Carroll and Dexter, Hardy and Herriot

(I apologise if the formatting of this post is a little odd; I’ve been having handling problems with my WordPress today).

As Jae mentioned in her post yesterday, reading is just as important for every writer as writing is. I’m sure you know that. This can be any sort of creative reading. I think I have, over the last working years of exams, read more plots online than I have in print-book style, but I still count that as absorbing fiction and ideas and style.

When I was in Uganda, I even sneaked a random chapter of Gone Girl from my friend’s Kindle – to see the writing style and tone of a bestseller. Granted, I wasn’t comfortable with the protagonist’s raw use of language (come on: even the adults in my books stop at ‘bloody’ and ‘damn’!) and it put me off, but the plot was fascinating and the writing succinct.

I’ve also taken to asking people the first lines of the novels they’re reading.

Only when I really get down to reading do I realised how eclectic my tastes are. The same can be said by glancing at my bookshelf bookpile – especially when moving and packing away my items means I have to sort what to keep in my room and what to box up.

I had just finished sorting my 1920s/30s research pile when I noticed the collection of books in the piles beyond my papers.

Hardy and Herriot Carroll and Dexter

Thomas Hardy: Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Okay, I’ve only just started this one, though I got it quite a while ago. I love Hardy’s prose – I fell in love with Far From the Madding Crowd about two years ago – but I’ve not really had a spare minute to read Tess. Still looking forward to it, though.

Quenching my thirst for everything mysterious and Oxford-shaped is this little guide to Morse in Oxford (I’m going to say by Colin Dexter because he created the character and has all the credit). It tells about the various locations used in both the fiction and the filming of the TV shows, as well as providing an insight into Morse and Lewis’ adventures through the city itself. Plus, it came with a CD of classical and operatic music, so I couldn’t be more satisfied.

I’ve already read the book through a couple of times, and sometimes I use it as my point of reference, though Agnetha is not involved with the history or any part of the town as a University. In fact, as well as not even wanting to go to university herself, she’s only working in Oxford for a book and a half. Of Moscow Mysteries is, naturally, set in Moscow.

The complete illustrated works of Lewis Carroll. You may know that I adore Carroll’s intellect and creativity and count him as one of my favourite writers. He may delve into the fantastic, but he does so with ease and realistic tone. I’ve not yet got around to continuing with this book since I stopped reading it for my uni applications, but I had been reading Sylvie and Bruno 2 at the same time as reading through the epic poem The Hunting of the Snark.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. You may recall that I wrote a What’s Up, Wednesday post a while back featuring this as ‘what I’m reading’. Yes, I’m still reading it. It’s a large book, a omnibus of two! Besides, this is the one, out of the four, of which I have read the most. (As you can see, I’m over halfway.)

You may notice that there are no uber-modern books in the pile. From sight, I know the other books don’t fall into that category, either. The one under Herriot is a Psychology of Intelligence book; the one under that must be the Jung, and beyond, there reside various non-fics I require. And I can tell you that the two soft-hardbacks are both Christies.

No, there is no specific reason for this. I just prefer to read more classic books than the new best-selling. I may be due to use of modern language and slang, something which I myself am not keen on – as a person. Why-else does at least one character in the Time, Stopped trilogy speak without contractions? xD (Okay, I have a full answer to that rhetoric, but I enjoyed hanging the question for a moment.)

In a way, I do follow some pattern with my reading. These are books I enjoy sinking into on a daily basis.

(In case you were wondering/keeping track: yes, the names in the title are deliberately alphabetical, and the books mentioned are in deliberate order of pages read. I may have finished Morse in Oxford twice, but it’s small. If you look carefully at the picture, starting bottom-left and moving clockwise, you can read the authors in the post-title order. But that was pure coincidence 😉 )

So, that’s me filled with reading for this summer. What about you? Reading anything interesting – old or new?

