27 July 2009

Random musings on reading

Lately I can't keep up with my electronic life... Blog posts are piling up in my reader and I only really look at five or six, I know I had a good reason for subscribing to all the others but they haven't held my attention, and I probably would un-subscribe except for a low-lying fear of missing out on something later. Also I am annoyed at the ones that have changed their formatting and don't allow entire posts to be read in a reader. OK, Smitten Kitchen I can understand, she's had lots of problems with people lifting content and explained why she made the change even if I can't remember it now. But other blogs, with about 1/100th of SK's readership? I'm not convinced. You have to be pretty sure of yourself... Plenty of the other "biggies" still let us plebes read all in our readers.

As for another sort of reading....

One thing I've managed to do is finish reading Middlemarch. I consider this an accomplishment, having started it the first time at least five years ago -- maybe longer. I must have read the first part of the book at least 3 times and never got further any than Dorothea marrying Casaubon, largely because I found it hard to make the switch when the narrative turned to focus on other characters. But this time, having finished Bleak House last year, I picked up Middlemarch again. I had to take a couple of breaks but the last 200 pages or so flew by -- it was well worth the early effort.

So now I need a good holiday read.... Any suggestions?


  1. Jeannette, I sympathize with the blog reader problem, having stayed up past midnight last night to clear out my 385 posts! I also suffer from the haunting fear that I might miss something, which is ridiculous when you think about it. What about all those blogs you DON'T subscribe to? You're probably missing incredibly good posts daily, and are you suffering? I think not.

    For that reason I'm becoming a lot more ruthless about unsubbing from blogs that fail to thrill me, even if they're in areas I really want to follow. There are too many good ones out there.

    Holiday reading suggestions: if you haven't read them, Possession by A.S. Byatt or Neal Stephenson's Anathem; if you're determined to stick with the classics, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, or Steveson's Jekyll & Hyde are all engaging enough to keep you turning pages whatever the kids are doing. I chose the above on the assumption that you like books that make you think. I agree that Middlemarch is a slog, although I could read Bleak House till the cows come home. The BBC radio adaptation of the latter is superb, if you'd like some audio entertainment as well.

    BTW we have a mutual friend, Vincent; I lived in Belgium for 16 years.

  2. Hi Jane, and thanks for the suggestions. I loved Possession and have read it several times... Just might read it again!

    I hear you about ruthless un-subbing. I think that is the direction I am headed in....