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Claire’s Corner

Posted on | July 15, 2010 | 35 Comments

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So, I’ve been blogging rather sporadically of late; all I can offer as a reason is that I’ve been busy and London was in the sweaty grips of a heatwave (the operative word being “was”).  Pedicures and Pimm’s have been more appealing than posting, to be honest, but I do miss conversing about all things bookish.  Anyway, I’ve been remiss in replying to comments and reciprocating but I shall try to catch up.  First of all, though, I am off home to Glasgow for an extended visit.  I’ll be mainly spending quality time with my boyfriend, family and friends but I do plan on some essential reading time (hopefully in the garden with a little bit of sun … a girl can dream, right?)  Above are the books that I’ll be taking home with me this weekend.

Couples by John Updike is my choice for the next meeting of the Riverside Readers.  It’s a book I’ve had and been wanting to read since last summer and there’s something about a New England settingthat seems summery to me; I can easily see myself reading this with a cocktail in hand waiting for the BBQ to heat up.  I suspect that it’s also going to complementary the choice I made for my other book group, Peyton Place by Grace Metalious.

Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood is a book I have been wanting to read for around thirteen years (seriously, I remember wanting to borrow it from my school library and the librarian refusing; apparently the book wasn’t “appropriate” for me even though my English teachers were giving me copies of Sons of Lovers and Lolita to read at the time. Hmph).  Anyway, I should really have read it by now and have been requiring more Atwood in my life recently so the long overdue opportunity presents itself.

The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle is another one I’ve been meaning to read for some time, especially after I enjoyed Drop City so much.  Kim of Reading Matters reminded me of my desire to read it and describing it as a meaty summer read with lots to chew over sealed the deal!

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson was a gift from my sister-in-law who always chooses and recommends the best books to me.  Living in Canada she has introduced me to several Canadian authors (Ann-Marie MacDonald, Camilla Gibb) that may have passed me by otherwise and Mary Lawson will be another.  I’ve had this on my TBR since last year saving it for the perfect reading opportunity.

Looking for Alaska by John Green is a very recent acquisition and one I couldn’t resist adding to my holiday pile; after enjoying Paper Towns so much I relished the idea of immediately acquainting myself with more of Green’s work.

Mariana by Monica Dickens made it into my final selection because what summer is complete without a Persephone book, preferably of the lighter persuasion?  It was between this and Miss Buncle’s Book but the cover alone of my Classic edition evokes summer to me.

A library book or two will also make it into my case but these are the books that I am itching to read whilst I relax at home.  Although there a couple of lighter, absorbing reads, the bulk are books I’ll be able to sink my teeth into.  Recently I’ve been reading quickly (and somewhat obsessively but more about that in another post) and I am craving longer books that I can lose myself in and some of the books I have selected should provide exactly that.

I have a major backlog of reviews so some are scheduled for when I am away and I will endeavour to be on top of things once I return at the end of July.

In the meantime, have you read any of these and what holiday reading do you have planned, if any?


35 Responses to “Claire’s Corner”

  1. Verity
    July 15th, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

    What a shame Miss Buncle didn’t make the cut – it is such a summery book (although maybe that is because I read it lying in a park last summer on a rare hot day). But I agree that summer reading should include a Persephone, even if mine can’t, unless I reread.

    As you know, thanks to you passing on your copy of Cat’s Eye, I am rereading it now, and it is fantastic. I read it at school, probably aged 16 and remember being so gripped by it that I read it late into the night by torch. I can’t remember ANY of it now but I am really enjoying it.

    I didn’t get on with Couples at all I’m afraid, not a big Updike fan.

    Look forward to hearing which ones you read and what you think of them! Hope you have a lovely time.

  2. Rachel
    July 15th, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

    This sounds like a great selection! I am intrigued by the John Updike. I plan on reading Cat’s Eye at some point this summer, and also Mariana, but when I will have time I don’t know! Enjoy your trip back home!

  3. Steph
    July 15th, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

    You must be a far more prodigious vacation reader than I am! On our recent jaunt to Puerto Rico, I managed to read, oh, ONE book… and I had started it before we left! Apparently holidaying does not do great things to my reading habits.

    Happy to see a healthy dose of Canada in your reading selections! I’m not a huge Atwood fan, but I think Cat’s Eye is a marvelous novel and look forward to your thoughts on it. I think it’s Atwood at her best. And Crow Lake is good too, though I think it’s a much simpler story. It’s quite sad though, so read it when you’re in a pensive mood.

  4. Kirsty
    July 15th, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

    Cat’s Eye! Cat’s Eye! That’s one of my favourite books! Cat’s Eye!

