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May 2019



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Harry Potter books

Good intentions about reading

This morning, I finished reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. ‘So wot?’ I hear you ask. So it’s the only complete book I’ve read this month. It was worth it because, Wow, what a book! But also, what a long book.

What are these good intentions? To read, in December, only what I really want to, with probably quite a lot of re-reading. I still have books which should be reviewed, or at least given a mention and it makes me feel guilty. Guilt and reading should never go together, IMO. So I’ve been resisting all most of the tempting offers from NetGalley.

I have very much enjoyed Issue 4 of The Scribbler. Books about women’s war work, books about nursing, Christmas books. A frightening short story by Ethel Lina White* which I read elsewhere recently. Best of all is a brilliant Twelve Days of Christmas quiz. I’ve looked through it and am really looking forward to having a go some wet afternoon. Recommended, as I said here, for lovers of middlebrow fiction and children’s books.

*Recently? It was nearly a year ago! Took me a while to find but it’s reprinted in Serpents in Eden, one of the British Library Crime Classics. The fact that I remembered it so vividly shows how good it is.


Ooh, quiz! Can you share the questions?

That does look a good selection of topics. Does the one on women's war work include Not So Quiet by Helen Zenna Smith? That's my pic for best ever in the genre.
I'd better not; it wouldn't be fair on Shirley.
To give you the idea: the first day of Christmas is a book with 'one' in the title; the second day, one with 'two' and a different 'one' title. So by the time you get to twelve, you've had to think of a lot of book titles.

No Helen Zenna Smith. Ever read Feud in the Factory by Lorna Lewis? It sounds good. Also To All the Living by Monica Felton, which was mentioned somewhere recently; maybe by Furrowed Middlebrow.

Edited at 2016-11-14 06:44 pm (UTC)
I predict a very happy December of re-reads for you and a fair sprinkling of favourite Christmas tales :)
Thank you! I hope you're right.

The scribbler

I looked to see how much this is last time you mentioned it. £20 for 3 issues seems a lot. How many pages does each issue have?
It sounds so interesting and I know i would love it but........

Re: The scribbler

pp92 & quite a lot of illustrations.

I meant to take out a subscription but forgot all about it, so I've bought so far two issues at £7.50 each. It *is* rather expensive but so are most literary journals, e.g. Slightly Foxed.
I had pondered reading American Gods but wasn't sure. This may be the push I need :-)
I'm the person who 'doesn't like fantasy', so I wouldn't have expected to like it. The only book I'd read by Neil Gaiman was The Graveyard Book and I loved that. Andrew Marr gave me the nudge, then huskyteer said she loved American Gods and lent me her copy. I thought it was a brilliant work of stunning imaginative power but still too long.
I see the latest version (which I assume you didn't read) has even been expanded by some 12,000 words! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28116133-american-gods
Apparently the director's (un)cut. :-)

IMO, there are few books that merit being longer than 300-350 pages. Most start to suffer from fatigue after that (I as a reader certainly do!).

I think that is the version I read. It's 'the author's preferred text'. In the introduction, Gaiman says it's longer than 'the book that won all the prizes'.
Seek out the author's less preferred text!
I think the edition you read is this one, from 2005: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4407.American_Gods and the 2016 edition is even longer!
You're right! Even longer? How much more can he have to say on the subject?