You know how I keep rabbiting on about avoiding overcommitting to reading events? Well, it appears I’m a bit of a recidivist because, despite it being six months in the future I going to join in a meme run by Kaggsy and Simon.
I’d enjoyed taking a little while out of my then reading schedule to fit in a Lovecraft short story for the 1936 Club at the very last moment. Now they’ve given notice of the 1976 Club to run from 11th to 17th October and I think with a bit of judicious planning I can just about sque-e-eze a few titles into that week.
And it turns out that I’ve already read and even reviewed quite a number of titles published some forty-five years ago.
So here — for anyone interested — is what I’ve read and reviewed here on this blog, with links.
It’s only been recently that I read Ursula Le Guin’s bleak but beautiful Orsinian Tales for the third time. It was the same for Diana Wynne Jones’ fantasy with a twist Power of Three, a second reread followed by a review. Joan Aiken’s 1976 collection A Bundle of Nerves (subtitled stories of horror, suspense and fantasy) was also a reread, but she also published Mortimer’s Tie in the same year, which was new to me.
Patricia A McKillip’s The Riddle-Master of Hed was the first book in a trilogy often called The Riddle-Master’s Game, my first acquaintance with this well-regarded fantasy writer. More ghostly was Penelope Lively’s A Stitch in Time for younger readers, though she is better known now for her adult fiction.
A book I’m glad to have read in the 1970s — but which I shan’t be reading again — is the curious The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck, posthumously published and starting as a modernised version of Malory; as the text became freer the reader begins to see what this flawed and unfinished work could’ve become if Steinbeck had lived to revise the whole.
As it happens there are at least a couple of 1976 titles I already have on my shelves, which I’ve been for a while promising myself I’d tackle. One is Brian Aldiss’s picaresque novel The Malacia Tapestry which will be a long-awaited reread after some forty years; another is Frank Herbert’s The Children of Dune which I’ve been promising a couple of bloggers I’d ‘soon’ get round to.
I might even bother finishing Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene, the work that introduced the term meme to the world’s collective consciousness. Finally there’s Explorations of the Marvellous edited by Peter Nichols — a collection of talks first published in 1976 as Science Fiction at Large with contributions by Ursula K Le Guin, Alan Garner, Philip K Dick, Edward de Bono and others — which I’ve been intending to reread for almost four decades. But I may very well discover titles from this year new to me and go for those instead!
So, is this a meme that appeals to you? And do you, like me, think it’s not too early to begin thinking about titles half a year in advance?
Next month I will mostly be reading fantasy because I’ll be joining in the Wyrd & Wonder meme.
Incidentally, I recently came across some sketches I did in my teens of the French family I stayed with in the mid-sixties. While not perfect — in particular I hadn’t mastered the knack of envisaging eyeballs as spherical — I was quite pleased with them, and have posted the series here on my photoblog Minutiae.