not a book

Not a Book: Some Like It Hot

A couple of years ago, when Doris Day died, I wrote a whole post about my love for the Hollywood icon. In it, I mentioned that my top five films of all time are Pillow Talk, Some Like It Hot, The Philadelphia Story, Mary Poppins and the Hayley Mills Parent Trap. I stand by that list, although I will say that leaving the Sound of Music out makes me anxious, so today, I thought I’d write about why I love Some Like It Hot.

If you’ve never seen the film, you can get a pretty good idea from the trailer, but basically, after two jobbing musicians witness a mob shooting in Prohibition Chicago they try to escape retribution from the gangsters by posing as women called Daphne and Geraldine and joining all-girl band. They promptly both fall in love with the band’s singer (and ukulele player) Sugar. High jinx ensue, especially when a millionaire falls in love with Daphne and the mob turn up for the “Friends of Italian Opera” meeting. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are Daphne and Geraldine, and Marilyn Monroe is Sugar. If I haven’t sold it to you by now, I should add that the director and writer is Billy Wilder, who was also behind Sunset Boulevard and the Apartment.

I honestly can’t remember when I first watched it, but I do know that I’ve had the DVD in my collection for about 20 years now, and I have it recorded on both the upstairs and downstairs TiVo – because you never know when you might be poorly and need to watch a film in bed to cheer you up. Especially in Covid times. It will reliably cheer me up and is also probably the only film with Al Capone-style mobsters that I will watch! It’s just funny and so fun that you manage to forget that two men pretending to be women and using the knowledge they gain in disguise to help them get a girl is a bit of a problem. But it seems in films it’s one of my favourite things – see also Pillow Talk and You’ve Got Mail, and also Lover Come Back and Sleepless in Seattle.

I know I said this is not a post about books, but there are a couple of books on my favourites list with cross dressing main characters – on the historical romance front there’s Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades and The Masqueraders, but there’s also Terry Pratchett’s A Monstrous Regiment. There’s a bunch more that I’ve read, but those three are the one’s I’ve come back to over and over. I think it’s easier to pull off in print because you don’t have to worry about needing to make the illusion convincing – the reason that Some Like It Hot is in black and white is because the amount of makeup needed for Lemmon and Curtis made their faces look green (Drag Race shows that beard/stubble coverage make up has moved on a long way in the last sixty years) and you can leave it all to the reader’s imagination – going the other way, I’ve never thought that Imogen Stubbs makes that convincing a boy in the film of Twelfth Night, for all that I love that movie (and not just because it has Toby Stevens in a bath at one point) and in fact the play.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a Sunday afternoon film to watch, why not watch this today – not only is it hilarious, but it’s also right up there on most of the greatest film lists, which given how serious a lot of the others on those lists are, surely makes it worth your time. And of course it has one of the greatest last lines ever. If you don’t know what it is, I’m not going to spoil it for you though!

not a book

Not a Book: Houseplants

I think I’m getting old. Well I know I’m getting old, but one of the more startling things across the course of the pandemic has been my growing house plant collection. This is a particular surprise to me because I have always considered myself as having whatever the opposite of green fingers is – because I have reliably killed any plant I have owned*. At the old house, really the only window with a window sill was the kitchen and I regularly killed basil plants there, to the point where Him Indoors told me I wasn’t allowed to buy any more of them. The only house plants we had were a Valthemia – which my mum gave me, and is a bulb so very, very hard to kill – and a Mother-in-law’s tongue, also reputed to be hard to kill.

When we moved to the new house, they came with us and were soon joined by Cecil the spider plant. Then mum and dad gave us a peace lily – which lived in Him Indoors’s office and seemed to be flourishing. When I changed jobs last year, one of my leaving gifts was an orchid and although I have a history of killing orchids, I thought I would give it a go. And lo! The orchid is surviving, in the bathroom near Cecil. Suddenly, I’ve got a little collection of plants and I’m starting to get a little bit confident.

I bought myself some nice pots to put them in. And when I took Cecil to mum and dad’s to repot, I also took one of Cecil’s babies, that I had managed to develop roots on. And I came back with two other plants on top. And I took a little side shoot off the aloe vera plant that Him Indoors’s parents gave us as well. Now I’ve got a little shelf of plants in the utility room and I’m starting to think that I might have a green thumb after all.

