I had the notion of doing something with Reading Corner, because this section is the equivalent of the quiet area of the old local library that nobody ever goes into, and that's my favorite sort of place.
I thought, in the spirit of Briar's CYS story book club, it would be fun to read an actual book together--whoever wants to--and we could discuss it. The only rules I would suggest are a) No pressure to read (I spend my work days cajoling people to read things, and nobody needs that in their fun time), b) Let's stretch ourselves and try things outside genres we might usually read, c) Let's take turns picking books, trying to vary genres as much as possible--novels, books of short stories, graphic novels, plays, books of poetry.
Let's goddamn learn something. If you would like to read this month, post here or just read anyway and surprise everyone.
For the first--let's say month?--I suggest "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith. It is comic, tragic, romantic, and genre-busting. This is a shortish novel (written by the woman who write 101 Dalmatians, weirdly enough) which has a great narrator writing about her poor family who live in a crumbling castle. Let's read this in September and discuss starting October 1. It is fine offer impressions as you read before then, but keep it spoiler free. Here are the first paragraphs to see if this is your cup of tea:
"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea cosy. I can't say that I am really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen house. Though even that isn't a very good poem. I have decided my poetry is so bad that I mustn't write any more of it.
Drips from the roof are plopping into the water butt by the back door. The view through the windows above the sink is excessively drear. Beyond the dank garden in the courtyard are the ruined walls on the edge of the moat. Beyond the moat, the boggy ploughed fields stretch to the leaden sky. I tell myself that all the rain we have had lately is good for nature, and that at any moment spring will surge on us. I try to see leaves on the trees and the courtyard filled with sunlight. Unfortunately, the more my mind's eye sees green and gold, the more drained of all colour does the twilight seem.
It is comforting to look away from the windows and towards the kitchen fire, near which my sister Rose is ironing though she obviously can't see properly, and it will be a pity if she scorches her only nightgown. (I have two, but one is minus its behind.) Rose looks particularly fetching by firelight because she is a pinkish person; her skin has a pink glow and her hair is pinkish gold, very light and feathery. Although I am rather used to her I know she is a beauty. She is nearly twenty one and very bitter with life. I am seventeen, look younger, feel older. I am no beauty but have a neatish face.
I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud. I must admit that our home is an unreasonable place to live in. Yet I love it."
I really, really didn't like The Idiot. I don't think much of Dostoyevski's novels in general. The Brothers K had its moments, but on the whole, I found them unrewarding slogs.
For me, Tolstoy is about a billion times better. Anna Karenina is in my top ten list--and Gogol's Dead Souls is right up there too. I love Russian liteature, but I will rarely pass up an opportunity to denigrate Dostoyevsky.
I could never get in to Crime and Punishment... But I think that's probably because I was listening to the audiobook and the guy reading it had the most painfully boring voice I've ever heard. I should really try actually reading it sometime. :p
Definitely noping this one, I'm afraid. Looks like a really awesome book... But if I start reading a new book every month, I'll never get any writing done. :(
We'll miss you, Avery, and by the way, put me on your book club list. I'm going to participate next time if I can.
I'm down Gower, might as well participate a little more if I'm going to be floating around. Just ordered myself a prime patient zero copy of it from Amazon. Maybe someone wiped their ass with it, maybe not.
Cool! This is shaping up nicely.
I find the narrative voice completely compelling. She is so observant, and so attuned to colors and small details. I can't stop rereading particular sentences where she describes the room, and lets us know tidbits about what's unusual about the family. I'm glad you're enjoying it.
Ah, a real book club? My dreams have come true! I haven't read as much since I got outta high school, but I used to blow through a book every few days. I would love to join. It seems really charming.