Saturday, February 28, 2009

Books I have read in February

I was going to count how many cups of tea and pints of beer I had in February, like Diamond Geezer, but firstly, that would have been a bit derivative, and secondly, I lost count.

But I can, just about, keep track of my reading matter, and if I volunteer to share it with the world, that will help me to steer clear of the most egregious tripe when I'm in the library. This doesn't include work reading; only what might loosely be called pleasure, or more accurately, killing time. Most train journeys (an hour and a half each way to work, although I really should try to do more work on the train, especially as I now have my new toy); and on the sofa of an evening when my brain's too exhausted to read anything that actually requires thinking.

My usual strategy is to go into the paperback section of the local library, which is not large (hardbacks are not so convenient for lugging around) and select one volume from each section of shelf. Not quite randomly, because I'll put it back if it looks too awful; chick lit, magic realism or mediaeval monastery. This is supplemented by the odd book I buy at the station (if I've forgotten or finished the library book), find lying around, or, rarely, go out of my way to buy.

So, in February I read:

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The dangers of adultery, debt and arsenic in nineteenth century rural France. But mostly debt.

Journeys of the Swan by John Liley
A deliberate purchase, this, and will tell you more anon. Very good though.

Bread upon the Waters by David Blagrove
A re-read for reasons that may become apparent but probably won't.

The Portrait by Iain Pears
Painter takes his murderous revenge on critic, all in the second person. Not quite unreadable.

The Hours of the Night by Sue Gee
Surprisingly good sparsely told tale of various unrequited loves, spoiled by glib wrapping up on the final page.

Two Caravans by Marina Lewycka
That difficult second novel. Frothy comedy of human trafficking and factory farming featuring a dog that thinks in English.

Under the Net by Iris Murdoch
Slightly surreal but strangely engaging fifties period piece, with a really good dog.

Out of my Depth by Emily Barr
Disappointing. Maybe I got her mixed up with someone else.

Pause Between Acts by Mavis Cheek
Formulaic and superficial. But Simon Hoggart likes her, so I keep trying.

The Lucky Ones by Rachel Cusk
Minutiae of women's lives, but in a different league from the last two. Beautifully observed detail.

The Inimitable Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
Delightful. Though I suspect if you read the whole oeuvre from end to end it might become a trifle repetitive.

Buried by Mark Billingham
Police detective race against time sort of thing. I'm always on the lookout for new authors in this genre - this one's OK.

All the Colours of Darkness by Peter Robinson
Newly out in paperback, the latest case for DCI Alan Banks. One of my favourite series. I'm still reading this one, but it's looking good.

1 comment:

Alan said...

OMG what a lot of books. I do like your reading list. One of the pluses of coming onto the canal has been having more time for reading and I have a long list of books waiting to be read.
Alan
Lazy Days