We’ve had a few minor setbacks – when the peace lily needed repotting, mum and dad gave us another one. Which I killed within weeks. And now I think I’ve killed the Mother-in-law’s tongue too. It still has one green leave sticking up, but all the rest are brown and withered. So I’ll admit I’ve put the plans to buy more plants on hold, until I can be sure that I can cope with the ones that I’ve got. But I do still want a plant for my office. And if the Mother-in-Law’s tongue really is dead, then there’s a space on my hearth that will need filling with something…

*when I was a child I had a spider plant in my room and sometimes geraniums too, and they survived. But I wasn’t responsible for watering them so they don’t count!

book adjacent

2022 Reading resolutions

Here we are at the end of the first week of 2022, and I thought I should maybe talk about my plans for the year ahead.

Well, although I’ve called this a resolutions post, I’m not really making any. Is that a cop out? Probably. I know that making commitments to things is meant to make you more likely to be able to achieve them. But I find they just make me feel worse about myself when I don’t manage to complete them. And I never do when it comes to reading.

I entered 2022 with a big old backlog on NetGalley – the same as I did last year. I don’t think it’s got any bigger, but it hasn’t got much smaller either. So I’m going to try to be a bit restrained with my requesting finger and work on that. I’ve already been through and identified some that will fit the 50 states challenge, if I do that again this year. But last year I didn’t do very well with the actual bookshelf – as I explained in my retrospective post so who knows whether I’ll veer off onto a reading actual books moment over the ebook backlog.

But mostly my aim for 2022 is to enjoy my reading. I’ve got much better over the last few years about just reading what I want to read and not what I think I ought to be reading, and I want to carry on doing that. Read what I fancy, not think about numbers of books read or what I should read – and just read what I want, when I want. Let’s see how I get on…

tribute

Sir Antony Sher

It’s been a busy week of posts here on the blog, and I wasn’t planning to post anything today, but then the news came through that Sir Antony Sher had died. This blog is about books and writing, but please bear with me for this crossover with one of my other passions. Some of you probably know that I love going to the theatre. Going to see a show was one of the things I missed the most during the pandemic.

I’ve been lucky enough to see some amazing performances on stage through the years – some of them from names you’ll recognise from films and TV – like Mark Rylance, Judi Dench and Angela Lansbury – some of them more known to the theatre world. Antony Sher is one of the latter. When it was announced that he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness earlier this year, I was surprised that Him Indoors didn’t recognise his name (or his picture), until I checked back through his IMDB page and realised that most of his credits were for filmed versions of plays. I only saw him on stage once – playing Macbeth at the Swan in about 2000 – but it was amazing. I had been studying Macbeth at school and had struggled (as most school children do I think) with the Shakespearean language. But there was Antony Sher (and Harriet Walter) on stage making it all seem understandable and easy in a way that it wasn’t on the page. I hadn’t seen a lot of live Shakespeare at that point, but I had seen enough to know that it didn’t always work like that.

As Sher worked principally for the RSC in recent years – where his husband is artistic director – and a trip to Stratford always seems like a special effort, and the RSC in London can be quite expensive and hard to get (especially when the reviews were good), that’s my only experience of seeing him live on stage. So why am I writing about him on a book blog? Well it’s because that Macbeth really was very, very good but also because of the books he wrote about his acting.

Although I love going to the theatre, I have never wanted to be on stage myself. The closest I have got since primary school plays was playing in the band for the school musical. The process of creating a performance was a bit of a mystery to me. And that’s where Antony Sher’s Year of the Fat Knight came into my life. I liked it so much I bought his other books about creating great Shakespearean roles and they were equally brilliant. It really gave me a sense of the work and the research that goes into building a performance and creating a character – and probably made me a more critical and analytical theatre goer. Wonderful writing, wonderful acting. And an interesting life, well lived. I’m sorry that there will be no more performances to watch or books to read about them.

Book of the Week

Book of the Week… or not

So remember that bit where I said yesterday that I had been out and about and not reading? Well the trouble with that is that it’s left me in a bit of a bind here. Because I didn’t finish that much last week. And one of the ones I did finish was another Fethering book – and I wrote about that last week. And I don’t think I have enough to say about any of the rest of the books I read. Which is a bit tricky. I have finished the new Richard Osman now – but it’s Tuesday and that’s a bit cheaty even for me and you never know, at this rate I might yet need it for next week! So instead, here’s an apology and picture of the British Crime Classics section in the British Library shop.

