Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Utterly utterly down in the dumps.

I was meant to go on a long-awaited and much-anticipated trip to England this week, but volcano ashes put a stop to it. It's very unfair and I feel very hard done by - I'd been looking forward to it so much, and I hardly ever get to travel. Plus I've lost money on it, which is very upsetting.

All in a trivial, industrialised-nation way, of course. But I really am sad.

In my childhood I used to always escape into books when I was down, preferably something homely and familiar like Enid Blyton. I don't feel the same urge now (possibly because I don't think it will work). Although I wouldn't say no to a stack - a STACK - of vintage crime. Do I have any? No. And part of looking forward to my trip was thinking about the possible second-hand bookshops there, just brimming with old Cyril Hares, Patricia Wentworths, Ngaoi Marshes.

I read a Patricia Wentworth recently, a book called The Silent Pool that I bought off Tradera a while ago and saved. It was enjoyable in it's own way, but the killer turned out to be the same type of character as in another one I read, so it was predictable. It's about a rich former theatre star who thinks someone is trying to kill her, and her suspicions are confirmed when murder is done and it is obvious that the killer thought it was her. Nothing special, but grand for it's purpose.

I've also read a very disappointing Kazuo Ishiguro collection of short stories, Nocturnes. Oh why can not a favourite author remain perfect? This was dull. The meticulous, careful, detailed and simple language that works so well in Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day feels bland, trite and almost contrived. Very disappointing. There is an overall theme to the short stories, namely music, and some of the characters appear in more than one, but I don't get that carefully crafted Shortcuts effect, I just feel meh.

Oh I just feel meh in general. But at least I've done my blogging duty.


Ing said...

Aah, you'll get to go next year - you'll see! Plus you'll have our visit to look forward to - I bet you can't wait ;-)! Me and Caoilinn were in Tesco yesterday looking at all the different biscuits we are going to bring. Caoilinn says we have to buy the Jacob's brand of biscuits for Jacob so be prepared!

bani said...

Ooohhhh you're too good to us! :D

Ing said...

I'll have to be more thorough checking your blog before I hit the library in the future. Just borrowed Nocturnes by Ishiguro Kazuo and now see it's shite. Wonderful. At least I have a Donna Leon and Alan Bradley to console myself.

bani said...

I've never read Donna Leon, is she any good? I'm suspiscious of Americans writing about foreign settings.

Have you read Never Let Me Go? That's a good Ishiguro!

Ing said...

I really like her but then I'm not Italian so can't comment on her authenticity. Her books "sound" Italian if you know what I mean, they're riddled with Italian phrazes and references to Italian culture (or more correctly, Venetian culture) which she doesn't bother to explain to us "furriners". I've read Andrea Camilleri's books and can't really tell much difference between him and Donna Leon but maybe I'm just not observant enough... Give her a try!

bani said...

Ok, I might then. She's one of the ones I haven't tried and there are a million of her books at the library.