Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

June Books- 2020

No book post in May because it took me the whole month to read this one

Dostoevsky- Crime and Punishment-  plus some of June. Not an easy read- I think some of the difficulty lay in the translation which felt clunky in parts. Set in pre- revoluntionary St Petersburg, the protagonist Raskolnikov convinces himself that it would be heroic to murder a pawn broker- he would be a Napoleon of men. Unfortunately he also kills the pawn brokers sister, flees from the scene with difficulty taking with him some loot which he hides in his rooms and then buries. He then becomes racked with fear that he will be caught. The majority of the book concerns the various people he knows , how he gives himself away, and finally in the last few chapters is sent to Siberia. I just found the book very hard going, and were not my other books all packed away may well have given up, but I did get to the end.

Ken Follett- The Pillars of the Earth- and it took the rest of June to read over 1000 pages of this epic novel. Apparently it does appear in the BBC 100 good reads, but I’d not heard of it till my eldest son passed it onto me. It was enjoyable, but not quite certain why it’s in the 100 list. It’s set in the turbulent times of the 12th century- civil war, famine, religious strife- and centres on the art of building cathedrals. It reminded me a lot of Edward Rutherford’s books with a bit of Ellis Peter’s Cadfael thrown in. It went on a bit long, I think tighter plotting might have helped, although each event fed into another, but there is only so much strife one can take. As I say enjoyable, highly readable, perfect holiday read… when we are allowed one again.

And that’s all my reading for two whole months- I’m slipping. Unless you count the book middle son sent on how to keep my Northern Monkey status now I was living down south with a bunch of Southern Jessies. So lucky to have such a kind son.

Have you read any very good books recently? Love to hear.

Comments on: "June Books- 2020" (31)

  1. I am always phased by long books and I definitely admire you for persevering. Treat yourself to something more easy going next. Xx

  2. Impressive! I can only settle into a light read these days.

  3. Wow! That is some serious reading! Hats off to you! Two books I would like to read someday but have not carved out the time! I am trying to read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace which is like 1000 pages right now.

  4. Dostoevsky is not a writer I enjoy reading, well done in getting through the book xx

  5. Murtagh's Meadow said:

    Wow those are both huge books to read. The kids and I have just finished
    The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale
    by Carmen Agra Deedy. A great read if you like Dickens, and animals.

  6. You should give yourself a huge pat on the back for ploughing through. That’s the kind of book many of us give up on. Have to say never read Pillars of the Earth, but the tv show was brilliant. Lighter reading for you next month??

    • Different genre I think for mext month- I’ve bought two new books, as if we had shelf space for those I have already.

  7. ‘Crime and Punishment’ – definitely not the sort of book to read when already in difficult or depressing circumstances. A bit of escapism might have suited you better Cathy.
    If you are wanting to carry on with the ‘classics’, I’m re-reading ‘Love In the Time Of Cholera’ by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, a wonderful book.
    On a lighter note, I’ve just finished a charming book called ‘The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker’ by Joanna Nell – I think it was one of those 99p offers on Amazon I seek out for my Kindle. Some laughs, some tears and, ultimately, quite a feel good story despite being concerned with advancing dementia.

    • The wrong book for lockdown and house moving for sure! Love in the Time of Cholera sounds promising- one for the library when I can join. Meantime as if I hadn’t enough books I just ordered two more!

  8. That is some pretty serious reading for summer!

  9. Dostoevsky is heavy going. I’m guessing your next pick won’t be anything by Tolstoy, either! I have just started reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery. A friend passed it on, because she thought I would love it. Turns out she’s right, at least so far, about a sixth of the way through. Barbery has written three other novels since the hedgehog one, and another friend tells me she tried to get into one of them but just couldn’t.
    Lots of love to you x

    • I’d not heard of your book- hopefully it is about hedgehogs?

      • I’m up to page 123 and so far not a single hedgehog has made an appearance. Perhaps it is a red herring, so to speak!? But it is delightful reading, with amusing reflections on communism, capitalism, art, class distinctions, marriage, love, death, social issues, philosophy, cats, children, parenting, education, poetry, religion, atheism, Japanese culture, television and a myriad of other things. Can’t remember when I last enjoyed a work of fiction so much!

  10. I read the Brothers Karamazov a couple years back, and I found it a bit hard going too, pretty grim. I saw some of the series Pillars of the Earth and that was enough for me. 😊 I just finished Mistress of the Ritz; based on fact, but I think this one was still fiction, or maybe not. The time line was a little confusing, I would have preferred it as a real book so I could turn back and reorient myself. It’s another story of one of the many ordinary art people who were in fact heroes, even though they were flawed human beings.

  11. Good, that’s two books I now don’t have to read!

  12. The TV adaption of Pillars of the Earth was so-so (the best part was Rufus Sewell, but he dies pretty early on); I have the book but have never cracked it open. Now, the Cadfael mysteries are absolutely wonderful. I have them all and pull them out every once in a while for a reread. Ellis Peters was a great author; if you can get your hands on her other mysteries, such as Rainbow’s End and Black is the Colour of My True Love’s Heart, they’re well worth it. And of course the Cadfael TV series starring Sir Derek Jacobi (one of my favourite actors) was a real treat; I wish they’d made more!

  13. That’s a very impressive list even though it was short. I couldn’t make myself continue to slog through. I read 4 cozy mysteries this month and bits and pieces of other materials including audible. I don’t usually spend a lot of time reading for pleasure. This month was an anomaly. Glad you are settled and have the time again.

  14. Interesting that you mentioned Cadfael. I have been reading books I own and have read two of the Cadfael ones ( I have them all). Now I am rereading Lord of the Rings but only at night so I don’t risk getting breakfast on it. So that will keep me going for a long time. I don’t normally get food on books but I get protective of some books.

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