Snapshot of January 2015

Day 1 of a new month – and a new year. It’s time to take a snapshot of what I’m reading, listening to and watching.

Reading

I have about 90 pages left of Washington Square by Henry James. This is my spin book for the classics club and also counts as book number one from my list for the 2015 TBR challenge. Initially I wasn’t very engaged by this story of a sweet but plain and dull daughter and her brilliant but emotionally-distant doctor father. It’s now become significantly more interesting as the pair clash over a suitor that Catherine loves but her father considers a ‘selfish idler’ only interested in the girl because she is a wealthy heiress.

I’ll finish this today and can then turn more of my attention to the book chosen as my first read of 2015  In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahmen. I started reading this yesterday and if it continues in the same way I think this is going to be an enjoyable book.

Listening

YearofReadingI gave up on my last audio book Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir. I didn’t like the style – there were far too many times Weir used expressions like “Elizabeth must have known ….” or “Elizabeth would have felt….” I don’t expect to find this kind of conceit in a historical biography.  I’ve switched to The Year of Living Dangerously : How Fifty Great Books Saved my Life by Andy Miller. This is a non-fictional account of how a Londoner began thinking re-kindled his love of reading, starting with books that he’d always meant to read but never got around to, and those other people couldn’t believe he hadn’t already read. A few chapters in he reveals he studied literature at university and works at  publishing company evaluating submitted scripts from would be authors so it’s decidedly odd to find that he’s never read Middlemarch or Anna Karenina. Still I’m enjoying his irreverent tone, as he comments on some of the novels he read while on the 6.44am train to work in London and while in the queue at the post office. There’s a good interview with him at The Dabbler if you’re interested.

Watching

The  DVDs that we were given as Christmas presents have proved a mixed bag. The Quartet had oodles of famous faces but not even Dame Maggie Smith and Sir Tom Courtney could rescue a very thin plot. The Dallas Buyers Club was good as was Flight with Denzil Washington. But 12 Years a Slave which we watched on New Year’s Eve was tedious. Far too many shots where the lead actor looks into the distance and we were meant to understand what was going on in his head.   We now have a boxed set of The Wire to look forward to watching.

 

 

About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on January 1, 2015, in Book Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I was going to suggest that you not give up on “Washington Square.” I think the last third or so is when it gets really interesting. But now I see that you have finished! I saw a play version of the play last year, which was very well done.

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  2. Happy New Year! It’s been such a pleasure blogging with you the last few weeks; I look forward to more good discussions in 2015.

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  3. Well looks like January is starting off well….

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  4. I loved Washington Square. The first time I read it, I saw the love story. The second time I was fascinated by the battle of will between father and daughter.

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  5. I love Washington Square, so I’ll be interested in your take on it. There’s a film version too if you want to go in that direction.

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    • I just finished it and surprisingly really enjoyed it. The tension between Catherine and her father was extremely well done and the depiction of Catherine’s character was excellent.Maybe I might get to like more of James’ work yet !

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