Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Light-reading catchup

My last really long ride before Ironman Coeur d'Alene went well, with two provisos: (1) I sustained a bizarre sports-drink-related chafing injury that is only just healing; and (2) 48 hours afterwards I was coming down with yet another chest cold! Which I am still battling, so that is frustrating. On Sunday I emailed out my long-overdue essay on Restoration theatre and the novel, and by Sunday evening it was clear that I was coming down with the dreaded lung ailment...

In short, I really have done nothing much the last few days other than ticking off a few minor bits and pieces of business (haircut, doctor's appointments, etc.) and lounging around reading novels. I'm going to a wedding in Baltimore this weekend, and will stop off en route in Philadelphia to see family and leave my little cat at my mother's for the summer; my summer subletters are actually arriving this weekend while I'm away (we'll overlap for about 10 days before I leave for real), so my task for the day is basically to clear all of my stuff out of the bedroom and living room and leave everything all nice for them when they arrive. Many library books must be returned in the interim - I have made a dent, but it is never-ending! I will be holed up in my home office trying to stay out of their way.

(Happily for me, they are bringing a cat with them, so there will be feline company during the transition period...)

Bad for my morale not to be exercising, but the combination of this wretched cold and the still-painful chafing made it pretty clear that I had no choice...

Some very good light reading, by the way. Two real actual non-Kindle books that I ordered as the Real Thing because I wanted to be able to hand them on to my mother: Tayari Jones's The Silver Sparrow, which I found beautifully written and beautifully conceived (several other people I know must read this!); and Terry Castle's The Professor: A Sentimental Education, which I loved. I had read quite a few of the essays at the time of their original publication, but have been meaning for some time to get a copy of this and revisit them all as a whole; the book is full of pretty amazing stuff, not least a few pages near the end of the title essay (and of the volume itself) that give a particularly lovely description of why one might gravitate to studying the eighteenth century.

(One other 'real' non-Kindle book that I devoured about half of last night and am looking forward to finishing later today: Wesley Stace's Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer. It is possible that I am the perfect reader of this book! I love it - it includes all sorts of elements that are exactly my favorite sort of thing, and they come together in an incredibly satisfactory way. When I read a book like this, it makes it hard to go back to the regular crime fodder...)

Miscellaneous other light reading (having a Kindle is an expensive luxury, but a very convenient one - I guess it is traditional in my life to get a cold shortly after the end of the semester and basically do little else for a few days but read crime novels?):

Lawrence Block, When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (possibly even better than I remember from when I read it the first time)

Mira Grant, Deadline (I had preordered this one as soon as I finished the first installment; I think this one really lives up to the expectations created by volume one - strongly recommended if you are at all inclined to YA science fiction/zombie apocalypse, the writing is extremely good and they are pretty much pure reading pleasure!)

Pete Hamill, Tabloid City: A Novel (I found this one quite annoying, and would probably have put it aside if I hadn't been reading it on my Kindle where it somehow seems easier just to finish things off and file them away than leave them half-read; it is under-plotted, and the descriptive language is slightly irritating to me, as it seems steeped in a nostalgia that just doesn't work for me - I would recommend Richard Price or Colin Harrison in this sort of vein, or on a different but related note Pete Dexter, whose novels are all really sort of incomparably better than this one)

Rosamund Lupton, Sister: A Novel (quite good, but not perhaps up to the standard of the lavish advance billing - will certainly read her subsequent books, though)

I am a little worried about how to find enough reading material to load onto my Kindle for the first stage of my summer travels! Might have to get a bunch of free stuff (Hardy, Trollope) that I feel inclined to reread, or perhaps to reread some long series by Susan Howatch or Dorothy Dunnett or George R. R. Martin - or all of the above...

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