Janet (j4) wrote,

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There's more to life than books, you know

Questions about books, nicked from hoiho's LJ.

What are you currently reading?
I've just finished Empire State by Colin Bateman. Yes, bopeepsheep, that's your copy -- I am slowly working through the books you lent me! I enjoyed it, though it was nastier than the others of his that I've read (I read Maid of the Mist last week, and read Divorcing Jack ages ago).

I was somewhat surprised to see a stack of Bateman novels in the "Romantic Fiction" section at Oxfam, so I queried this with Diana, the deputy manager. "Oh, well, when we say romantic, they're not really, you know, romantic fiction. [thinks] I think what we really mean is that they're silly fiction." Now that's my kind of genre classification.

Other things I'm trying to read, on and off:

Brigid Brophy, Reads. A fantastic collection of essays, but I can never read more than one or two at a time because I have to go and think for a while, or occasionally just sit there feeling full from the amount of wit and wisdom I've absorbed.

Don Delillo, Underworld. Okay, I still have a bookmark in this, but it's a couple of months since I last tried to read any. The problem was that I kept wanting to go and read bits of it out to other people because the style is just so intricate and expressive. I couldn't get through more than a page without wanting to note down perfectly-turned phrases, or whole paragraphs.

E. Relph, Place and Placelessness. This was somebody's geography PhD thesis, if I remember rightly. Not the sort of thing I'd normally have thought to read, but it was recommended to me by hoiho, and I've been completely blown away by what I've read so far. I think if I'd read this instead of reading Eliot and Beckett at 14 I'd probably have gone in a very different direction academically. As it is I just keep trying to connect it up to The Waste Land and Four Quartets in my mind.

How long have you been reading it (or them)? How much longer do you think it will take you to read it?.

Empire State took a few days, on and off. (But that's fitting reading around work, and food, and sleep, and stuff like that.) The others, I've been reading for ages, but in fits and starts. No idea how long it'll take. That depends how much longer I carry on doing three (soon to be four) jobs, really.

Is it a gobble-in-one-session sort of book, or a read slowly through book, or a pick a page at random now and then book?

The Bateman was definitely a devour-in-one-session book; I finished it over dinner tonight (nearly being late for orchestra in the process) because I didn't want it to keep me up late at night any more.

The others are more thought-provoking so I read them slower, and go and chew over bits of them for a while.

Do you ration books and force yourself to read them slowly? What books have you done this with recently?

Er, no. I don't know how to deliberately read slowly.

Do you sometimes *wish* that you'd rationed a book when you get to the end of it?

Nope. I often wish there had been more of a book, but I don't want to have to read it slower; I just want there to be more of it so that I can carry on reading at my normal speed for longer.

The first time I read The Big Sleep I almost just turned back to the beginning and read it again, I so wanted there to be more of it. But instead I went and bought and read all the other Chandler I could get my hands on. Though none of it is quite as good, sadly.

The Saint books always make me wish they were fifteen times as long, as well. I could just eat Charteris' prose, it's delicious.

What was the last book you bought?

The last book I bought for myself was Neil Gaiman, Coraline. It was the first new book I read this year, and it was superb. Imagine Through the Looking Glass as it might have been conceived by Edward Gorey and Angela Carter.

The last book I bought (not for myself) was something about compiler design which looked unutterably dull. But hopefully it will make the intended recipient happy.

Do you know what book you're going to buy next?

I'm trying very hard not to buy books at the moment, because I have zillions of unread books, and no money. However, I may end up buying the few remaining Tamora Pierce books that I haven't already got, because they're wonderfully comforting when I'm feeling miserable. They're superb 'young teen' books, a kind of combination of sword-and-sorcery and school-story but without actually being set in a school (no, they're not The Next Bloody Harry Bloody Potter). They all deal with young people (mostly feisty girls, hurrah) growing into their warrior skills, or their magic skills, or both; going through the necessary training, growing up, learning to think for themselves, learning how to learn, working out their own morals, basically becoming people, and more importantly, becoming themselves. Good stuff.

How many borrowed books are sitting on your shelves?

Loads. I'm trying to read them, really I am. It's one of the New Year resolutions I forgot to add to my list, actually: to read and return all the stuff I've borrowed. I still have books from hoiho, bopeepsheep, ewx, and Duncan M.

When will they get given back?

Soon! Honest! Well... this year, hopefully.

How many books of yours are currently on other people's shelves?

Quite a few. bopeepsheep still has some; hoiho has hundreds; ewx still has (I think) one. I like to keep track of what goes where -- I'm a repressed librarian, okay? -- and usually I'm quite good at keeping records or just remembering, but I lent hoiho a huge stack when he went back up to Scotland ... and, well, I thought he was coming back soon, so I didn't worry too much about the books. <sigh> Mind you the books are the least of my worries in that area really.

When do you expect them to return?

Eventually. If I think people are actually reading (or going to read) them I don't mind them staying on loan for ages.

Wanted to include a lot of musing about how I've forgotten how to read intelligently, or to write intelligently about reading, but I'm just too tired, and I need to go to bed now, and besides I'm not sure I could write intelligently about not being able to write intelligently, otherwise I suspect there wouldn't be a problem...

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