Thursday, March 12, 2020

Danny Glick at the Upstairs Window.

Reading - What books surprised you by the impact they had on you? - by Catriona

Well,Wolf Hall gave me a major crush on Thomas Cromwell. Didn't see that coming. 

Hilary Mantel's completion of the trilogy is out now. I could buy it today at Sacramento airport and read it on the plane to Left Coast Crime, San Diego. I need a book to read on the plane and at the con because I made a shocking discovery yesterday. I don't own a copy of my planned reading choice: Stephen King's The Stand. How is that possible? I've read it twice and there's no way I would have thrown it out. There's certainly no way I lent it to someone and forgot, because I can remember every un-returned book from people who think they're still my friends, going back at least thirty years all the way to R.L. who borrowed Cicely Martin's Marriage As A Trade when we were students.


The scariest book I ever read in my life and one that freaked me out as a child was about a little girl who drew pictures which, when she went to sleep, formed the world of her dreams. For some reason, the scene that sticks in my mind was her daytime attempt to scribble out a house and the night-time fact of the dream house now being bound in thick black rope trapping the     stick people inside. If anyone knows the name of this book, please don't tell me.

It must only have been a year later that I read Salem's Lot and Pet Sematery, neither of which troubled me over much. (Except for that one bit . . . see blog title. If that didn't scare you you are an alien with a substandard disguise.)

But nameless dream-scribble book wasn't the scariest one I read in my life. That honour goes to Persuasion, by Jane Austen. Surprised? Here's why. I read it in the first year of my university degree study in English literature and I hated it. I was bored and sulky. I skipped bits. I rewarded myself with biscuits for finishing a chapter. 

There were two possible explanations. One - Jane Austen wrote a bad book. Two - if I did a degree in English literature I would never enjoy another novel again as long as I lived. I found myself considering the point that if Jane Austen had written a bad book, it would totally have been the one we were made to study. (After all, our Shakespeare was The Winter's Tale and our Chaucer was The Tale of Melibee. No witches and slapstick for us!) But even the fact of me knowing that meant I was onto them. I ditched the degree in literature. I love Persuasion. It was a scary moment with a very happy ending.


Kathy Reel said...

Hahaha! Yes, I remember those who borrowed books and didn't return them, too. In college, my roommate's sister didn't return my folklore textbook that I had wanted to keep, and about ten years ago, a good friend (at the time) borrowed Philip Roth's The Plot Against America.

Finta said...

I’m about to dive into the newest Hilary Mantel tonight. Julie’s already started it, and the first reports from the field are frabjous. Have a great time in San Diego, keep calm, and wash your hands. Xox. Ann, your most loyal stalker