A few very brief reading notes today as I am thisclose to finishing a book and I want to turn off the computer in order to read. Here in the US we have a long weekend to look forward to and I am counting down the hours (not really, but just about) until it comes. If I can organize myself and get all my 'chores' out of the way I hope to spend Monday very lazily with a book in hand and my feet up relaxing!
Although summer is technically a month away, Memorial Day is sort of the unofficial kick off, so it's time to pull out my Italian crime novels that I so excitedly wrote about last month and start reading. I got a little ahead of myself in April (but anticipation is sometimes half the pleasure, right?). I've had a weird reading year when it comes to crime novels, though last year I had a good run of them. This year seems to be more of a cozy mystery read sort of year, but I think I'm in the right mood to pick up something nice and gritty. I've decided to start with Andrea Camilleri's The Terra-Cotta Dog (looks short and easy), and a book of short stories from an anthology edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Venice Noir (for the gritty part of the equation). I've seen the series of Akashic Noir books, but I had no idea there were so many (Venice Noir was one of my latest library finds). If I like the stories in this anthology I might just start collecting the books.
I've done a bit of shuffling of books on my sidebar in order to add a couple of categories to reflect more or less the books I'm dipping into. I did remove a few in order to make a little room, but they are actually still on my night table, as I do want to finish reading them. I wanted to finish a whole slew of books this month, but I've not been as successful at doing so as I would have liked. And I'm afraid I pretty much threw out the 'not going to start any new books' plan about halfway through the month. Oh well, it's a work in progress.
I've been using my Nook at the gym this past week when I use the elliptical machine. I have this fear of falling off if I can't hold on to the bars, so my Nook has been the perfect solution since it sits easily on the little shelf. I can read and hold on at the same time, and just a quick press flips the pages. I have lots of books on my Nook so it was hard deciding which to read, but in the end Anne Bridge's The Portuguese Escape won out. I enjoyed the first Julia Probyn novel, A Lighthearted Quest, last year and would like to read through the whole series.
She began writing them in the mid-1950s and the last one was published in the early 1970s. The books are political/spy thrillers with a dash of romance thrown in. I really like suspense novels from this period, and as Bridge traveled quite a lot and wrote about the places she lived, the stories have a nice authenticity to them. She was one of my Lost in the Stacks authors, if you want to read more about her. Her settings are always exotic and this time out the story is set in Portugal (of course), and it concerns a young woman who was stuck in Hungary behind the iron curtain while her family was able to escape to the West. She lived in a convent and about a decade later was able to rejoin her mother. This book was published in 1958 so we're still in the thick of the Cold War. My only disappointment is that Julia seems to have such a small role so far in the story, but I'm only a third of the way in, so we'll see how things develop.
One more quick note--I decided on an audio book finally and am now listening to Christopher Priest's The Prestige. Too soon to tell what I think as I have only started listening this week. It is slightly shorter than my last couple of books (about twelve hours), but I wanted something absorbing and with a good reader (in this case it is Simon Vance). It seemed to get high marks from other listeners so I took a chance. I did see the movie, but that was ages ago, so I only have a hazy recollection of it.
Now I'm off to finish my book!