Greenmask

I can’t remember where I read about Jefferson Farjeon, nor if anything besides cheap availability caused me to choose Greenmask as my first Farjeon (and possibly my last.)   Published in 1944, it tells the story of a young man named John who’s going hiking in Wales.   He picked a random town to start from and has no notion of where he’s going, but strangely this does not result in him getting hopelessly lost and dying in the middle of Wales.   Before he can do that he runs into Suspicious Characters.    A mysterious short man tells him there’s no hotel around there.   A quarter of a mile later, there’s an inn, complete with hostile innkeeper who tries to talk him out of staying there by saying they’re full.   But in butts this chick he met on the train and says yes, they do have a room and apparently the innkeeper is then powerless to send John on his way.   Why John won’t take no for an answer, I’m not sure, except there’d be no story.   More suspicious characters act suspiciously and John goes over every incident in his mind after it happens.   Sometimes multiple times.  Yes, we know.   We just read it.   Then he meets a new, unsuspicious character and he tells him everything.   It is very fortunate for John that all the crooks act like crooks and the non-crooks don’t.   Because John has a way of telling people he trusts absolutely everything.   He’s a real dope.

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So, there’s no real mystery about whose committing the crime(s).   For quite a while there’s a mystery about what crimes are being committed, but that gets solved about halfway through.   It takes until the end to figure out the reason for these crimes and it feels like a very long hike indeed.   Why did I read it?  It was in my purse and I’d pull it out and read a few pages when I had to wait somewhere.   Eventually I got far enough in I wanted to finish.   Presumably Mystery in White is better.   I might try that one, but I think maybe I’ll wait a bit.

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The Sadness that is the End of Minithon

It is now 7:04 and the Minithon is over.   It was a good minithon despite my lack of prep, I still managed to be highly distracted and get only a mini amount of reading done.  The Wimbledon Poisoner – about a sad sack English Everyman who gets fed up and decides to poison his wife – starts off well.   It is hard not to eat too many peanut butter pretzel nuggets.  And why is it hard to focus on a book while lazing in a hammock?   I don’t know, but it was very nice out until the rain came.   Read a word.  Stare at a tree.  Read another word.  Wonder why the bird calls are so raucous.  Etc.

Thanks Tika, for hosting and Glynis and Alley for stopping by.  Sadly, for mysterious reasons I can’t seem to comment on most blogs, or I’d comment on yours.  I do read them and enjoy, though.   I hope we all get together for another ‘thon soon.

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Minithon!

And I’m not doing well.  Last time I had bought every mini snack that would fit in a cart.  This time I have mini tater tots and pretzel nuggets with peanut butter.  Yay for a balanced diet.  I’m also late, failed to sign up and don’t know what I’m reading.   Possibly more of Pleasure by the Busload in which a group of friends travels around Portugal in a Microbus (can’t get more mini than that) in 1961.   Or there’s The Wimbledon Poisoner, because poison is a small weapon.  Or I bought the Magicians, but don’t know enough about it to justify minithoning it — can I bring it in based on the mini amount of information I have on it?  Someone said it was like Harry Potter for adults.  At any rate I’m here-ish and hope to get a mini amount of reading in.

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But mostly just read peoples’ tweets and eat pretzel nuggets.

Catching Up (Cold Comfort Farm)

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since the Readathon.  It’s been a busy month, without a lot of reading, but still.  Unfortunately too busy to join in Beowulf readalong, which would’ve been good as I have long meant to read it and it’s so much easier with others.  Worse, I bombed out of the Trollope reading.  I started The Way We Live Now which I enjoyed the beginning of, but only got maybe 100 pages in.  Instead I read The House Without a Key – the first Charlie Chan novel, which is based on a real Chinese/Hawaiian police detective.  This could be my theme for the year:  Chinese detectives based on real people, except I don’t know if there are any more.   Also, tomorrow is the Minithon.   I shouldn’t join in, but I believe I will.   Maybe I’ll make some progress on something.   At least I can eat mini food.   That’s always a plus.

So, I read for the Readathon – Cold Comfort Farm, a book recommended to me a million years ago which has a movie based on it I highly recommend.  It is a parody of the sort of literature I loathe and never read, but you don’t need to read it to get it, I don’t think.   I saw Precious Bane on TV decades ago and that was more than enough.   The book is quite a bit like the movie except for one confusing aspect.   It was published in 1932 and seems to take place in that year until you get to a point where it mentions a television phone.   Out of the blue, a television phone.   Shaking my head I read on until I got to the Anglo-Nicaraguan War of ’46.   This was too confusing.   This made the speaker in question about 90 years old if it was 1846, which I thought it had to be, but no.   CCF is set in the near future although there are only maybe 3 sentences in the entire book which give a clue to that and they make no sense because there was no Anglo-Nicaraguan war of ’46.   But thanks to Wikipedia I learned the book is set in a nebulous future which was really nothing at all like the future and almost exactly like the time in which it was written.

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The thing to do is ignore those few references and just picture them in 1932.   Easy to do as there is no point whatever in having set it in the future and someone should have talked her out of it.   Otherwise, a delightful read in which young Flora, setting out to make her way in the world, decides to live off her relatives.  “Robert Post’s child” which is what she is called by all the residents of Cold Comfort Farm – the Starkadder family – would be a complete fish out of water in this environment except Flora is the sort of fish who changes her environment to suit herself.   Watching her do it is the entertainment of the book and it is highly entertaining as long as you have that sort of sense of humor, which I do.  I might seek out more Stella Gibbons.   I think I have one somewhere.

