Progress: Notes From A Reading Life ~ January 11

The Little Stranger

Can someone please explain to me where in the world time goes?  My last progress notes were on December 20, 2009.  I was thinking to make this at the least a weekly thing, the real goal being a few notes twice a week on how my reading was going.  Or how about every 20 days or so?

At the beginning of the year I posted my plans and thoughts on reading deliberately and just a few goals, one of which was to read fewer books at a time.  So far I have only been reading a single book and listening to a single audio at the time.  Aren’t you proud of me? I am.  I just bought Wench, by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and though I am dying to start reading it, I have not.

I finished reading The Eye of The World, before I started reading The Little Stranger even though I need to be finished with The Little Stranger by Tuesday, and I have a few weeks yet before I will need to have read The Eye of The World.  So much for my reading schedule.

I am totally taken with Sarah Waters’  writing.  It has been so easy to get into this book.  I haven’t had as much time to read this week as I have in the previous weeks, so I have been dipping in every time I get the chance.

Earlier in the month I had been chatting with a friend who works at a British owned company about England having very little mobility between the classes, even today,  and how that in turn has translated into a rigid class structure at the company where she works.  I’m not so sure that I don’t think that there is such a system in full effect here is the U.S.  I think we view it differently here, and might recognize it less for what it is, but I definitely think it is just as rigid in a lot of ways.  I haven’t yet been able to fully nail down my thoughts on this, and in any case, I digress.

But it was a relevant digression because this book is very much about the breakdown in the class system in England after the war, to some degree.  The main character, Dr. Faraday, first becomes acquainted with Hundreds Hall when his mother, a former servant of the Hall, brings him as a child for a small gathering. While he is there, the lady of the house presents him with an award. Years later as a doctor, he is re-acquainted with the house and becomes involved with the family under far more intimate circumstances.  Waters is adept at capturing his conflicting thoughts about the family and his feelings at being involved with them as he now is.

The Time Machine, H.G. Wells CoverI started The Time Machine last night when I was too tired to read, but a little too hyped to go to sleep.  A friend and I are de-cluttering our apartments this weekend, so I had to go down to her place to help her be ruthless with getting rid of her possessions, and today she’s going to come up and do the same for me. We had dinner and wine but by the time I got home I still wasn’t ready to call it a night.

The book jumps right into the action immediately, and the narrator was speaking so rapidly that I had no idea what was going on at first.  There is a lot of theoretical conversation with a purported time traveler talking about the properties of time and time travel with a varied group of professionals.  I’m just now getting to the part where the time traveler is demonstrating how the time machine works. After hearing about Wells’ War of the Worlds radio show, I know that he isn’t above using tricks on his audience so I am curious to see how this will play out.

Books I have read in the last week:

Books I have read since my last Progress Notes – 2010 Only:

How has  your reading been?

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  1. (Yay for finishing TEOTW so quickly – that’s promising for my 2/9 show!)

    You are so right about Waters’ writing. It is beautiful! Very evocative and flowing, don’t you think? I’m so looking forward to discussing this on Tuesday night’s show.

    BTW, do you plan to review Artemis Fowl? I’ve thought about reading those books but haven’t heard many opinions from the blogophere on them.
    .-= Heather J.´s last blog ..My Blogiversary is today! =-.

  2. Time goes to the same place where the missing socks go. That is my theory anyway. I LOVED The Little Stranger! I listened to it on audio last summer. It just doesn’t get any better…Waters’ writing combined with a Simon Vance narration. This was my first Waters book, and since then have read Night Watch and Fingersmith, both which I loved as well. She is such a brilliant writer. The unique thing about her books is that they settle into your subconscious, so even after you finish, you think about them for weeks. Maybe months.
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Monday Movie Meme – Monster Mash =-.

    1. I finished The Little Stranger last night and I loved it too! It was perfect! I finished at 1 in the morning and had to read a little bit of something else because I was a little creeped out. I can’t wait to read her other stuff! I want to read it again, knowing what I know.

