Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Wednesday morning tea and books...

I take back what I said about the Minette Walters' audiobook - it is not too graphic at all, but extremely complex in plot and character.  She's an author whose books I can easily reread, as they are so complex, I have a hard time keeping track of the details and so rereading is never a problem.

Oh, I forgot to comment on the weather and my tea in my haste to correct the misrepresentation I offered about the audiobook.  Well, it's extremely bright in here today, the sun is shining through my side window right in my eye (I think I'll have to move!).  There, that's a bit better.  I love this time of year, when the leaves are changing colour and there is a nip in the air, you can put away your summer clothes and switch over to a whole "new" wardrobe of cool-weather clothing, and it's completely OK to wear black, brown and gray on a regular basis.  This time of year always makes me think of new beginnings, or starting a-fresh, which is strange since really nature is dying off and going into hibernation in the autumn.  I guess I'll always associate this time of year with going back to school, and since this is the first time in four years that I'm not taking a course or two, it's a good time for me to start a new project or "get organized".  I feel so energized by the cool weather, unlike the languor I experience in the humidity of the summer.

Oh boy, I think that's enough about the weather!  You can probably tell I feel strongly about this!  Anyway, I finished The Last Weekend by Blake Morrison last night and I must say I was rather disappointed.  It started off interestingly enough, with a late-summer weekend get-together of two couples who have clearly complex relationships amongst themselves and with each other.  The narrator seems a bit dodgy at first, but over the course of the weekend, his delusions spin out of control and he causes no end of grief for all those in attendance at the get-together.  Throughout the time I spent reading this novel, I was trying to recall which novel it reminded me of, and it finally came to me as I was finishing it up last night - Amsterdam by Ian McEwan.  The rivalries between the two main characters in Morrison's novel, Ian and Ollie, are very similar to those of the characters in McEwan's novel, both situations dealing with competition in school, careers and women, or more specifically, one woman.  I found McEwan's novel to be more interesting and engaging, but I wonder now if I would have enjoyed Morrison's novel more if I hadn't always had that niggling feeling in the back of my thoughts that I'd "read this before".  This is an example of one's "reading history", which I'd explored in past posts, and how each of our reading experiences is influenced by those books we've read before.  We can never "un-read" a book, and even if we don't recall all the details, usually something of a book sticks with us (well, I've experienced some books that were so "bad" as to be totally unmemorable, but I don't often read books like that - I like my books to "mean" something to me).   So would I have enjoyed it more if I'd never read McEwan's novel?  I'll never know.  Having said that, I enjoyed Morrison's writing style, so I will try reading And When Did You Last See Your Father?.  I saw the film version of this memoir that presents the writer's conflicting memories of his father and his attempts to find resolution to their problematic relationship as he helps care for him in his childhood home during his father's final days.  I don't often read memoirs, so I have no idea if I will enjoy it or not, but I won't know unless I give it a try.

I will be away on vacation next week, so I'm not sure when I will write my next post.  Probably not until after my next book club meeting, which will be on October 15th.  We will be discussing Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, and I'm so curious about the response my book club members will have to the novel.  Some members expressed their reluctance to read this, so the discussion should be interesting.  I haven't read it for a number of years, so I hope I'll find it as interesting and well-written as I remember.

That's all for today.

Bye for now!
Julie

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