Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

comfort and A Suitable Boy

Comfort reading: all my leisure reading is comfort reading and most of it is done in a hot bath. I was going to say, is this an age thing, but Valerie’s comments suggest maybe not. At my advanced age, I cannot waste time with deficient books and would find doing so anything but comfortable. ‘So little time, so many books’ makes rereading something of a problem, one I didn’t experience years ago when my favourite books were read and reread, but never, ever, as Emily does, just favourite bits from them. And similarly with the so-called airport novel/holiday reading. The nearest I get to this is well-written but ultimately not very satisfying work by Penelope Lively, Margaret Forster and similar. Though they have both written very good books (eg Moon Tiger and Have the men had enough, respectively), most of their output is comfortably unchallenging. So are they my answer?

I can go no longer without comment on A Suitable Boy. I consider it vastly overrated (but not in itself bad) - I think because I have read a dozen Indian novels which I personally preferred. How much are you all in love with India itself, rather than this book in particular? Better books, I suggest are
Paul Scott: the Raj Quartet, plus Staying On ( in total much longer than Seth).
E M Forster: A passage to India
J G Farrell: Siege of Krishnapur
These are all about the Brits in India
Rohinton Mistry: A fine balance, Family matters.
Salman Rushdie: Midnight’s Children
Arundhati Roy: God of small things.

Some of these some of you have already mentioned. How do you think they rate to ASB?