Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Too many books?

This is the time of year for sitting by the fire and reading or sloping off to bed with a novel that can't be put down. I've just finished reading Anne Tyler's 'A Spool of Blue Thread'.
I can't recommend it highly enough and I'm joining Diane at bibliophile by the sea to link the opening sentences just so that I can spread the word!


Late one July evening in 1994, Red and Abby Whitshank had a phone call from their son Denny. They were getting ready for bed at the time. Abby was standing at the bureau in her slip, drawing hairpins one by one from her scattery sand-colored topknot.

Why do I like it so much? You can tell from the opening sentence that the writing style is straightforward and that the characters are 'ordinary folk'.  Her people are real, their foibles and flaws are displayed but not judged, they are people with whom it is easy to identify. The structure of the novel is clever, it isn't linear, so that only when we are well into the story do we get information that gives insight into the actions of various family members. There is no pat, 'happy-ever-after' ending and  although I've now started on another book I am still living with the Whitshank family and mulling over their lives.
If you have read this book I would love to know what you thought of it.
Our book shelves are overloaded, some of them are sagging rather under the weight!
Books are scattered all about the house. In the dining room china has been ousted from the china cupboard and filled with books.
We are in a reading group and this results in sometimes reading books that we positively dislike. It's easy to pass those books on to the library or put them into a redundant telephone box that acts as a book swap. But it's difficult to part with most of the books that we've read. We keep promising ourselves a great clear-out but it hasn't happened yet!

16 comments:

  1. I've read other books by Anne Tyler, but not this one yet. It was certainly popular last year. And, yes, don't we all have too many books. I love your china cabinet. And totally approve of the contents rather than dishes. LOL

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    1. The books in the china cabinet are the ones that I know I shall keep, mostly short story editions and poetry books. We have to pass through the dining room to access the kitchen or sitting room so I'm constantly walking past these books and can be tempted to stop and dip in!

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  2. I've enjoyed other books by this author, so I'm sure I'd like this one too. I'm wondering what the phone call from their son will be about. I'd keep reading to find out more.
    My Tuesday post features GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE.

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    1. Hello Sandra, I'd love to know what you think of this book once you've read it.

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  3. The photos of your overflowing bookshelves brought a smile and a chuckle. It's the curse of book lovers. I'm as guilty of book hoarding too. It's so hard to part with favorite stories. I like your first paragraph. I'd like to keep reading.

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    1. Oh, Margot, so many of my favourites listed on your blog - Elizabeth Bowen, Willa Cather, Elizabeth Taylor! You say you are a traveller. Have you visited South-West England? It's a good place for a literary tour!

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  4. I've enjoyed quite a few of Ann Tyler's novels and would like to read this one. Thanks for sharing the opening.

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    1. Hello JoAnn, I've left a message on your latest posting. I called my last, much-loved dog, Maisie, after the Henry James' character ( my dog was far more cherished and not passed about from pillar to post!)

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  5. I want to try this one; thanks for sharing the intro and you bookshelves - we are all guilty of overstuffed shelves.

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    1. I'm pleased to have found you site, Diane.

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  6. I have yet to read this book.

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    1. Wow, Nise, what a lot of books you read in January! I can picture you still awake in the early hours, tucked under the bedding reading a book by torchlight!

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  7. I think this book is on my to read list. My bookshelves look quite similar. I really need to go through them and make a healthy donation to my library. Roger and I have such different taste in books. We each get our shelf space. I hope your week is going well.

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    1. Given Donna's comment below I wonder what you will think of this book.

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  8. The cover is different than mine. In the US, it is a picture of a large spool of blue thread. Isn't that something. I like the book, but was left thinking, is that all there is? I sold my copy in my antique booth for $10.00. I was pleased I could recoup some of the cost. The task of ridding my library has begun. Tubfuls of out of date or books I am no longer interested in have gone to Goodwill.

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  9. I don't think that my cover is very good, I doubt it would have attracted me to buy the book if I hadn't known the author. Your 'is that all there is?' makes me smile. I know what you mean but I actually think that is Tyler's strength, for much of life that IS all there is! Glad you could recoup a little on your purchase. (Gladdens my Scottish/Yorkshire heart!)

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