And as I know you’d rather I was honest and not write about something if I couldn’t work up a bit of enthusiasm for it (or at least I hope that’s what you’d rather!) have a picture from the theatre, the last performance of The Last Five Years on Sunday. It was wonderful. Sorry, not sorry.

Surviving the 'Rona

Surviving Coronavirus: Podcast edition

Welcome to the latest in my occasional series of things that have been helping me through the Quarantimes. I listen to a lot of podcasts, even in normal times, because I do a lot of walking as part of my commute and I like to have something to listen to. But they’re mostly topical news and politics podcasts, and you don’t need my recommendations for that. I’ve always had some podcasts that I *only* listen to while I’m running – because it gives me an incentive to run to hear the next part – but during the various lockdowns, this has expanded so I have some podcasts that I’m only allowed to listen to while I’m out walking and getting some exercise. And now, even though lockdowns are easing, I’ve moved jobs so I’m working from home rather than in the office, so having a reason to go out and exercise is really useful! So that’s the list I’ve drawn these recommendations from – stuff that’s so good that it’s worth leaving the house to listen to! All of these are available to listen to for free – and although there are premium options available for some, the series are all complete so there’s no waiting to binge.

Unfinished: Short Creek

The second series of Witness Doc’s Unfinished podcast focused on the town of Short Creek, on the Arizona/Utah border, which is also divided by religion. It was the epicentre of the branch of the fundamentalist Mormon sect led by Warren Jeffs and the residents are a mix of FLS members – and ex-members. It’s the story of how the current situation came about – the history of the group and the circumstances surrounding Jeffs’ conviction and imprisonment for sex crimes but it’s also an examination of Freedom of Religion and freedom from religion. There are 10 parts available (and a bonus AMA) available without a premium subscription, and I found it fascinating. And not just because I read a lot of early Mommy bloggers who were Mormon and have watched a fair few episodes of Sister Wives. You may have seen Under The Banner of Heaven on my reading list the other week  – and Short Creek features in that too, but that book has a different focus – and is also more than a decade old now. But if you’ve read that – you’ll probably like this. More info about Unfinished here. And if you like this and enjoy it, then my next stop was Heaven’s Gate – another series about a cult, this time one that ended in a mass suicide. And just this week, Wondery have dropped a trailer for a new series about Jerry Falwell Jr called In God We Lust which is going to be next on my list to listen to.

Wind of Change

From Crooked Media (a group of ex-Obama staffers who started a media company, you may know them from Pod Save America) and Pineapple Street Studios (the company who produced Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill podcast), this is an investigation into whether the CIA had a hand in writing the Scorpions’ song ‘Wind of Change’ which became an anthem across Eastern Europe just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s got music history and spying but it also says a lot about how America used its culture to spread power, and how Western culture got behind the Iron Curtain. If you like spy thrillers and John Le Carre, this should be on your playlist. I listened to most of this podcast while plodding around my local park in 30+ degree heat back in summer 2020, which feels like so long ago now, but it says a lot about how engrossed I was in it that I was prepared to turn out for a run in a heatwave so that I could keep listening to it! And it’s just been nominated for a Webby Award as well. More info here.

Boom/Bust  

Logo of Boom/Bust

This one is firmly in the spectacular business failures section of my wheelhouse – see also Bad Blood and Billion Dollar Loser – Boom/Bust, as the logo suggests covers what on earth happened to HQ Trivia which was briefly the hottest thing in mobile gaming and allegedly the future of TV. If you didn’t come across it at the time, it was a live trivia game with big money prizes. For a few weeks (maybe months) here in the UK I’d see some of my coworkers on the late shift logging on to their phones to try and win some money. But as quickly as it started, it was over and this podcast from the Ringer looks at what happened and why. The story is actually somewhat longer than I expected – because it was around for longer in the US – but it’s another story of The Next Great Idea – where it got massively popular without a sense of how to sustain it long term. Find out more here.

Bunga Bunga

Logo of Bunga Bunga

So if you’re my sort of age, Silvio Berlusconi was a fixture of European and world political life for a long time. In fact, my first foreign trip was to Italy to see relatives right at the time his first successful election campaign was in its closing stages – I remember seeing the Forza Italia song on the evening news while we were there. And I knew it had been a hell of a story since that 1994 election win through to the Bunga Bunga party scandal that saw him eventually banned from holding public office. But as Wondery’s Bunga Bunga  demonstrates, it’s actually even wilder than you could imagine. Even if you’re not that into politics, the story of how the child of a middle class bank employee and a housewife became first a media mogul and then one of the most important figures in modern Italian politics is a fascinating one even before the many controversies and scandals that came along the way. You can find more info (and a trailer) here.

