Sunday, 23 February 2014

Famine or feast


Ten points if you can say where you've seen this picture before...

Firstly, I should say - I haven't written a book and my thesis isn't being published (not yet, anyway), so those guesses to my cryptic post the other day have made me think it'll be a bit of an anticlimax when it's revealed!  Well, it's different anyway.

Secondly - I'm having a bit of a lucky streak with my reading at the moment.  Some gems I'll be talking about in a while, including the Tove Jansson biography I mentioned recently.  What an interesting and creative woman!  I'm also loving the reissued Shirley Jackson novels (thanks Penguin) and a novel published in 2014 (gasp) by one of the few modern authors whose work interests me a lot.

Do you find that it's famine or feast with reading?  Earlier in the year, I had about eight books on the go and wasn't hugely enjoying any of them - none were bad enough to give up, but none were exciting me.  At the moment, I'm haring to get back to most of the books I'm reading.  Is it a coincidence?  Am I sometimes simply more receptive to the good qualities lurking in books - or does one good book lead to another?

Sometimes I'm asked (by people who read one book at a time) how I manage to read several at once.  Well, I usually want to combine many types of book (and will confess to confusion recently, when reading two novels with introspective teenage girl heroines) - and at the moment I'm definitely feeling the absence of a 1930s domestic novel in the mix.  So I'm going to grab one off the shelf, and add it to the modern novel, the 1950s Shirley Jackson, the biography...

And I think it might be Elizabeth Cambridge's Susan and Joanna.  I'll have to see if that fills a gap in A Century of Books...

15 comments:

  1. Going for the points...that this is the ACOB banner over there to the right. Definitely feast or famine with me with books. Here lately, it's been pretty much feast, and I've been pleased to be actually reading from my own shelves. I've been wondering if that would come to a screeching halt as the weather has gotten really warm, but down here we never get too comfortable with the heat until at least March...sure enough, more cold weather this week. I'm looking forward to tucking in with a few more books while it lasts. I'm looking forward to your revelation, and the Jansson bio review. You must also report in on the results of the family quiz! :)

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    1. Ten points to you, Susan! Glad to hear that I'm not the only one experiencing a period of feast at the moment.

      The quiz! Well, I came a resounding last, but my rounds were significantly easier than the ones my family wrote - lots of 2/10s.

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  2. I'm very curious to know what 2014 novel you are enjoying!
    My reading is definitely feast or famine also and last week I was starving. Then today I started three books which are all really wonderful and now the problem is choosing which one to focus on and finish first.

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    1. Hurray! I'm very glad that you've got out of the rut - it does sometimes feel as though you'll never read a good book again, doesn't it? I've added another joyous read to the mix now - from 1918, called Patricia Brent, Spinster.

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  3. I'm reading three crime novels at the moment (guess why) and am in danger of confusing the victims! Harriet

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    1. Ha! Yes, I can imagine that would be tricky...

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  4. I've got a few books on the go at the moment; I can't seem to commit to anyone of them, whereas earlier in the year I was storming through fiction. So, I'm glad to hear you are enjoying a feast of books.

    I'm not sure I could read five books at once if all of them were engaging my imagination, I'm very impressed you have the capacity to do so.

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    1. I've discovered that eight is the most I can cope with at one time - and three is about the fewest, as otherwise I just seem to get bored....

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  5. I tend to be like this too - I either can't settle to read anything, or want to read several things at once - which is highly silly. I used to have several books on the go at once, but found I was often not finishing them - so now I tend to only read one at once which pretty much works for me, particularly if it's something intense (which is what I'm reading just now). Look forward to hearing what you think of Shirley Jackson as I keep reading good things about her!

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    1. Some books definitely languish because I read so many at once, but my attention span isn't good enough to read just one at a time...

      Shirley Jackson is a wonder! She seems able to turn her hand to anything.

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  6. "One good book leads to another" isn't a bad name for a blog...

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    1. True! And I bet there's one out there called that...

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  7. Does one good book lead to another...That's a great question! I've never thought of the feast/famine metaphor, but I like it! I've always thought of my reading experience as more of a manic/depressive affliction. When I keep striking out with books I become moody and horrible to live with, whereas when when the wonderful books simply fall into line, I am both oblivious to reality and in absolute denial of the depressive stage that could be just beyond the next book. Ah, the life of a reader...so tough!

    Love your blog, by the way!

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    1. Thanks Bree!
      The book I'm reading does play a large part in my mood too, although perhaps not quite to that extent ;)

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  8. I am all agog to hear what you think of Cambridge's Susan and Joanna - I read it a few weeks ago and had rather mixed feelings - the ending was...hmm...well, not going to say anything - just going to see what you think. I have no review up yet - February went all crazy on me and I'm just now setlling down to try to play some sort of catch-up.

    I like Elizabeth Cambridge's writing, from the two novels of hers I've read - her Hostages to Fortune was one of my Best Books of last year - and have two more of her books sitting here waiting for me: The Sycamore Tree and Spring Always Comes. Wow, are these ever hard to come by! Still looking for The Two Doctors and so far not doing very well at all.

    Anyway - please let us know your thoughts on Susan and Joanna!

    (And Simon - I may have posted this comment twice - the comment function is treating me strangely this morning - my first post vanished into the ether. Perhaps it made it through, but maybe not, so I'll try again.)

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