Well, I’m glad that’s over.
It seemed like a good idea at the time – nominate the books you want to read for a three month period and then read ’em. But although I managed to read 10 books from the nominated 30, there were great chunks of wasted time in between books as I tried to decide what to read next and rejected most I picked up. It got to the point where nothing interested me – weeks went by with nothing read. I think the rot set in after Penelope Fitzgerald’s mess-of-a-book, Human Voices, which I didn’t finish – a short, 143 page book that I was unable to finish. But perhaps more on that later.
This is what I did manage to read:
1. One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes
2. The Magician King by Lev Grossman
3. Franklin & Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley
4. Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan
5. The Flight of the Maidens by Jane Gardam
6. Human Voices by Penelope Fitzgerald (DNF)
7. The Lucky Ones by Rachel Cusk
8. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier
9. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
10. A Sensible Life by Mary Wesley
In the last two weeks of the challenge after a couple of weeks of non-reading, I thought I should at least give it a bit of a go so marched through Tim Powers’ The Anubis Gates, and wafted through Mary Wesley’s A Sensible Life. The latter was not a high point – for both Mary Wesley and me – but, again, perhaps more on that later.
If I’m honest, however, and why wouldn’t I be, my forced reading helped me to discover that Jane Gardam’s novel The Flight of the Maidens is a wonder, and that Rachel Cusk is a genius – the evidence before me is her book The Lucky Ones. Hazel Rowley’s Eleanor & Roosevelt was brilliant and inspiring and Daphne du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek an entertaining romp. Tim Powers seems like a very nice man if his friendly and entertaining characters are anything to go by.
Would I do this challenge again? Maybe, but I’d nominate the whole of my unread books so I’d hundreds to choose from. Though knowing my reading is whim- or fancy-driven, I probably wouldn’t be able to find anything to read amongst that lot either.