Confessions of a January non-reader

February 7, 2012 at 9:54 am 11 comments

Full disclosure today as I committed the ultimate literary transgression this January: I didn’t finish a single book.

I hardly even read that much. I blame a variety of factors, including late-stage Henry James (impenetrable!) and a plethora of dog training books, none of which were finished, per se, but which were certainly combed through often enough in anticipation of this little one’s arrival, a life event that also cut down on my reading time.

So now that the pooch is settling in (sort of…I’m giving her little rescue dog craziness a few weeks to calm down before calling in the training big wigs) and my anxiety level has somewhat diminished, I’m ready to start reading again! Nothing deep, nothing heavy, and certainly nothing intense. I just want something escapist and light to breeze through and smile about.

Any recommendations?

Right now, I’m alternating between Death Comes to Pemberley (a book whose very existence makes me shudder with distaste and which isn’t proving to be terribly good, although certainly escapist and light) and some of Wilkie Collins’ short stories (so far completely excellent along with being escapist). I guess I seek out the nineteenth century when in search of a literary place to relax!

Anyway, I still have a backlog of books I haven’t written about here (The Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears being a completely stellar read I haven’t touched on yet!) and I hope to be reading more in the coming weeks so I have more to post about.

What have you all been reading in my blogging absence? Anything most excellent you could recommend?


Entry filed under: Musings and Essays.

10 Things about ‘Parrot and Olivier in America’ by Peter Carey A post of doggery

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sheryl  |  February 7, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Cold Comfort Farm!

    • 2. Corey  |  February 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

      YES! I keep forgetting about this. Thanks for always reminding me. I’ve just put a hold on it via NYPL so I hope to get my hands on it soon!

  • 3. Eva  |  February 7, 2012 at 10:02 am

    PUPPY!!!! She looks like she could be Thistle’s cousin too; some kind of terrier/poodle mix? So precious. We need a full post. :D

    Ahem. I spent a lot of January not reading too; it was very frustrating. And I gave up after 100 pgs of Death Comes for Pemberley…I wouldn’t have even lasted that long if I weren’t such a big fan of James’ mysteries (I’ve never tried an Austen sequel before and shan’t be repeating the experience).

    If you’re looking for 19th century escapism, I love Trollope’s Barsetshire series. And Cranford. On the fantasy front, I’m 2/3 of the way through an excellent trilogy. The first is called Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. And it’s not a cliff-hanger type trilogy in which the books really should have been published as an omnibus; each novel is a complete story set in the same world but featuring different ‘main’ characters. I’ve also begun turning to Diana Wynne Jones when I need something to kickstart my reading!

    • 4. Eva  |  February 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

      Forgot to add, if you haven’t tried Laurie King’s Mary Russell series, it could be just what you’re looking for. First one is Beekeeper’s Apprentice, although it’s structured a bit different from the later ones. :) Oh! And Susanna Kearsley writes lovely, comfort-books-at-their-best novels; my favourites so far are Shadowy Horses and The Rose Garden. I’ve begun turning to them when I’m not feeling well, because they’re so heart-warming but still well written.

      • 5. Corey  |  February 7, 2012 at 10:58 am

        You are the Queen of Excellent Recommendations, Eva! All of these sound amazing and I particularly appreciate the fantastical recs. I’d been craving some magic. :) (Just ordered The Book of English Magic via Amazon, which is apparently a investigation of why England is so much more magical than any other country throughout history. I’m really excited for it to arrive!) I really need to get some Diana Wynne Jones; she’s been recommended by so many people.

        And I totally agree about Thistle; I’d been looking at pictures of her on your blog just yesterday and was amused at how similar they are! Thistle is a rescue pooch, too, right? I’ll get a post up about Millie when I have a sec. She’s now my new favorite thing to yammer on about, so I’m really glad you’re interested!

