My 'reading plate' (you will be unsurprised to hear) is pretty full at the moment. I'm hoping to finish a few books this week for readalongs, start a couple of new books for other readalongs and continue making progress in a few others. Pretty much standard fare anymore. I am very good, if only figuratively, at juggling books these days.
On the reading agenda this week? Let's see.
Yesterday was the official kick off to the Mary Stewart Reading Week which coincides with her birthday tomorrow. I'm nearly finished with her 1965 novel Airs Above the Ground, which is set in Austria and has a wonderful suspense-filled story which is in part about the famous Lipizzan stallions of Vienna. I had hoped to read a second novel in honor of the reading week, but I think I will save it for my upcoming vacation. It's nice to have a Mary Stewart novel to look forward to. I just need to decide which one to read.
I think I am actually going to manage to finish reading one of Cornflower's Book Group reads before the actual discussion. I always have so many good intentions, but then falter in the execution. You know how that goes. I've been enjoying Jane Gardam's Crusoe's Daughter, which I read is Gardam's own favorite amongst all her books. Polly Flint is such an interesting and likable character. "Yes, I see" she often says. And I think indeed she does despite having no real education. Her guiding light, so to speak is Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe from which she finds so many universal truths. Good books do that to you, I think.
Cornflower has already picked out October and November's books, Isabel Colegate's The Shooting Party and Sei Shonagon's The Pillow Book, both of which I have on my own TBR piles so hope to join in with each month respectively. Such tempting choices.
I've been quite slowly and steadily reading Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy quietly behind the scenes here. And I think I will actually even be ready at the end of the month to discuss (or more likely follow the discussion online--again behind the scenes) at the end of the month with Dovegreyreader Scribbles. The first reading goal is to finish the first two sections, of which I have a mere fifteen pages to get through. So far, so good, and already keeping on track. Alas this is a year long reading project so fingers crossed I can keep going and keep up.
My reading of Charles Palliser's The Quincunx continues apace. I have just over three hundred pages to go, which seems like a good dent in the original 850 or so when I started. I tend to run hot and cold with the Palliser. I needed a little break from him the last few days, but now it is back to business. I am reading along with Buried in Print who is planning on finishing the book this (RIP) season (so must see just what that entails and how quickly). To be honest I am happy to move it along and finish it sooner than later. It's a book I am enjoying, but . . . You know how it goes sometimes with certain books, right?
As for my new books this week? My latest postal book came in the mail last week. I will be starting it very soon. (If you are curious what it is, you can click on the link--I don't want to give away any details to anyone who will be reading it later). Another bookish book. It seems like a perfect reading pair to the Gardam novel, don't you think? I had not heard of the book before, or have read the author, but I am quite curious about it.
I also have pulled out the next Literature and War Readalong book,There's No Home by Alexander Baron. It sounds as though this is a rediscovered classic and the setting is WWII Sicily. I've read so little about the war from the Italian perspective that I am very much looking forward to this.
I finished Virginia Woolf's Flush last week. I probably won't get to write about it this week, though I hope to very soon. What a life Flush led, kidnapped not just once but three times and held for ransom. The book has a most excellent introductory essay, too. I mentioned that I was going to do a companion read, and have now got Leonard Woolf's The Wise Virgins on my nightstand just waiting to be cracked open and started. Of course Olivia Laing's To the River rounds things off nicely as well--so this might just perhaps turn out to be quite the Virginia Woolf reading month in its own way. There is, however, no rush or deadline on these two books so will continue to read them at my leisure.
My dilemma over which library book to start reading was solved without too much difficulty. In the end I have chosen Hannah Kent's Burial Rites, which just a few chapters in, I think will be just the right fit. I wonder if I can count it as a RIP read? It is a true crime story of sorts (a fictionalized account of a crime that occurred in Iceland).
I'm contemplating a new RIP read but while I'm thinking I have been reading Wilkie Collins's novella, The Haunted Hotel, which will be going back and forth to work with me this week.
I was just thinking how well I have been doing and how amazingly caught up I was feeling. But there is always a book or three that suffers. I'm afraid I have been hugely neglectful of my Melville House novellas and my NYRB Classic. Maybe next week should be devoted entirely to them?
If I could do without that pesky sleeping thing, I just might. Unfortunately some time and attention needs to be spared elsewhere, eh?
Just a few side notes now, reading/book-related, that I came across in my own online reading yesterday:
Thanks to Teresa at Shelf Love for the heads up on the autumn 2014 (boy, does that ever sound so far away, but still it's on the horizon!) release of Sarah Waters's new book (as yet untitled) which is set in 1922! "Vintage Sarah Waters"! However will I be able to wait that long?
Another serendipitous find concerning Virginia Woolf (via the most excellent Blogging Woolf) . . . Virginia Woolf is going to make an appearance on the new season of Downton Abbey! Season four of Downton begins next weekend in the UK. Lucky ducks! All of a sudden I am having strange (not so strange really) desires to start a serious Virginia Woolf reading project . . . (She would be in good company since Anton Chekhov has been much on my mind of late, too. More about all that later, though).
Lots of interesting bookish things going on!
So, what's on your reading plate this week?