Two Years, 234 Posts

Actually, I’m not counting. That’s what WordPress does for me. Their computers are also keeping track of comments, visitors, and the puzzling outbreak of spam attached to Katharine Davis’ A Slender Thread. (Very energetic. In Cyrillic, no less. I can’t fathom what my russophone cyber visitor hopes to accomplish.)

This is the season of lists among book bloggers: yesterday I even read one that proposed what we should all be reading in 2011, which I found alarming. I keep a “ten best” list running, and I’ve done a Christmas shopping list, so here is a new way to sort a few of the 200-plus books I’ve read over the last two years.

Author most like Starbucks: Lee Child, on two counts. One is consistency. As with your venti skim chai, you know what you’re going to get when you order up one of Lee Child’s books. The other point is stimulation. When all’s said and done, Starbucks is about keeping you alert. Ditto Mr. Child.

Author least like Starbucks: That would be M. Marcel Proust, who has been putting me to sleep for about 18 months. Despite my strenous search each night for the sentence where I left off — this could take a page or more, which means easily 10 minutes of reading — I am making steady progress through In Search of Lost Time and expect to finish sometime before I die. In the meantime the dreamy, endlessly-looping prose, dense with description, punctuated with flashes of insight, is as close to dreaming as I get with my eyes open.

If it were a movie, Johnny Depp could star in it: Not surprisingly, a robust list. In the Woods, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (OK, a stretch…), Christine Falls, Captain Alatriste, and A Place of Greater Safety as Camille Desmoulins, the endlessly compelling and sexy demagogue. Not a stretch.

The book I can’t wait to read again: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets.

The book I can’t believe I finished: Colony of Unrequited Dreams. A 592-page historical novel about the foundation of Newfoundland. Yup.

Book I didn’t even start: Freedom.

Character I would like to be: Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire.

Character I would like to meet: Jean-Pierre Adamsberg of the Fred Vargas novels.

Book I wish I’d written: Wolf Hall.

Book I could never have written: Cleopatra.

Not what I expected: La Chartreuse de Parme.

Best clothes: The Clothes on their Backs, Wolf Hall, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets.

Worst food: Unbroken.

Uplifting but not sentimental: The City of Tranquil Light.

Books that haunt me: The Hare with Amber Eyes, Let the Great World Spin.

Thanks for reading!


About carolwallace

I spend most of my time writing and reading. Most recent publications: the reissue of "To Marry an English Lord,"one of the inspirations for "Downton Abbey," and the historical novel "Leaving Van Gogh." I am too cranky to belong to a book group but I love the book-blogging community.
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3 Responses to Two Years, 234 Posts

  1. Anbolyn says:

    I enjoy reading – here’s to many more posts!

  2. Fred Rich says:

    Carol: Not having teen-age or 20-something children to instruct me about net etiquette, I am unsure whether I am expected to confine myself to adulatory remarkets, or whether polite dissention is permitted. So let me hedge my bets by saying that (i) I found Colony of Unrequited Dreams compelling (at least it compelled me to finish it) and reading your comment was plagued by fear that I may have given it to you, (ii) “haunt” is the mot juste for Hare With Amber Eyes which I have found myself thinking about nearly daily since having completed it weeks ago, and following which I have found myself inserting netsuke metaphors into my legal writing and (iiii) I read Freedom in two days on flights to and from Alaska and do not regret it.

    • carolwallace says:

      Fred, dissension is always welcome. You did not give me “Colony of Unrequited Dreams” and I am always at liberty not to finish things, so I take full responsibility for doing so. Rick liked “Freedom” very much himself. If we all liked the same things life would be very dull indeed.

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