  3. Sounds like you have been experiencing a great 2010 so far! Where does the time go? I wish I knew. The older I get the faster it seems to go. I’ve finished 1 book in 2010 and am pretty close to finishing another. I’ve been good about reading blogs and commenting some but haven’t done much with my own. I look foward to hearing more about The Time Machine.
    .-= Kathleen´s last blog ..Sunday Salon – A Great Start to 2010 =-.

    1. It dies seem to be either one or the other, doesn’t it? I always feel as if I am either caught up with my blogging or everyone else’s.

  4. Sarah Waters is on my list to read this year. Everyone raves about her writing style and I’m looking forward to reading a few of her books. I haven’t read The Time Machine in years but I remember liking it.

    Where does time go… If you find out, can you let me know. I’d like some of mine back. 🙂
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..The House on Tradd Street =-.

  5. I wouldn’t say the class system over here is that rigid. I think it is a lot easier to move up and down it than in was in the 1800’s. Your class is now determined more by your wealth more. Hubby and I have just had a discussion about it, he is convinced it is really a state of mind now. There are working class people who own multimillion pound company, but stay true to their roots.

    You have definitely got us thinking!
    .-= vivienne´s last blog ..Library Loot and Monday Mailbox =-.

    1. The only thing about that is class is about so much more than money. If those people have the company and the money but ares staying “true to their roots”, what does that mean? Does that mean true to their class? Have their friends changed? Are they accepted in and do they run in the same circles with people who have had money for a really long time?

      A lot of celebrities here have the money but I doubt if they would be considered in the same class as “old money”. I am acquainted widely with people from various backgrounds but I think the people with whom I have the closest friendships are close in financial and social background to the way I was brought up, and we have had similar educations. That’s why I think things have changed on a superficial level and maybe just in perception.

      It does make one think.

  6. What with my raging Anglophilia, The Little Stranger definitely sounds like something I would enjoy! I’m fascinated by the class system — and the breakdown thereof — both here in the U.S. and in the UK. Hmm!

    I’m joining you (and so many other awesome bloggers) in the challenge to “read more deliberately” in 2010, and I’m already off to a great start. For me, this means accepting less review copies — and concentrating more on getting through the books I already own. There are probably 200 of them, and seriously — they’re taking over my room again! I’ve confined myself to reading just two books at a time, which is progress… I’ve been known to have four books going at once, and that’s just way too many for me!

  7. “Can someone please explain to me where in the world time goes?”

    I believe Stephen King answered it in his novella The Langoliers–it’s eaten my razor-toothed Furbies or something to that effect. 🙂

    The Time Machine is on my TBR list. I began reading it some time last year and set it down (don’t remember why) and never got back around to finishing it.

    Moving right along, it looks like you’re making some excellent progress. And I need a friend like you; someone ruthless who will be there when I’m trying to clean out my storage room. Hope your weekend goes well.
    .-= Ann-Kat (Today, I Read…)´s last blog ..Giveaway: Wish by Alexandra Bullen (Autographed) =-.

  8. Ooo the class system here – interesting! It is much easier to move between social classes now than it used to be I think because everyone gets a free education (even if that education may now be moving away from being as equal as we’d all like)so people form poorer backgrounds can pull themselves up through the generations (my parents situation now is v different from their parents situation and I’ve a friend who is in a similar sort of situation. Money talks baby, so if you’ve got a decent job and save and can afford to buy things you can move into a different class, BUT as I think someone above said there’s still a distinction between being in a class financially and being accepted into it socially, there’s still very rigid ideas about that I think. Very interesting conversations you have with friends.
    .-= Jodie´s last blog ..The Buccaneers – Edith Wharton =-.

    1. I’m not sure that I am convinced that it is so easy to switch your social class, or even easier than it has been. I think that what has relaxed is people reminding you of or keeping you in your place. There have always been wealthy merchants and shopkeepers but I think they were always really aware of their station and there was a level beyond which they could not go. I think we hear a lot about the few exceptions to the rule but I would argue that most people don’t generally have the access to the resources needed to switch classes, and even when they do, finances are a limited component of class, and probably not the most important one at all. It is very interesting to think about.