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Hollinghurst is one of those writers I have been thinking about reading for a while but haven't got around to it because as you say something else always got in line ahead of it and the moment was lost.
As I am slightly over-committed right now, a search through my bookshelves for a specific book having produced not the book I wanted but about a dozen others that I NEED to read in the near future, I think I will wait and see how you get on with it!

Don't feel bad about a book waiting for four years to be read - I recently read Stephen King's On Writing (excellent by the way)which had been on my shelves for 14 years before I finally got around to it and I know full well that it wouldn't be too hard to find books I have had, unread, for more than two decades! Shameful I know but I have always acquired books far faster than I can read them and even now it is a habit I find very hard to break!


Isn't it funny how a book can just SIT on your shelves for years, and then, out of the blue, you just start reading it and wonder why it took you so long? It's so nice to know that others have had that experience! I think there's just some inner time clock going on, that subconsciously tells you when you're ready for a particular book.

My experience with Hollinghurst was almost identical to that of your previous commenter: for years and years (he made my radar when "The Line of Beauty" made the Booker long list) he was one of those novelists I meant to read. I never got around to him, however, until the publication of "The Stranger's Child;" one of my big projects that year was reading the Booker long list, which happened to include this novel. To my surprise, I enjoyed it enormously! So much so, I ended up with copies of pretty much all of Hollinghurst's novels! And--guess how many additional ones I've read? Nada! (so many books, so little time. I just know, however, that one day I'll simply pick up "The Line of Beauty" or "The Swimming Pool Library" and won't be able to put it down .......)


Technically I should not be picking up any other books either, but oh well, it was calling and I just couldn't resist. However, I seem to be pulling more books out (the Edgar Award nominees were just announced and I have a few of them on my shelves....), but I will just leave them next to my bed for now! It is very dangerous to go into my bookroom looking for a book as the search for one book always nets two or three others and so it is a constant back and forth of bringing books up to my bedroom, creating too many book piles and then the reshuffle of putting them back (though some always end up hanging around). Had I not been on vacation on Monday and leisurely sitting in bed with my books I wouldn't have done it, but I am glad I did as I am very much enjoying the story so far and am curious where it all will lead. And he is a very good writer, too! Every book has its day (hopefully, right?!). And I have looked at that Stephen King book--at those book lists in the back. Haven't read it yet, though! ;) I am still acquiring books too quickly...


Timing is everything, isn't it?! This is why I am so very loathe to get rid of books unless I have read them and really think I won't want to return to it later. I think you are right and there is some sort of inner clock that just goes off eventually and you pick up a book and if you are lucky it is just the right book at the right time, which I think will be the case with the Hollinghurst. I am just the same as you--I like a book and then must have all the works by an author (especially bad with mysteries). I am a total 'collector'!! Anyway, so glad you liked The Stranger's Child and so far I am very much enjoying it too! So glad that I finally picked it up.


This is going to be one of those books that leaves you wondering what took you so long to get around to reading it, isn't it?


Ah yes those book lists at the back of On Writing.... so many books to investigate if only I had the time!
I was quite pleased to find that I could already tick off a few but there were so many where I hadn't heard of the author, never mind the actual book and I had no idea whether or not they would be my cup of tea or not.One day I will just have to sit down with the list and the library's online catalogue and see what I can have a look at without it actually costing me anything because I can't really afford any speculative purchases at the moment.


Yes, I think it is. Am very much enjoying it so far. I know we talked about reading it together, so I hope you don't mind that I totally jumped the gun on it. It was just calling to me. If you want to jump in at any point--please do! I suspect it will take me a while to get through!


I checked this book out once for the sole reason of printing off those lists! I wonder what I did with them. They are always so interesting to look at, but I am not sure if I ended up checking any of them out. It isn't as if I am really in need of more reading lists, but I can never help myself!


The lists are an irresistible temptation aren't they - sort of measuring your reading against someone else's and seeing where you could do better or if there is something that you might have missed.
In my case loads although at least Stephen King's list isn't full of all those classics that I know I should have read to claim to be even halfway literate!
My pet hate are those people who claim to re-read certain classic novels every year when I haven't even read them once, though that is probably down to my laziness - wanting to read for enjoyment and not have to work at it!


No worries! I suspect I will not be able to jump in as books I didn't expect from the library for another few weeks are starting to show up!


I can be a really slow reader you know.... ;) However, this means we can pick something else to read together! Maybe there are some old NYRBs lurking on your night table (that I will also have and still need to read). Or something else entirely. Just let me know!



I remember his list being much more varied. And I do that to myself, too. Of late I choose far more comfort reads (easy and entertaining and not terribly demanding books) over more 'literary' books. Then I will look at my sidebar and see what I have been reading over the course of the year and sort of be disappointed in myself for always opting for the easy books--especially when comparing to other readers who always seem to be reading really highbrow contemporary fiction. I pick lots of just published books but none of them are likely to end up on the Booker list, if you know what I mean. I inwardly berate myself--why do I do this? As if my choices aren't quite 'good enough'?! I am far happier reading those page turners most of the time! But I never fail to compare myself (and then feel like I am 'lacking'). But I know when I get into bed tonight and pick up my Katharine McMahon reread I will be very contented with the story! Now I would never call her lowbrow by any means, but you know what I mean....

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