Lonesome Road

An early Miss Silver mystery, Lonesome Road is the story of Miss Rachel Treherne who’s beset by greedy relatives – one of whom wants to hurry her to the grave.  A romantic tale, rather old-fashioned with its women characters being more the fainting type than the spunky type, but I do enjoy Miss Silver’s explanation at the end.   There’s at least one ‘I should have thought of that’ moments and the reasoning is sound.

It may be a while before I post again as I’ve started both The Luminaries and Buddenbrooks.   I couldn’t talk myself out of either one and they’re a combined 1500 pages or so.   Maybe I’ll slip in a mystery or finish up something I started a while ago just so it’s not a full year without a post.  

And there’s this temptress suggesting that November is the perfect time to read The Moonstone.   She could be right.

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The End of the Affair

Once again I’ve spent time trying to think up something to say about a book.  This time The End of the Affair by Graham Greene.  I’ve read several Greene books this year and this one felt very autobiographical — about a writer who has an affair, only it’s not the writer whose Catholic.   In fact, at first no one seems to be Catholic.    And then Sarah becomes Catholic seemingly against her will and one wonders if that’s how it was with Greene.   

Different from other Greene I’ve read.  The Third Man and The Ministry of Fear both more interesting, enjoyable reads, but with almost nothing in the way of characters.   The first I read, Stamboul Train, I hadn’t thought so much of when I first read it, but having read 3 more, the characters in that are his strongest and most diverse.   Also, the most sympathetic overall.   Maurice is so full of hate, acting more often from jealousy than any other motivation, it’s difficult to understand what she saw in him.   And she aside from this weird religious pull has little in the way of a character.   They none of them have any friends or interests.   The men work.   She just hangs around attracting people and calling herself a bitch and a fake for no discernible reason.   

Most of Greene’s characters seem like half characters at best.   Why did that seem to happen after Stamboul Train which had a fair number of well-differentiated characters whose motivations you could generally understand even if they weren’t ones you’d share.   And also I thought it pretty early to be writing about a lesbian woman who boards the train in order to try to hold onto her kept girlfriend who’s tired of playing lesbian and wants to be kept by a man now.   

I’m glad I read all these close enough together to compare and contrast them.    Funny how my opinion of Stamboul Train has undergone a huge change after reading the later works.   So often a writer’s later works are better, but while I think Third Man and Ministry of Fear are much stronger plot-wise, nothing beats Stamboul for characters.   And End of the Affair — well, I’m still not sure what to say about that, except Graham Greene was a strange dude.

Lord Jim

lord-jim

It took me over 5 weeks to read Lord Jim.   Not because it’s so long, it was just difficult to apply myself to it.   It had moments of strong interest, but they’d recede like waves.   I think I would have liked it a lot better if the structure had been, well, anything else.   It starts off with a standard narration and then switches to Marlow telling the story to I’m not sure who, but finishes telling them before the story is over and writes the rest in a letter to an unnamed party.  It’s bizarre.   And you very rarely see any action as it’s happening.   Plus he does that annoying thing of telling you how it all turns out and then telling the story.   Thanks.   Wouldn’t want any suspense or anything.   This has been described as a brilliant innovation.   Harumph.    Tedious is what I call it.

Admittedly taking the standard adventure yarn and turning it into a meditation on character and life is a worthwhile endeavor and you need Marlow or someone to reflect on Jim and his place in the world, but switching to the letters at the end seems pointless.   It also bothered me he never named ‘the girl.’  He seems to admire her character, Jim names her Jewel, but she isn’t called that for the rest of the story and she’s given no other name.

I read this for 1900 in the Century of Books, before realizing 1900 was not part of the 20th century, though the challenge includes it on everyone’s page.  it ought to be 1901 – 2000.   Ah, well, it’s been one of those I always thought I should read and now I can cross it off the list.

It should also count for the European challenge shouldn’t it, since he was Polish?  Though he kind of switched to being a Brit in his 20s, does he still count for Poland for the challenge?  Who knew it would be this complicated?

Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon Hour 19

I did finish Aunt Dimity’s Death and I will take another book with me as I crawl into bed, but I don’t expect to get very far with it 🙂

Aunt Dimity’s Death was a highly romantic and completely improbable, but sweet tale.   I’ll probably read the next one.   This one did not read like the beginning of a series, but I guess if a thing is popular enough, one can usually find a way.

Thanks to the cheerleaders who visited me!  And all the good advice from various blogging readathoners.   I enjoyed it and finished two books, which is a record for me.   Never read so much in me life and it wasn’t hard.   If I didn’t need to be somewhere in 10 hours, I might have kept going although probably at an ever slowing rate!  I’ll try to do it again in April, assuming the rest of you do, too!

Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon Mid-Event Survey

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired?

Not bad, but then, I had a nap.

2) What have you finished reading?

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

3) What is your favorite read so far?

See #2
4) What about your favorite snacks?

I had some roast pork buns from the grocery.   It’s been a long time since I had any.

5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!

Two to check out:

http://couchtomoon.wordpress.com/

http://toofond.wordpress.com/

Probably more from commenters to look into, but I’m trying to keep focused on the reading.   Still reading Aunt Dimity.

Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon Twelfth Hour

Hard to believe it’s almost half over.   It’s been much easier than I expected to spend most of the day reading.   I haven’t done this since probably college and I doubt I read this much on any given day even then.  I’m a slow reader so only 60 pages covered of Aunt Dimity’s Death, but so far I’m enjoying it.   Another fantasy really.   Poor girl meets unrealistically charming lawyers who offer her short-term a bottomless expense account and very nice fee to write the introduction to a book of children’s stories.   (Hope that isn’t giving away too much.)  Aunt Dimity was, as far as she knew, a character in childhood stories her mother told her.   Lori learns that she was a real person who offers this temporary job and has a mystery to solve to boot.  Full of clichés, but well-enough written that I don’t mind.  Beating the pants off Agatha Raisin so far.

Having some hummus while a potato bakes.   I had given myself permission to gorge, but so far have not.   That will probably happen later when I’m bleary in the early morning hours.