My final tally was about 9 hours of reading – not as much as I’d hoped, but not bad considering other commitments, not to mention the traditional January head cold! I read 2 books in full, 44% of another, and a good 80-odd pages of War and Peace (which is enough to take me to around page 500, and keep me just ahead of the BBC adaptation – although I suspect I will have to put in some serious reading time to stay ahead for next week!).
I’ll post more about War and Peace in due course. I’m enjoying it so much, and have so much to say about it, that I think an interim post when I get to the halfway mark might be a good idea. (So strange to be 500 pages in and not half done yet! But I’m enjoying the characters so much that I’m actually quite pleased.)
The other weekend reads were:
- Pietr the Latvian (Inspector Maigret #1), by Georges Simenon. I bought this on a bit of a whim, because I fancied some classic crime fiction and a fairly quick read. It was good enough, not amazing. The writing was clunky in places (although it felt like that may have been over-faithfulness to the French original) and the plot was a little far-fetched, but it was an enjoyable read and I liked the slightly awkward character of Inspector Maigret. ***
- Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit. I’ve had this on my Kindle for a while. The further I get up the professional ladder, the more necessary feminism feels to me. The title essay in this collection is great. Some of the others are less great, feeling a bit like ‘filler’, and she is better on current events than on other topics (such as the Virginia Woolf essay, where I think she is trying to say more than the essay form really lends itself to). There is also a little bit of first-world smugness when talking about women from other cultures; you’re not necessarily oppressed just because you don’t like hotpants. (It’s not overt, not really, but I think it’s there.) Still, these are important ideas, for the most part elegantly expressed. ****
- Scottsboro, by Ellen Feldman. An only-slightly-fictionalised account of an event I was completely unaware of, until my trip to the Deep South in 2014. I’m ashamed to say this has been on my Kindle since then (Mount TBR has exploded, now that physical space is no longer a limiting factor), but I’m really glad that I’m finally reading it. Scottsboro tells the story of the Scottsboro Boys, 9 black teenagers falsely accused of ‘interfering with’ 2 white girls on a train during the Great Depression. I’ll wait until I’m finished before saying more, or giving a rating, but I’m really enjoying it so far.
I really like the 24in48 event – it’s low-key, low-pressure, and very light on rules. I’m already looking forward to the next one, when hopefully I can be better organised and actually fit in the full 24 hours of reading. In the meantime, I hope it will encourage me to keep up an increased reading pace throughout the week and into next weekend (and beyond? We can but hope…).