    That is all I have to say.

  5. Simon T
    July 15th, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

    I have read Crow Lake and I thought it was very good – not exactly my normal reading, but clever and very observant. Here’s what I wrote about it, if you’re interested!

    Unbelievably, I haven’t read Mariana…

  6. Emily
    July 15th, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

    Will be curious about your reaction to Cat’s Eye – not an Atwood I’ve read, and her stuff is very hit-and-miss for me, so I need some recommendations before I dive in, haha!

    I actually kind of envy you the heat wave. We’re still waiting in the Pacific NW for some true hot summer weather.

  7. Buried In Print
    July 15th, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

    I love Cat’s Eye; it’s worth re-reading, oh, a few times, too: it’s a great story and there are a million layers to its telling. I’m reading Mariana as well; I thought I would be done by now, but it really feels like a quintessential summer read for me and I just don’t want to rush it. Crow Lake is light in some ways, but there is a dimension to it that fills it out nicely; I counted it amongst my favourites that year. Hope you enjoy them all as you make your way through!

  8. Joan Hunter Dunn
    July 15th, 2010 @ 7:22 pm

    I read Mariana on holiday one year and it was perfect holiday reading. Happy Holidaying.

  9. anothercookiecrumbles
    July 15th, 2010 @ 7:34 pm

    I’m yet to read an Updike! Been wanting to read the Rabbit series for a long long time. Hope you finally end up reading the Atwood – thirteen years is a very long time to wait for a book! Heck, it’s a really long time to wait for practically anything.

    I read Mariana as part of Persephone Reading Week, and did enjoy it, although, despite what the blurb at the back says, I didn’t think it was a patch on I Capture The Castle. Maybe I’m biased.

    My summer reading’s been extremely strange so far – been wanting to read “light” books, and then realised that the three of the last five books I read were written by Nobel Prize winners. Go figure :S

  10. Meg
    July 15th, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

    I’m a huge John Green fan and loved Looking For Alaska, but my favorite of his works is still An Abundance Of Katherines! If you haven’t read that one, I highly recommend it. Paper Towns is in my bookcase — hope to read it someday soon!

  11. iliana
    July 15th, 2010 @ 10:01 pm

    Have a wonderful time away and have a Pimms for me will you? :)

    I read Cat’s Eye eons ago and loved it. Unfortunately I didn’t like Mariana as much, which I read for Persephone Week, but I think that was partly my fault. I went in expecting something else and that got in my way. It’s a book I should probably go back to some other time. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

  12. Stephanie
    July 15th, 2010 @ 10:17 pm

    I don’t even know where to start–all the books you are taking look fabulous. Have a great weekend!

  13. Claire (The Captive Reader)
    July 15th, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

    What a fun selection! I haven’t read Crow Lake but I did really enjoy Lawson’s The Other Side of the Bridge. Mariana was my first Persephone and it remains one of my favourites – perfect light reading!

  14. Shelley
    July 15th, 2010 @ 11:25 pm

    My writing is Texan, not New England, and to tell the truth I don’t like Updike’s portrayal of women, but you have to admire his incredible eye for detail.

  15. Darlene
    July 16th, 2010 @ 1:11 am

    For me there really is no pull towards reading a certain kind of book for summer, unlike Autumn when only a chunky classic will do. Mariana and Miss Buncle’s Book both rate pretty highly on my tbr list though. And by the way…you had me at ‘Pimm’s'!

    Enjoy your holiday, Claire!

  16. Nymeth
    July 16th, 2010 @ 7:55 am

    I’ve been meaning to read The Tortilla Curtain for a long time. And Cat’s Eye too, because everything by Atwood is on my list. Enjoy your books, Claire, and have a good trip home.

  17. Jackie (Farm Lane Books)
    July 16th, 2010 @ 10:47 am

    I’m hoping to read The Tortilla Curtain at some point in the next few weeks, but haven’t read any of the books you’ve selected. Enjoy your weekend away!

  18. Lija
    July 16th, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

    Looks like a sweet line-up! I’ve also yet to read Cat’s Eye for some reason, although I’m a huge Atwood fan. It’s on my birthday wish list for next month :) I’ll check back in to see when you’ll be reading it!

  19. LizF
    July 16th, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

    I have both Mariana and Crow Lake on my shelves as well as Peyton Place which is my last book purchase for a while (famous last words)
    Haven’t read Cat’s Eye yet and have yet to read any Updike at all so must have a look in the library.
    I hope you have a good holiday – as I recall the weather in Scotland in July can be a bit hit and miss (rather like here in N Yorks where it is currently wet and blowing a gale)but I’m sure that you will find somewhere to read.

