Like many other people at the moment, it seems, I have been attempting a book clearing. Unlike many other people, I have given up (managed to find seven books to give to the charity shop but then started rereading one of them and it’s better than I remembered and I am enjoying it so...). The sticking point is not so much the books I have read as the books I haven’t. Some of them have been hanging around Gallimaufry Towers and its previous incarnations (bedrooms in parental homes, bed-sits, artexy houses on windy hillsides and decaying farms) for lo these twenty-odd years.
Of course, I still can’t quite bring myself to get rid; I pick them up and do you know, they look good and interesting and I do want to read them – just not right now. Later. Another day. A Cunning Plan is needed. And I’ve thought of one! Well, a Plan, anyway, I’m not sure of it really deserves to be called Cunning. It is in fact a game: What Shall Helen Read? And I need you, dear readers, to play along.
(Photograph of me, at home, reading on a winter’s evening – oh all right then, it’s a lie, this is actually a painting by Edward John Poynter, An Evening at Home, oil, 1888; purloined from here. But it is just like that round here you know)
Every month I’ll post a list of novels, plays/poetry and non-fiction here, and I’ll ask you to vote on which ones I should read. (The Plan is one from each list.) Or if you have very strong feelings about something – Don’t read the Dickens! – then I’ll count that as a vote too because that will pique my curiosity. And then I’ll write about them here! The Cunning Plan should, therefore, help rouse me from blogging torpor. And I’ll have handily offloaded any decision-making onto all of you! Hurrah!
(I did mean to write a post about recent developments in the chicken run, but after a very brief cold snap Belgium descended once again into its habitual winter mode, which is Murk, and I can’t take any decent photographs.)
So, without further ado, here are February’s contenders:
Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
Diana of the Crossways, George Meredith
The First Man, Albert Camus
Poetry and plays
The Witch of Edmonton, Dekker, Ford and Rowley
Homage to Mistress Bradstreet, John Berryman
Havelok, edited by G.V. Smithers (have just opened this and quailed somewhat, but onwards!)
She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth, Helen Castor
Proust and the Squid: The Story of Science and the Reading Brain, Maryanne Wolf
The Knox Brothers, Penelope Fitzgerald
What Shall Helen Read? Over to you...