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Reading Life: 30th September 2015

A photograph of an autumn rose, salmon coloured

It’s an odd time, autumn but still warm, sunny, and few leaves have fallen. I’ve been thinking about October, Halloween and pumpkin spice lattes. They’ve made an appearance here in recent years – us Brits are no longer stuck trying to imagine them. Last year’s plan to try one went awry; I didn’t realise they’d be available for so short a time.

So everyone is talking about Elena Ferrante. When I first saw the cover I was uninterested – it looks like something from the 70s to me – but Alice thinks they’re good so I’ve put the first book on my list. I do like the mystery surrounding the author, no one knows who she is, and if it’s got literary appeal then I’m on it because I’m going through an extended literary fiction and general fiction stage.

A few days ago I opened my book database to add a couple more entries and mark off the books I’d read since the last edit. I decided to calculate the percentage of physical books I’ve read. The result was 70%. I liked that number… when I first saw it six months ago. My percentage hasn’t changed and whilst its going to happen when there are new books, I’m hoping I can make at least a tiny dent by the end of the year.

I’ve been trying to read more deliberately, not let myself be distracted, increase my attention span. I’m doing most of my reading away from electronics and have created a new place to sit where I can get that romantic idea of nature working for me – namely beside the window overlooking greenery. Part of this reading has included Anna Karenina which I’d put on hold in May. For now I’m doing well and really enjoying it. Hoping it will happen is a sure fire way to make it not happen so instead I’ll word it thus: If I read at my current pace I’ll have finished it within two weeks. Whenever I do finish I’ll be celebrating with the Keira Knightley adaptation. It’s the reason I started the book in the first place.

Reading the tome has led to Wikipedia browsing. I now know about Tolstoy’s marriage, religious views, and how Levin fits into it all. I’m enjoying Levin’s story a lot more for it. The ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ of Levin’s peasant life fantasy is interesting especially as he repeatedly realises it won’t work. I like the way Tolstoy shows it is fantasy in some respects, that some of Levin’s ideas wouldn’t fit and that to an extent he’s appropriating peasant life. From there I found myself reading about Gertrude Stein; I’d not heard of her until watching Midnight In Paris.

I’ve been researching the famous painting of the Brontë sisters. The Internet has informed me that whoever told me Branwell removed himself because he wanted to emphasise the greatness of his sisters was not strictly correct – that’s more likely a personal conclusion. I thank the Internet.

I went further and discovered Charlotte was no fan of Emily’s work. Whilst I agree with her on the story I can’t say I don’t love Wuthering Heights as a literary work. It seems Charlotte didn’t like it at all and she hated Anne’s The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall, also, though whether it was her true opinion or a pretend hatred to mitigate worries or complaints about mental health is unknown. Charlotte does appear to have been far more opinionated in this manner than I thought, however. I knew about her hatred of Catholicism but there’s a possibility she went as far as destroying Emily’s second novel. This page is a compelling read.

How is your reading life lately?



September 30, 2015, 12:35 pm

Yay! I’m glad Ferrante has made your to-read list. Very excited to read your thoughts.

It’s interesting how a little research into the events going on around a book can help you enjoy a book more. I’ve found that with some classics too.


September 30, 2015, 4:25 pm

I loved Midnight in Paris. I haven’t seen the film adaptation of Anna Karenina starring Keira Knightley, but I would really like too. I am daunted by the length of the novel. I hope you enjoy the rest of it.

Jenny @ Reading the End

October 5, 2015, 2:02 am

Isn’t Wikipedia a fun browsing experience? It’s been a while since I went down a proper Wikipedia rabbit hole, partly because a lot of the nonfiction I’ve been reading lately is in areas where Wikipedia is thin. (Their African history pages? So bad. So, so bad.)



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