Clear sign that I am back at work: I forgot to post my October reading entry. I know The Dry got its own post – as it deserves – but I wrote this before I read The Dry.
Possibly as an antidote to the heaviness of The Natural Order of Things, possibly just because I was cleaning out my book shelves, but I picked up a Famous Five novel. The first in the series.
I bought the whole series as a box set a couple of years ago. Kind of fulfilling my childhood desire to have the set.
Of course I did some googling. Enid Blyton wrote the 21 novels over 21 years – from 1942 to 1963. Funny how she kept the same naive, nostalgic tone and setting. Yes, the novel is full of cliches, and some horrendous, from our sensibilities, social gaffs. But it was exciting. If I was 8, I’d still love it.
Post operative reading needed something light. So I read James Rebanks’ The Shepherd’s Life. I enjoyed the rhythm of the writing and the life on the farm. It took me away to another life. Here’s an interview with him on ABC radio. The connection to place and community and the strong sense of identity is alluring. Possibly not so the hard physical work.
A friend brought around some novels to read while I was recuperating. I thought I’d give Liane Moriarty another go with What Alice Forgot. After slow last read of Truely Madly Guilty I wasn’t too keen but willing to try. But no, this was just as slow and just as pointless. Domestic issues writ large with no real climax. A short story in the making. Just needs some culling. About 375 pages.
Among the friend’s pile was Pants on Fire by Maggie Alderson. I know she is meant to be “lite” summer reads, perfect for pool or beachside, but it was just all so shallow to me. And what I took away was these drug-taking, shallow, party-goers, who turn up for work late and swan off to parties, are paid more than teachers. OK, it’s a work of fiction, not a textbook, but I am glad I have lived through the death of newspapers and magazines. Up themselves, arrogant, dickheads who think of themselves as intellectual (when all they do is basically rewrite PR media releases) and think themselves so avant guarde because they live in a few certain inner city suburbs.