What am I listening to next? Well I’ve already mentioned In God We Lust, but that only has the trailer out so far, so I’ll have to wait for that. I’m also looking at Spy Affair (about Maria Butina) and The Lazarus Heist (about North Korean hacking) but again neither of those series are complete yet so I’m still looking for my next series binge. If you have any recommendations please put them in the comments – nothing too violent though please. In the mean time there are a few new episodes of Real Dictators that have been dropping over the last few weeks- but I’m not sure I’m in the right headspace to listen to five (so far) episodes about Hitler. I’ve listened to previous episodes while running and find that the awfulness makes me run faster – I think I’m trying to get away from it (this also happened when I tried listening to Simon Sebag Montefiore’s biography of the Romanovs. So much death, so much torture, so very gruesome). I’m also a few episodes behind in Greg Jenner‘s latest series of You’re Dead to Me but laughing while running is not the best idea for me.

And as a final note, my original “only listen to it while you’re running” podcast was Hit Parade from Slate – which is a examination of Billboard chart music trends. It looks at why some songs become mega hits and how some artists (or music types) came to dominate the airwaves. Early in the pandemic they moved the whole podcast behind the Slate plus paywall and I love it so much that I joined up just so I could keep listening to it. As the situation with coronavirus has changed, it’s rememerged slightly – so there is one full episode every month which everyone can get (although non-subscribers get it as two parts with a couple of week gap in between) and a bonus episode for Slate plus subscribers. The latest episode is about Taylor Swift – although with the news in the last 24 hours about the death of Jim Steinman their October episode is all about his career in music and would make a great listen instead of reading an obit, but it’s one of those podcasts where you can go back to the beginning (an episode about the Beatles) and just work the whole way through. I did. It might change your views on some groups (I’m a lot more pro BeeGees than I used to be) or it might not (I still hate hair metal, but so does the host so it’s fine) but you’ll learn a tonne of stuff.  

Happy Listening!

Surviving the 'Rona

Surviving Coronavirus: The TV Edition

It’s been a few months since I posted one of these, but given that the days are all blurring into one again with the sameness and we’re back in lockdown here, I thought I’d drop in another set of recommendations for things to do to survive the Coronavirus. Today: it’s TV. There’s not necessarily a bookish link to all of these – they’re just things that I’ve liked – and so if you enjoy the sort of books that I write about, you might want to check out.

Call My Agent (Dix Pour Cent) – Netflix

And this first recommendation is the reason that I’m posting this this week – because the fourth and final series drops on Netflix today (Thursday). Call My Agent is a French TV series about a talent agency and their stars. The French title – dix pour cent – refers to the ten percent commission that agents take from their clients. Each episode has a different French actor or personality playing themself with a fresh drama to solve, but the heart of the series are the agents – Andrea, Gabriel, Mattias and Arlette (and her dog Jean Gabin) who almost cause themselves as many problems as they solve (see Andrea’s affair with the woman from the tax authorities) and their assistants Noemie, Hervé and Camille. It’s funny, but it’s not a sitcom. It’s a drama, but the stakes aren’t life or death or traumatic. It’s just a rollicking good journey through the world of celebrity. I can’t wait to see what the final series has in store for the gang – and how it all ends.

Staged (BBC iPlayer)

The first series of this (which the clip above is from) was out in Lockdown one – and now they’re back with a second. David Tennant and Michael Sheen basically bicker over zoom for 20 minutes as they try to rehearse a play. Oh and it has great cameos. Series two is on the iPlayer now, I’ve only watched the first episode so far (because of getting all caught up on Call My Agent before the new series) but it seems to be picking up where it left off, but even more meta! I know some people find this just too theatre-luvvie and in jokey, but I’m a theatre nerd who is missing going to see shows so much so I guess I’m smack bang in the target audience. The episodes are short so it’s a nice bite sized watch. The only problem is that it may be over too soon.

