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Wednesday Read and Run

A minimal Reading Wednesday for my minimal Internet connection. Maybe I'll catch up next week? We'll see!

What I've Finished Reading

Scenes from Provincial Life:

At this time my deepest feelings crowded round two activities -- one was writing books, the other making love to Myrtle. I thought she made it only too clear that she did not care at all for the first. I would gladly have thrashed her for it. Unfortunately, thrashing your young woman does not make her admire you more as a novelist.

Alas, no! This was a likable book about realistically selfish people in their twenties. I enjoyed watching everyone quietly tie themselves into knots trying to make themselves each other's lodestars and getting bewildered and hurt when it didn't work. I think I'll have more to say about it next week, or sometime (or so I keep saying).

I loved Guards! Guards! and will definitely have more to say about it soon.

What I Gave Up On with Some Regret

I took To Say Nothing of the Dog back to the library without finishing it. I liked the premise of a badly-run time travel department accidentally time-dislocating a cat and the promise of a a lot of Jerome K. Jerome homages, but a hundred pages in, it still wasn't really knitting together and had been feeling a little labored for a while. I don't know if that's accurate, or if it's just suffering by comparison to Guards! Guards!, which is incredibly quick and very funny.

It's also the second book in a series, I think? So possibly I would have a better sense of the narrator and his setting (a future where cats are extinct?) if I'd read the earlier book. But the earlier book is a very long story about time-traveling through the Black Death and I didn't want to read that; I wanted to read a funny book about boats. I'll try again later (how much later, I'm not sure).

What I'm Reading Now

The Disenchanted by Bud Schulberg, a story about Fictional Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood. It's too undisguised even to qualify as a roman a clef, and too early to tell whether this will make me angry or sad, or both. So far, besides having a different name, the most important difference between Original Scott Fitzgerald and Fictional Scott Fitzgerald is that the latter's book titles are much, much worse.

What I Plan to Read Next

99 Novels has two multi-volume sets for me in 1951, A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell and A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight by Henry Williamson -- plus more C. P. Snow. Why so many multi-volume sets, Burgess?


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 1st, 2016 02:24 pm (UTC)
In high school one of my friends adored Connie Willis's work, and I really tried to get into it - I read To Say Nothing of the Dog and some of the others - but none of them ever clicked for me. I guess my sense of humor and Willis's just don't mesh.

All three of those novel sets are so long, too! Clearly Burgess was being misleading when he named his book 99 novels.
Jun. 5th, 2016 11:37 pm (UTC)
SO LONG. To be fair to Burgess, 99 Novels wasn't designed as a list of books to read all at once, but as an account of Burgess' own favorites. Still!
Jun. 1st, 2016 03:48 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're enjoying 'Guards..' being one of the people who recced it to you.

I think Burgess is cheating!
Jun. 5th, 2016 11:42 pm (UTC)
Burgess is definitely cheating!

Jun. 1st, 2016 04:33 pm (UTC)
I loved Guards! Guards! and will definitely have more to say about it soon.

Yay! Also: that's an unfair cliffhanger!
Jun. 5th, 2016 11:45 pm (UTC)
"having something to say" may just = summarizing the plot and quoting some lines, though, so don't anticipate too much! I did like it a lot though and will probably take several sentences to reiterate this.
Jun. 2nd, 2016 01:18 am (UTC)
Jun. 5th, 2016 11:45 pm (UTC)
Jun. 2nd, 2016 10:11 am (UTC)
To Say Nothing... is set in the same universe as a number of other Willis novels, ie the time travel department, but you don't have to have read the others to get it. They're pretty much stand alone. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy it; I loved it, myself, and the humour was a sudden surprise after the rather more serious Doomsday Book. I am a great fan of this author, so I hope you'll find another of her books you'll like better.
Jun. 5th, 2016 11:49 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I'd even say I didn't enjoy it, it just didn't grab me hard enough to overcome the general muddle of my work week (busy and distracted). Some things need more focus, or a different kind of focus, than others. I'll give Connie Willis another try under better circumstances!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


blase ev

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