Thursday, July 2, 2015

July: Go Away, I'm Reading; June wrap up

This month I'm looking forward to finally getting a start on my summer reading plans.  What? Summer started toward the end of June? You mean I'm late to the party?

By my own calculations, by June 30th I should have at least been through the first two novels on my summer stack: The Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith and Wait Until Spring, Bandini by John Fante. And then there's the very eagerly-awaited Flood of Fire that I couldn't wait to read. But no. Somewhere along the line  I developed a near-fatal bout of the dreaded readus interruptus -- meaning my books are still sitting here waiting to be read. So July is all about me. Join this group read? No!  Read this ARC? No!  Can you...No!  Would you be willing to ... No!  Can I tempt you with a copy of ... No!  Sorry -- it's me,me,me this month. Only me.

Now that that's out of my system, here's how my June shaped up.

One of my favorite books this month was the only nonfiction book I managed to get through, Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film, by Glenn Kurtz. To be honest, the title is a little unwieldy, but what's between the covers of this book is definitely beyond anything I'd imagined. Moving on into the crime zone, I had only enough time for two new books,  Crystal Nights, by Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen and author Adam Bane's debut novel, Acqua Morta; the remainder of my mystery-reading time I devoted to my ongoing survey of obscure women crime/mystery writers with The Sleepless Men (1959) by E.H. Nisot and The Will and the Deed (1935), by Dorothy Ogburn.   I had even less time for the creepies, only managing to get through Ueda Akinari's Tales of Moonlight and Rain, and Aickman's Heirs (edited by Simon Strantzas)  although I forced myself to make time for posting about three Valancourt Books novels I'd read in May:  Benighted, by J.B. Priestley, The Moorstone Sickness, by Bernard Taylor and Philip Lorraine's  Day of the Arrow.  And where I really fell down was in my survey of early American fiction: I actually finished two on my list, The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne (which I loved) and Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself, by Robert Montgomery Bird, which I haven't yet written about.  That one was just plain odd, but more later. A more contemporary selection I actually managed to finish was The Festival of Insignificance, by Milan Kundera, but what really stopped the wheels of my summer reading plans from turning was a reread of Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, a massive behemoth of a novel coming in at 641 pages.  That one I'd intended to read at my  leisure, but forces beyond my control pretty much determined otherwise.  I won't go into it here, but some people really ought to learn the meaning of the word obligation. 

--- the other stuff
  • the book group read The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey at our last  meeting until the end of September. By and large people seemed to enjoy it, but I do have to say that one of our group members was way more focused on trying to derive meaning from character names (?) than on sorting through tonypandy. 
  • Since I've got my reading plan in my head, I bought very few books this month thinking that if I don't buy many, I'll be less tempted to veer off my plotted course. 
  • currently reading:  David Mark's Taking Pity (Blue Rider Press); when that's done I am FINALLY going to open page one of The Price of Salt.  It's about time.  

c'est tout, except for this: the word of the month is NO!


  1. Good luck with your reading. "NO" is a terrific word, two letters and it says a lot.
    I'm tempted to not pay bills or do tasks, just sit in a/c and read.

    I was off-reading, then was on a roll for June, but then slacked off at the end, due to "obligations," but have been happily ensconced reading English writer, Eva Dolan's second book, which is reality based about ultra-right politicians and thugs in England who target immigrants. It's very well said.

    1. One big thing I've discovered is that the lure of free books just isn't worth it in the long run. Saying yes to them means I push back reading the books I've bought that I really wanted to get to.

  2. No one really knows what appeals to you in reading but you. So, you have to prioritize what you prefer and will enjoy.
    A reader-friend told me that the older we get, the more we should just read what we like and just get rid of what we don't like, that our reading time is too precious to waste.


Say what you will, but at least try to be nice about it.