I finished a couple of books I enjoyed very much and did not finish another after 100 pages because I found it frustrating.
The book I loved was The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. A true story. She and her husband lived in England. They owned a farm they ran as a B & B. An investment her husband made with a good friend of his went belly up and they lost the lot. They became homeless in their fifties. They bought a couple of cheap sleeping bags and a tent and decided to walk the trail from Devon down through Cornwall ending at Land’s End and then back up the outer side heading towards Lyme Regis. She had a guidebook by a man she had read and though he hiked much faster than them they achieved their goal.
The journey was arduous to say the least. They had no idea what they would do when they finished this project. They had little money, accessing about 30.00 pounds per week. The weather was often terrible, they went without food and lived on two minute noodles. The sleeping bags didn’t keep them warm and they couldn’t afford to stay in campgrounds that had hot showers. They camped wild. Raynor is an excellent writer and I won’t tell you what happened to them but I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Their attitude, friendship and love was heartening. Did I mention the day after they were forced off their property he was diagnosed with a terminal disease? I know! How do people stay sane and cope when life throws all it has at you?
The second book I listened to on Audible was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I almost gave up on this book about one third through it. For some reason I persevered and ended up getting sucked into it and really enjoyed it. The ending is a real cracker. I never saw it coming. Her personality is often debated on the Good Reads debut as being on the Autism spectrum and whether the author meant for this or not she had the quirkiest personality. A bright woman with very inappropriate social skills. Though at times I found I quite related to her. She didn’t suffer fools gladly and I liked that about her. A really fun read if you give yourself time to get into it.
Then, once again I fell for the hype and got The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn from the library. I read exactly 101 pages before I thought, “For God’s sake, this is a load of nonsense and she is really starting to bore me.” I gave it the flick and it will return to the library on Tuesday. A psychologist with agoraphobia who spies on her neighbours all day and drinks way too much. From reading the blurb on the back of the book, I know someone is supposed to scream and then sinister goings on begin to happen but by page 101 the woman still hadn’t screamed and I was sick of hearing about her lifestyle confined to her house. 101 pages? Really? I didn’t need that level of detail to learn about agoraphobia.
While contemplating whether to finish this book or not I decided to look up my library on LibraryThing.com. Search for TravellinPenguin if you want to visit my library.
What a mess my lists of books were in. More than 1000 Penguin books still looked at me from the website. As I have sold them all and quite a few of the other books on the list I decided to delete the whole library and begin again. I still have close to 1000 books on the shelves. Actually a bit over that number. Library Thing has a new app where one can scan the isbn codes with a smart phone and magically they end up listed on librarything’s page. I loved it. So shelf by shelf, I pulled the books off and scanned all of them into the phone. I still have a few shelves to do today when I will be finished with it all. I have a few Penguin series that all have isbn codes on the back and it is lovely to have a written list of all of the book titles available.
The advantage of pulling all the books off the shelves is for one, the shelves were dusted and cleaned and secondly I found books I forgot I had. Lovely, interesting books. I had a good talk with myself. Why on earth do I continue to get books from the library when I have all of these beautiful stories awaiting on my own shelves? I think the acronym is TBR. To Be Read!! Why am I succumbing to books like The Woman in the Window when I have far better written stories here at home. So I have decided that from now on I am:
- Going to read my own books for the remainder of the year. No buying books, no library.
- I will then remove those books from the house. Move them into new homes. (Unless they are sentimental favourites like Little Women or Black Beauty from my childhood. I do not need 1000 plus books in my house. I am getting old. Downsize is the word of the day.
Then I thought-How will I ever choose what to read first? They all look so good. So I hatched a plan:
3. I will enter the numbers of books I own into Random.org and random.org will choose the book from the list on Librarything. If I choose a book I find out I really don’t want to read and I can’t bear the thought then I will sell it on eBay or the second hand bookshop in town or give it away. The rule is once it leaves the shelf it is never to return. (Unless it is part of a set I want to keep, like the Penguin sets.)
That is the plan. I am feeling quite enthused about it so stay tuned. I have some very oddball books on my shelf. Books that are very old I rescued from the tip shop. Some recent ones that the marketing techniques of the publishers talked me into buying. Some that have gorgeous covers I couldn’t leave behind. It will be an interesting challenge.
I also need to get back to the Deal Me In short story challenge as well as I do enjoy picking those stories with a deck of cards.
Stay tuned. This might be a wild ride.