This has been a week of landmarks, mostly small but still notable and one big one….
- I got to the end of Little Women. It took me nigh on three weeks to read this dratted book. I loved the
character of Jo March when I was young – she is the element of the book that has stayed with me for years and it seems I am not alone in finding her the most interesting of the four March sisters. But I had forgotten how preachy this novel is with its initial device of making the sisters follow the course of Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress and then the wise homilies of the saintly Marmee inserted every few pages. If it were not a required text for my children’s literature course – and there is an essay due on it – I would have abandoned it long before the first book was completed. By way of an antidote I started to read one of the series of detective stories from the 1930s by Dorothy L. Sayers which feature the aristocratic private investigator Lord Peter Whimsey. Strong Poison is the fifth in the series and sees Whimsey try to save a woman from the hangman. It’s a welcome light relief after Alcott but not too frothy.
- My official TBR has now passed the 200 mark. Despite good intentions at the start of the year and some concentrated effort to read what I already possess, it’s higher now than it was in January. I could winge and moan but its actually a pleasure to know I have books to suit every mood right at my fingertips (providing I can find the book without the piles tumbling over). Book number 200 is The Conservationist by the South African writer and political activist Nadine Gordimer who received the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Conservationist was joint winner of the Booker Prize in 1974 (sharing the prize with Stanley Middleton’s Holiday). I knew that her writing dealt extensively with moral and racial issues, particularly apartheid. What I didn’t know was that she gave Nelson Mandela advice on his famous 1964 defence speech at the trial which led to his conviction for life.
- Inspired by another blogger – I think it was Lisa at ANZlovers – I have finally started to make Goodreads work more effectively for me at keeping a list of books I want to read. I had these in so many formats and places beforehand that it was impossible to keep track. I had links to reviews, emails, Evernote notes. But few of them actually said where i had learned about the book. Now I have a wishlist in Goodreads and have started to post comments to track where I heard about the book or who recommended it. Bliss….
- I know in some homes the word Christmas is banned until December 1 and that was the case with me for years but this year its starting earlier than planned because of a health issue. I’ve just launched a 12 days of Christmas game and giveaway which starts on December 1 – its the first time I’ve ever done this on my blog. Hope it works. Also hoping lots of people join in…..
- And finally, the biggest landmark of them all. I finished my course of chemotherapy. I’ve been fortunate and the side effects haven’t been too debilitating but still its good to know from the tests that it had the desired effect in halting the progress. I have a lot more of the mountain to climb before my health is back on track but I’m now beyond base camp. Next milestone is radiotherapy which begins on Nov 28. Cause for celebration I think don’t you?