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8 thoughts on “Carroll and Dexter, Hardy and Herriot

  1. A series of introductions/essays on Sense and Sensibility; a small friendly paperback called Aristotle in Ninety Minutes; St Mallory’s Forever! which I coincidentally heard about through you. We seem to have unusual tastes…
    My brother and I shared a hotel room for two nights last month, and we wondered what the chamber maids thought of our reading materials for the weekend: my brother had a Bible, three religious books and some war-gaming magazines; on my side of the bedside table sat David Hume (obviously not in the flesh…)!
    And I really ought to be thinking about bed…

    • Hehe. My buds from Protag ’09. Wait – do you have a Kindle? I need to go and buy St Mall’s, actually; I will when I go to Reading (irony much? xD) bcause I need to get the paperback offline, and my mother doesn’t allow internet shopping in this house.
      Hehe, Hume. I’d love to have had a conversation with him. You don’t seem to rest with the school-related pieces, though!
      Ooh, in Uganda, one hotel had the New Testament in English, French, and German. That was fun. I intend to get myself a Polish version and leanr Polish that way!

      • No, I do not. No Kindles/iPads/laptops for me.
        It’s interesting so far…though the style is quite a product of its time.
        Goodness, the idea of no internet shopping sounds scary (though someone who lives on an island is bound to be horrendously biased).
        Haha, no! I almost constantly have at least one boarding school book on the go.
        Wait, you’re intending to learn Polish?? Sounds a random choice, if you don’t mind me saying. (Though I wouldn’t mind learning Polish myself. Then I’d actually be able to order orange juice in a café without being served gin and tonic!)

        • Yeah, I’m worried the blog-format will be the one thing to turn me off the book. So you have a print version? Ooh, very nice. Haha, I know what you mean. I’m using my dad’s old laptop. The downside? No internet, so I have to swap between two computers as I’m doing at the moment.
          Hehe.
          Well, are you sure that doesn’t count? Tehe. 😉
          Random? I thought you knew I am half-Polish? It’s not something I tend to keep to myself. Mmm, gin and tonic…

            • Right, I believe it’s working again now.
              Take Five…
              Mm, I wouldn’t do it myself. And there are so many sassy comments it takes a lot of concentration to be bothered to feel amused at them all (if that makes sense). And though it’s multiple-POV, all three girls are as untiringly sarcastic as one another (annoys me, since I’m not). I remember you said once how it irritated you when the narrator talked straight out at the reader. Well, yeah. Does that.
              Sorry; I don’t mean to be negative. (Maybe it’s just my jealousy at their getting published so young.) I am enjoying it, albeit in small doses.
              Nooo…! That is quite new to me (though forgive me if I’ve forgotten). But, ah, makes sense now.
              (I think that’s everything from my original Take One comment, yesterday morning!)

              • Mmm, I do know what you mean. Everybody tries to spice up their posts with humour, tone and voice (as I know the authors, I can say that their character voices may be reminiscent of their own blog voices).
                Don’t apologise! I would (am?) the same, hence why I have not bought a copy yet…and the whole no-internet-shoppping thing.
                Ah, well, it’s a stylistic choice. I couldn’t – and wouldn’t want to – pull it off, but some people are great at doing such a thing. Perhaps that’s why there’s less connectivity with Aidelle in the first few chapters…? – because I’m stricter [on myself] with style and tone…

  2. Right now I’m studying Spanish materials I have checked out from the library to try and up my skills, but I really miss reading. ‘Chime’ was the last book I read. It’s really, really slow but the story has a good payoff, so I’m glad I trudged through. The characters are great, it just feels like it takes forever. I tried ‘Finnikin of the Rock’ but didn’t have the patience for another sluggish read. Maybe someday in the future, but it sure didn’t grab me. The protag was almost as good as wallpaper in the opening chapter—and don’t get me started on the back story info dump prologue… Maybe that’s traditional fantasy, but I sure didn’t like it. 😦 I’d recommend ‘Mockingbird’ for your list. I did a review on it recently. Very well written.

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