Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bookstores, Blurbs, Beginnings

I was at a bookstore and saw these "If You Lived..." books. If you lived in Colonial times... or if you lived back when Martin Luther King was still alive. Makes you think.

I finished all of the books I was reading sort of all at once. It felt that way. Now I started 3 new books, Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, and An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. I'm finding less time to read, I'm on the road more, so I was smart enough to get all three books on Kindle where I can keep them all in one place. (In the past weeks I was carrying a lot of books around, or it felt like I was, I would forget I left Stargazey in the car, and would hike someplace and have to read something else, and I was worried about losing or damaging a library book since all the ones I checked out were in pristine condition.)

I found two more novels at the thrift shop: The Concrete Pillow a mystery by Ronald Tierney and Coast to Coast by Frederic Raphael ... and I almost passed on Coast to Coast until I saw a blurb on the back:

"Bleakly enjoyable, and filled with some really terrifically hateful conversations." ~ The Guardian

You don't see that kind of blurb everyday.

Once I got the book home I saw that the the author also wrote some screenplays and this book is sort of a companion to his 1967 dialogue for the Audrey Hepburn film "Two for the Road" - a film I like a lot. I haven't started on this novel yet. I can juggle many books, but not too comfortably if I start them all at the same time.

It's weird enough to be at the beginning of 3 books, without starting 2 more. I usually stagger things so this doesn't happen. Summer slows me way down too, lots of activity and pleasant distractions. Winter is my prime reading time.
One of the reasons I started the blog was I noticed I was reading a lot less last summer. I'm glad for the Virtual Book Club, too.


R.L. Bourges said...

I'll be back for a slower read but "terrifically hateful conversation" sounds like a hoot!

Merle Sneed said...

I wish I made more time for reading.

R.L. Bourges said...

That's a fascinating trio to be starting at the same time.

Just read The Guardian review on Mr Pip. Sounds excellent. Looking forward to your comments about it and McCall Smith's book, too. Never read that Alcott, either. We were read Little Women when I was small but as it was supposed to 'teach us' to be better people, my mind tended to wander to more amusing things.

Adding The Concrete Pillow and Coast to Coast would be a bit much. Although it could make for some interesting contrasts. I don't know: imagine the woman in Coast to Coast reading excerpts of the Alcott book to her husband, in between bouts of 'hateful conversation'. No? Could be funny (the Raphael storyline sounds a bit like a Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf played out in a car.)

Deborah Godin said...

Nice haul you got last time out. Do pass along any especially juicy hateful tidbits you come across...


tut-tut said...

Bleakly enjoyable; yes, I can relate. I love the Virtual Book Club. I would not have seen/read many of the books in just the brief period it's been up and running.

Megan said...

Old Fashioned Girl is okay, but Eight Cousins & Rose in Bloom are better. Just my opinion...

And that is one of the best blurbs I've read in a long while!

I've got three books going at the moment, myself. One for the porch, one for going to bed, one for weekends when I can really stop and concentrate. It works out.

You didn't have to, but thanks for changing the comment format. On posts like this it is so much nicer to be able to refer to the original post as I go along my blathering way.


Barbara said...

I still can't figure out how you read multiple books at once! Don't you have an urge to finish one before starting another. You must be a very fast reader to whip through so many pages!

e said...

I would go for that bleakly interesting blurb, too. I had Mr. Pip, but it has turned up missing, strangely enough. I had to buy it as the library did not offer it here. I think you are extraordinary to be able to read so much at one. My limit is two.

Ronda Laveen said...

Seems I have always read multiples, though I agree that, it is easier to keep them straight when the starting is staggered. After the first 100 pages or so, each book becomes its own entity.

Avid Reader said...

Trying to catch up on reading other blogs too.

Megan said...

Tell me about it.

My Classic Fiction Book List -Partial List

  • Austen, Jane: (Complete Works)
  • Balzac: Cousin Bette/ Eugenie Grandet / Cousin Pons
  • Best Russian Short Stories
  • Boyle, TC: Short Works
  • Brennan, Maeve : Short Works, 1 Novella
  • Bronte, Emily, Ann, Jane (Complete Works)
  • Brookner, Anita ( Complete Works)
  • Cather, Willa (Complete Works)
  • Chekov: Short Works
  • David Copperfield (Dickens)
  • Dickens:A Tale of Two Cities
  • Dickens:Great Expectations
  • Dickens:Nicholas Nickelby
  • Dickens:Our Mutual Friend
  • Dickens:The Old Curiosity Shop
  • Doyle, Roddy (some novels, memoir)
  • Drabble, Margaret (4 Novels)
  • Drieser, Theodore (Complete Works)
  • Fitzgerald, F.Scott (Most Novels & short works)
  • Hardy, Thomas (Complete Works)
  • Hemingway, Short stories
  • Hemingway: The Old Man in the Sea
  • Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises
  • Hugo: Les Miserables/Hunchback Of ND
  • James, Henry: Daisy Miller
  • James, Henry: In The Cage
  • James, Henry: Portrait of a Lady
  • James, Henry: The Golden Bowl
  • James, Henry: What Maisy Knew
  • James, Henry: Wings of a Dove
  • James, Henry:The Ambassadors
  • James, Henry; The Bostonians
  • Kerouac: Dharma Bums
  • Kerouac: On The Road
  • Kerouac: The Subterraneans
  • Kerouac: Tristessa
  • Lardner,Ring:Short Works
  • Larsen: Quicksand
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Arrowsmith
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Free Air
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Main Street
  • Lewis, Sinclair: The Job
  • MacGill, Patrick (Complete works)
  • Mackin, Walter (novels)
  • Maupassant: Short Works, novels
  • McGahern, John (novels of)
  • McNulty, John (Short Works)
  • Norris, Frank: McTeague
  • O'Brien, Edna (3 Novels)
  • O'Donnell, Paeder : Novels of
  • O. Henry
  • Potok, Chaim (4 novels/1 non fiction)
  • Salinger, JD : Nine Stories
  • Salinger: Franny & Zooey
  • Salinger: Raise High the Roofbeams
  • Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Dodsworth
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Elmer Gantry
  • Sinclair, Upton: King Coal
  • Sinclair, Upton: The Jungle
  • Steinbeck, John: Sweet Thursday
  • Steinbeck: Winter of our Discontent
  • Steinbeck: Cannery Row
  • Steinbeck: East of Eden
  • Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
  • Theroux, Paul (3 Novels )
  • Toibin, Colm: (Novels of)
  • Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
  • Tolstoy: Short Works
  • Turgenev (2 novels)
  • Twain: T Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi
  • Vonnegut: Early Works (1950s-60s)
  • Wharton, Edith: Novels of/Short Stories
  • Women & Fiction (Edit. Cahill)
  • Zola, Emile ( 10 novels)