It's time for another reading retrospective, and a look back at what I was reading 7 years ago this month. A mixture of genres but the highlight of the month was definitely discovering the bizarre, wacky imagination of Jasper Fforde and spending some time in the world of Literary Detectives, pet dodo birds, and chasing down slippery fictional characters. I devoured both the first and second books in the series, back to back, but would have to wait for the following summer for the third book in the series to be published.
What I read in July 2002, with my brief comments at the time:
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Classic. Found it a little long (due to my mood) but it was an interesting, detailed account of New York's high society at the turn of the century with all of its back-stabbing, and lost loves/hopes. 6/10
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
So much fun! What an imagination Fforde has! Clever and witty, with a great main character. 9/10
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
Brilliant!! Even wackier than The Eyre Affair, but just as witty & clever. I can't wait for next installment! 9.5/10
An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser
Travel lit. Enjoyed the descriptions of places I would love to visit, and the development of their relationship. The narrative voice "you" instead of "I" was a little annoying, but an easy, quick read. 6/10
The Bad Beginning (Book the First) by Lemony Snicket
Kidlit. Enjoyable, without the predictable happy ending typical of children's stories. Well-written, a good beginning to the series. 6.5/10
The Reptile Room (Book the Second) by Lemony Snicket
Kidlit. Continues the story of the Baudelaire children smoothly. Would prefer not to have the author's interjections but otherwise clever, wry humour. 7/10
The Umbrella Man and other stories by Roald Dahl
As often the case with short story collections, I liked some but not others. Some of the stories were clever and unexpected, but some of them were predictable, and (too?) simple. 6/10
I don't remember much of The Age of Innocence and should probably read it again someday. I was obviously not in the mood for a slower-paced classic at the time, as I spent the rest of the month reading fun, light books. I'd definitely like to read the Thursday Next series again and I think that might be a plan for next year when the sixth book in the series comes out.
Returning to 2009, I spent a few days this week in Riga, Latvia, trying to unravel the conspiracy and corruption that led to the murder of a colleague. The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell was a great way to pass the time during my train commutes this past week. In fact I almost wished the journey home had taken just a little bit longer on Friday as I arrived at our station with just a few pages to go. So as soon as I got in the door I sat down on the sofa, ignored the cats vying for my attention, and finished it off.
Earlier in the week I also started Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby, which I've been dipping into here and there, reading a column or two at bedtime. I fully enjoyed the other two collections of his column for the Believer magazine and this one promises to be more of the same. Then this weekend I also started The Flight of Icarus by Raymond Queneau. Even though I've only read a few pages so far, I have high expectations. From the back cover:
In late-nineteenth-century Paris, the writer Hubert is shocked to discover that Icarus, the protagonist of the new novel he's working on, has vanished. Looking for him among the manuscripts of his rivals does not solve the mystery, so a detective is hired to find the runaway character, who is now in Montparnasse, where he learns to drink absinthe and is picked up by a friendly prostitute.
These hilarious adventures make Queneau's novel, presented in the form of a script and parodying various genres, one of the best literary jokes in modern literature.
Doesn't that sound great?
Coming up this week, a few new books to tell you about and a review of Best Intentions by Emily Listfield.
What are you reading? Anything fun?