Friday, March 23, 2012

1,001 Books - the next five

Embarrassingly, it appears that I haven’t had to choose the next five books in my 1,001 book challenge since this time last year, which just goes to show how easily I can get distracted.  Anyway, having finished four of the last five and having been unable to find an English translation of Platero and I (if anyone knows of one, please do let me know!), I’ve cranked up the Random Number Generator and it has tasked me with the following:

1.         Chess Story by Stefan Zweig.  Confession time.  I’m so backlogged on posts that I’ve already read and finished this one.  I loved it and so the post will be going up next week.  It’s a story of a monumental chess match played on a cruise ship bound for Argentina but it’s also so much more than that.

2.         A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Having not read him in my first 40-odd years of life, this is the second time in two batches that Ishiguro’s come up on my schedule.  Having thoroughly enjoyed An Artist of the Floating World, I am definitely looking forward to this one.  It’s apparently about a Japanese woman, living in England and mourning the death of her daughter, who spends her time reminiscing about one summer in post-war Nagasaki when she and her friends were trying to rebuild their lives.  If I’m honest, the synopsis doesn’t grab me but I do love Ishiguro’s writing so I am betting on it being a goodie.

3.         Claudine’s House by Colette.  I’m afraid Colette and I have history………and not the good sort.  Le Blé en Herbe (aka Green Wheat or Ripening Seed) was one of my set books for A-level and, having been mis-sold it by our teacher on the basis that it was a kind of semi-respectable dirty book of the early 20th-Century, we were all completely disappointed with it when it turned out to be just a little bit dull.  In fact, pretty much all I can remember is that Vinca, the "heroine", is constantly described as smelling of periwinkles (i.e. fresh and innocent) whereas the older woman who ensnares Paul, the “hero”, is described using thicker, heavier scents.  Anyway, Claudine’s House is supposed to be a memoir of her childhood in Burgundy.  By the way, this is a different Claudine to the heroine of Enid Blyton’s school books.  I wouldn’t want you to confuse the two……not the same at all.

4.         The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë.  I suppose it had to happen at some point.  Having never read any Austen or anything by any of the various Brontë’s, I’ve managed to live my reading life in blissful ignorance of the authors whom many bloggers and commenters appear to love with a passion.  But the Doom is upon me and the damned Random Number Generator has presented me with a tale of spousal abuse and betrayal, a novel considered as the first sustained feminist novel (according to Professor Wikipedia). Oh, yippee.  Feel free to call me a philistine thickie or even a dead, white member of the phallocracy but I am so not looking forward to this.  The one consolation is that there is a free copy available for Kindle on Amazon so at least I won’t have to pay for it.

5.         Money to Burn by Ricardo Piglia.  This is much more like it.  It’s the story of a gang of Argentine bank robbers who end up being besieged by the police.  I’m not sure whether it’s based on a true story or is purely fictional but I’m looking forward to it.

It’s a mixed bag this time but, hopefully, it won’t take me as long to get through them as last time.


Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

I've also loved Chess Story. It's one of those book I keep recommending to everyone.

Interesting that you're starting your Brontes Odyssey with The Tenant. I've only read it for the first time 2 years ago, but it's probably my favorite of all of the sisters' books. If you know a bit about Victorian times, you'll realize how courageous Anne was in writing it... and why Charlotte took pains to undermine just how ground-breaking it was (especially compared to the melodrama of the other Bronte books).

Kinga said...

Hey hey, Here is Platero and I - can be yours for a pound. There are many bi-lingual editions as well.

Laura Mint said...

I really like Stefan Zweig and his style! Your blog is very interesting!
Have a nice day,

Falaise said...

Alex - Thanks for the comment. I'm still a bit trepidatious about Bronte. I want to like it but I'm just not convinced I will.

Kinga - Thanks for the tip and I now have a copy!

Laura - Thank you so much ofr your kind comment!

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