The zoom book club meetings in February and March involved reading new novels and an old favourite. I was distinctly under-impressed with a couple of the new novels and fail to see how they garner such praise and remain for so long in the top ten list. I read 'Where the Crawdads Sing' on kindle which never enhances my reading experience. I gain much more with a physical book in my hands, although kindle does save my groaning bookshelves. The territory of this book was a very alien place for me and the story line and characterisation at times felt very contrived. It is the story of a young girl essentially left to grow feral and how she reacts to events by what she has observed from the nature around her. Some of the group loved it and it did make for a lively discussion, but it isn't a book that I would recommend.
The second book, first published in 2017, 'The Keeper of Lost Things' by Ruth Hogan I thoroughly disliked. I think it falls into the category of 'feel good' writing but it did nothing for me.
It was a relief to return to a much loved classic. Up for discussion was 'As I Lay Dying' by William Faulkner and, unlike the previous one, this book really makes the reader work hard. It is densely packed and the language of interior monologues takes a while to comprehend but it is well worth the effort. it was interesting for me to compare this book about a poor, ignorant rural family with the Crawdads book, two depictions of rural America.
A present came in the post, a book of of poetry. What a delight! I was unaware that I knew her work but when I looked inside I realised that I knew some of the poems but had not registered her name. She is a wonderful discovery for me. The book is a hard back edition, a pleasure to handle.
With the libraries closed I've been rereading books in the house. (Message to self, in future never buy an omnibus edition, they are too heavy to read in bed!) How I enjoy my distinctive dark green Virago books. I especially enjoyed 'The Doves of Venus', it reminds me of pootling around London as an art student in the sixties. Seems a long time ago now!