        • 6. Eva  |  February 7, 2012 at 11:28 pm

          Yay for fantasy! Fire & Hemlock is a great place to start w DWJ if you’re not sure. I’m a total newbie to her, but that’s what bloggy friends recommend for me and it got me hooked. ;) That Book of English Magic sounds like fun, although I’m amused by the British-centrism of the premise. hehe

          Can’t wait to learn more about Millie (and see more photos)! She’s like the ‘beauty queen’ version of Thistle’s more rough and tumble look. hehe Thistle’s a rescue pup as well; March’ll be the one year adoption anniversary. She was wonderful from day one, but it’s been really fun watching her get more comfy and come out of her shell over the months. If you’re looking for cover-to-cover dog reads, I loved The Other Side of the Leash. & I found the website Dog Star Daily v helpful for training/behavior stuff (although honestly, Thistle didn’t really have any behavior issues, which is kind of insane). Oh, and if you’re looking for a dog food brand, Wellness has been really good for us (Thistle’s coat is thicker & softer now & she’s just v sleek & healthy overall). It’s a bit pricey, but if you sign up for their e-mail newsletter they send you monthly coupons! ;)

        • 7. Corey  |  February 10, 2012 at 10:54 am

          My next question was actually which DMJ to start with, so what to preempt me! I’ll see what the library has for me and I’ll get a review up here about the Book of English Magic after it arrives/I devour it (I do so want it to be good!).

          You have no idea how much you made me laugh with your “beauty queen” comment since Millie was/is such a ragamuffin in real life! She’s much better after having her first haircut, but she’s still kind of scraggly. (Particularly when compared to our old dog who was a purebred and thus terribly elegant! ;P) Thanks also for the Dog Star recommendation and Wellness tip! I’ve been feeding her Wellness dog stews (she had to take some powdered medicine that must have tasted awful since she’d only eat it when cloaked in dog stew) and started to worry a little about the cost. I’ll definitely go for their e-newsletter. Good call!

  • 8. Susie  |  February 7, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Let me begin by suggesting I am an even greater sinner; I bought a Kindle. Let me qualify this, however: I only read in the nineteenth-century on this device, often triple-deckers that exist in the public domain and are free to cheap and wherein on the electronic device once has no page numbers! When reading a gargantuan Victorian novel, for me, this is a plus. Also, the puppy cannot chew these up.

    Let me recommend then, if you haven’t already, that you read straight through ALL the Brontes and all of Elizabeth Gaskell. This experience was a high point in my reading career even though I had read here and there in these works.

    My small city in Alabama is blessed with a messy, overstocked, rambling used book store. For two and three bucks a pop, I brought home ten or twelve of those beautiful “trades,” literary fiction, i.e., often historical fiction. THE WET NURSE’S TALE, Erica Eisdorfer, I just finished. I loved it. Told in the voice of the wet nurse, a sort of human cow one would assume–only NOT, this novel is so much fun. I laughed out loud.

    Moll Flanders without the cunning exactly? What she sees, learns, achieves; how she transgresses! Finally, just a great portrait of the rising middle/tradesman class in England. These are my two-cents for the day. Happy Reading. We all deserve some time off, lest we are absorbed so completely into fictional worlds, we forget to live in our own? sp

    • 9. Corey  |  February 7, 2012 at 11:02 am

      Ha, way to join the 21st century masses in their e-reading. I’m inching ever closer to getting one myself (and my co-blogger Kate got one for Christmas!), so I’d love to hear more of your reaction to the format. In any event, I think using it for triple-deckers is completely brilliant!

      And thanks for the recommendations. Another transgression: I’m not actually big on the Brontes (except Jane Eyre, which I re-read last year twice and really enjoyed). All the same, I have been meaning to explore Elizabeth Gaskell for some time now. Cranford may be up to the plate now!

      I also loved your closing words. I think you make a very important point about being able to both love reading and live life apart from it. I shouldn’t feel so guilty when I don’t get to read as much as I’d like!

  • 10. An embarrassment of fictions « Literary Transgressions  |  March 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    […] that I’ve finally got myself back on the reading bandwagon (oh, reading, I missed thee!), I’ve stumbled into another challenge: I can’t seem to […]

  • 11. Things I didn’t read in January | Literary Transgressions  |  January 27, 2015 at 6:59 am

    […] year, January was a graveyard of unread books for me. I’m not sure why, but this month is annually my Worst Month Ever when it comes to reading. Something about the dreariness of the post-holiday […]


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