Rough Patch

I’m sadly neglecting this place, since my new job hardly leaves me any time for lunch, and I used to draft blog posts during my lunch break. But the truth is that I’ve hit a dry spot lately when it comes to books. A few untimely choices, not really terrible, but nothing that would really carry me away.

My husband suggested that we had too many books on sight everywhere. He’s speaking the truth of course, but that’s more due to our Parisian space constraints than to the sheer number of books we keep. I have nothing against culling out (to donations and Bookmooch), and I also want to be realistic about books that I enjoy vs. books that I ought to enjoy. A few books disappeared from the shelves in the process, but nothing drastic. Yet, for the first time for long, I have no title that springs to mind when I ask myself: what to read next?

I’ve realized yesterday with a jolt how bored I’d really grown, as I sat on our sofa electrified by the BBC series Sherlock. I became an instant fan. Yes, I know, I’d never thought I’d come here to write about telly, and that’s not my point really. The House of Silk could not passion me, although it had all the right details, while Sherlock got the spirit better and transposed it brilliantly to our days. Of course, TV series have the unfair advantage of easy brilliance, pace, visual and atmosphere, but I had a sudden flash of memory that I’d felt the same adrenaline rush when I first read Conan Doyle as a young teenager.

Now, that’s the kind of experience I want when I read. Ideally, every single time. The last time I had real fun in books was with Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers, a charming, fast-paced romp with great characters and lots of humor.

So I turn to you: what have you been reading that made your heart beat faster?


12 thoughts on “Rough Patch

  1. Sometimes you pick up a book on impulse and it does make your hear beat faster. Two I can recommend:

    Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God – a 1920’s novel set in Florida which takes you into a world you may not have suspected existed.

    Yoko Ogawa, The Housekeeper and the Professor. I never expected to like this one, but it is an enchanting story about a professor who loses his memory and the housekeeper who understands. Again, a different culture but real people.

  2. Ah! Not one title springs to mind, which is a problem. I think the last book that really caught me, that I couldn’t put down was Cutting for Stone which I read nearly 1 year ago. State of Wonder was also one that drew me in, but not as much. There were things that often took me out of the work and into the role of critic, things that I just thought were not believable or otherwise didn’t work within the text.

    I loved the 3 episodes of Sherlock that aired here in the States. The newer episodes are suppose to run, but I don’t know when. I hope it is soon. I think that this is a great interpretation of Doyle’s Sherlock.

  3. I know what you mean (and I’m quite a fan of the latest TV incarnation of Sherlock Holmes as well, much better than the film). Not a lot of books that I have recently read exhilarated me: perhaps Ha Jin: ‘Waiting’ and Victoria Hislop ‘The Island’. I liked Orhan Pamuk’s ‘My Name Is Red’ to start off with, but then it got a bit repetitive and over-ornate.

      • I was told ‘My Name is Red’ is the most difficult and untypical of Pamuk’s works. I found his ‘Museum of Innocence’ at a jumble sale today and will let you know how I get along with that. Victoria Hislop’s book is about an island that used to be (until very recently) a leper colony in Greece.

  4. Love the BBC Sherlock series! It stinks to be in a reading slump. I’ve been enjoying lots of bookish nonfiction lately. Fiction, I’ve been reading 1Q84 by Murakami and I am loving it. Good luck finding your way out of your slump!

    • Thanks for your kind words. I have a hard time with Murakami fantasy novels, therefore I didn’t dare trying 1Q84, all the more as it is huge! I look forward to your review, perhaps it will give me courage.

  5. I have been swept away these past couple of weeks by Simone de Beauvoir’s huge novel, Les Mandarins. It’s reminded me why I love the writing from this period so much. It really feels like it’s about something, you know, something important, not just another affair or worry that turns out to be insignificant. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

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