Not quite as many books on the book pile picture this month as I read about four books on my kindle. The downward trajectory in my monthly reading totals continues, which I am trying not to get too fed up about, I think I just have to accept I won’t ever get back to those totals of a few years ago unless I give up everything else in my life including (and probably especially) this blog. My tbr is terrifyingly out of control, I can no longer see much of it – and so one of these days there will have to be a cull. I’m not very good at culls – I always imagine an enormous pile of thirty or forty books being consigned to the bookcrossing boxes – but when it comes to it I wimp out somewhere around seven or eight.
This month has seen me reading a real mix of old and new, as I started out on a pile of review copies and impulse buys from the new Foyles in Birmingham, as well as helping Karen and Simon celebrate the fantastic 1924 club. I began October a little over half way through the seventh Forsyte novel Maid in Waiting, which I enjoyed very much. I am hoping to get to number eight, Flowering Wilderness in the next few weeks. Leadon Hill by Richmal Crompton was something of a surprise, it is a light read – but has rather more about it than I had expected, the character development is particularly strong. The Sans Pareil Mystery, one of my Netgalley books was perfect for a tiring, stressful week, the second in a series I hadn’t read before, but that didn’t stop me enjoying a historical, regency set mystery with good characterisation. Despite its rather slow start, Yeoman’s Hospital by Helen Ashton was a good second hand book shop find, the 1944 novel from the author of Persephone books title Bricks and Mortar. The Classic women’s literature challenge was launched recently by the Classic Club – and I kicked off my reading with A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf’s famous extended essay in six chapters – which I found quite brilliant. My first read for the 1924 club was The Rector’s Daughter by F M Mayor, something of a forgotten classic, I loved it. Seducers in Ecuador, Vita Sackville West’s odd little novella was my second read for the 1924 club, rather different from other things I have read of her’s, it felt a little experimental, but is also strangely memorable. The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien – her first novel in some years, and another read courtesy of Netgalley – was a powerful novel inspired by the events of the siege of Sarajevo in 1992 and the subsequent disappearance of Radovan Karadzic. Unusually for me I went on to read two more brand new novels during the week I spent on holiday in Devon, reviews of these two to come – the fourth Neapolitan novel The Story of the Lost Child – and Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last. Each of these contemporary novels very different to one another – and I did enjoy them – but perhaps three ‘modern’ novels in a row were a bit much for me. As October 31st draws to a close I picked up my large collection of Shirley Jackson stories and essays, which I set aside having not read very much a few weeks ago, and read a few of those, her writing is excellent, and I do need to try and read more of them between books.
My Stand out reads for the month:
A Room of One’s Own, Yeoman’s Hospital and The Rector’s Daughter, old books almost always win for me it seems.
November feels oversubscribed with books already – A collection of feminist essays for a book group, another book group read I am not even sure I can face, some review copies which look great and I really must try to get round to and the next Forsyte book all on the horizon. Sometimes, however I do need to just be able to read according to my mood – so I hope I shall be able to do that. I have a strange yearning toward Persephone books and Jane Austen – but I may not squeeze Jane in this month. I also think I really need to get on with that cull. As always I would love to know what you will be reading during November. Long dark nights = lots of excuses to curl up with books.