Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Right Books, Wrong Time

Two books that I'm neither going to finish nor rate. I think these are both fine books as I cannot find fault with either. However, my mind just doesn't seem to be in the right place for either.

These things happen.

The Late George Apley
by John P. Marquand
1938 Pulitzer Prize

I started this book while I was busy studying for an exam. Not good. While an excellent book that really drew me in, it requires more attention than one can provide in brief, 15 minute snatches.

Readers familiar with Boston will be particularly drawn to this story as it outlines the life of George Apley, a wealthy, Harvard educated, Boston Brahmin, during the late 19th and early 20th century. 

The story is told in the form of letters and memoirs which capture the "ordinary" events of the main character. It isn't easy having the responsibilities of wealth and good taste as demonstrated in this passage from Mr. Apley to his sister regarding a dispute over the family inheritance:

"I shall be glad to give up the silver tea set, but I shall feel it very unkind of you if it is not understood between us that I shall have the Apley papers to take to our new house on Louisburg Square. You may have access to them, of course, at any time you may desire. I also should like it understood that I take the portrait of John Apley, done by Copley. Newcomb is furnishing our house with some things taken from the Simmings' country place in Winchester, but they are all very hideous. This is hard on one who has been brought up surrounded by important and beautiful objects."

Or this unfortunate "fiction" which he pens during his time at Harvard regarding a man of good breeding finding himself in a house of ill repute:

"Hugo had never seen anyone like Mrs. Bryant; she was richly dressed and spoke with an Irish brogue, but she was most hospitable. She said the girls were in the parlour. Hugo's ignorance was such, or perhaps his condition, that the painted cheeks and carmined lips of the creatures in that close, heavily scented, brilliantly lighted room gave him no message of warning. It was not until one of these singled him out and signified her profession in a way he could not doubt that Hugo knew he was in a house of ill fame. The knowledge shocked him into sobriety."

But I stalled. And once stalled, could not find my rhythm and abandoned the book halfway through. 

A Killer Plot
by Ellery Adams

All the hallmarks of a delightful cozy, and yet.... a mere 77 pages in I am not interested. Why, I do not know. The elements are in place; likable, yet damaged heroine, appropriately suspicious and flirtatious minor characters, a murder, even a poodle. Oh dear. Perhaps some other time.


  1. Lately I've found my mind wandering from my reading choices, too. Here's hoping we can both get more inspired soon!

  2. It's a buggar when you can't be bothered to finish a book. Lisa gave me a hint. Minus your age from 100. That's how many pages you give a book before you chuck it in if it's no good. The older you get the less time you have to waste on a bad/boring book. I thought it was funny but kind of a good idea too! No worries, and love, Carol