Spring and Summer

I thought to myself the other day ‘It’s almost June.  Isn’t that Once Upon a Time time?’  It is.   Only two months late.   But as Carl makes this easy with a category you only need one book in I’m going to sign up this late.   It goes until June 21st, so if you’re interested in fairy tale, mythology, folklore, fantasy…  and can read a book by the 21st, sign up!   It has lovely art, too!

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I am signing up for The Journey as I like to make things easy.  One book.   That’s it.  I can always do more if I have the time.

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I may not have time because I’ve decided I really need to refocus on reading.  I’ve read like 13 things this year, which is pathetic.  So, I’m stepping it up, but not too much with the 10 Books of Summer challenge.   Cathy of https://746books.com/ is doing 20 Books of Summer, but I’m a slow reader and have not been very focused this year, plus I have a terrible time sticking to a list.   I’ve tried to make the list fun enough that I h

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Dead Wake – Erik Larson: author of Devil in the White City

Kim – Rudyard Kipling:  having failed to read the Buddenbrooks for 1901, I thought I should try this instead

Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens

A Hoarse Half-Human Cheer – X.J. Kennedy

Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont – Elizabeth Taylor

Murder Must Advertise – Dorothy L. Sayers

Magicians – Lev Grossman

Desert Queen – Janet Wallach: saw the movie and wanted to know more about Gertrude Bell

Virginia Woolf – Hermione Lee:  Woolfing Along July-Aug book

and a player to be named later.   I had worked out 10, but realized one was already started which I guess would be cheating.  I think it better be something light as I have two history, a biography and two classics which may or may not be too much for a 3 month period.   There are bloggers out there who read that monthly or so it seems, but I am not one of them.  Then again, there are people who read less than this all year.  But ‘comparisons are odorous’ and that way lies madness.   If I must pick a 10th, I’ll update soon!

 

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Monday or Tuesday, Or Woolfing Along After All

Hello, Friends, by which I mean strangers I may or may not sort of know in a way through their writings on teh interwebs.   And maybe that’s a purer way of knowing people.   I wonder what Woolf would have made of it — she who writes a story in which someone invents a whole back story for a woman on a train only to have it shattered when reality proves to be other than she imagined.   I am, once more, or really for the first time, #Woolfalong-ing rather than Woolfingalongafter.   Perhaps I’ll even go back to Night and Day and take another stab at it.  For the May-June phase, we were to read a book of short stories.   I chose Monday or Tuesday because it was one she published during her lifetime with her husband on the Hogarth Press.   If you had one of those first thousand copies, you had a book not merely written by the author, but published by her as well.   As it turns out, it is very short.   I read it in two days.  Which may be how I like my experimental fiction.

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Strange to think just the year before Agatha Christie published her first mystery.   Two very different writers.  Woolf is almost entirely observation in these stories.  In fact, calling them stories seems incorrect.  The aforementioned woman on the train — who is just a daydream.  A narrator wondering about a mark on the wall.  These come closest to being stories, which is not very close.  Then you have observations.  Acute ones.  Details by the hundred.  It’s like looking through a kaleidoscope or a fly’s eye and trying to make sense of it.  They say our brain filters out much unnecessary information which enables us to get on with our day.  This reads like a mind without those filters — overwhelming detail.  Detail which adds up to nothing.  With the exception of A Society which follows a group of young women as they investigate how men have run the world while they’ve been busy populating it.   They seem to conclude that no, by and large men have not done a very good job and yet the investigation has exhausted and irked them to the point of simply throwing in the towel.  Can’t say I blame them.  Trying to change the world is hard work with a deeply uncertain outcome.   The story is entertaining and frustrating simultaneously, but it’s definitely a story which makes it oddly out of place in Monday or Tuesday.