The Classics Club question this week asks “What are you looking forward to reading in May?” The answer to which, for me, is “the one I never got around to reading.”
I’d planned to read Achebe’s Things Fall Apart having heard so many comments from friends and other bloggers about how wonderful it is. And I really did mean to read it. Honestly!
But May is almost over and I haven’t even opened it. Why not?
Part of the reason (or should that be excuse) is that I’m already reading a novel set in Africa — Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o which is taking me longer than expected to read. It’s an epic that chronicles the lives of four people from a small, forgotten village as they deal with the aftermath of colonialism, the devastation of drought and the indifference of their government. It’s not a book you can read quickly. It’s fascinating reading but I don’t think I can crowd my brain with a book that has some similarities at the same time.
But the other reason is that I’ve been distracted by the fact I’m off to the Hay Literature Festival tomorrow where I’ll be listening to a discussion with Man Booker prize winner John Banville talk about his latest novel Ancient Life and preview the film of his prize winning novel The Sea. Light dawned only this week that I hadn’t actually ever read anything by Banville even though I have a copy of The Sea on my bookshelf ( a bargain copy picked up during a library sale). So I’m trying to finish it or at least get far enough forward that I’ll understand some of his comments. It’s a mesmerising book about memory and loss told in a wonderfully lyrical style.
So the upshot is that Achebe will have to wait until later in the year.