Saturday 16 March 2013
The love of a good book
Ever since I can remember, I have been a bookworm. We didn't have many books at home when I was little, as there just wasn't the money for them. As soon as I learned to read at school (and I can remember those Janet and John books very well! When it came to my childrens' turn to learn to read, my son refused point blank to learn to read them as they were boring!) I just had to have a book in my hand. Even now, I panic if I am somewhere that I may have to wait around, and I have nothing to read. Even the backs of sauce bottles and drinks cans will do if I am sufficiently desperate!
I made the decision in January to read my way through some of the classics I had been meaning to read for a good few years, but they always got sidelined in favour of a historical novel or something I couldn't put down. I blew the dust of dear old Thomas Hardy's "The Trumpet-Major" - it was so long since I had read it before that I could scarcely remember the tale at all. I have to say, it was not one of his best novels . . . In fact, I got thoroughly exasperated with the characters. It seems to me that Hardy didn't know a great deal about the way a woman's mind worked, but hell's teeth, he knew even LESS about men, if that is possible. The "love interest" in the novel is Anne Garland, who is wooed by three men: "stupid, coarse Festus Derriman, a man with expectations; John Loveday, the quiet, thoughtful trumpet-major; and Bob his brother, a sailor whose heart isn't as faithful as it should have been." Well, Festus Derriman came across as a Schizophrenic and not in the least attractive a character - whilst the two brothers seemed to treat the romance with kid gloves and the girl placed fox and geese with the lot and wasn't worth crossing the road for. It had a very weak ending too, and it isn't a book I shall read again.
I have moved on to Waugh's "Brideshead Revisited" which I thoroughly enjoyed when it was made into a tv drama. However, I am half way through the book and just want to give Sebastian a good slap and tell him to grow up, so I may end up abandoning the book before long.
I have a quartet of Eden Philpotts' novels to read: Orphan Dinah, The Three Brothers, Children of Men and The Whirlwind, all under the banner of his Dartmoor Omnibus. I think I shall read one, and then return to the others when I am in the mood. He writes so evocatively of Dartmoor, as my dad always said, and although he can be melodramatic, he captured the characters of the Moor so beautifully.
I would love to read/re-read my way through the entire works of Dickens too, but I think that would take me a loooooooooong time, at just a few pages a night. I will probably end up taking my favourite man to bed with me . . .