No sooner do I mention that I have been on a reading streak when it starts to slow down. I finished the amazing Station Eleven and didn’t know what to move on to. Thankfully not a full reading slump. Seems like a small blip given that I found two more books pretty quickly to get me back on track. The slight difficulty for me was not a lack of good books to read, but the opposite. Not only have I purchased tons of old and new books but I have also started using the library again.
Recently on Goodreads, Carol Ann asked me if I was a fast reader because she couldn’t figure out how I could read so much. Compared to some bloggers I am a sloth, but here are my secrets to reading a lot.
FACTS OF LIFE
1. I don’t have kids
2. I do read fairly quickly. At least compared to audio book narrators, I probably read at least 50% faster than they do.
3. I listen to audio books on my commute which is at least five hours a week.
4. I read at lunch.
5. I always have a book with me.
6. Sometimes I even read for 15 to 30 minutes in the morning before leaving for work.
APPROACH TO READING CHOICES
7. I’ve gotten really good about setting aside books that I don’t like.
8. I generally don’t let other people tell me what to read.
9. Lots of variety (or not!) depending on my mood.
SHELF THIRTEEN: 32 books, 16 unread, 16 read, 50% completed
Jenkins, Elizabeth – The Tortoise and the Hare (completed)
One of those odd cases of a man leaving a glamorous younger woman for a tweedy, age-appropriate one. When I wrote about this four years ago, I likened this story to the Charles/Diana/Camilla triangle. Really enjoyed this one. Quintessentially Virago.
Jenkins, Herbert – Patricia Brent, Spinster (completed)
This is what I wrote about this one in 2013: “This one comes close to Miss Buncle status for me. An absolutely delightful idea for a book that reminded me in a tiny way of the George Glass episode of The Brady Bunch where Jan is tired of everyone thinking she is a lonely loser so she makes up a boyfriend. That is exactly what Patricia Brent does, except it is 1918 London, not 1970s California. And like Frank Baker’s Miss Hargreaves, Patricia’s lie becomes real–although without the supernatural elements of the Baker–and many complications ensue. This out of print (I think) gem has Persephone written all over it. If you find a copy snap it up. I was lucky enough to get mine from British expat Roz who some of you know.”
Jesse, E. Tennyson – The Lacquer Lady
Jones, Sadie – Fallout
Joyce, James – Dubliners
I read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and really disliked it. In general I have written off the impenetrable Joyce and have no intention of ever trying again. Except for this one. During the Art of the Novella challenge that I attempted a few Augusts ago, I read The Dead, which is a part of Dubliners. I loved The Dead and so think it may be possible I will like the rest of the book.
Joyce, Rachel – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (completed)
I just read this one recently and really loved it. Attempted the sequel and had the opposite reaction, didn’t even finish it–an example of not slowing myself down with books I am not enjoying.
Just, Ward – The Congressman who Loved Flaubert (completed)
Just, Ward – Honor, Power, Riches, Fame and the Love of Women (completed)
Just, Ward – Lowell Limpett and Two Stories (completed)
Just, Ward – A Family Trust (completed)
Just, Ward – Forgetfulness
Just, Ward – Echo House (completed)
Just, Ward – The Translator (completed)
Just, Ward – The Weather in Berlin (completed)
Just, Ward – Twenty-one Selected Stories
Just, Ward – American Romantic
Just, Ward – Rodin’s Debutante
Just, Ward – Exiles in the Garden (completed)
Just, Ward – An Unfinished Season (completed)
Just, Ward – The Translator (completed)
As you can see, I like Ward Just. I had never heard of him until I read Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust. A former reporter for the Washington Post, Just writes really great fiction about politics and government–but you don’t have to be interested in those things to like his books. Many are set in Washington, at least one about Chicago politics, and a few written in conflict zones, or in the milieu of American embassies abroad. Not all of the are perfect, but he really is a superb writer. In addition to these, there are at least three more that I have read: Jack Gance, In the City of Fear, and The American Ambassador.
Kaye-Smith, Sheila – Joanna Godden
Keane, Molly – Devoted Ladies
Kennedy, Margaret – Lucy Carmichael
Kennedy, Margaret – The Feast
Kennedy, Margaret – Troy Chimneys
Kennedy, Margaret – The Ladies of Lyndon (completed)
I really, really liked The Ladies of Lyndon so I am not sure why I haven’t read any of the other Kennedy’s I own.
Keyes, Frances Parkinson – Joy Street
Keyes, Frances Parkinson – Also the Hills
Keyes, Frances Parkinson – The Letter from Spain
I am assuming I am going to love Keyes when I get around to reading her.
King, Lily – Euphoria
Koch, Herman – The Dinner (completed)
Koch, Herman – Summer House with Swimming Pool (completed)
I love these two books so much I am willing to overlook some serious implausibilities in both. I love how Koch explores how seemingly upstanding people can be evil.
NEXT TIME: Lanchester to Lewis