Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Saving the best for first

Last night I booked a few nights away in February for G’s birthday. Just down on the coast for a few days, but it should be really nice and a good way to celebrate. Something to look forward to. Now I just keep feeling paranoid that I booked it wrong but they’re writing to confirm so if there is a problem, I have a few weeks to alter it.

My mum gave me a book called ‘1001 Books to Read Before You Die’ and I went through that while I was off work and picked out some that I thought I would give a go – in fact when I had added it up I had chosen exactly 100. If I read one a week (which is clearly no going to happen) it would take me two years to read all of them. I think it will take me decidedly longer, particularly as I may well read other books as well.

I used to read about 50 books a year and I would keep a brief note on each one. Nothing profound, just a reminder of whether I liked the book and might therefore want to read other books by the same author. I just lost the inclination to read when things went downhill with A and that year I read a grand total of 9 books. At that point I decided to stop keeping notes, as life was depressing enough without also recording my failure to be able to even read a book! Anyway, I’ve got back in to reading a lot more over the last couple of years and was pleased to get the book from my mum as it has given me lots of ideas of books to try – the weird thing was that I hadn’t even heard of most of the books from the last five years or so. I really have got very out of touch with the book world. But I’m enjoying reading new things and will even try to read some classics, despite having been thoroughly put off by having to read them at school. By my calculations I have read something like 41 of the books in that book, so I have a long way to go to achieve 1001 – and suspect I never will, any description that started “this mighty tome” was instantly downgraded and there are some that I just don’t want to read.

At the moment I’m reading The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster and I’m enjoying that. I also have a few other books lined up to read which includes a book that I am slightly nervous of reading. That being The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. I saw the film adaptation of it a few years ago (which I think was generally not all that well received) and it really disturbed me and for days afterwards it kept coming into my mind. I’ll explain more about why when I read it, but it just had some themes in it that really struck a chord with me. I think now though that I want to see if the book does the same because I want to use it as an impetus to think about some difficult things (not that I had an affair by the way even though that might be the obvious things to conclude based on the title!) and maybe just see someone else’s perspective on those things. We’ll see how it goes…

The other books I have lined up to read are Youth by JM Coetzee and The Light of Day by Graham Swift and I want to read some more Margaret Atwood and have a whole range of books that I’m quite excited about reading. When I was younger if I started a book I had to finish it, even if it was terrible, but now I’m with Henry David Thoreau “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them all.” Indeed.


titration said...

I always want to read the books that people say impacted them or changed them. And I totally agree anything that starts by saying "this mighty tome" would be downgraded by me as well. Kindof sad. Which reminds me I need to go use my gift card to buy some books! Thanks for the reminder. :)

O and I'm entirely jealous of you and G. OK I'm entirely jealous of all lesbian couples in the world.

the vicious chicken said...

Oooh, a guide to 1001 books to read... sounds like a fab present. You'll have to let us know whether or not you recommend the ones you read. I look forward to some sound reading advice, especially since I've almost finished the QI annual (so preferably something extremely highbrow, then) :o)

Random Reflections said...

titration - I also really like hearing about books that have impacted people. There are so many books out there I really want to make sure I read the good ones! I struggle with spending vouchers and have £35 of book vouchers to spend that I've had for years...

vc - I was really pleased with the book, but I must warn you that I probably didn't focus too much on the highbrow books... The QI annual sounds good though!

Anonymous said...

I recently read The End Of The Affair. I saw the film a few years ago and couldn't remember much about it except that it was awful (even though the gorgeous Julianne Moore was in it), so I don't know if the book follows the same story as the film. However, I enjoyed reading the book and it didn't make me feel as bad as the film.

Random Reflections said...

LKSN - Somehow I knew that you would say that you didn't rate that film. I'm glad you enjoyed the book though and perhaps I will read that next.

Hope all is well.

Lemonpillows said...

Ooh.. Books, books. I, too, have gone really downhill on my reading stats of late. I think it all comes of having a partner who talks a lot. By the time they're asleep, you're tired too! And I've just no idea what to read nowadays.

Though I LOVE Margaret Atwood books. I tend to go through phases - if I find an author I like, I stick with them until I've read all of their books.

Thing is, I'm stuck on Patricia Cornwell at the moment. And she's written, like, too many.

Anyway. Shut up Lemon. Just to say I respect your wish to read more. It may inspire me to do the same..

Random Reflections said...

Lemonpillows - I hope the New Year is treating you well! I have read a couple of Margaret Atwood books and liked and people keep raving aout her book The Blind Assassin (?) so I think I'll give that a go. I have read quite a few Patricia Cornwell books but one of them gave me nightmares which put me off. I think it was Black Notice.

I hope you get inspired!