Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Books & Stuff (NS, No 28) - Reading in Apr 2022


Books Finished

Andrzej Sapkowski, The Last Wish

Stories about Geralt the Witcher, the character who 'inspired the cult videogame' and subsequent tv series.  As I've never played the game and haven't watched the programme, I came into this one cold.

I enjoyed it.  It's good fantasy.  As everyone probably knows, Sapkowski (a Pole) draws heavily on Central European folklore (but with some cunning nods to people like me, who only know it through the filters of the Brothers Grimm and Disney), which is refreshing.  I also detect the influence of Fritz Leiber in some of the sly humour.

Jane Austen, Persuasion

Like most people I'm pretty familiar with Austen's works because of the many tv and film adaptaions of them.  Until now, however, I've never read any.  I started therefore with one of my favorites (and one of the shortest).

Austen writes comedies of manners, and this is another book with some sly humour.

Persuasion is the story of Ann Eliott, who several years before the book started, was persuaded that she shouldn't accept the proposal of a young naval officer.  The book follows their re-acquaintance and the persuasion of mutual love.

I find what Wordsworth was doing with the cover ironic - they're using the science of persuasion and following the old advertising adage: "Sex Sells!" in a rather silly and pointless way.

T H White, Mistress Masham's Repose

A childrens' story in which the orphaned and oppressed scion of a ducal family finds a colony of Lilliputians living in the grounds.

There's quite a lot of talk about political economy and self-determination, but when T H White riffs on an idea by Jonathan Swift, what can one expect?
Susan Hill, Howards End is on the Landing

The conceit of this book is that Hill was looking for a book (presumably Howards End) on her shelves, but instead found so many others that she wanted to read, that she decided to have a year in which she only read books that she already owned.  Of course, this being Susan Hill, she had a couple of hundred thousand to choose from...

And it isn't really about the books, but the memories that they prompt.  Given that Hill has met every major British writer from E M Forster and the Sitwells onwards, threre's a lot of memories to fit in the 'slim volume'.  

It's quite engaging though, and I'm tempted to seek out some of Hill's own fiction.

Jim Wilson, Launch Pad UK: Britain and the Cuban Missile Crisis

A change of pace here.  

I'll link to a full reveiw of this book in a few days.

 

2 comments:

  1. I am always amused by your reading list. I find too many distractions to read much these days. I was surprised that you'd not read Austen. All her books are very enjoyable, but one has to pack a lunch and be prepared to spend some time in them. Once you get used to the Regency nuances and language it pays off.

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  2. I suppose that 'eclectic' is a good word. :)

    I was lucky not to be put off Austen because I didn't study English Lit beyond the age of 14.

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