I've been quite enjoying my 1970s reading. It makes for a good change from the usual interwar novels I tend to pick up most often. I've finished several books and have a few more on the go. I am hoping to still read at least two more. I thought I would try and wrap up my summer reading project by the end of August, but if I stick to my ambitious plans still, I might have to let my reading flow over into September (ah, September, doesn't that sound nice? Nice and crisp and cooler . . .).
So far I have been to ca. 1970s (actually the book was written just on the cusp of 1970) London with Deborah Moggach's A Quiet Drink, which was a wonderful social comedy.
I mixed in a little more crime with Laura Wilson's marvelous (marvelously harrowing) Hello, Bunny Alice. I definitely will be reading more of her work and wouldn't mind finding more crime novels set in the 70s (like my recent discovery of Lawrence Block). I don't seem to have tried very hard (looking at that original list) to find mysteries or crime novels set in the 1970s though surely there must be loads of them. Maybe I should dig out that lone P.D. James that made the list! There are a few Ruth Rendell novels published in the 70s.
Talk about disturbing, I finished Judith Rossner's excellent Looking for Mr. Goodbar earlier this month and I plan on writing more about it this week. It is a very impressive character sketch but even a week later and I am still thinking about the story. I saw bits of the film adaptation a very long time ago, so the ending was not a surprise, but it still felt shocking to me. Now I am trying to tack down a copy of the DVD to watch the film and see how book and adaptation compare.
I am in the middle of Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle, which may well end up on my ten best list at the end of the year. I read the novel after college but too much time has passed and it feels like I am discovering it all over again. I had forgotten what a great writer Brown is and how utterly hilarious the story can be. I literally was laughing out loud when I was reading the book at the gym last week. Had I been drinking a soda I am sure I would nearly have choked on it and had it coming up my nose--sorry for being too descriptive there, but somehow I think Molly Bolt, the novel's narrator, would understand. It is a most gulpable book and I have already been looking at what else by her I might and should read. It is an equally heavy subject matter yet Brown handles it all with a deft and light touch--very much suited for the story (just as the Rossner had the right tone, too).
Two books I need to get back to (too many books on the go, not enough time to read all of them--the usual story) are William Boyd's Restless and my July NYRB selection D.G. Compton's The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe. The Boyd straddles several time periods including the 70s, though it was written not too many years back. The Compton was published in 1974.
As for what is waiting in the wings? Along with perhaps finding another crime novel, I have three other very different novels that I would like to read/reread. The first two are novels published in the 1970s: The Backward Shadow by Lynn Reid Banks (a sequel to The L Shaped Room, which I loved), and Jacqueline Susann's Once is Not Enough (which I dug out of my book piles this past weekend!). I love the quote on the back of the book that was given by Library Journal . . . "Spectacularly successful. There are plane crashes, drug orgies, motorcycle accidents, mass rapes, attempted abortions, suicide, evil doctors and assorted other activities; and I couldn't put the damned thing down." Yikes. I'm just curious about the other assorted activities! And evil doctors? Sounds like great fun. A novel that oozes naughtiness. I know it was a bestseller! And I have a great desire to reread Edeet Ravel's Ten Thousand Lovers which is set in 1970s Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It is the first of a trilogy of novels. Ravel was born and raised on an Israeli Kibbutz but now lives in Canada. I have been itching to get back to my Israeli novels for a while now (either by Israeli authors or set there).
So, this is only one of my current 'reading paths' that is keeping me busy. I will have to share my other in progress books as I do have a nice selection (and varied) of really good books right now. Spoiled for choice when it comes to which one to reach for at any given moment. I have a short vacation to looking forward to in just under three weeks. The question, of course, will be which books to come with me? I will likely mostly take in progress books but I think I will very likely treat myself to a new read, too (but I am getting ahead of myself). For now I am just enjoying my literary travels through the 70s.