It’s the last Sunday of the year, so you know what that means. Either I’m getting stingier or this year hasn’t been the best reading year for me—while last year’s year in review post was agonizing to curate, I did this year’s in a few hours. Hopefully, 2013 will ring in a higher batting average for my reading. But it’s not that I haven’t enjoyed my reading this year; I definitely have, especially my nonfiction reading—I mean, I discovered Tom Wolfe this year, so that is a definite plus. As ever, this list is culled from what I read in 2012, not what was released in 2012 (although I read more recent titles this year than in past years).
A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
I love Brideshead Revisited. It’s one of the few novels I knew of as a child (despite current appearances, I wasn’t a reading child) that has stayed with me to adulthood. My mother, whose love of British television I inherited (as well as her love of Lou Reed, which is another story), tried to sit me down and show me the BBC miniseries as a child. But Evelyn Waugh comes down hard on his best-known novel; upon review, he found it rather rich and gluttonous. As much as that disappoints me, I was curious about Waugh’s other novels, the ones that Brideshead Revisited deviates from. A Handful of Dust, as a recommendation, actually comes from The Lost City of Z, and it was the only Waugh in at the library that I could pin down.
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
read by Jeremy Irons
I think my first exposure to Brideshead Revisited was my mother trying to introduce me to the BBC miniseries and failing—as we watched Charles and Sebastian stroll arm in arm around Oxford, she anxiously assured me that they weren’t gay. Well, then, there’s nothing for me here, young Clare concluded to herself, and cut her losses. But I did eventually read the novel, before the most recent film adaptation came out. I enjoyed both novel and film adaptation immensely, but it had been some years since and, anyways, I finally got my hands on a copy of the audiobook as narrated by one Jeremy Irons. It was time to revisit… okay, that’s so bad I’ll stop myself.
Any books you’re hoping to get for the holidays this year?
How about giving? Are you giving any good ones?
I have mentioned that I would like the newly reissued audiobook of Brideshead Revisited (as read by Jeremy Irons), but I don’t expect it. While I won’t say who gets what (just in case they read my blog, which I doubt), there are copies of Outlander and Friday Night Lights under the tree. I just really hate giving books that I personally haven’t read and think the recipient might enjoy, so I’m ultimately quite picky.
Name a book (or books) from a country other than your own that you love. Or aren’t there any?
When it comes to foreign books, I read and enjoy a lot of British literature; Jane Austen, Harry Potter, Brideshead Revisited. I’m a pretty poor Frenchwoman most of the time, but I love and adore Alexandre Dumas, especially The Count of Monte Cristo. However, beyond Europe, I don’t read too much in translation, which is something I’m trying to fix.