Friday, October 31, 2014

Clearing the stash

I recently joined an online book group, and last week I participated in the bimonthly "toppler" activity. The purpose of the toppler is to set aside as many other activities as possible to embark on an intense readathon to clear your shelves of malingering titles. Most members, however, report that their "to be read" list tends to grow rather than shrink during the toppler activity as they add the titles of interesting books other members are mentioning.

Anyway, I managed to read four novels during the toppler week, and a couple of them were quite good. My very brief summaries follow.

First up was a classic science fiction novel I've had on my reading list for many years, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. As I'm probably the only person on Earth who hadn't read this spaceship adventure tale, I'll skip the capsule summary and just note that I enjoyed it and was surprised (and pleased) at the humor.

Next was the most poignant and beautifully-written novel of the week, the Booker Prize-winning The God of Small Things. This was terrific stuff and another of the novels I've read this year that made me despair of becoming a novelist.

Fortunately, I followed it with the adequate, but not chill-inducing, Lady Macbeth. Perhaps I should write historical fiction. I could manage this.

If I try very hard, I could possibly write a novel of the quality of the National Book Award-nominated Station Eleven. Author Emily St. John Mandel has an engaging story of well-drawn characters in a post-apocalyptic world, and her prose is spare and elegant, although not awe-inspiring. Still, it was one of the better novels I've read this year.

I've also been clearing my yarn stash, so far with scarves and this hat:

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