Sorry I’ve not been around to give you the dish on what I’m reading. This may be because what I’m actually finishing is kind of meh. Also I think this is the Readathon and I’m missing it because of Distractions. I wanted to join the 1938 Club and so started Nausea, but didn’t get far. I started Night and Day for Woolfalong, but keep reading other things instead. I think these are all my sins to date.
Anyhoo, I’ll do what lots of bloggers do to catch up: mini-reviews.
Back when we were reading Hamilton, I picked up from a book exchange Burning Down George Orwell’s House by Andrew Ervin. I read it a few pages at a time while waiting for other things, so maybe not the fairest reading. On the other hand, it never really kept me reading. I was ungripped. It’s the story of a not-as-young-as-he-used-to-be man who gets fed up with his job in advertising, his marriage ends and he decides to fly to the ends of the earth when he learns the house Orwell wrote 1984 is for rent. This is true – it exists, it’s extremely isolated on a barely populated Scottish isle, and you could rent it yourself. I trust the people are nicer than they are in the book. The hostility Ray encounters is one of the less believable aspects of the book along with the werewolf, his ability to survive that hostility and the tremendous amount of scotch he pours down his throat. It’s supposed to be darkly comic, but I guess it’s not really my sense of humor. Still, a great title.
I love this cover even though you can hardly tell what it is. And I enjoyed this book although the plot got a bit convoluted and the chapters on coding a bit much. The second book with Harriet Vane — two years have passed and she still hasn’t learned what a great guy Wimsey is. She starts to catch on though as she discovers the body of a professional dance partner from a seaside hotel on a rock while hiking. She’s a bit cold-blooded about the publicity, I think, but Wimsey joins her and they investigate together by day and dance by night. The plot comes to involve wealthy widows, gentlemen farmers, cryptography, and Russian nobility, as I said, a bit too complicated, but still, a very good book. Probably my favorite Sayers so far.
Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia of the Florentine Carabinieri is the detective listed on the cover and this is the first of the mysteries supposedly starring him, but he’s in bed with the flu most of the time. It’s Christmas time in Florence and an Englishman has been shot. Carabiniere Bacci decides not to wake the Marshal, but investigate for himself. He is subsequently joined by two men from Scotland Yard and the Marshal’s boss. She uses titles instead of last names so in some conversations I found it hard to know who was speaking. This is not a great mystery. It’s closer to a shaggy dog story. The characters are pretty good, but the plot… after much investigation by Bacci and the Yard, the Marshal recovers and ends the mystery in an abrupt finale that is basically uninteresting. It was her first, so maybe they get better. Just not sure if I want to try.
So, there you have most of it. Hopefully I won’t wait another month (or longer) to post again. For those who are readathoning – have fun! Hopefully I’ll join back in in October!