually one of my very favorite authors, but I was stuck in a rut with No Name. I would enjoy it when I picked it up but I was feeling overwhelmed by the sheer size of the book. My night table has a slanted shelf under the actual table part and books are often relegated there when I don't want to put them aside, but I know I am not really actively reading them either. He is joining Charles Dickens. They were friends in life, right? So now they join each other on the bookshelf and will hopefully keep each other company until I am ready to finish them both. By the way, it's Bleak House that is already sitting there.
Since I have not read a single classic yet this year--three months in and nothing--I decided I needed something short and perhaps just a little more modern to get things moving. I decided on W. Somerset Maugham's The Painted Veil and I am Loving it. I've often looked at it but never got around to it. I admit it was it's size in part that helped me choose it. I read Up at the Villa a few years ago and had forgotten how much I like his writing style--very clear and succinct, easy, but sophisticated easy (if that makes sense). So far it is set in Hong Kong in the 20s and begins with an affair, but has already flashed back to show how this unhappily married couple managed to marry in the first place. It's definitely just what I needed.
I've also started reading Shirley Hazzard's The Transit of Venus in earnest and I am really enjoying it as well. I had read the first page or two several days ago and something about her writing style made me wonder if it was going to be difficult to get into, but as I had taken it with me to the gym and had nothing else to look at, I just plowed through the first few pages and it started coming together. It's not quite so pared down or simple as the Maugham and I suspect it will take me longer to read, but I like it.
Since I have a couple of books out from the library that are Orange longlisters, I was thinking of starting one of those as well (should wait until I finish something else first, but must remember those due dates...). I have Nicole Krauss's Great House and Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge. Both are authors I have wanted to read and I have already checked out Orringer's books once before. The Krauss is shorter. Has anyone read either of them? Decisions, decisions.
Before I go look over the two books and see which one really grabs me, I thought I would mention that I joined Twitter this week. Yes, I caved in. It was a matter of curiosity as I keep seeing links to Tweets showing up on the back end of my blog, but as I don't belong I can't tell what it is people are referring to. It's actually turned out to be fun, and while I don't think I'll be spending too much time there, I will likely log in in the mornings or evenings. I am at WorknProgBlog, which is a little clunky, but I couldn't find a better user name that people might recognize (that wasn't already taken). I'm not quite sure yet how everything works, or what the proper protocol is, but I would of course be flattered if you "followed" me, or better yet let me know if you are on Twitter, too, and I will follow you!