Reading Notes

Gorgeous Texas sage.
Gorgeous Texas sage.

I mentioned in my post about The Woman Upstairs that I was having trouble reading anything after finishing that marvelous book. For the past week I’ve flitted from one pretty package to another, from novel to novel, classic to new book, thriller to domestic. I finally settled on a book mentioned on flowersandstripesThe Mirador: Dreamed Memories of Irene Nemirovsky by Her Daughter by Elisabeth Gille. In this memoir Gille adopts the voice of her writer mother to tell the story of Nemirovksy’s childhood in revolutionary Russia and her family’s later refuge in France. It is matter of fact yet incredibly elegant – a book I know will become one of my favorites.

Just yesterday, feeling ready to start another novel, I began reading Frost in May by Antonia White, A Way of Life, Like Any Other by Darcy O’Brien and The Aspern Papers by Henry James (because of  this post). I’m not sure about Frost in May – for some reason it doesn’t feel right, but I am pretty certain that I’ll finish the other two.

I also need to finish The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim and Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym. The Pym will be the book I post about for Barbara Pym Reading Week, but I have to say that I am not enjoying it. Unfortunately, it might not be a gushing post that week.

What are you reading? Is anything taking your breath away lately?

Wishing you a wonderful weekend – I know I am looking forward to the holiday (Memorial Day) here in the States.  Did I hear that there is a Bank Holiday in the UK? Long weekends are one of my favorite things!

25 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Quartet in Autumn feels SO different from any of the other Pym novels I’ve read. It was my first Pym and I’ll readily admit I didn’t love it, but have been thinking it deserves a reread now that I ‘know’ her a little better.

    I have been listening to Khaled Hosseini’s new novel And the Mountains Echoed – it is wonderful! I couldn’t listen fast enough and bought a hardcover copy so I can read, too. Hope to finish over the long weekend.

    1. It does feel drastically different! I see what she’s trying to do and there are glimmers of the Pym I know and love, but it is just so depressing. It is making me too sad.
      Enjoy the new Hosseini!

  2. I see that I am not alone to read several books in parallel. From this list I am familiar only with Barbara Pym, although a different book ( Jane and Prudence – it is on my waiting list, with the Molly Keane novel, Loving and Giving). Recently I bought Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, I hope I will enjoy it. Now I read Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Everybody talks about the movie, so I decided to reread the book before I watch the film. These to books I read in Hungarian. Have I nice weekend.

  3. It is a bank holiday here in the UK. I’m reading a mixture of books but nothing is currently blowing me away yet. Happy reading over your long weekend 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jessica! I had a great reading weekend – I finished one book and made progress on several others. I hope you found something to get stuck into.

  4. I just started “Bring Up the Bodies” by Hillary Mantel and I am loving it. Happy Memorial Day!

  5. I have been reading Henry James too – What Maisie Knew. I don’t always understand his language, but I am so caught up in the story. I do know the flitting feeling, though. I also need to start one of my Pyms, for the reading week!

  6. My reading has been bit scattered this week. Also a Barbara Pym – A Glass of Blessings, and Parade’s End and Middlemarch , all of which I’m enjoying.

  7. I hope you’re having a good weekend! Sorry to hear you’re not enjoying Quartet in Autumn. I still haven’t read any of Barbara Pym’s books but will be starting one soon for the reading week.

    1. Quartet in Autumn is not her finest work, but it still has lots of humor – just a bit darker. Do you know yet what Pym you’ll be reading?

  8. The new Claire Messud is published in the UK on Friday – I’ve got my order in and I’m really looking forward to reading it. I’m not going to read your last post until after I’ve read it and then I will! I read her last novel, think it was called The Emperer’s Children and it was very good and very perceptive on 9/11.

    I know what you mean about reading something excellent and then not being able to settle to anything else. Occupational hazard of being a bookwork I guess!

    1. Yes, it is an occupational hazard and a pretty positive one really. It isn’t often that a book tosses my brain around like The Woman Upstairs did – I hope you enjoy it!

  9. I’ve been having the same kind of experience lately, I’ve been flitting between books without settling on anything. For me I read a bit of a dud one and it put me off others, the opposite to your problem!

    Hope you get your reading mojo back soon!

    1. I hope you get your mojo back too, Sam! I think I did find mine because I finished a book this weekend and have started several others that I am really liking.

  10. Late Pym and Pym do seem very different. I started with late Pym – The Sweet Dove Died, and admired it but it was only when I read an earlier book that I was really smitten.

    It is a bank holiday here but it’s wet, grey and windy, so I’m catching up with blogs and watching my disconsolate dog gazing out at the garden.

    1. Oh, sorry to hear about the wet day. Poor Briar! It was sunny here, but humid and unpleasant.
      Late Pym is sad and darker than early Pym. Her essential style is still there, but the charm and sparkle is gone for me.

  11. Yes, it’s a bank holiday here in the UK. I like that our long weekends have matched up. Interesting to hear about another not-so-good Pym, though at the same time it’s always nice to hear the less positive thoughts of readers who are otherwise big fans of the author’s books, you know their opinion is incredibly trustworthy 🙂 Glad you’ve found a good few books to help you get back into reading, even if the reason you were struggling is in a way really good.

    1. Overall I adore Pym and feel that I am a good judge of her work by now so it makes me a bit sad that Quartet in Autumn doesn’t live up to my expectations. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it so someone who wants to try her for the first time!

  12. It’s not a holiday weekend in my part of Scotland, ours is next week. I’ve just been too busy to read, I’ve been on Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols for about two weeks I think. I read Quartet in Autumn years ago but it’s a blur. I love that Texan sage, it looks much bigger than our sage – surprise, surprise!

Thank you for reading and commenting.

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