October is here and fall weather seems to have finally arrived with it. Proper fall weather. The high on Friday is going to not even reach 60F. I don't mind to be honest as I like cool crisp days with leaves crunching underfoot. I am happy to pull out a few sweaters and sweatshirts finally. Cool is good, but the cold can hold off of course.
It's perfect RIP reading weather, so I think I'll be working on my 'ghost stories' for the next few days. I'm past the halfway mark with John Boyne's This House is Haunted, which I like very much so far. I have heard slightly mixed reactions, mostly in regard to the ending, so I am very curious to see how the story turns out. It is easy reading and the narrator is quite engaging. It starts out a little creepy, the sort of creepy where you wonder if this is going to be a story of the supernatural, but as more is revealed, it seems as though the reason for the strangeness is due to something more mundane. Eliza Caine is hired as a governess to two very unusual children. Where are their parents, and why are they the way they are?
I'm just now starting to properly get into Laurie King's The Moor. Mary Russell ranks up there with Maisie Dobbs as a fictional character I most admire and would like to 'meet' (and Amelia Peabody can be added to that list as well, curiously they are all female sleuths . . . hmm). I had never given much thought before to Mary's scholarly work, which concerns Talmudic studies, but I have a burgeoning interest now in Jewish Literature, so that is a fascinating aspect to her character that I will be paying more attention to. As for mood setting, here's a taste of what I've been reading:
"As with any isolated setting, the moor seethes with stories of the supernatural. Unsophisticated minds are apt to see corpse lights or 'jacky-twoads' where the scientist would see swamp gas, and long and lonely nights encourage the mind to wander down paths poorly illuminated by the light of reason. The people firmly believe in ghost dogs and wraiths of the dying, in omen-bearing ravens and standing stones that walk in the dark of the moon. And pixies--the pixies, or pygsies, are everywhere, waiting to lead the unsuspecting traveller astray."
This is perfect stay in bed on a rainy day reading, and to be honest I have today off and it is indeed pouring rain. So guess what I'll be doing this afternoon? My other RIP book is Peter Robinson's Before the Poison, which is very good. I have been juggling the three but I will likely concentrate on finishing one and then moving it back into the rotation. The Robinson is a book that is easy to get lost in and I think I need to try his Inspector Banks novels next. I was hoping to pick up at least one more book from my original RIP reading list, but three novels and a handful of short stories seems pretty respectable so I am trying not to be greedy and actually finish what I have started by month's end!
Aside from trying to keep my new reads under control I have Caroline and Lizzy's annual German Literature Month in November. I have a number of books from last year's reading that I acquired but never got around to that I hope to pick up very soon. As it is just a month of reading I will likely just pick one or two novels at most and perhaps one of my Melville house novellas as there are a number I've received in the last year translated into English from German. Right now I am leaning towards something by Herta Muller or Alex Capus and maybe a novella by Heinrich von Kleist or Swiss writer Benjamin Constant. Of course, ask me tomorrow and I will probably give you an entirely different answer. There is time to mull things over, however.
I've not mentioned the class I am taking, but it continues to be really fascinating! I hope to give a little reading round up midway through. I've just finished Amos Oz's My Michael, which has been called (I'd say the comparison is a loose one) the Israeli Madame Bovary. It was an interesting book, perhaps not what I would call a warm and cozy read, but certainly a thoughtful one that gives the reader much to think about. As a matter of fact it is a book I feel like now that I have read it, talked about it a bit in class (we will continue our discussion next week) and watched the film adaptation, that I could go back and read it properly now.
Next up, and I have just started, is Oz's memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness. This has just been made into a movie. It's a longish book, but so far (and I hate to sound like such a cliché by saying it again) is really fascinating going. We don't have to actually read the whole texts for my class (it is not a straight literature class but is interdiscliplinary with most of the students taking it for History or International Studies credits) as the list is long, but I can't just read excerpts when I have the book in hand. I knew going in that the draw for me was to read the books that looked so interesting when I was ordering them for the library, so I am giving most of my reading attention to my class reading. Up until now I have read very little Hebrew Literature, so I am happy to broaden my horizons.
Much earlier this year I was looking for some books that fall into the category of "Jewish Literature" but not about the Holocaust (and it took me forever to find it, but I found it . . .), and so now I think I will revamp that list of suggestions I received and add my own new finds to it! Part of what I like about keeping a blog is using it as my own little reading resource (though I really need to be much better about using tags).
One more notable--I am finally turning my attention to last month's Literature and War Readalong choice, Louisa Young's My Dear I Wanted to Tell You, which Caroline has just written about. Although I did enjoy the books we read by Pat Barker and Helen Dunmore, they were good reads for me, but not the sort of stand out books that linger on in the mind. I think the Young book is going to be. Even though this is common terrain in terms of subject, there is something about the writing or the characterization that feels fresh to me that makes me want to keep turning pages. I'm not quite sure I can put my finger on just what it is or why, but hopefully by the end of the story I can explain it to you better.
So, where has your reading been taking you? Any really notable books on the go at the moment?