Adventures in Reading


October’s Books
October 31, 2007, 1:34 pm
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hal.jpgI confess that I had aspirations of finishing Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera as well as Flannery O’Connor’s Complete Stories before the month was out; however, it’s Halloween and I find myself with a rather busy evening and roughly 300 pages short of my goal. Here is a quick recap of my October reads and those titles in bold are those I definitely recommend:

The Ladies of Grace Adieu & Other Stories by Susanna Clarke (1)
god is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens (1)
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (partial reread 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (1)
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold (new in October 1)
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (reread 1)
Slam
by Nick Hornby (new in October 1, 2)
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (1)
Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (couldn’t stand, couldn’t finish 1)
Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners by Josephine Ross (1)

Unfortunately, this pushes back the two books I had selected to kick off November: Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child. I needed a bit of a break from Austen-palooza because as much as I have enjoyed her I did begin to find her novels somewhat formulaic (something few authors seem to escape). The Fifth Child was an impulse read that I selected today as the author Doris Lessing was the 2007 pulitzer prize winner in literature. I have never read anything by her, and may start my own tradition of reading at least one of the books by the most recent winner.

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9 Comments

Yes, as much as I love Austen, her novels are formulaic and predictable. I seem to know what’s going to happen, who’s going to end up together, etc… It’s hard to find an author who writes completely random, unrelated, and unpredictable novels, i.e. a Western, a romance, a satire. I guess authors just fall into a niche.

Comment by T Y

I entirely agree with you. Part of the reason for my Austen break is that I could go into the next novel with clearer eyes. I barely made it through the end of Mansfield Park as it felt like after a point in the novel – and I seriously felt as if I could go back through the novel and find the exact word where this point occurred – everything was predictable. However, after my break I am definitely looking forward to picking up Northanger Abbey.

Comment by bookchronicle

Did you like “Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners”? I don’t know anyone who’s read it.

Comment by harriets.notebook

harriets.notebook: Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners was an okay, quick, and short read. If you have a few hours to kill read it, but I would not suggest purchasing it. If you are looking for a “guide” book I would definitely suggest Daniel Pool’s What Jane Austen Ate & Charles Dickens Knew first.

If you are interested here is what I originally wrote on the book: https://bookchronicle.wordpress.com/2007/10/04/jane-austens-guide-to-good-manners/

Comment by bookchronicle

I’m looking forward to reading The Neverending Story. I’m waiting for it to come into the library.

Comment by mysebrel

mysebrel: You will not be disappointed!

Comment by bookchronicle

First, I have no idea how you find both the time to read such a number of books AND write daily blog posts. Regarding Jane Austen, I read her books no so much for the plots (which are indeed formulaic) as much for her insights and characters. In fact, I no longer read her books from start to finish, picking a chapter that hits my fancy.

As a blogger I am much more interested in Jane’s milieu, which is so rich in tradition. Coupled with the pressures for change because of the inventions that ushered in the Industrial Revolution, I marvel that Jane’s settings can seem so placid and insular.

In addition to What Charles Dickens Knew… there are some other wonderful source books about the era, including The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England: From 1811-1901 by Kristine Hughes, and London World City: 1800-1840, edited by Celina Fox.

Comment by Ms. Place

Oh, dear, I wish this comment section had spell check. I meant, “not so much…”

Comment by Ms. Place

Ms. Place: As always you are a wealth of knowledge. Thank you for the heads up on the books.

Comment by bookchronicle




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