Readerly Rambles: 08/27/2011

What I’ve Finished:

  • A Word Child by Iris Murdoch:  I haven’t read a Murdoch book in YEARS and I don’t know why.  I love her novels.  Characterization is key in Iris Murdoch novels; each character is so human.  My human, I mean completely imperfect.  Much of the plot is driven by misunderstandings, secrecy, and strange acts of coincidence.  While this description may seem to describe the book as a light-hearted farce, that is not true.  The wit is biting and often harsh and the plots are generally less than cheerful.  A Word Child aptly suits that description; Hilary Burde as whiz at languages, works a boring job, is fiercely devoted to his sister, and carries a harrowing secret.  I simply couldn’t put this book down.
  • Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin:  I liked this book while I read it, yet feel a bit ambiguous towards it now.  The novel is a fictionalized account of Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll’s inspiration for Alice in Wonderland.  It is well-written and interesting, but when I completed the book I felt like much of it was forgettable.  Benjamin writes very well about uncomfortable topics (like weirdly close relationships between grown men and little girls), but I felt as if she were skimming the surface.  I wanted a bit deeper of a read. 

What I’m Reading:

Currently, I’m only reading one book and this is because I can’t imagine diverting any of my reading time to another volume.  I’ve wanted to read this book for years and now I’ve finally gotten to it.  The story is about a nunnery and one nun in particular, Phillipa, and I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this book. 

Recent Purchases:

I’m too tired to bother whipping out a camera for a bookporn picture of my recent book purchases, so you’ll all have to use your imaginations:

  • The Virago Book of Ghost Stories
  • The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl
  • Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
  • The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton
  • The Living Dead (zombie short stories!)
  • Zelda: A Biography by Nancy Milford
  • London: a Biography by Peter Ackroyd


Speaking of piles of purchased books, I’m contemplating a massive reorganizing of my book shelfs.  Here is my current set-up:

  • Two sets of shelves in the livingroom has authors A-Z (fiction, poetry, short stories, children’s books, etc)
  • The buildt-in shelves next to the fireplace has short story and poetry anthologies, non-fiction, Viragos, odd ball books, and library books.
  • Also, the shelves are overly crammed and sloppy.  bleh

The new set-up I’m thinking of:

  • Fiction authors A-Z on the double shelves (this will leave some room for growth!
  • The white built-in shelves will have Viragos and non-fiction
  • A small bookshelf I’m stealing back from Atticus (it did have toys on it, but now Atticus is attempting to scale it) will go in my bedroom and hold all poetry and short stories, library books, and my monthly TBR pile.

Any ideas on organizing?  How do you decide what goes on your shelf? 

Expect a spooky reading challenge list soon and I’ll be doing something cool in September!!!




  1. My library has In this House of Brede, so I’ll be looking for your final thoughts on it! 🙂

    And yay for re-designing bookshelves! I just decided to cull a massive amount of books, so now I have lots of space on my shelves…I haven’t quite decided how I want to arrange the remaining books, except for drawing out the small amount of TBR (40 something, out of almost 200 total) to remind myself. 😉

  2. Sorry Alice didn’t work out so well. The premise still fascinates me, but I was hoping for something more than skimming the surface! 🙂 In this House of Brede looks fascinating!

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