Just miscellaneous reading notes today--in no particular order. After the really lovely autumn-like teaser we've had for the last few weeks, summer has decided it is not after all finished, so it is warm and toasty where I live. I can never concentrate too hard on hot and humid days!
I am hoping, however, to spend the rest of the week catching up on 'proper' bookish posts. I never feel as though I am really finished with a book until I have written something about it, though there are a few that have fallen through the cracks and too much time has passed for me to corral my thoughts successfully, so they are going to have to remain there (in between the cracks that is). Maybe I'll do some sort of wrap up post a bit later.
After my mystery and crime binge I had this summer, especially reading so many short stories, I was inspired to begin a subscription to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. I'm anxiously awaiting arrival of my first issue and do hope I get that September/October double issue. I subscribe to far too many magazines, but sometimes they are so cheap it feels as though they are practically giving them away. And I do like finding something interesting in my mailbox (aside from bills, which are not at all interesting).
My trip to San Francisco is now seven weeks and a day away. Not that I'm counting or anything. I have already mentally packed and am even working on a list of potential books to take with me. I guess it's too early to be thinking of reading material (or is it?), but part of the excitement of a vacation is the anticipation and planning that goes into it, right? The list changes weekly of course, but at the moment possible contenders include something by Mary Stewart (last year I read This Rough Magic when I was in San Francisco), something by Lisa Unger (I have never read her work but her books seem like perfect vacation/plane reads--pure thrillers/suspense stories), maybe a mystery (today's menu includes Georges Simenon, Andrea Camilleri or Liza Marklund--though the more I think of these books the more I want to read one of them now . . . ), or maybe a short classic (that one might be overly optimistic, but you never know). I hope to only take two or maybe three books with me--one for the plane there, one for the plane back and one for while I am there. And then I will probably buy a book or two when I am there, too . . .
Of course with September just around the corner I am already contemplating two months worth of RIP reading. I hope once again to read a combination of short stories and a novel or two. I've got a short list going as well (nothing like planning ahead), so the wisest thing would be to try and incorporate this list with my vacation reads list. But, we'll see. (Having two lists means I can be really, really greedy with new books).
I finished reading the last stories in the Persephone collection and will write about them this weekend. Now the fun part--choosing a new collection to concentrate on. Really I should be just getting together a pool of anthologies to draw from for my ghost story reading, but I do want to continue on with my regular short story reading as well. At the moment I have Infinite Riches Classic Stories by Twentieth-Century Women Writers edited by Lynn Knight and A Bunch of Fives by Helen Simpson in mind. Not sure what I'll pick next however (maybe something entirely different even), as I have a healthy collection of short story collections and anthologies to choose from.
I brought home from the library a copy of Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries. It looks really good and I was pleased to see a positive review of it in the TLS (I often lament the fact that reviewers can be so harsh on new books). But these remarks are very positive (am happy to note).
"Seeing afresh is the dilemma for any writer of historical fiction--working out how to play at pastiche without turning into another camp follower. The problem is perhaps unsolvable, but Catton's response to the challenge is ingenious."
"Catton makes use of the storytelling repertoire, from the circling patterns of sea and ghost stories to conventions of the nineteenth-century novel (sharing particularly the twinned personalities and identity confusion of Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White, as well as the names of two of its main characters). It is a work of huge ambition."
I'm ready to crack it open now, but it is a rather massive book and hardcover on top of that. Another chunky book to carry around with me. So, to read now or not to read (as in wait for the paperback)?
And that gives me the perfect opening to my next question. I am experiencing an overwhelming desire to pick up a good, juicy historical novel. Not quite sure what sort of story, but not anything set in the 21st, 20th and maybe even 19th centuries. Preferably paperback. Maybe something by Sarah Dunant set in Italy or a book set in Revolutionary-era France? Something even with an older/much earlier setting? I could go with something easy by Georgette Heyer. I need to think about it and peruse my shelves--and that's going to mean a stack of possibilities. There is always The Luminaries sitting there close at hand (what's one more big book?). Have you read a really good historical fiction novel lately? Suggestions (as always) welcome.
I was going to end with a few notes on what I am actually reading now, but this post has gotten too long, so if tomorrow is as warm as today, maybe I'll fill you in then on my current reads. We'll see how much energy I have!