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There’ve always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm.

Readathon Updates

Hour 1 done.  3 pages read.  Go, me!   Must stop looking at Twitter.  196 new.   That should take up the next hour pretty well.

Hour 2 – 3:  Yellow Wallpaper finished.   Creepy.  Love the end.   I don’t usually read short stories.  I have a tendency toward long, Victorian and pseudo-Victorian novels.   Not the best for a readathon.  Got a mocha and a breakfast sandwich and started the intro to Cold Comfort Farm.    Not making much headway yet.

Hours 4 – 7:  I was able to give up on Twitter when it reached 1100 messages an hour.  I went to read in bed and the inevitable happened so these hours have been part napping/part reading.  Cold Comfort Farm is an ebook and has no pages, which is annoying, but I’m only 11% through it, which is, embarrassingly little progress.   I have a cup of tea and will try to get a bit further.  It is as enjoyable so far as the movie.  I have very little experience of the literature she’s satirizing, except I saw Precious Bane on TV years ago and hated it.

Hours 7 – 13:   Hmm, there was some reading on the couch followed by napping on the bed.   I guess I should’ve signed up for the Napathon.    I’d be at the head of the class in that.    Late posting:

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? Cold Comfort Farm

2. How many books have you read so far?   1 short story and half a book
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?  Just staying awake long enough to finish CCF
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?  If naps are interruptions, yes.   Otherwise, no.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?  How much trouble I’m having staying awake and it’s just the first half!

Hours 14 -15:  Time slips by so easily during a readathon.  That’s always the same.   But this time, it’s not even late and my bed is calling.    Maybe I’m fighting off a bug.   I don’t know.   I’m probably going to go read in bed and you know what will happen then.   I’ll try to report back at some point.   After all, it’s 9 more hours.   I will try to keep reading.

Hours 16 – 23:  I’m back.  I read until 1 AM, then woke again at 5:30.  Not falling back asleep immediately, I read until the cat woke.  So, I’m in at the finish, like that cheating marathoner :D

Hour 24:  Well, it would be great to say I finished Cold Comfort Farm after all my naps and distractions, but I still have a few pages left.   Still, I always enjoy the readathon and all the people around the world reading, too.   Thanks to the hosts!   You did a fantastic job!

 End of Event Meme:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?  17th?   1 AM Eastern time, whatever that is
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?  The short story the Yellow Wallpaper is good and creepy if want to switch things up a bit.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  Nope
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Everything.   Even though the event grows each time, it still works really well.
  5. How many books did you read? 1 short story and 1 novel (I’m rounding up)
  6. What were the names of the books you read? Yellow Wallpaper and Cold Comfort Farm
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?  That’s tough.   Yellow Wallpaper is a really good short story, but Cold Comfort Farm is also excellent.
  8. Which did you enjoy least?  Didn’t read enough for that!
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?   N/A
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  I certainly hope to!  As a reader.   There are a lot of blogs I can’t comment on for mysterious reasons.   Sort of ruin the whole cheering thing.   Plus I read so slow and get so distracted it’s probably better if I try to focus.

Thanks again, everyone!   Hosts and participants, you all make a great event!

24 Hour Readathon!

I’m up, I’m up!  I didn’t get up early enough to get things ready, but I was out of bed by 8, so that’s a start.

Here’s a meme:

Opening Meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Maryland, U.S.A!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Cold Comfort Farm has been on my mental TBR for decades now, so I’ll say that

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Salted chocolate caramels and coffee!   Lots of coffee.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

Not a morning person so you know the readathon is special if I get myself up for it.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

Last October was so beautiful I went on a hike during part of it.  That doesn’t look likely today.  Also, I signed up for the Readalong of The Yellow Wallpaper.

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Villette – The End

And I have two words to say to Charlotte Bronte.  “Ya bastard!”  I realize Charlotte is Lucy and vice versa and Lucy can’t do anything nice without immediately pulling a one eighty and being horrible, but the final set up where she makes M. Paul give Lucy the most thoughtful gift in the world and give her a hope of happiness only to dash it all to pieces was utterly uncalled for.  I realize that if you’ve lost your whole family, you might think happiness is impossible — I had the same feeling about Hobbes – just because your best friend died does not make the whole world shit.   Do not inflict your pain on the world and call it Truth.    And you morons who like happy endings can pretend he got home just fine.  No.  I can’t.  Because you told me he didn’t.

So, I finished this last night, but too late to write about it and I agree with everyone how great Ginevra is and how if we can’t have a real ghost nun, that explanation was a hoot.  The drugged out fete was a great scene, though i don’t know why the usually observant M. Paul didn’t spot Lucy when the bookseller knew her and Ginevra knew her as she drove by in a carriage and Lucy was close enough to them to hear what they said.   It seems like Lucy got out of there just in time.  After they start drugging you, the next step is an asylum.  Not quite sure how Lucy managed to run a school when all she knows is English, but maybe she was right and the French didn’t care whether their girls learned anything.

This is not Ginevra, but it totally could be:

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So, as others have also said, I’m glad I’m done reading it, but I enjoyed the heck out of this readalong and could not have plodded through some of it without you all.  Quite amazing this book has so little web presence when nearly 35K people rated it on Goodreads (which definitely makes me feel less special), but most of what I’m finding now is GIFs from readalong posts.  Thanks to Alice, the Reading Rambo, for hosting, and my fellow readers for being entertaining and insightful.  I would read almost anything with you guys, but I hope it’s The Monk next.

Phinnea's Book Blog List

Idle thoughts on books and movies. Some new, but mostly old.

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