I’m coming to the end of one reading focus, the Wyrd and Wonder fantasy blogging event (cohosted by Lisa, Imyril and Jorie) and have been pleased with the material I’ve got through. And so the next focus which I fancy subscribing to is Cathy Brown‘s 20 Books of Summer.
Actually, for this event one is free to go with any number of options and so it is that I’ve aimed to be sensible by choosing just ten titles (though, as Cathy says, one can up this number, change titles, or even admit defeat).
Also, next month is Jazz Age June, a new event set up by Laurie @ Relevant Obscurity and Fanda at ClassicLit. This reading event runs from June 1st to 30th, aiming to explore the 1920s through literature and other arts.
So as we approach the cusp between one month and the next here is my catalogue raisonné of books read and to-be-read, which I offer for your possible delectation and deliberation.
What have I enjoyed for Wyrd & Wonder, you may be wondering? Wonder no more, for the current wyrd tally, in order of reviews posted, is:
- Ransom Riggs’ Tales of the Peculiar, my assessment of which can be summed up in one expressive word: meh.
- Then Philip K Dick’s Ubik which, I argue, is closer to fantasy than SF (the science is utter baloney) but which I found great fun.
- Philip Pullman’s illustrated children’s fantasy Spring-Heeled Jack was an enjoyable divertimento but not the main item.
- L D Lapinski’s debut children’s novel The Strangeworlds Travel Agency was described in the Guardian by Imogen Russell Williams as having ‘“future classic” written through it like Brighton rock,’ and I entirely agree.
- That was followed by Charles G Finney’s The Magician Out of Manchuria, an almost uncategorisable but ingenious and funny fantasy set in China.
- I engaged in an online conversation with Nick Swarbrick regarding Jenny Nimmo’s children’s fantasy The Snow Spider before concluding with a review this month.
- I took the plunge and read Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice, wondering why I’d resisted reading her up to now.
- Finally, I shall be posting a review of Jasper Fforde’s comic fantasy thriller The Eyre Affair which, though I’ve had a copy since 2014 (later signed by the author in 2015), I resisted reading in large part because I’d yet to read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Which I have now.
And now I’ve had a quick shufti through my bookshelves and have found three James Branch Cabell fantasies dating from the 1920s, any one of which would fit in with Jazz Age June, even though they look to have precious little to do with the Roaring Twenties. But needs must…
And what of my Ten Books of Summer, to be read during the months of June, July and August? I’ve opted to include a number of titles from my Classics Club list. Theoretically I’m supposed to have completed fifty titles by this year’s end but I think I may have to revise my plans. At any rate, this is what I’ve chosen, in alphabetical order of author (and even though some titles are long I intend to intersperse them with other books):
- J M Barrie: Peter Pan. A reread, but I shall also be reading around it.
- Frances Hodgson Burnett: A Little Princess. Supposedly inspired by an incomplete Charlotte Brontë novel, entitled Emma.
- Edmund Crispin: The Case of the Gilded Fly. A reread, as I didn’t get round to a review when first read.
- Robertson Davies: Tempest-Tost. The first instalment of The Salterton Trilogy, which I intend to complete by the end of August, around the time when Lory Hess may possibly be celebrating the late Robertson Davies’s birthday on her blog.
- George Eliot: Middlemarch. I meant to read this last year, during the bicentenary of her birth, but…
- Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game. Another reread, I first enjoyed this in the 1970s.
- Herman Melville: Moby-Dick. I’m damn well going to finish this…
- Niccolò Machiavelli: The Prince. I’m hoping to be enlightened by this Renaissance classic, to see how much pertains five centuries later.
- Mervyn Peake: Gormenghast. Because who doesn’t like reading about castles?
- Horace Walpole: The Castle of Otranto. I draw your attention to my previous comment…
With the mention of that final title (another reread, as it happens) I am encouraged to remind you of yet another blogging event, the ever-popular — so it’s claimed — Witch Week which takes place at the end of October. This year’s theme is Gothick and will be hosted on Lizzie’s blog (though I shall daily be flagging up posts and links to there).