Saturday, April 03, 2010

Reading Update

I used to use this blog mostly to write about what I was reading, and I have been reading again, though at first, right after the earthquake, I couldn't focus enough to read much at all. Here's what I've finished lately.

Book #5 of the year was The Private Patient, by P.D. James. I always enjoy James' books, but either this one wasn't as good as the others or that old focus wasn't back. I couldn't tell you much about this book.

Book #6 was The Secret of Lost Things, by Sheridan Hay, the story of Rosemary Savage, from Tasmania, who moves to New York and works in a bookstore. There were some things I liked about this book but ultimately it was disappointing. I thought it would be a literary mystery about a lost novel by Herman Melville, but it was mostly about the bizarre personalities who worked at the bookstore with Rosemary, and while they were interesting at first, they palled before I finished the book.

Book #7 was An Echo in the Bone, by Diana Gabaldon. This is the seventh - yes, seventh - book in the Outlander series. I feel a sense of obligation to these characters since I have read so many thousands of pages of their story (this installment was over 800 pages long). It's a time travel series, the first of its kind I have ever read, and after getting through a horrible scene in the first or second book that almost made me quit reading, I have persevered. Gabaldon does a lot of research and there are many interesting details about the 18th century, particularly medical information, since Claire, one of the protagonists, was a doctor in her original life (before traveling back in time). But I have to admit that I was kind of forcing it to finish this. The books are also bodice-rippers, with steamy scenes every few dozen pages that get a bit old. And guess what? This isn't the last book! She's working on the eighth! And I'll probably read that one too!

Book #8 was Friday Nights, by Joanna Trollope. When I read another of her books I wrote, "Trollope is very good on vagaries of emotion in all kinds of characters." I'd say the same about this one. (Here's that review.) It was a quick, light read.

Either I haven't been choosing books well or I'm not really back to my full reading self. By May 17th last year I had read 25 books. I'm aware that plenty of people don't read eight books in a year even if they weren't in an earthquake, but for me it's not normal to read so few books and enjoy them so little. But reading at all is progress, I suppose.

I also abandoned two other books after reading about halfway through. Take it from an earthquake survivor: life is too short to read books you aren't enjoying at all.

Here's today's Saturday Review of Books.


Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

I really, really liked Outlander (the first book in the Gabaldon series). The second book was okay, but the third was just too over the top for me; I stopped reading at that point. I'd forgotten that Claire became a doctor. She's a nurse in the first book.

Which scene was it you nearly didn't make it through?

Ruth said...

The scene I nearly didn't make it through was the one where Jamie was being tortured. I think it's in the second book. It was horrible.