I missed my date with Odysseus this past weekend. (I hope I've not angered the gods . . . ). Some weekends (okay most weekends) there is just not enough time to read all the things you want to, and this past weekend was one of them. Though I still must admit I did a lot of reading. I just saved my mythology for last and ran out of time. Next weekend (he's waited centuries for me, what's one more week, right)!
I usually always have at least one library book on the go all the time and I just realized that I haven't got a single one on my night stand. Must rectify that now, I think (I'm still getting back into the swing of my normal reading routine after my vacation). When I was away I only had one or two library books at home, and now the books seem to be reaching towering proportions already. How does that happen so quickly I wonder. (Rhetorical question there. I think we all know how that happens, but it's amazing how they do sneak into the house when my back is turned).
Now in the same breath that I write I ran out of time to read about Odysseus I tell you that I need to choose a new library book. I realize there is no logic in that (or twisted logic anyway), but I am powerless in the presence of good books, and when it's time to start a new one I must just give in and go with the flow. So time to decide. These are some of the highlights and the books that appeal to me most at the moment. A quick rundown of what's in that pile.
Under the Hawthorne Tree by Ai Mi just came in today from ILL. I found this in a circuitous way. I was looking at the Giller Longlist and clicking on the links to read about the books. The links take you out to the publishers's websites and I started browsing and came across this title (or maybe it was a related title that I came across when I was looking to see if Amazon had one of the longlisters--anyway you get the idea). It is translated from Chinese, and I can't recall having read much (hardly none actually) Chinese Literature. "A poignant love story set against the cultural revolution, and a major bestseller in China". This was has heartbreakingly sad written all over it.
I've read many good things about The Forrests by Emily Perkins. "An expansive and ambitious novel, beautifully written, and covering great swathes of emotional territory."
I'm quite tempted to go with Valerio Manfredi's A Winter's Night, which is translated from Italian (or as the book says, "from the Italian"). It's only 350-ish pages, but it's thick and I have to keep in mind I'll be carrying it about (well, with the other books I'm reading . . . I always take three books with me to work every day, so weight is always something of a consideration). Anyway, the story is set during the first half of the 20th century centering on one family but also the many people they encounter.
One lone nonfiction title. Molly Peacock's The Paper Garden gives me hope that there may still be excitement and creative fame in my life. This is a biography of Mary Delany who did not begin her life's work until she was 72! Quite tempting this one, too, but another one on the weighty side. Also I am such a slow nonfiction reader. Not that either of these things should stop me, of course.
Ancient Light by John Banville -- ". . . the story of a life rendered brilliantly vivid: the obsession and selfishness of young love and the terrifying shock of grief. It is a dazzling novel, funny, utterly pleasurable and devastatingly moving in the same moment." Young love--point in book's favor. Shock of grief--point not in its favor. But pleasurable trumps both. Hmm.
There must always be at least one WWI book in my library piles it seems. This time around it's Louisa Young's My Dear I Wanted to Tell You, which I have a small suspicion I borrowed ages ago and returned unread (that would be I ran out of time . . .). "The lives of two very different couples are irrevocably intertwined and forever changed in this stunning WWI epic of love and war."
And then there is sunny Italy. Sigh. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter sounds both funny and romantic with a large cast of characters and. A book about daydreams and the search for a long lost love.
The problem is always the same. I want to read them all. But I must choose one. Any nudges in the direction of a particularly good title? I'll have to do the first page test. Read the first page (or first few) and see which one calls out to me. This is a decision I like.