It’s a long time since I talked about what I have been reading.
That’s because I haven’t been having a very happy literary experience over the past few months.
So I don’t have any real recommendations to make, not even “Avoid this book at all costs!” It’s all just been a bit low-key.
However… I think there’s value in the dissection.
So what have I been reading?
After The Night Circus, I decided to read the entire Dance to the Music of Time series. That link is just to Volume One, Spring. Invitation to roll on the floor laughing at me: I managed about 100 pages of Volume One before I decided I had to just stop. Tracey Thorn may well be planning to write her PhD about this literary edifice, but I am not she and I failed to make headway. I can’t quite explain my problem with it. I floundered after the initial scenes of a chubby boy running through the fog. Will he become a spy in later life? Maybe. But that suggests an emerging plot and I am not convinced it is the sort of series to have an actual plot. Do I care about the characters? Probably not. Sorry.
Then I tried Great House. I had some moments of connection with the characters, but mostly I was trying to fathom the identity of each narrative voice and piece it all together in my head, and I failed. I read the whole thing but it took me far too long. Two failures one after the other!
So I went for an easy read and demolished Starting Now, which was, you know, friendly enough, if irritating. I wanted it to be more about knitting. I found the main character profoundly annoying – if she was such a hot shot lawyer, surely she had the intelligence to think of doing freelance work without waiting for a man to tell her? No wonder she lost her job if she was that dim-witted! Ahem. A pleasant enough interlude, but don’t buy a copy.
I had great hopes for Just Kids by Patti Smith. I thought it was going to be all about Robert Mapplethorpe, but really it was about Patti Smith. I lasted about 30 pages before I lost patience. I wanted to like her, but her drug-addled self-absorption was too much for me. Just no.
The Vegan Baker looks promising, but I have been trying to eat more healthily so cake is not top of my agenda. Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day is immensely inspiring but depends on access to squeakily-fresh fruit and veg and artisan bread. Yes, I know I used to make my own bread and grow my own vegetables. But these days I mostly buy “reduced” items at M&S and stock up on tinned staples at Lidl. Shiny farm-fresh produce? Hard to find in these parts, even though I live on a farm. Oh dear. Wake up, Roo!
Have you any reading recommendations? Extra points for likeable characters!