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Reading Life: 29th May 2020

A macro photograph of the side of a blossom

How are you all? I’m officially bored of not being able to leave home but the sun, whilst reminding me of days out, is also helping. I went through a few weeks of taking photographs of various everything things before running out of interesting subjects – the birds have past their courtship phases; the flowers were spring flowers; the rabbits are a bit sick of their human taking photos of them being cute for the 123456th time of the day, particularly as it doesn’t tend to result in treats. I’m looking at finding a metaphorical angle for books and playing around with different settings.

I’ve still a number of books on the go but I’m making headway; I’ve been adding books, so technically, the over all number is same, but the titles have changed. I’m also adding bookish films to both my ‘watch’ and ‘watched’ lists. I loved the 2019 Little Women to distraction, and enjoyed Booksmart and this year’s Emma.

My current priority is Chibundu Onuzo’s Welcome To Lagos, which I’d been wanting to read for a while. It’s an interesting one – a book that seems too simple until you scratch the surface, after which it seems almost too clever. It’s definitely different but I’m enjoying it a lot.

Before that I read Isla Morley’s Come Sunday in preparation for our podcast recording. The initial idea was to focus on her newest book but we increased the scope and I’m glad we did; Come Sunday is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. I think I like it even more than her latest… (Having just reviewed it I won’t go into detail on The Last Blue here.)

Diana Evans’ Ordinary People is still on the go. The title is proving to be correct, but this shows how stories are everywhere.

On the subject of re-reads, Terri Fleming’s Perception has made me want to catalog my books properly. I already keep a basic list of physical books in order to track how many I’ve read (this ranges between 68-70%, a number that understandably changes little due to new arrivals). I also note where I got the book from. Now I’m thinking more info on the ‘where’, including, where possible, ‘when’. I’m thinking genres, ISBNs, format, new or second-hand… it’s ridiculous how exciting organising book collections can be.

I should add that there’s been an additional ‘push’ to expand my cataloguing. Whilst researching Jane Austen I fell down a rabbit hole – a necessary phrase given last weeks’ post – and discovered a project that is cataloguing the contents of the library at the old Godmersham Park estate, a library Austen visited when staying with her family. The website for it, Reading With Austen, is absolutely fascinating: the team have made it graphical so you can digitally peruse the shelves; they’ve gone to great lengths to identify all the books and their placements.

It was perhaps inevitable that my various research projects and reading would lead me to note other past authors. I’ve downloaded Lady Sydney Morgan’s The Wild Irish Girl, which was popular in its day but largely forgotten now. The prolific author had a number of books published but it’ll probably be a while before they’re all available. (Despite the recent uptick in interest in Charlotte Smith and Charlotte Lennox, these authors works are still difficult to find. On Sarah Burney – yes, the sister of – I’m currently considering scans of the original editions.)

I’ve got a post on the aforementioned Alcott adaptation to write and a few books to choose from next. I have finished a good number of books this month, six – a breakthrough – and want to see if I can squeeze in one more in addition to the Onuzo before June.

Do tell me what you’re currently reading or, if you’re struggling to read at the moment, what you look forward to reading when you can. Also, if you have any favourite book-related podcasts that are currently active, do mention them in the comments. (I’m following Smart Podcast Trashy Books, Charlotte Readers, and the two Jennys’ Reading the End.)


Laurie C

May 30, 2020, 10:59 am

I’ve been working from home and now it looks like we won’t be back in the building for at least a few more weeks. I’ve not gotten a lot of serious reading in, even with all the extra time. This week I’m reading a fantasy, The Library of the Unwritten, and also just finished listening to a paranormal mystery on audio, The Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones.
I’ve been listening to a lot of good audiobooks and reading blogs again, but otherwise, haven’t been nearly as productive as I could have been!


May 30, 2020, 5:00 pm

I’m at a point in life where I’m home a lot anyway, so things haven’t really been much of a challenge for me in that respect. However, I was awfully distracted at the beginning of all this, making it harder to concentrate on anything other than fluff or comfort reading. That’s improved now.

Of course we now have civil unrest to add to the “worry pile” here in the US, but I’m trying not to think about that too much since I live in a rural “flyover” part of the country.

Jenny @ Reading the End

May 31, 2020, 12:41 am

I cannot endorse thoroughly enough the plan to catalog all your books. I love having a catalog of books, makes me feel amazing AND is useful to have available to me when I’m at book sales trying to remember which books in a series I already own and which ones I still need.

(Also I’m so pleased you are enjoying the podcast! Yay!)



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