Every so often I need to do a little shuffling of books on my reading piles and then I feel much more organized. This weekend was a shuffling of reading piles weekend. There were a few books I had very optimistically pulled out to get ready to read at the beginning of the year, but then nothing actually happened with them, so I've moved them back to the top of my TBR pile and feel a little less overwhelmed. They'll find their way back into my reading pile soon enough, I'm sure.
For now I want to concentrate on a few straggler books and happily finished reading my collection of diary selections, Revelations by Mary Jane Moffat. Are you tired of hearing about it yet? I may share one more post about it (or I may not depending on how inspired I'm feeling next weekend). It was a great survey of women's diaries, including many diarists I had never heard of and was unlikely to come across otherwise. It was a hard decision choosing a proper, full length diary to read next. I've decided to begin with the first volume of France Partridge's diary, A Pacifist's War: Diaries 1939-1945. I think her complete set of diaries (and then they're really only excerpts) runs to something like six or seven volumes, so I have my work cut out for me, but I'll start here and see how it goes. I'm looking forward to spending more time with just one diarist and one period in history, though Partridge kept diaries all the way into the 1970s.
I'm back to reading two books that I started around the holidays--Decision at Delphi by Helen MacInnes and To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. I admit that Decision at Delphi was something of a slow starter, but it's picked up now and I'm well into the story. MacInnes's book is no fluffy read. She writes about the politics of Greece and how WWII affected the people and all with a nicely atmospheric slant that promises notorious undertakings. Her books are categorized as romantic suspense and there is certainly that quality to this one, but there is really much more to the story. It was published in 1960 and the storytelling really does have a different feel to it than contemporary spy novels.
I never meant to set the Willis book aside, but I got distracted and have been itching to get back into the story. It's funny, quirky funny, but humorous as well. I read a bit of her newer novel, Blackout and I can see where the inspiration for that novel came from--it seems a variation on a theme. To Say Nothing . . . began in Conventry, after the bombing raid destroyed the Cathedral, but now we've gone a bit further back in time to Victorian England. It's a total romp of a story and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.
The Three Musketeers by Dumas has become my gym book. Yet another romp. He's very funny, actually. I expected Dumas to be much more serious, but there is a lot of humor in The Three Musketeers, which I didn't find in The Count of Monte Cristo. Of course the The Count is all about revenge so maybe not all that surprising. Porthos, Athos, Aramis and D'Artagnan are the best of friends helping each other out of and often into scrapes. I get a kick out of the fact that they will often call each other "my dear". Now I'm sure that's not meant in any odd way, rather a term of friendly affection and probably has a somewhat different meaning in French which is too difficult to translate, but I have
to say, I sort of like it. They're all three quite amusing, but I've now reached the point of no return so must finish it soon.
And two new additions to the reading pile--No Hurry to Get Home by Emily Hahn, as I was in need of a new nonfiction book, and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, which I brought home from the library last week. I've read a little of both and they both promise to be good reads. The Hahn is a book of travels essays, but I'll share more about it later, and if you follow the Orange Prize, you'll know that Miller's debut novel made the longlist. It was pure serendipity that I requested The Song of Achilles. I had read a few very good reviews by bloggers I respect so it duly went on to my wishlist. I've also not read much in the way of historical fiction, so the timing was right.
All in all I'm pleased with my reading pile this month and hope to do a little catching up and then will turn to the lists I made last year but have thus far neglected this year to read. Isn't that always the case?