Bones (Amazon Prime)

 

From one extreme to another – if Staged might be over too quickly, there are 12 whole series of Bones, adding up to nearly 250 episodes. I started watching this in September, after catching a couple of episodes on a tv channel and getting a little bit sucked in – probably due to my teen crush on Boreanz’s Angel on Buffy. Initially i was watching it while Him Indoors was doing other things. Then he got hooked and insisted that I didn’t watch without him. We’re now midway through the final season – as it’s one of those shows where it’s really easy just to have it on running episodes back to back for a whole evening. It’s a comedy drama crime procedural – Bones is Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) a forensic anthropologist and she gets paired up with FBI agent Seeley Booth to help him solve murders. As with all these things you need to not think too hard about whether any of this could actually happen – especially when it comes to investigating cases that they have a personal interest in, but it makes me laugh and although there are a lot of gross looking bodies around, it manages not to be too gory or too far down the psychological thriller end of things. It does go overboard sometimes – the episodes where Booth and Brennan go undercover as Buck and Wanda Moosejaw make my teeth itch – but the unresolved sexual tension in the first half of the show’s run is *really* good.

Pride and Prejudice (BBC, but available on Netflix)

And an old favourite to finish: I’m not sure that there’s anyone out there who hasn’t heard of the Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle Pride and Prejudice adaptation. I’ve watched it umpteen times over the years – when it first came out, then we owned it on video, I think at one point both my sister and I had it on DVD and if I happened across it on TV (UKTV Drama used to reshow it fairly regularly) then I would stop to watch. For me, it’s one of the ultimate comfort watches. I’ve already watched it twice through since Coronavirus started and Lizzy is about to read her letter from Jane about Lydia on my third watch through. The BBC showed it again earlier in lockdown (I think as part of the educational offer) which I recorded on the TiVo and means I can keep it handy. It’s also on Netflix – but it’s a *really* grotty print – it’s grainy 4:3 and the one I’ve got recorded looks much better, even if they’ve zoomed in on it to make it 16:9.

I’ve been back to a few of my other old favourites too – Miss Marple, Inspector Alleyn but you already know all about my love of those and one of my guilty favourites – Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team which is currently being repeated on ITVBe and should be everything that I hate, but I somehow love. I have a whole series sitting on the box waiting for Little Sis to return from China so we can have a sleepover and watch it together. It’s that sort of TV.

Anyway, if you’ve got any recommendations for me, pop them in the comments, otherwise – stay safe!

book adjacent, Recommendsday

#Recommendsday: Book-adjacent stuff to watch

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been having some problems concentrating on books at various points during the Current Situation, so I’ve been watching a lot of TV in those concentration lapses. As I watch news all day every day at work, I don’t watch news on my off days, and tend to favour non-news TV. I thought today I’d mention some of the bookish things that I have watched, along with all the Drag Race, Tiger King, My Lottery Dream Home and Great British Menu.

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict

A couple of years back I read Judith Mackerell’s The Unfinished Palazzo, about a house in Venice that was owned by Luisa Casati, Doris Castelrosse and Peggy Guggenheim. When I wrote about the book in my Rich People Problems nonfiction post last year, I said I would happily read more about any of them, which is true, but Peggy is the one I ws really curious about. So imagine my delight when I found a feature length documentary about her on BBC Four the other week.  And it turns out, she’s just as interesting as I thought she would be – and possibly as much of a nightmare to be around as I suspected too.  I am still definitely in the market for a good book about her – but this was a very good watch.  Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict is available to watch for people in the UK (with a TV licence) on the BBC iPlayer for another nine days.

Becoming Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama’s memoir was huuuuuge when it came out – huge to the point were a year on it’s still not out in paperback and there’s still a hold queue for it at my library. Now Netflix has a new documentary that follows her on the tour she did to promote the book, which saw her talking to huge arenas and small groups. If you haven’t read the book (and I haven’t yet) it is a really good insight into her life and her story. I assume if you have read the book, it does the same but even more so! It’s got bonus appearances from Barack Obama, and for the news junkies like me you get to see behind the scenes of some of the TV interviews you may have seen her (and her mum) do at the time of the booklaunch. This one’s on Netflix now.

Wise Children

There’s a lot of theatre that has been on YouTube or TV during the lockdown, but this has been one of the most interesting to me. This is an adaptation of Angela Carters book about two ageing music hall stars, the unacknowledged daughters of the most famous Shakespearian actor of the day. I read the book two years ago, and while it is very good it didn’t really strike me as a show that would be easily adapted for the stage – despite the fact that it is about the theatre. But Emma Rice has done it and now we can all watch. I haven’t got to the end of this yet, but I’m really enjoying as much of it as I have watched. Wise Children is available to watch for people in the UK (with a TV licence) on BBC iPlayer until at least the start of June.

