My turnout was passable, the first time I tried Jane’s interesting reading theme. I finished and reviewed 150 books for myself, with plenty I was less keen about. It so happens I targeted two of the three I estimated, dismissing one as not for me. However Jane knows I write thorough write-ups and keep trucking. I follow through. Let’s see if I challenge other books I highlighted. I am more keen to this year.
(A) “Sense And Sensibility” Jane Austen 1811
I feel if I am to be a serious authoress, I should read Jane Austen. I have collected most of them. There are millions of editions at those bargain places I riffle. I am all ready to go. But I have worried enjoyment might be hampered in a “women not treated properly” manner, being so old. She has been described as a romance writer, which is not my cup of tea but is also billed as a must-read of all time, the queen of excellence. I like beginning with the first. Maybe I’ll find humour or other surprises. Maybe I’ll be intoxicated by the writing. With me, that is possible; something I admire most. If I love the writing, the subject almost never matters. If all of this is not incentive enough: I have visited her house in Bath; the entryway! I figured I shouldn’t tour upstairs if I hadn’t read her yet. If I can afford to return to England, up I go!
* I am keen read this in 2018! In November, my birthday month, I had my fill and treated myself to the kinds of literature I love best! I am ready to try this classic authoress. I believe it is a smart educational excursion as a writer.
** November 12, 2018: ** I did it! I read it right when starting 2018 and what’s more, I loved it! I am still a little automatically leery of big name classic authors, outside my favourite mystery fiction genre. Will I find 1800s books old-fashioned, unpleasantly injust towards women or animals, or unrelatable? These thoughts have me bracing myself for the most famous “Pride And Prejudice” and putting it on Jane’s list for next year. However now, I am armed with the knowledge that I liked one output of Jane Austen’s work. I feel very satisfied and accomplished about reading her first novel. Hurray!
(B) “One Corpse Too Many” Ellis Peters 1979
This is another case of gathering a long series but not falling in love with the character or premise. I hesitate to step forward over the writing. I cannot stand the adjective “gently” more than once. I had trouble reading “A Morbid Taste For Bones” and acquired about 20 of this lady’s books. Let’s hope this second book is better.
* I will read this in 2018. There should be no more reluctance about reading this series after the first page. It is my hope the Ellis tamped down weak, overdone descriptions and gets right to the chase and her interesting aspects. I am sure I will like other mysteries a lot more too. The first was a slow trip to Wales.
** November 12, 2018: ** Believe it or not, I did it! I tried Ellis Peters, with her writing style I don’t quite like, and survived far better than I imagined! She DID improve this time around and I thought the novel was pretty good, too! Far more interesting than the first, in narration and in action. I was more afraid to revisit a series novel I knew I had not liked than of English classics, so this is an especially gratifying and triumphant accomplishment, Jane! Trepidation still exists for her third, “Monk’s Hood”, because one is unsure if she would slip back into lazy excess of narration, or if the improved editing will perseve. Perhaps if I like the next volume as well, I will be cured of dreading Ellis (who is Edith Pargeter).
(C) “The Tin Flute” Gabrielle Roy 1945
I read Gabrielle Roy’s first short story collection, presented as ficiton but autobiographical. She is from my home city. I already love her graceful, expressive writing; a genuine writer who is unparalleled! Why dread her first début, award-garnering oeuvre? I saw the original, French film in school, “Bonheur D’Occasion” and it was depressing. Curriculums are comprised of things we wouldn’t choose; not as children. Most school material can’t be appreciated until we’re grown-up. I had an extra cultural layer. I attended French schools since grade 4. Yes indeed, I speak and read more than two languages. :) Winnipeg’s own Gabrielle Roy was a must.
I will read this, this month, perhaps when I finish my present book! It works with a translated challenged for the Canadian reading group.
** November 12, 2018: ** I have a proud report here too, Jane! I made it through this dreary poverty story that I have had an aversion to since school days! I was an immersion student and know French arts can get depressing and dramatic; even if they are known for “Joie De Vivre”, Can-Can dancing, romance, and high fashion (“haute couture”). The contents of this story that was groundbreaking for French Canadian literature, were the poorest situation I have ever imagined in a first world country. Their fortune, with a sick child in addition to finances, was grim. It received a modest rating but I had no troubling sticking with it, rooting for everyone, and appreciating conversation points that are new considerations for me. People were so poor, that war offered a life-saving income? Thought-provoking is a compliment and Gabrielle authored this in real time. The awards are well-merited.
(D) “Surfacing” Margaret Atwood 1972
I always thought “The Handmaid’s Tale” sounded too abusive and injust for me to tolerate; so much that I am selling the new paperback I have owned for years. I understand there is no need to read unpleasant that I know I cannot abide. After last year’s success making a television show out of it, the violent clips confirm my impression. I tried Margaret’s first novel, “The Edible Woman” and gave it three stars. It was peculiar and abstract but there was enough resonance and levity to read through the story. I worried about the shelf of her books I have owned for years and whether or not any of them would approach my cup of tea. Since “Surfacing” is from my birth year and is all about rugged nature; daring to try it brought a triple-incentive.
** November 12, 2018: ** I am pleased to have pushed myself above an addition, fourth dreaded book! Here is some irony. The one I thought I might like, with a natural forest and lake setting and the sound of a mystery to it, is one of the books I have least liked in my life. It got one star and good-riddance, in my selling bin.
I appreciate the gift of three sweetener goodies and feel that they merit the best effort I can make. So I feel good about conquering as many books that generated trepidation, as I can. If there are more, I will add them. There are plenty to conquer on a list per year!
JANE’S SWEETENER TREATS!
“Eat, Drink, And Be Buried” Kate Kingsbury
That or the 3 picks from your book giveaway list. You know I love the ones about water’s metaphysics and the book about handwriting. I hope you did put them aside last year, as options for me. :-)
With a thank-you and appreciation, Carolyn.