I bet you are not going to be surprised to hear that I am a total and complete pushover when it comes to books. And I am very much an equal opportunity booklover--I don't discriminate when it comes to buying books, borrowing books or most importantly, starting new books! Almost always I have a book in hand or close at hand. The idea of being somewhere without a book nearby is a little unnerving to me (what would I do if I had to stand in line or wait for a bus or sit in a doctor's office . . .I could meditate, i guess). I know you won't think that's strange, but I do wonder what most of the rest of the world must think of me when I cross their paths? I mostly live (at least mentally) in my own little happy world enveloped in the coziness of stories--real or imagined or something in between.
I do, however, constantly grapple with the idea of being too much of a book glutton. I mean that in the sense of always searching for just the right story irregardless of the pile of books already in progress on my night table. Surely there is such a thing as too many. Too many books in progress at once, that is. I've been thinking about it a lot lately (because if I am not reading I might well be thinking about books), particularly since this year seems to be all about starting lots of books but finishing them ever so slowly.
Here is my rationalization (as I reach for yet another new book this week). Life is short and I own far more books than I will ever be able to realistically read. I should stop buying and borrowing rightnow, and I still will have too many books (but sheesh, think of all those potentially marvelous stories that I might miss out on--unthinkable). So, really, even though my night table is groaning under the weight of books at the moment (slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean), why limit myself. Maybe it is better to 'taste' as many stories as I like (calorie-free, too) even if I am not finishing as many as I start (the bane of my reading habits).
My life is really untidy right now so why should my reading be any different?
Rationalization here, rationalization.
All this to say that I have started reading Susan Elia MacNeal's Mr. Churchill's Secretary a few days ago and am quite enjoying it. Since starting Lissa Evans's Their Finest (Hour and a Half) I find that I want to immerse myself in the war years again, but WWII in particular. Not that the Evans novel is 'not enough' but that I was thinking how a little espionage and suspense would put a nice spin on things. Hence Maggie Hope. A friend suggested, eons ago, that I try this series as she was sure I would enjoy it. And she was right. If one book is good, two must be better?
Sometimes it isn't necessarily a particular time in history (like the war years) or a particular sort of story (a spy story), but it is a place I wish I could visit or that I wish I was inhabiting right now. So, there is Italy in the form of Natalia Ginzburg's Family Lexicon (which is SO good and you'll have to excuse me as I must finish here quickly so I can go and read a few more pages), and there is Japan in the form of Seicho Matsumoto's psychologically adept A Quiet Place. I have been thinking of doing a mini-themed summer reading project and am torn between books set in or by authors from, first it was Italy and now it is Japan. And how do I decide?
The Baileys list is really appealing to me this year and I like the idea of reading outside my comfort zone, which is why I am trying to read as many of the shortlisted books as I can (and will try and pick up more of the longlisted books over the coming months, too). I will be writing about Ayobami Adebayo's Stay With Me next week, which was really good and what a great find. Maybe this weekend C.E. Morgan's The Sport of Kings will be added to the mix and joining Linda Grant's The Dark Circle.
I've been trying to reading a chapter or so a day of Elizabeth von Arnim's Christopher and Columbus my current Virago. She's pretty delightful generally and the two Anna's (Anna-Rose and her twin sister Anna-Felicitas) are pretty amusing. The story has a feel of 1940s madcap humor to it.
And I have once again picked up with Lata in A Suitable Boy! I think a 'suitable boy' has been found by her mother, but I am not so sure Lata will agree, though the boy (young man really) is open to a potential arrangement.
And on the horizon? I have started looking at books about women Surrealist artists and writers, mostly thanks to and in anticipation of a forthcoming book by Leonora Carrington (and one about her). Do you know her? I have a couple of books on hand and maybe I will share something about her (and a few other women artists) soon.
So, yeah. So many interesting places to spend my time and people to meet. World events that have caught my attention. It's so hard to look away and impossible to ignore them. I do try, but in the end I seem to have just given in. My only dilemma now is which books to tuck into my bookbag each morning.
I am continent hopping right now. Where is your reading taking you these days?