Classic Spin #29 has begun, and the spin resulted in #11. For me, that means I've got till April something to read Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Classic Spin number!
Sunday, March 20, 2022
Carry On, Jeeves, by PG Wodehouse
Carry On, Jeeves is one of Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster books. This one is 10 short stories, some of which will be familiar if you've seen the excellent A&E series (wow, $250...glad I bought it when I did). All of them are good, as expected.
Like I said, all good. Every J&W story I've ever read have been first person from Bertie Wooster's POV. Except story #10 in this collection. That one was from Jeeves's POV...and the reader is rewarded with background on how the gentleman's gentleman arranges things for his employer.
It was unexpected, and wonderful. I don't think they did an episode where Bertie waxes rhapsodically about having a daughter. Well, as I'm sure you can guess, Jeeves dissuades him humorously (I mean: humourously).
This Wodehouse was the March read for the PG Wodehouse Book Club on FB. I didn't have it yet in my preferred Collector's Wodehouse, but I remedied that sitch with the help of Abe Books. Joy added to my library, what what?!
Artemis, by The Martian guy
OK, he does have a name: Andy Weir. I absolutely loved The Martian and read it in English and Russian. And listened to it in both. Great story. This one? Not so much.
Lots and lots of telling vice showing here. And that's ok if the book has lots of science that is integral to the plot. Additionally, against all modern writing books, I'm ok with some telling vice all-showing. But this went beyond. Everything was telling. And the narrator broke the fourth wall excessively, it got tiresome. Too cutesy, all the "Hey, I like pretty things, shut up" and similar.
And I think Mr. Weir managed to get every single mandatory (for modern crap-lit) character into this one except maybe a trans character. The gay, the goy (his words), Arab/Muslim, Irish (Scottish?), Kenyan, etc. All over the place. Again, it got silly after a while. Can we just have a story?
He certainly does his homework. Lots of detail in the welding segments (part of the "okay" telling), but still the story was a bit too simple. All was too perfect. And, I'm no economist, but was he commenting on American-style capitalism towards the end? Maybe not, but I don't know. Initial feeling by that point: Ew.
Like I said, The Martian? Recommend all day. Artemis? Not so much. Unsure I'll even try Project Hail Mary, but who knows. ***
Saturday, March 19, 2022
Classics Spin #29
It's time again for another Classics Spin. This'll be #29. Here's my list of 20:
- The Talented Mr. Ripley
- The Stories of J.F. Powers
- Love's Labor's Lost
- In Patagonia
- From Here to Eternity
- American Pastoral
- Tender is the Night
- Dark Star Safari
- Pride and Prejudice
- For Whom the Bell Tolls
- The War of the End of the World
- Catcher in the Rye
- Homage to Catalonia
- The Mosquito Coast
- Out of Africa
- Of Human Bondage
- The Monk
- Dead Souls
- The Guide
So I've been subscribing to the NYRB Classics for the last year. I've loved the books I've been getting monthly. But I just got the bill to renew.
When I signed up a year ago, it cost me $99. That's a deal for 13 books (12 monthly books plus a bonus book). But the renew bill asked me for $199. That's no longer a deal.
I've read a few of the last 12 months' classics. And will read more of them. But not sure I can do $199. $16.58 per book. And not all books are good. It was less than 10 bucks each book before. That's worth a try. (I still wish they'd offer an ebook version of this subscription.)
And dear reader(s) who have been wondering where I've been: we went to Vegas! Our son and future daughter-in-law live there. It was great. No, we don't gamble. So we didn't lose any money. But I got over 20K steps each day. My feet are still killin' me.
Sunday, March 6, 2022
Something Light, by Margery Sharp
I've fallen in love with Margery Sharp. She's a wonderful author, unknown to me till just recently. I cannot for the life of me remember on what blog I read about her (Furrowed Middlebrow, perhaps?), but I am thankful.
Something Light is a delightful romp through British life in the 1950s. Oh how I love the estates with their ponies and borzoi, the resident homes filled with seniors, the darling mummy's. Echos of Elizabeth Bowen, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Elizabeth Taylor. Poor, dear Louisa, intent on marrying, failing at every turn. She's terribly fond of men, and men are fond of her, yet as a friend, a confidant, a helper, an aide-out-of-troubles. Of course she finds Mr. Right in an unexpected place, and finally realizes she'd been trying too hard. Upon letting down her guard, she allows herself to be courted, and the reader is left to guess when the wedding bells shall ring.
Spoilers, alas, complete.
I will buy more Margery Sharp. In fact, I already have. Quite daring for having just read one, but I expect I'll like her other works, and I foresee several firsts on my shelf, next to Something Light.
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
Great writing, but POS main character. Dang, but I hate Rabbit Angstrom. What a sh!t.
Spoilers, sort of, follow:
What can I say about this book? I don't want to read another Rabbit book ever. But Updike did write Witches of Eastwick. Perhaps that's an Updike I'd like? Rabbit, Run had many of the sentences I hate, those stream of consciousness types. But still I read it. I continued reading it. Because I needed to see if he'd ever redeem himself. A big nope. What a dick.
Spoiler, what they were, are done.
I've moved on to a Margery Sharp novel. I don't remember where I read about her, I tried to look at all the book blogs I follow, but can't find the original post. I have to thank whomever I read who recommended it, because Something Light starts out great. Check out this wonderful way of describing a character:
Most men were reciprocally aware of Louisa. If she paid for her rangy height by cheeks thin as a whistling boy's, if her fox-colored hair was turning like an autumn leaf--here a streak of cinnamon, there a dash of pepper--she had nonetheless only to stand still in any public place, at a bus stop or outside a telephone booth, and as to Red Riding Hood up came a wolf (3).
Is that not perfect? If this book goes well, I'll be looking for my Sharp books on Abe. Thank you, mysterious book blogging stranger!
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