Cynthis Harrod-Eagles, Eowyn Ivey, Erin Morgenstern, Harriet Lane, Jonathan Coe, not doing housework, Patrick Gale, the ironing mountan
Can you ever read too many good books? It’s not even the end of February and this year’s reading list so far has already got enough brilliant reads for a Best Of 2013. It’s making me nervous, fate doesn’t allow you to continue having such good fortune and I dread to think what dross is in store for me in the coming months.
I’m an impatient reader and because I’ve got a serious book buying habit there’s always more to read on my overflowing shelves so I freely abandon books if I find them boring. So far this year there hasn’t been a single book I’ve felt like giving up (now that’s tempting fate, big time). The least enjoyable book of this year was a book club read, The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim by Jonathan Coe, which was superbly written but somehow didn’t engage me, though it was still interesting. I kicked off January with the wonderful The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, dazzlingly imaginative and so good that I immediately sent it on to my daughter in Le Mans because I knew she’d adore it too. Then there was one of Elaine Simpson-Long of Random Jottings ‘s recommendations, the Bill Slider books by Cynthia Harrod Eagles, sly, witty detective stories. Even better there are twelve of them. That was followed by Harriet Lane’s Alys Always, which is called a thriller on the cover, I wouldn’t necessarily agree but it’s a superbly assured book, concise, utterly readable, don’t want to put it down book.
I finally got my hands on Magnificent Obsession, another of Elaine’s favourite books and she’s right, it’s first class biography; that was followed by Waiting for Sunrise which isn’t William’s Boyd’s best book in my opinion, but considering that his bar is set at Any Human Heart that’s hardly a damning criticism. WFS is far, far better than most of the books that I read In 2012. There was also Eowyn Ivey’s magical and enchanting The Snow Child and just when I was convinced my run of superb books must come to an end I picked up one of my charity shop finds, When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman. Quite a few reviewers didn’t like this book, found it too whimsical and thought she’d included too many elements – which is true in a way but I still absolutely loved it. It’s laugh out loud funny in places (and I rarely find books that amusing) and the sheer energy of her writing is fantastic. Definitely one to watch.
The list goes on; I always love Susan Hill’s Simon Serraillier books and The Betrayal Of Trust didn’t disappoint, Curtis Sittenfield’s American Wife, another charity shop find, loosely based on Laura Bush was a great read even if I didn’t enjoy the last section much, and I was only only a few pages into our February book club read, Rough Music by Patrick Gale, before I was thinking, Why the hell haven’t I read this author before? As soon as I’d finished I started looking up his backlist.
See why I’m worried this can’t go on? It’s a good thing that I’ve got Dalmatians who need walking for an hour a day otherwise the combination of all this lolling around reading and putting in heavy duty writing time too means I’d shortly not be able to fit on the sofa. Of course, something’s had to give – the housework. I’ve been conducting an interesting experiment to see how long I can leave things before the other members of the household crack. As far as the dusting is concerned, it looks like never; however the daughter couldn’t take regularly passing an ironing pile that was rapidly approaching Everest like proportions and did the lot. Twice.
Since then it’s grown again, and I suppose I shouldn’t really expect her to do it all again. The only thing is I’ve just started another of Elaine’s recommendations, The Coroner by MR Hall and it’s an absolute cracker…
Helen Devries said:
Goodness, yes! Sounds all too familiar….
We have recently had two large deliveries so the usual plan of sending the books once read to the other house hasn’t quite worked….and having visitors next week means that I really must put down a book and take up a duster.
Still, they will be bringing more books….
I have to admit that the threat of visitors is sometimes the only things thaat makesd me reach for the duster – unless I’m reading something really bad for the book club when strangely enough I’m motivated to polish everything.
Claire 'Word by Word' said:
What a joyful winter reading binge you are having, I’m off to the library to get Any Human Heart soon, it was recommended to me by someone for whom it’s an all-time favourite and one they reread and I have not yet had the pleasure!
For me it’s the washing needs folding pile that is mounting up, can no longer ignore it and no one else seems to have those skills around here 🙂
Funny how some people lack certain skills. In this house it’s the ability to move glasses off the draining board to their cupboard which involves stretching an arm about 60 cm.
I hope you’ll enjoy Any Human Heart as much as I did.
Annabel (gaskella) said:
You have had a great start to your reading year! I have the Boyd and Winman books on my shelves where they have languished for far too long. Like you, I’m allergic to housework when there’s a good book on the go.
To be absolutely honest it isn’t only having a decent book that makes me find better things to do than housework…
Sheila (Book Journey) said:
I love it when you read great book after great book.. but yeah it makes you nervous…. I always think “am I becoming a book snob?” LOL
So far the one I’ve just started is looking really good so it seems, crossed fingers, as if my luck is holding!
I’ve read some brilliant books this year so far too, mostly thrillers but some psychological and philosophical literature too.
My boys would not move a muscle however bad the house got, until my eldest wanted to invite friends over, and then he would clear up a bit. I have to ask them. If I ask, it gets done as long as there’s no time pressure…
Yes, mine will clear up if it’s their friends coming over, they don’t give a toss if it’s ours even if its their mess.
Love the first picture! That is so me. Always buying new books when I already have way too many at home.
I’ve got a full unread bookcase and I’m havering about ordering two more…
Mine is all over the place! 😉