It will be a bit before I get to the shelf with Somerset Maugham but as I write this post I have the film adaptation of The Painted Veil on in the background. I read the book years ago and have seen the film before. I think both are pretty brilliant. The story is a little insane. It would make a wonderful opera I think. So much tragedy and star-crossed love. It is rife with musical opportunities. I picture both Kitty’s husband and her lover as baritones, Mr. Waddington is a tenor for sure. Doesn’t leave much room for any soaring tenor arias, but they don’t always have to be the stars. Kitty is a soprano of course, and then there are choruses of nuns and Chinese peasants and soldiers. It would be perfect.
Up to now, although I have really enjoyed doing shelf by shelf, I feel like I have only talked about books and authors that I always talk about. I know this isn’t entirely true, but with this shelf, I am really excited. Part of it is the variety and part of it is that there are so many books here that I really love.
SHELF EIGHT: 34 books, 18 unread, 16 read, 47% completed
Dinesen, Isak – Anecdotes of Destiny and Ehrengard
Dinesen, Isak – Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass
One of my favorite movies of all time is the adaptation of Dinesen’s short story Babette’s Feast. I’ve seen the film more times than I can count but I have yet to read the story. I also haven’t quite gotten through Out of Africa either. Or did I finish it? That’s not a good sign.
Drabble, Margaret – The Pure Gold Baby (completed)
Drabble, Margaret – The Realms of Gold
Drabble, Margaret – A Natural Curiosity
Drabble, Margaret – The Sea Lady
Drabble, Margaret – The Needle’s Eye (completed)
Drabble, Margaret – The Waterfall (completed)
Drabble, Margaret – The Radiant Way (completed)
Drabble, Margaret – The Millstone (completed)
Drabble, Margaret – A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman
Drabble, Margaret – The Seven Sisters (completed)
Drabble, Margaret – The Red Queen
Another example of my shelves not telling the whole story. In addition to the ones noted here, I have read four more. Although I tend to like all of her novels I really, I mean really, loved The Pure Gold Baby and to a slightly lesser degree The Seven Sisters. I need to reread the latter to see how I feel about it since reading the former.
Duplechan, Larry – Blackbird (completed)
A wonderful, funny, romantic coming of age tale. Growing up black and gay in the 1980s.
Duffy, Maureen – That’s How It Was
Dumas, Alexandre – Louse de la Valliere
Durrell, Lawrence – Justine (completed)
Durrell, Lawrence – Clea (completed)
Durrell, Lawrence – Mountolive (completed)
Durrell, Lawrence – Balthazar (completed)
Durrell, Lawrence – Prospero’s Cell
The first four of these titles make up Durrell’s vaunted Alexandria Quartet which counts for one of the Modern Library’s Top 100 Novels of the 20th century. I really need to read them again. They aren’t the easiest to follow but I loved how atmospheric and poetic they are.
Eaves, Will – The Absent Therapist
Edwards, Dorothy – Rhapsody (completed)
Eden, Emily – The Semi-Attached Couple and The Semi-Detached House
Eldershaw, M. Barnard – Tomorrow & Tomorrow & Tomorrow
Eliot, George – Silas Marner
Eliot, George – Middlemarch
I somewhat enjoyed The Mill on the Floss but keep getting stuck on Middlemarch, which, by most accounts is one of the greatest English novels of all time. I’m hoping an audio version will help me get over the hump.
Elliott, Sumner Locke – Careful, He Might Hear You
Espach, Alison – The Adults
Fearing, Kenneth – The Big Clock (completed)
This NYRB Classic is a wonderful mid-century whodunit. No, it’s actually a we know whodunit but wonder if the innocent guy is going to get framed for it. Love this book.
Ferris, Joshua – Then We Came to the End (completed)
Ferris, Joshua – The Unnamed (completed)
I really loved Then We Came to the End. Many didn’t, in part because of it being written in the first person plural. It has my favorite opening line of all time: “We were fractious and overpaid”. I liked The Unnamed, but much less then TWCTTE. His third book rubbed me the wrong way and I didn’t even finish it.
Findlater, Jane & Mary – Crossriggs
Findley, Timothy – Pilgrim (completed)
Much more of him on the next shelf. Stay tuned.
NEXT TIME: Findley to Gale