  20. Simon (Savidge Reads)
    July 16th, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

    Funnily enough I am planning on reading Couples as it miraculously appears (not because I had been going round the house dropping hints) as a gift from TCO, along with a copy of Updike’s ‘Brazil’ which I hadnt hinted about… honest. My Couples cover has a cocktail on it!!

    I too am desperate to read Cat’s Eye and yet when I picked an Atwood recently it was something completely different its very much on my radar at the moment though, as is The Tortilla Curtain actually.

  21. Annabel (gaskella)
    July 16th, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

    I have my Mum’s original penguin of the Updike, I think it’s quite racy, and certainly appeals to me more than his Rabbit novels!

  22. JoAnn
    July 16th, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

    The Tortilla Curtain and Cat’s Eye were fabulous! Both were included on year-end favorites lists. I hope to read Mariana next month. Enjoy your holiday!

  23. Jenny
    July 17th, 2010 @ 1:22 am

    Have a great time in Glasgow! I’m looking forward to hearing about TC Boyle – he’s one of those authors I keep genuinely wanting to read and never actually doing it.

    I can’t believe your librarian wouldn’t let you check out Cat’s Eye! Why did she get to decide what you could and couldn’t read? I used to get in a vile temper if my librarians even suggested I might be checking out a book that was too old for me–I’d still be holding a grudge if one of them had refused to let me have one of my books!

  24. Carolyn
    July 17th, 2010 @ 5:35 am

    I’m with Verity on Miss Buncle’s Book, it’s got to be my absolute favourite Persephone so far. Nice to see some Canadian reads on your pile as well.

  25. Frances
    July 17th, 2010 @ 4:54 pm

    Completely identify with what you say here, although I prefer wine over Pimm’s post-pedicure. DC has been ridiculously hot this summer and the weather seems an open invitation to laziness. But from those books assembled above, I would definitely read first Atwood (is that one of the new editions?) then your lovely Persephone. By the way, many thanks for my new Persephone which arrived this morning! Happy holiday!

  26. Sasha
    July 17th, 2010 @ 9:28 pm

    That photo’s gorgeous — I cheered when I saw that particular John Green. :] I’ve been dying to read Mariana — any Persephone, actually, but they’re not available in my country and shipping’s out of the question. Oh well. :]

    Have a great time in Glasgow! Looks like you’re in great company.

  27. Danielle
    July 18th, 2010 @ 3:01 am

    Mariana is one of my favorite Persephones! And I loved Cat’s Eye, though it’s been way too long since I’ve read any Margaret Atwood. And John Updike is on my list of authors to read this year as well. Have a great holiday–it looks like you have plenty of good books to choose from on your down time!

  28. Iris
    July 18th, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

    It sounds like a great selection of books. I’ve been meaning to read a book by Green for a while now, I think it might be Looking for Alaska and I’m curious to hear your thoughts on it.

    I hope you have a wonderful time!

  29. Colleen (Books in the City)
    July 19th, 2010 @ 1:20 am

    Tortilla Curtain is terrific – enjoy!

  30. kimbofo
    July 19th, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the Tortilla Curtain — it’s one of my faves, as you know.

  31. Eva
    July 20th, 2010 @ 9:00 am

    I really enjoyed Cat’s Eye when I read it a couple years ago! Haven’t read your others. :)

    I feel you on the backlog of reviews…*sigh*. I think I’ll store some up in preparation for my next fibro attack, though!

  32. Mrs.B.
    July 22nd, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

    Like you I’ve been missing in action too but I’m now starting to catch up on my google reader and all my favourite blogs. I loved Cat’s Eye, Looking for Alaska and Mariana. I hope you like them too. You know I’ve never read T.C. Boyle or Updike. I’ll look them up now that you’ve mentioned them.

  33. Jodie
    July 26th, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

    Oh those teachers and their prejudices against the modern (I say that, but really our school was quite progressive in that respect). I saw a blogger saying that her school is setting The Hunger Games as part of their summer reading list which made me go hurray – no more ‘Z for Zachariah’ for those kids.

    Hope you have a lovely time in Glasgow and that the sun comes back. Nothing nicer than Pimms and book and a barby.

  34. bybee
    August 1st, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

    Couples is my second-favorite Updike novel…the first being Rabbit, Run.

  35. Recent Acquisitions | Paperback Reader
    August 8th, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

    [...] month.  I forgot to post them whilst I was away (despite adding one of them to my summer reading pile) but wanted to share them with you before the latest -and Booker longlist heavy- [...]

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