Howl’s Moving Castle

I read the book the other year, but I saw the film first and it has a special place in my heart because of that. All of the Studio Ghibli stuff is available on Netflix now, so if you haven’t seen them already, now is your chance. I’m planning on watching it again – but this time with subtitles instead of the English language dub.

Voila – a few ideas from me. Please put any suggestions you have for me in the comments – I will run out of Drag race soon…

Happy Watching!

 

tribute

VE Day 75

So today marks 75 years since VE Day and the end of the Second World War in Europe. The world is upside down at the moment, and although we have a bank holiday here in the UK today plans for big events to celebrate this have been shelved, for obvious reasons. This morning I was hanging out of the attic window trying to spot the Red Arrows flying over on their way home after their central London flyover and then I watched (and observed) the two minute silence at 11 am.

I was going to write a post full of World War Two reading recommendations for today, but it didn’t really feel right. Instead, I want to ask you to be kind to yourself, to your family and to your friends; and to take a bit of time if you can to remember all the people who served or contributed to the war effort. I have been thinking mostly about my grandfathers today, and I wanted to share a bit about them with you.

Black and white photo of Douglas Ward in army uniformThis first photo is my Grandpa on my mum’s side, Douglas Ward. He was in the Royal Engineers, worked on the railways (including on the Hush Hush train and on the Mallard) and helped build components for the Mullberry harbour that towed across the Channel to Arromanches, then he landed on the beaches on D Day and went on across Europe to Hamburg where he worked on boats at the docks. Mum still has his army book because he was never properly demobbed. It shows if he hadn’t been released for essential work – to go back and take over as chief engineer at the factory he worked in pre-war – he would have been posted to the Far East. He went on to be the chief engineer at a number of shoe factories in Northampton. We lived next door to him and my grandma for most of my childhood (my parents live in my grandparents house now) and he hardly ever talked about the war. But he was very proud of being a Royal Engineer and the skills that he learned.

Photo of RAF service ment

Crouching down in the middle of this photo is my other grandad, Ivor Wilde. I know even less about what he was up to during the war because he died when I was a baby. But I do know that he was in the RAF and served in India. The photo below is of him and my granny. They got married during the war, and my dad’s older sister was born in 1946. My grandad went on to be a farmer, stand as a candidate to be an Member of Parliament and eventually set up a fencing company which is still in the family today. I wish he’d been around a bit longer for me to get to know him the way that I knew my other grandpa.

Photo of my grandad with my granny during the war

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope everyone is enjoying the bank holiday. Stay safe and happy reading.

 

 

The pile

Moving House

So what I haven’t been talking about on the blog is that alongside all the work and the reading, we’ve also been in the process of buying a new house and selling our current one. It’s all been a bit stressful and not just because I’ve been trying to rationalise the books that are going with me. I can see the most stressful weeks in my reading – lots of romances and mysteries where a resolution is guaranteed and I don’t have to concentrate too hard.

By the time this publishes, we will have the keys to the new place and will be in the midst of trying to unpack the multitude of boxes and reassemble everything.  In the run up to the move I’ve done another rationalisation of the to-read bookshelf – that’s what the 50 pages and out rounds were about – and so my local charity shops have been the beneficiaries of a good stack of books.

And what have I learned through this?  Well firstly I need to think hard about saving books by my favourite authors.  Because my tastes change – and saving books doesn’t always work out for me.  A few of the books that got the boot were books by authors who I have previously loved and that now just didn’t grab me.  Some of them had been sitting on the shelves for a while, waiting for me to decide that I needed to treat myself to a good book.  If I’d read them at the time, I might have enjoyed them and now… not so much.

And I need to be better at knowing what I’m going to read.  There was a lot of literary fiction on that shelf that I’d picked up from the magic shelf at work because it sounded appealing – but that I’d never read because there was always something more amusing – or at the least lighter – to read. and so they just sit their on the shelves waiting for me to get around to it.  And it seems that that day probably isn’t going to happen – I’m going to continue to acquire more books – and books that I’d rather read ahead of the worthy literary fiction.  Why kid myself.

The good thing is that the new house has more space for bookshelves – but it’s also a chance for new resolutions – to be realistic about what I’m going to read and try not to hoard accordingly.  Wish me luck!