It hardly seems possible that August is here, the shops are already full of ‘Back to School’ displays, and summer will soon be over – though this year it never really seems to have started. Perhaps we’ll get an Indian Summer during the autumn, with plenty of sunshine. Anyway, I always find it comforting to curl up with a book when the weather is bad (mind you, I can curl up with a book no matter what the weather is like). So here I am, trying to plan my reading for the month ahead, after taking a quick look at my my progress during July.
Things went pretty well on the whole, I thought, and I got through most of what I’ intended, plus some extras along the way. I didn’t get round to Kate O’Brien’s Without My Cloak, or To The Lighthouse, but I loved ‘Mrs Dalloway’ so much that after years of being scared to read Virginia Woolf, I’m now scared to read more in case I don’t like it as much! And I only read one novel for Paris in July, although I aimed to read more. I think the secret of success with challenges is to read (and write) ahead, so you have something there if reading doesn’t proceed as planned. I also read The Provincial Lady Goes Further (EM Delafield), but thought I would wait to write about it until I’ve managed to find the other two books.
So what am reading in August? Well, obviously I have my two roll-overs to look forward to, and my monthly look at Elizabeth von Arnim’s The Solitary Summer, and I’ve got two books on the go at the moment – Their Eyes were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, and Alice Pick’s Far To Go, which is part of my Canadian challenge. I was going to read along at a nice leisurely pace (13 books over the next year) without actually joining in. However, various people kindly made recommendations and, to my amazement, I found I had quite a number of Canadian authors in the TBR pile without even realising it, so I am joining in.
I seem to have lots of Viragos in the TBR pile so I’ve selected Rose Macaulay’s Told by an Idiot, because ‘The Towers of Trebizond’ is an all-time favourite, and Rumour of Heaven, by Beatrix Lehmann (Rosamond’s sister), and a non-fiction (I don’t read novels all the time, honestly), Love Among The Butterflies, by Margaret Fountaine, a Victorian clergyman’s daughter, who travelled the world collecting butterflies and married a Syrian dragoman (and no, I don’t know what a dragoman is, but when I find out I will let you know).
There’s two poetry collections from the library, Alice Oswald’s Woods etc, and Carol Ann Duffy’s The Bees. I particularly like Oswald’s work (‘Dart’ is fantastic) and I’ve meaning to read more of Duffy for quite some time, since I only really know her collection ‘The World’s Wife’, which I enjoyed immensely.
And I found a copy of WB Yeats’ Fairy Tales of Ireland, which I think is really intended for children, but I couldn’t resist it because I love Yeats, fairy tales, and Ireland, so it seems a perfect combination, and it was only 99p, in a charity shop, and I can post it for my Irish reading challenge.
Finally, the make-over of Elder Daughter’s Room to provide us with a book/needlework/music room is proceeding very slowly indeed, and there are lots of things in little heaps all over the flower, which is not what we had in mind at all. The idea, says The Man Of The House, is to put things in boxes, and to put the boxes of shelves, and perhaps I should stop reading and put things away, especially the books. And in case you’re wondering what’s with the pictures, I was experimenting, somewhat unsuccessfully, and now I can’t get them back the way they were to start with.