It’s been a busy week! It started with a visit to the dentist, never a good move. In this case even less of a good move than usual as we ended up planning an intensive programme of further visits over the next six months or so. There’s a passage in one of Helene Hanff’s books where she tells how she has been intending to visit London only to discover that she is going to have to spend her savings on dental treatment instead. I know just how she must have felt. As I watched the projected costs mounting I could hear Jolyon Bear (he who keeps hold of the purse strings) in my head telling me that it is going to be the library for me for the next year or two.
Then I had my first assignment to write for my Shakespeare course – only 500 words, but that actually made it all the more difficult. I just about managed it (518) in as much as I answered the question, but there was no room for eloquence and I always feel that anything you write should take account of the “music” of the words as well as the content. This felt more like a simple check list of the points I needed to make than anything else. Submitting it electronically was fun too as the instructions provided bore very little resemblance to what actually happened when I tried to download it onto the University site. In the end one of the other students (a software engineer) and I found a way to get round the problem but IT support and I are going to have words tomorrow morning. A Russell Group University should not be making mistakes like that.
So, all in all there has been very little time for reading or blogging this week. I have just finished Mari Hannah’s latest Oliver and Stone novel, The Scandal, which comes out at the beginning of March so I will leave a review until nearer the publication date. I like Hannah’s work very much and for the most part this was no exception. My one quibble was that she stood on a particular soapbox and thumped a particular drum rather too loudly and obviously and weakened her argument as a result, but more later.
I am also halfway through Diane Setterfield’s second novel, Bellman and Black which is next week’s Book Group choice. I was one of the few people who didn’t like The Thirteenth Tale. I was getting along fine with it until about three quarters of the way through and then the plot lost credibility for me and I felt cheated. I was getting along fine with this book too until yesterday when it suddenly took a turn that left me feeling a bit grubby for reading it, so I’m not certain how I’m going to respond to what I still have left to read. Still, at least there will be something to talk about next Wednesday. One of the things that I am most interested in is how unusual a choice it is for the person whose turn it was to select the book. I’m also interested in the fact that I feel that way. Perhaps we stereotype each other as particular categories of readers too easily. It’s a lazy way of thinking.