Thursday, November 08, 2007

Not Much New This Week

What an unsatisfying week of reading. I finally settled on something, but only after abandoning five other things. They are all too boring to mention.

The something that I settled on was this: The Clothes They Stood Up In and The Lady in the Van, two novellas by Alan Bennett, collected into one volume. I have finished The Clothes They Stood Up In, which was very enjoyable, albeit a bit more existential than my usual fare. It was funny, though, in a Bald Soprano kind of way. I am leaving The Lady in the Van for a few days but will read it soon, as the book is due back at the library before too long.

The high point of the reading week was receiving the Persephone Biannually, a print literary magazine published by Persephone Books which goes out free to subscribers. It contains a great short story by Kate Walbert, who wrote The Gardens of Kyoto. The Persephone Biannually put me in mind of Persephone Books (as it is designed to do; they thoughtfully include a full catalog in the mailing) and I ordered up a few more, some from the university library (free), and some others from Persephone directly (to pay for). The one I got first (library) is The Victorian Chaise-longue by Marghanita Laski. I started it last night, and have mixed feelings about it right now, but I think it’s going to get better.

I was telling my friend Anne about Persephone Books the other day, and she was reminded of another line of reprints from Arrow Books, an imprint of Random House UK that she discovered when she was in England this summer. These folks have reprinted 57 Georgette Heyer titles, each featuring great covers (here, here, and my personal Heyer favorite, here) and with introductions by luminaries such as Margaret Drabble. These books seem to be unavailable in the U.S., but Anne is going to lend me her copies, and there’s always amazon.co.uk.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear you say that you abandoned several books before finding one worth reading. I sometimes go through phases of doing the same thing and, though I've trained myself not to feel guilt, it never feels quite right. (Or I'll read 90% of a book and skim read the last 10% because it just wasn't working for me.)

Becky said...

Oh anonymous, life is too short to read unsatisfying books. I think, in the end, letting yourself feel free to abandon a book actually leads to braver reading. That, and being a library patron. I bring home stacks and stacks of all kinds of books every week. I have discovered so many great authors this way. Because I feel no guilt over abandoning a book, and because I've not spent any money on it (and thus have no financial investment), I feel completely free to try whatever I want.

Susan B. said...

People have been recommending Georgette Heyer to me for ages; I really have to try a few of her books. I'm assuming she's doing Regency England stuff, but it far better than most "Austen Lite" imitaters.

Becky said...

Susan, yes, Heyer is far far superior to the modern Austen imitators. Yes, it is Regency stuff, and because she wrote so many, they do start to feel a little bit similar by the time you read several, but other than that, she is delightful. The writing is wonderful: subtle, witty, and intelligent. Nothing like the badly written stuff that has been foisted on us recently.

Felicia J. said...

Arrow books, to my delight, is also reissuing several of Jean Plaidy's historical novels. I have one of the Georgette Heyer's on its way to me from another PaperbackSwap member.

My favorite site for purchasing books from the UK is Book Depository. They have several U.S. warehouses and do not charge for shipping! The books typically arrive in 7-10 days.

aloi said...

hello! i've added you to the BookBlogBlog (bookblogblog.blogspot.com) ... hope you don't mind!

Becky said...

Felicia, I loved Jean Plaidy when I was a young girl. I think I read all of her books. I will take a look at the Book Depository site; thanks for the recommendation.

H.A. Page said...

My mother is on her 92nd book this week. What a role model. I abandon books, too.

Sassy Lucy said...

Wonderful to know I am not the only one to abandon a book...last one for me was Lisey's Story by King.

Question would you blogroll my blog http://bookwormsballroom.blogspot.com/
I have your's blogrolled, thanks.

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