Monday, 30 July 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading?

I've been very remiss with my lack of book-talk on here... tsk tsk.  To redress this I'm going to try and link up with Sheila from Book Journey every week.

Looking at my bookcases at the weekend I was vexed at how many of the books on them I've still to read, so determined to rectify this I grabbed a slim volume and found myself with Emile Zola's Therese Raquin.  I really should have known better after having such a bad experience with Germinal...  If ever there was an antidote to the feel-good factor from the Olympics that seems to be sweeping this island then this book is it.  (I'm glad it only took a couple of days to read as I may have had to start drinking alcohol in large amounts to cope with any more - as it was I had to recuperate with some chocolate).  It's not that I don't enjoy downbeat literature, Hamlet is my favourite play for goodness sake!  Plus I love Jude the Obscure, and that's not exactly a comedy, but it is beautiful and moving.  Zola's work is just, well, grim.  To save you from reading this book and thus probably needing counselling, the short version is that it's about adultery and murder followed by the psychological and emotional disintegration of the two people involved.

Zola was much taken with the idea of Naturalism and tries to deal with the characters as subjects (or 'organisms' as he often refers to them) in a scientific experiment.  All well and good, but the problem with this is it's very hard to empathise with them.  I for one let out a sigh of relief when it had finished and I was able to be rid of the self-obsessed unpleasant pair.  I still have one Zola left on the shelf and am undecided whether to attempt it or give it to a charity shop - obviously a charity shop where only people I don't like buy books.

On a more up-beat note I've also started Kate Atkinson's murder mystery One Good Turn.  This is the fourth book of Atkinson's that I've read and I love the way she writes - she's funny, excellent at characterisation and plotting, and her books are both intelligent and entertaining.  Start with Case Histories to get to know her protagonist Jackson Brodie (ex-army, ex-policeman, ex-husband), then marvel at how she weaves her various characters, plots and subplots together in When Will There be Good News?, and Started Early, Took My Dog.  Sheer brilliance!

Next from the bookshelves will be a Dickens... not sure which one yet...

12 comments:

bookdout said...

I have Started Early Took My Dog but haven't gotten to read it yet.

Have a great reading week!

Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

The Brunette Librarian said...

Welcome back to the world of books :) We're happy to have you back!

Happy reading this week :)
The Brunette Librarian Blog

Jennifer Hartling said...

Ahhh Dickens, my all time favorite. Enjoy!

Barbara said...

I'm sort of reading during commercials with the Olympics on. I love that stuff. Anyway, while watching the bike races, I was looking for your pink umbrella, and yesterday I did see one like it during the women's race but couldn't see who in the crowd was holding it. And all the while you were probably comfortable at home reading. lol

Barbara said...

LOL! Yes the bike race was down in the south east in London/Surrey so twas not my brolly :O) The nearest events to us are at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry - probably football (boo hiss). The women's bike race was a real humdinger though - I was watching it at home with Posky and Charlie sprawled next to me!

Jo said...

I have a feeling I wouldn't have finished Therese Raquin in your place. I NEED great characters that I can relate to. If I can't connect with the characters, it'd better be an upbeat book. As it apparently fails in both areas, you've just described a nightmare read for me.

Marie said...

Okay well thank you for saving me from Zola, eeekkk

My Monday Post.

Laloofah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laloofah said...

Well, Zola's book may be grim but I did enjoy your review of it! I don't mind grim if there's some redemption in it, but this one sounded like it was printed with grim ink on grim paper by a grim author having a grim year. Just grim all the way around! As for what I'm reading you know good and well. :-) Thanks again for the C.J. Sansom recommendation, I'm really enjoying him and though it will be some months before I've read through the rest of his books, Atkinson is now on my to-read list as well. As for the Olympics, we've been enjoying them so much in the evenings (especially the swimming and gymnastics) that I am now dreadfully sleep-deprived! I hate our time difference, and am trying to avert my eyes and ears from any and all news during the day since you can't learn what else is going on in the world without also being exposed to Olympics spoilers!

Barbara said...

Fellow bookworms and Zola dodgers - thank you!

Laurie - grimmer than a grim thing in fact!

Am open to bribes to not reveal Olympic news as it happens :O)))

William Kendall said...

I'm reading Daniel Silva's The Fallen Angel at the moment. Nice spy and terrorist potboiler....

Barbara said...

Not heard of that one William - will now have to have a look at it on Amazon. Can't wait for John Connolly's 'The Wrath of Angels' due out this month!

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