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September 2017

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Feb. 25th, 2017

Early in the year, I vowed (or heavily implied) that I would read only books that, at the end of the year, I'd be glad to have read. Then I got sick, and I guess inasmuch as I'm now glad I've read anything at all that vow is still in force.

Plans of the best-laid varietals.

Here are the top 11 book recommendations I received )


I’ve been listening to the recent Shirley Jackson biography, A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin, using my local library’s Hoopla subscription. It's grand to have effortless access to such a recent audiobook. This doesn't quite count as reading the book since I use it to fall asleep and so have dreamed through many months of Jackson's life. I know the skeleton of her story well enough to be able to pick up wherever I start in again, at least so far. I'm having a little trouble with the voice of the reader; she seems skilled, but a bit mechanical. That could be my brain fog, though.

Books of the paper variety

After Loving, I finished another of the three Henry Green novels in the collection, Party Going. (They are very short novels.) The Howards End re-read is finished in time for book group, but I may not actually go, depending on my health by Sunday. Last time my most insightful contribution was a sporadic hacking cough.

Next, I went on a bit of an Alan Garner bender, reading Red Shift, The Owl Service, and Thursbitch, all of which I liked – probably Red Shift most. It was the most difficult, and had I not already listened to the Backlisted conversation about the book, I would have had quite a lot more work to untangle the threads.

The three books are all roughly the same kind of spell of deep time and sentient landscape (a term I've just learnt by reading reviews), but each through a different myth.

Some spoilers for Red Shift and Owl Service )

I did have a go at puzzling out the message at the end of Red Shift, and by rights should have got it, since I could see what the first sentence had to be and I had the cipher block, but somehow I became hopelessly muddled. I love puzzles, and books that are puzzles, but I am not that perfect reader who actually works the whole business out. I do, though, enjoy a Mystery as much as a Puzzle, so that’s all right.



I don't think I get to use "equivalenced" as a transitive verb, but I wish I could.

Here's a link to some discussions of / with Garner. I have not listened to them yet.

Unlinked References

Butler, Catherine (as Charles). “Alan Garner's Red Shift and the Shifting Ballad of ‘Tam Lin’”. Children's Literature Association Quarterly. Volume 26, Number 2, Summer 2001. Web.

(I am delighted to discover Catherine Butler whilst down this rabbit hole.)

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