I read The Guardian’s review of Hilary Mantel’s soon-to-be-released The Mirror and the Light this afternon. It is probably the most positive review of any book I have read. Given the quality of the previous two books in the series, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, both of which won the Booker Prize, The Guardian’s use of the word
masterpiece to describe Mantel’s new book is probably justified. I reread Wolf Hall in 2018 when it was nominated for the Golden Booker. I reread Bring Up the Bodies last month in anticipation for the latest book. Both of those were brilliant books, charting the career of Thomas Cromwell, secretary to Henry VIII.
Now, The Mirror and the Light is said to be over 900 pages. I’ll be getting my copy when it comes out 5 March here in Australia. Given its length, it may be the only book I review next month. Still, looking forward to it! To read The Guardian’s review here. A second article based on an interview with Hilary Mantel can be read here. If you’re really keen, an extract from the opening of The Mirror and the Light can be read here.
The trial of Harvey Weinstein has turned up an interesting development. Lawyers for Weinstein have tried to have a juror removed because of the books she has read and reviewed.
The juror reviewed a book by Kate Elizabeth Russell which explores the relationship a girl has with her teacher, a study on predatory behaviour. Weinstein's lawyers argued that her reading contravened court rules forbidding jurors to read media related to the trial. It seems a stretch to me. Does this mean that people who read books will be considered suspect for jury duty? It leaves me wondering what a lawyer could make of this website if I’m ever called to jury duty.
You can read the full Guardian article about this here.
There are a couple of things I saw a few days ago that have been ticking over in the back of my brain since. The Coronavirus has affected international travel, has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and has put a scare into everyone like SARS did over fifteen years ago. But in news related to this website, it is also likely to be responsible for the delay of new book publications! Here in Australia, Penguin Publishers have said that books printed in China may be delayed due to the impact of the virus.
What's more, in another book related twist, Dean Koontz is now getting credit for having anticipated something like Coronavirus in his 1981 thriller The Eyes of Darkness. Looks like we're reading the wrong books here at the Reading Project, because I never saw this particular disease coming. Although it would not have been hard to predict a disease arising (given AIDS, Ebola and SARS). Isn't that what Koontz did? Not really. His plot involves a secret Chinese lab manufacturing a virus as a biological weapon. Not quite the same as the virus gestating in marketplace of the live animal trade. I'd say Koontz has a good publicity agent.
I finally got my new reading glasses yesterday. It’s been hard for me to read anything so far this year. I’ve never needed reading glasses before, so it was a surprise when I found I was having difficulty seeing print on the page.
As a result, I’ve been so long from my current book that I’ve decided to put it aside for the moment. I’m going to finish listening to an audio book – I won’t be reviewing it – before I start reading any of the many book purchases I’ve made in the new year that are helping to fill two new bookshelves in my lounge room.
Things have been a little fast and slow for us the beginning of this year. Everyone knows about the bushfires that ravaged New South Wales a few weeks ago. In typical Australian fashion, they were followed by heavy rain and flooding. The picture below best explains what it’s like living in Australia during Summer.
I’m the only one who has had a smooth start to the year concerning website matters. WaywardWoman has had a lot of work and other commitments while Toriaz, who has never needed reading glasses, suddenly found she couldn’t read book print. To review The Colour of Magic she pulled out an old eReader which allowed her to scale up the font size. She will be picking up her new glasses today.
As for me, I’ve been getting a bit done on the website and more books read, although I just removed one from our ‘Books Currently Being Read’ panel on our main page after I decided I wasn’t in the mood for it right now. Instead, I just started a book last night about the five victims of Jack the Ripper.
The sign reads
Know your Bushfire Plan
Toriaz recently sent me this link to a web article by Kevin Dickinson: The Value of Owning More Books Than You Can read. She thought I might appreciate it. I have a lot of books throughout our house, but our front room is dedicated to two bookshelves full of books I have every intention to read but haven’t quite gotten around to. The truth is, some of those books get read almost as soon as I buy them while others sit there for several years before I finally get the urge to open their covers. I know I’m going to die with several hundred books on my shelves unread.
This article seeks to alleviate that pain. What I have, apparently, next to my much larger library, is an anti-library. Dickinson says that
The antilibrary's value stems from how it challenges our self-estimation by providing a constant, niggling reminder of all we don't know.
Not that I needed that reminder. Each week we are reminded at trivia about how much we don’t know. But the article is a nice reassurance. I’ve always wanted a large range of books to pick from since I have to be in the mood for a particular book. I also like the sense that there are unknown things to discover on my own shelves – a feeling Dickinson describes in his own way. For me, books should be a little bit mysterious. That’s how they entice.