Okay. It's time to get serious. (How often do I say this?). I have decided I am entirely too fickle when it comes to my reading. The sad thing is I know it. I will make a new resolution today and then tomorrow break it. But somehow posting about my resolutions (however small and loosely adhered to) makes me feel like either I am shaming myself into following them more closely or at least trying to hold myself just a little bit accountable. Does that sound silly? This will be a small resolution and then I'll go from there.
The rule of four. My resolution is not to be such a book grazer (okay, so I know it really doesn't matter--I'm the only one paying attention, right?) and stick to just a few books a week in order to make a little real progress. It's not even that I worry about making progress, since it's not about quantity but quality. No, it's more a matter of my not sticking with books, giving them a proper chance, especially when what I am reading is so good. Must stop thinking about the next book and think about this (whatever I have in hand) book!
Four books is pretty generous still, though, don't you think? This week's reading then.
Book one. Ian Mortimer's The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England. See yesterday's post. This is a book that really deserves steady and constant attention. Now that I have been reading it for the last few days I have settled back into it and am quite enjoying learning about the world in the 16th century. Yesterday's reading included lots about women in Elizabethan England (marriage sounds like it might have been awful, but then the alternative might not have been much better), religious beliefs and some surprising things about Christopher Marlowe and Machiavelli. I am going to have lots to share when I am finished I suspect.
Book two. Fickle, fickle, fickle. This is where my wandering mind comes in. Long books. Why can't I focus and keep my attention on them. I haven't been able to for the last cople of years (after doing so well with long book projects). I wanted to read Charles Palliser's The Quincunx. I started it, was quite enjoying it, but I want something to happen. There is lots and lots of detail and Palliser strings the reader along but I need something sort of shocking or surprising or something that really engages me. Or maybe I just need to spend a few days with some uninterrupted reading time with the book to get drawn back in again with the story. I am actually reading this along with Buried in Print (who I think is much better at focusing on her reading projects than I am), and this is what is saving the book for me. I might otherwise quietly set the book aside and hope that everyone just sort of forgets I mentioned it. But reading along with someone means talking about it along the way and giving a gentle nudge (no pressures of course) when those moments of weakness arise. I wanted to read it, so I am going to stick with it. And I'm already a fourth of the way through (nearly 800 pages).
If I can't stick it out then it does not bode well for any other long books I have in mind for later this year (ahem, A Suitable Boy? . . . or any other of a number of long books I have been thinking about).
Three. Children of the New World by Assia Djebar. This is for Caroline's Literature and War Readalong. I finally started reading it properly yesterday. It is going to be my gym book. It appears to be a series of interlinked stories and I think I am going to like it very much. At least I found myself very engaged from the first few pages and am now into the third chapter. More about this one later.
Four. This one is not only really good, but it serves two purposes. The Radiant City by Canadian author Lauren B. Davis is set in Paris (kills two birds with one stone--Canadian Book Challenge and Paris in July).
To keep it simple and meet a reachable goal I am just going to try and stick with these four books through the weekend and then I'll let you know how it goes. No distractions, please.
Books on the horizon. It's okay to think about other books and plan for them, but my problem is always that I abandon other books in pursuit of the new. So, while I'm reading the Four, there are a few others I have to look forward to (later).
If you are curious about my postal book (we just started a new round so the first books were recently mailed out), you can see what it is here. It's a curious little book and I am very intrigued by it. I'm not entirely sure even if it is fiction or nonfiction. I am looking forward to starting it soon.
I read an interesting review of Daphne du Maurier and Her Sisters by Jane Dunn in this week's TLS. I've read a biography of Daphne as well as a number of her books and lots of her short stories. She really fascinates me, but I know nothing about her sisters. I'm not entirely sure they would be as interesting as she is, but I wouldn't mind getting my hands on the biography. As yet it has not been published in the US.
Did you know the next big thing in crime fiction is French crime novels? I'm not surprised and will be looking for the books mentioned in the article (though I did read Death from the Woods by Brigitte Aubert years ago--maybe for once I am ahead of the curve?).
Did you see the Booker Longlist? I've not read any of them but a few look really interesting so I'll have to add a few of the titles to my wishlist (rather, get in line for them at the library).
Always so many books just around the corner, aren't there?