Literally challenged: preview

Bookshelves still awaiting sorting
Bookshelves still awaiting sorting

Ungh. I’m falling behind with my reading challenge, you’ll all be riveted to know. The least I can do is to give you a preview of what I intend reading in the near future, and the categories these books are supposed to fill. In the meantime I’ve a couple of reviews in hand, but who knows when they’ll see the light of day.

Titus Groan: this is the book of more than 500 pages which I’m currently exploring and enjoying, not least because of that fantastic creation, Gormenghast Castle. Though I’m over a quarter of the way through it still will take me a while to complete, and I don’t want to rush it as I’m really relishing it. Still on castles is Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, a title which was published in the year I was born (1948, since you ask). A bit of trivia for you: some of the 2003 film was shot in and around Manorbier Castle in Pembrokeshire, one of several castles in that county which I managed to visit when living in the far west of Wales.

I’ve managed to wangle a couple of rereads of Diana Wynne Jones novels that I first skim-read over a decade ago when I acquired US editions (at the University Book Store, while on a 2002 visit to Seattle, Washington). Power of Three is, unsurprisingly,  a book with a number in the title. Her other title, A Tale of Time City, is partly set in the future (though, as with much DWJ, it’s not as straightforward as that).

Another reread will be an historical novel by Henry Treece: The Green Man has the virtue of having a colour in the title as well as being a wicked conflation of the lives of two intriguing ‘fictional’ characters, Arthur and Amleth (better known as Shakespeare’s tragic hero Hamlet). That nicely leads on to Batman: the Chalice as my choice for a graphic novel — it simultaneously includes my one-time favourite comic character and is also about that famous Arthurian artefact, the Holy Grail — and, again, it’s a reread, this time of something I first looked at about two decades ago.

Finally in my line-up is something which, if not a Pulitzer Prize winning book, at least is by the late author, Ray Bradbury, who got a special Pulitzer citation in 2007 “for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy”. This may be either Fahrenheit 451 or Something Wicked This Way Comes (the latter a novel I stalled on last year).

I don’t know quite where this leaves other books I’ve recently devoured — Grain Brain, The True Face of Shakespeare, The Frog Report and others — which I couldn’t squeeze into any of the reading challenge categories; but though I’m still behind in my self-imposed schedule I don’t care as I’m having fun by pushing myself to read a bigger range of genres than normal. And I’m also indulging myself by giving cursory reads a second much-deserved chance.

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6 thoughts on “Literally challenged: preview

    1. Apart from muesli for me some mornings (mostly oats though) and half a croissant on Saturday mornings we’re pretty much sticking to his recommendations, Sue! Weight and moods stabilising too…

      ‘Titus Groan’ is a surprisingly easy read after my brief encounter at uni, so I’m surprised it’s taken me so long. (Actually it’s taking me longer this time round because I keep stopping to orientate myself in the rambling labyrinth of its castle and back-and-forth timeline, but that’s just me indulging myself.) I think you’d enjoy it — I can see your dying flower sequences being a perfect visual counterpoint to the gently decaying edifice and its strange lifeforms!

      1. I haven’t read grain brain, but I don’t eat bread unless I’m out with friends and there’s no alternative, I make cake using ground almonds and not flour, but I do have oat based granola… As for Titus Groan, you are persuading me 😀

  1. Perlmutter’s ‘Grain Brain’ gives cogent scientific reasons for avoiding foods based on modern strains of grain, much more persuasive to me, Sue, than those well-meaning general exhortations to cut down on sugar and starch and all things ‘nice’. Must get round to a review.

  2. I just finished Fahrenheit 451 for the reading challenge as my book with a number in the title. It was good (and made me want to watch the movie again — Oskar Werner!!!!) but SWTWC will always be top on my R Bradbury list (along with Martian Chronicles). Bradbury’s voice in SWTWC was a bit irksome on my most recent reread (last year), but the story is thrilling. There’s a scene in the local library that I think you’ll appreciate. And that carousel — well, I won’t give away any more.

    I’m looking forward to your review of I Capture the Castle — I read it for the first time about a year ago and enjoyed it.

  3. Yes, I’d also considered a reread of ‘Fahrenheit 451’ as counting towards a number in the title, but I feel bad I put aside ‘Something Wicked’ for something more conducive to my mood at the time. Blame my Catholic upbringing for any residual feelings of guilt, Lizzie!

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