Defeat! Ignominy!

I will eventually triumph over James Joyce, at least to the extent of having read Ulysses and by read I mean my eyes have gone over every word at least once.   I do not vouch for my comprehension of said words nor my ability to say anything worthwhile about it.   When I finish, which will be soonish, but not this year as there’s just too many hours left of the reading and not enough hours left of the year unless I ignore my friends, family and work and do nothing but read, which I have not been able to get myself to do all year.   So, here we are.   2018 nearly over and only 3 classics added to my list.   I started a fair number, all oddly related to The Odyssey, including The Odyssey, but bogged down, got distracted, probably could have read them all if not for Mr. Obfuscationist Joyce who sometimes clear as a bell and easy to understand falls back into murk and mire.   Finding myself reading the same passage over and over only sometimes clarifying and then thinking just read it once and go on, and get it over with as you’ll never understand it all anyway.   640 pages and not small pages but I will carry on into the new year and finish the damned thing.

BTCC Berlin Books

So, while I have failed Back to the Classics 2018, I am signing up for Back to the Classics 2019 as I will finish James Augustine Aloysius Joyce and have no plans to read Finnegan’s Wake and despite questioning whether any of this classical reading matters a bit, I have not convinced myself that it doesn’t so, onward!

I don’t know what I’ll read, but possibly Mansfield Park, Lucky Jim, Metamorphosis.   I would give Count of Monte Cristo another shot, but I don’t think I want to reread what I’ve already read.   That’s the trouble with these within-a-year challenges.  I know it’s the only way to run them, but I don’t want to restart any of the ones I already started and yet I want to finish them.   Maybe I should start a challenge like that.   Finishing stuff you started a while ago.

I had a copy of Naguib Mahfouz somewhere.   We’ll see.   If I’m not back before tomorrow midnight — Happy New Year!


The Moving Toyshop

Sorry it’s been a hundred years since I wrote.  Very little reading has happened in the past few weeks.  A while back I finished The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin, the third Gervase Fen mystery. Quite fun, though not a great mystery.  There’s a lot to enjoy here.  A poet named Richard Cadogan decides he needs a vacation.   He hounds his publisher into giving him an advance and heads off to Oxford.  After a rather unorthodox trip he finds himself walking into town in the middle of the night and coming upon a toyshop which for insufficient reasons he enters and discovers a body.  He’s then knocked out by a mystery person and when he wakes hours later and returns to the shop with the police, it has transformed into a grocery.  Cadogan is friends with Fen who is a professor at Oxford.  Together they investigate a ridiculously convoluted murder, but have some very entertaining scenes along the way.   They play literary games while tied up in a closet, there’s a lunatic chase by drunken undergrads following a very amusing tea, a plucky heroine, an eccentric rich lady, and, of course, a moving toyshop.   None of it should be taken seriously.

Crispin sounds like an interesting guy.  In addition to the Gervase Fen novels he was a composer.

From Wikipedia: Gareth Roberts has stated that the tone of his Doctor Who novel The Well-Mannered War was modelled upon Crispin’s style. He also remarks (of The Moving Toyshop) that “It’s more like Doctor Who than Doctor Who.”

And yes, I’d have to agree.   Perhaps I’d insert ‘almost.’   I was quite proud of myself for the bit that I did figure out.   Unfortunately, it was only incidental and not the solution.


I’m hoping to finish up some things before the end of the year.   Unfortunately they are long classic things and so this month will probably end up with very little in the way of reviews.    Wish me luck!