si reads in 2019
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Aiming for 16 Roots this year!
Hoping to read a few longer books - which for me is anything over 300 pages. Will also be keeping track of any non-roots here as well.
2019 Roots Read: January-June
01. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
02. Moby-Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville
03. The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories by PD James
04. The Little Pot Boiler by Spike Milligan
05. The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame
06. The Apple Crimson Petal Stories by Michel Faber
07. The Saint Goes West by Leslie Charteris
08. The Man Who Fell To Earth by Walter Tevis
09. Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes
10. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
2019 Roots Read: July-December
11. The Empty Canvas by Alberto Moravia
12. The Seven Per Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer
13. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
14. The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
15. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
16. The Bedsitting Room by Spike Milligan and John Antrobus
17. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
#1 The New York Trilogy
#3 The Wind in the Willows
#4 Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
#5 The Empty Canvas
#6 Pride and Prejudice
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
Fiction. © 1985,6,7. 314 pages.
root #1 (feb 2018). sfrc: ss74 (new in title). a-z: Q-character Daniel Quinn. LT lists: BBC Radio 4 Bookclub.
1st book of 2019. First three perhaps, as 'trilogy' suggests. But then again little in these three interlinked stories is exactly what it first appears to be. I think I liked City of Glass best but all three tales are enjoyable and well written.
Maybe not for you, if you like your detective/mystery fiction to be neatly wrapped up. Auster is just as interested in questions of identity, doubles and an individual's relative perspective of any given event.
Soft in the Head by Marie-Sabine Roger
Fiction. Original text © 2008. Translation from French © 2016, Frank Wynne. 216 pages.
non-root#1(library). sfrc: ss27 (set in France). a-z: E-character Margueritte Escoffier. LT lists - read the book and saw the movie.
Comic tale of the growing friendship between Germain, who at 45 is looked on as the town's idiot and Margueritte a book-loving 85 year old. Told in the first person by Germain this is a light, quick read. More bawdy in parts than I expected.
Moby-Dick or, The Whale by Herman Melville
Fiction. 1st published 1851. 714 pages.
root#2 (feb 2013). sfrc: 53(soundscape). a-z: O - Ocean. LT lists: read the book and saw the movie.
Up to the point where the Pequod sets sail this is a straightforward adventure novel, but from then on Melville changes tact and attempts something wider; to include any and every aspect he can think of, concerning whales and whaling. And to give this tale wider resonance.
Ishmael pretty much disappears as a character; his fate revealed in the epilogue feels like an afterthought to explain how he's able to tell the tale.
Many of the chapters are simply brilliant. The Introduction and notes in the Penguin edition I read were a great help. It's well-worth taking the time choosing which edition to read if this is on your TBR list.
Problems aside I enjoyed the book overall and read it a lot quicker than I expected.
The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories by P D James
4 short stories - the mistletoe murder ©1995; a very commonplace murder ©1969; the boxdale inheritance ©1979; the twelve clues of christmas ©1996. 136 pages.
root#3 (oct 2018). sfrc: 37(tagged: mystery). a-z: D -character (Dalgliesh).
Four enjoyable short mysteries, which i had hoped to read between Christmas and new year... pretty sure I wasn't thinking of Chinese New Year!
The earliest of these tales - A Very Commonplace Murder - is also the best, but the collection as a whole is well worth reading.
Finished books 5, 6 and 7 for the year, alas all non-roots.
5. The Wrecking Light by Robin Robertson
6. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them The Original Screenplay by J K Rowling
7. Hill of Doors by Robin Robertson
9. N or M? by Agatha Christie
Non-root. I borrowed a copy of this 1941 Tommy and Tuppence adventure.
Written and published in the early years of World War II, this is a story of spies and fifth columnists in England as France falls to the Germany army and invasion was a very real possibility. The plotting is less rigorous than Christie's murder mysteries and there is a strong element of humour running through the story but there is a serious intent behind the book.
Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love by James Runcie
Non-root. Disappointing 6th book in 'The Grantchester Mysteries' series. This tome covers 1971 to 76 - twenty years on from the first book. Worth perhaps noting that the books and the television series (Grantchester) diverge quiet significantly and while superficially the same, dance to different drums with different intentions.
There is a prequel on it's way The Road to Grantchester, and a possible spin-off with Sidney's daughter.
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
Non-root. A novella from the Argentinian born writer. Overall I liked this, although it has a unsettling tone. Unlike some readers who read this in one sitting, I read it in stops and starts over six days; more time perhaps to contemplate, or over think - I don't know.
The original title 'Distancia de Rescate' translates as 'Rescue Distance', which is a calculation the main character Amanda makes regarding where her daughter Nina is at any time - Am I close enough to save her? Most of the dread in this story concerns parental anxiety for their children.
<24 Thanks Connie, you're reminded me to update this thread. 6Th Root...
The Apple Crimson Petal Stories by Michel Faber
The author's foreword to this collection of short stories explains the grief his own readers rained down on him for not tidying-up the ending of The Crimson Petal and The White; for leaving the fate of some of his characters unresolved. His reaction is a mixture of placation and mockery. So while being as well written and pointed as all his books there is a undercurrent to these tales of him hitting back at the complaints.
In these seven stories there are lots of unsolicited letters and remarks about unfinished stories. One story revolved around a raised middle finger!
Currently reading a non-root - Agatha Christie's The Big Four.
Just the one Root this month, need to switch back to my own books!
I enjoyed 'The Big Four', although as a mystery story it's fairly laughable - Why does Hastings call his wife Cinderella?
Finished two more short story collections, both non-roots -
No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July & Madame Zero by Sarah Hall. Very different writers. July's style is certainly suited to the short form, but in truth I can't say I liked the book; a pity as I have a copy of The First Bad Man.
'Madame Zero' is perhaps my favourite read of the year, so far.
The Saint Goes West by Leslie Charteris
7th Root. Slow but steady!
This is apparently the 23rd Saint book. I bought this back in 2013 from a bookshop which has unfortunately now closed.
First published in 1942 'The Saint Goes West' includes three novellas, all set in the USA but distinct enough in tone and subject from each other to made for an enjoyable read.
The Empty Canvas by Alberto Moravia
First published 1961 as La Noia in Italy; perhaps better known as Boredom in English. My edition dates from 1979 and is translated by Angus Davidson. I bought it as an ex-library copy in 1984, it's battered and bruised but perfectly readable.
Enjoyable look at 1960's sexual morals. Controversial in it's day, it went on to win the Primio Viareggio.
The Seven Per Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer
12th Root. 2015 charity shop find.
Nicholas Meyer wrote and directed one of my favourite films - Time After Time. So I was on his side willing his updated version of Sherlock Holmes to work; which it does on the whole.
The story gives us an alternative version of the events leading up to Sherlock's disappearance in The Final Problem, in which he instead travels to Vienna and meets Sigmund Freud.
You're doing great! You also remind me that I have The Seven Percent Solution on my shelves and really need to read it one of these days.
And we continue...
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
17th Root. Fantasy involving Tristan Thorn who leaves his home town of Wall on a quest to find a fallen star in the land of Faerie. Which sounds very fantasy children's book fare, and it is for the most part including how the prose is written; except Gaiman is writing for adults - particularly readers who like to point out that the characters never go to the toilet and that bones would break and blood would spurt if such and such happens.
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