February passed by in something of a haze for me. It wasn't a good reading month (should note--enjoyed the books I read, there just wasn't very many of them), and really it wasn't a good month otherwise either, so I'm happy to see March here with the added pleasure of spring officially beginning in a very few weeks. The days are also slowly getting lighter. It's so nice to not arrive at and leave from work in the dark. Although my own current reads pile hasn't budged much, there are all sorts of opportunities to read along. I didn't do so well last month and have now fallen behind in several books I had wanted to finish, but life does get in the way of more pleasurable activities sometimes. Here's a little run down of things that have caught my eye or that I'll be joining in with (if I can).
I have finally finished Sebastian Barry's A Long Long Way and hope to write about it this week, so more about that later. Next up for Caroline's Literature and War readalong is To the Slaughterhouse by Jean Giono. I've got my copy and think I will start reading sooner than later, though it's shorter than the Barry. I hadn't really thought about it until this moment, but the title is fairly descriptive, don't you think? I hope it isn't as bleak as the Barry, but the blurb notes that the book ends with a message of hope, for which I am thankful.
The Slaves of Golconda are reading Willa Cather's My Mortal Enemy and will discuss it at the end of the month. I wasn't able to read along last time around, but I love Willa Cather, so picking up this book will be no hardship for me. It's a novella, and it sounds good: "First published in 1926, this book is Cather's sparest and most dramatic novel, a dark and oddly prescient portrait of a marriage that subverts our oldest notions about the nature of happiness and the sanctity of the hearth." Feel free to join in if it sounds good to you, too.
It was probably far too optimistic to think I could have read Rebecca West's The Fountain Overflows last month, and indeed I did not manage to finish it (or even get very far), but I plan on continuing on with it. I see a few days off from work this month (it's nice thinking about vacation days even before you've requested them) filled with reading. We'll pretend I have a crystal ball and am looking into my future. So, does this mean I pick up Dorothy Sayers' The Nine Tailors and try and read along with Cornflower's Book Group? I've only read one Sayers novel (Gaudy Night), which I loved, and she is one of those 'mean to' read authors. And good solid detective stories seem to be working best for me at the moment. I suspect I probably will.
And then there is my postal book, which I will also be reading this month. Happily it is another novella, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem to finish by the end of the month.
And then there is a Library Thing group that is reading Elizabeth Taylor's books in celebration of her centenary this year. Although I haven't officially joined I was hoping to read along with at least a few of the books. I did read At Mrs. Lippincote's (maybe will get to write about it, too, this week), and had Palladian all ready for February, but then I ran out of time. As I have read a few books on their list already, I'll stick with Palladian and maybe catch up further down the line. They are reading A View of the Harbour this month.
If you're still looking for more reading opportunities, Kristen at We Be Reading is having a Diana Wynne Jones Readalong. It's the one year anniversary of her death this month. I still plan on reading Fire and Hemlock at some point. And The Little Red Reviewer is hosting a The Lies of Locke Lamora Readalong (I found out via Carl), which I toyed with joining (as I don't read much science fiction and thought it would be fun to broaden my horizons a bit), but I'm sure I'm already overbooked.
As for me, I'm happily moving along in Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers. I'm approaching the halfway mark quickly. It's been great fun. In need of something lighter after finishing Sebastian Barry's book, I've been spending my time this weekend with the delightful Helene Hanff in Q's Legacy. I read the book years ago, but I find I have no recollection of it at all anymore. I should be finishing it before the weekend ends. I've also been enjoying Andrew Taylor's The Mortal Sickness. A good detective story was what I needed to get me out of my mystery/crime fiction slump. And an impulse choice--Elizabeth Buchan's Light of the Moon is turning out to be a 'don't want to put this one down' sort of read--definitely what I need at the moment. Thanks to Liz for that suggestion. It's set during WWII about an English woman of French ancestry who returns to France as a spy.
And last but not least, I've been listening to audio books on my MP3 player on my walks to and from the bus stop since the weather has been milder. I'm almost finished with part one of Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi. It's a long audio book--about 26 hours. It's interesting but disturbing. The Sixties were a wild time, but what a shock the murders committed by the Manson Family must have been. I think I need a little breather before I begin listening to the second part, so I've loaded The Lincolns: A Portrait of a Marriage by Daniel Mark Epstein for something a little (or maybe a lot) different. It's another long listen--more than 21 hours, but it sounded interesting and probably wouldn't be something I would pick up to read otherwise. However, I just discovered that Bram Stoker's Dracula is read by a cast of narrators (including Alan Cumming, who I really like), so I've downloaded it as well. I've read the book, but having it read aloud by several different narrators sounds like a fun prospect. Variety is good, right?
What are you reading/listening to this month?