Sunday Salon: All This Time I Could Have Been Reading Jane Austen

I’ve done a lot of reading this week, but I haven’t finished anything.

Since it’s summer, I decided to order library books whenever I came across anything interesting on a book blog. You all are reading some very interesting stuff–I’ve quite a little pile of library books on the end table next to the reading chair where Beau the cat and I sit.

Beau the cat is really great now.  He came out of hiding a couple of months ago and now spends his time basically trying to get on someone’s lap whenever there’s someone in the library.  He has yet to come out of the library to explore the rest of the house, but he has made it clear to the dogs that they are not to mess with him in his room.  While he sometimes insists on being a lap cat, and is unnaturally drawn to my laptop’s keyboard, I can usually get him to sit happily on the arm of the chair which is kind of cool.  I do think someone should make a cat bed in the shape of a keyboard.  Cat’s seem to love keyboards.

So I’m in the middle of reading Louis de Bernières, who wrote Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, new novel The Dust that Falls From Dreams which I hope to review later this week. When the publisher offered me a copy a few weeks ago, I said yes.  I stopped accepting ARCS a few years back, then restarted book blogging on this new site which basically put me back on the bottom of the ARC ladder.  I still get offers for ebook editions of mostly self-published books which I politely decline.  It took over a year for me to work my way up to current popular titles at my old blog Ready When You Are, C.B., and I had to actively seek them out for a while before any of the major publishers would send me books.

So I said yes to The Dust That Falls From Dreams. I’m just over two hundred pages in and basically glad it was a free book.  More on that later this week..

I’m also reading the first part in Jeff Vandermeer’s trilogy of science fiction novels Anniliation which I’m enjoying.

Along the way I started reading Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry again, just two poems a day.  I’ve been tweeting my favorite bits from each poem under the hashtag #BreakfastWithBishop since I do this in the morning with my first cup of coffee.  I’ve discovered that I really enjoy tweeting my favorite quotes from the books I’m reading.  Who knows, there may be loads of Elizabeth Bishop fans out there just waiting for someone like me to follow.

I have just over 200 followers at this point; over half of them are actual people.  So I’m well on my way to building a vast social media network that will be the envy of the Twitterverse.

Let’s hope I use my powers for good.

Then August came along which means Austen in August, hosted by Roof Beam Reading, has begun.  So last night I picked up my copy of Pride and Prejudice and read the first few chapters.  That was all it took to make me realize that I have wasted my reading life by reading people who are not Jane Austen.  All those books were basically fun reading more or less, but they were all less than Austen.  I have yet to find a better sentence in English than the opening line to Pride and Prejudice.

It’s Jane’s world; we just read in it.

C.J. and I took one last summmer trip this week, up to Placerville in the gold country.  Placerville was originally known as Hangtown for the reason you’re probably thinking.  Now it’s a charming town, lots of older houses, (older for California) and a decent historic downtown with a few buildings that date to the gold rush period and many others that date to the turn of the last century.

We visited the Gold Bug Mine and Park where you can tour an actual gold mine.  This one was a small mom and pop operation that ran from the 1900’s to 1942.  They have an excellent stamp mill museum in the park as well so you can see how the gold was mined and processed.

We had beer flights before dinner at Bricks in Placerville.  I think ‘flights’ is a ridiculous pretentious term for ‘samples’ and have thought so since the wineries first started using it basically as a justification for jacking up the prices on what used to be free tastings.  But now that breweries are doing the sample thing, I can overlook the hoity-toity terminology.

A flight of beer consists of five small glasses of different brews which probably adds up to a beer and a half.  C.J. prefers the lighter  beers while I like the dark ones.  I believe a beer should stand up and proudly say “I’m a beer” preferably in a deep voice.

The food at Bricks was also very good, but after a flight of beers most things are.  We did try the fried green tomatoes because C.J. had never had them.  They were good.  A friend of mine once made them for me based on the recipe in Fannie Flagg’s book.  We agreed not to make them again.  The fried green tomatoes at Bricks are battered, come on a bed of grits and have a tomatillo sauce on them.  They were delicious.  Fannie Flagg should update her recipe.

C.J. and I are on a quest to spend the night in every California county so this trip was a way to check-off El Dorado County.  That leaves only thirty more counties to go.  We’re hoping to make it down to Ventura sometime later this year.

Beau has grown tired of sitting on the arm of the chair watching me type and now wants his breakfast, so I’ll have to sign off.

We have lots of reading to do today; best get started.

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8 Comments

  1. I have great faith that you will use your power for good. Your summer sounds fantastic and I envy you that cat, your Jane smittenness, and your journeys to charming around California. Happy reading!

  2. MarinaSofia says:

    Oh, you do have a fantastic turn of phrase – must be all that Austen you’re reading!
    And yes, what is it about cats and keyboards?

  3. Lisa says:

    I am with you on the dark beers – and of course on Jane Austen! I was reading a lovely book, Growing Older with Jane Austen (aging in her books and in her life) – but I set it aside to read a book of family letters.

    The cats are still spurning my lap in the hot weather, but they do like sitting by me on the arms or the backs of chairs. I am finally getting a couch again after some years without, and I expect to have to fight them for room on that.

    1. There certainly are a lot of books about Jane Austen. But didn’t she die while still a very young woman? I thought two of her novels were published after her death. I’ll have to look for this one.

  4. N@ncy says:

    James, loved following your reading day and travels.
    Cats love keyboards, but I have more difficulty with one that insists on clutching my arm while I’m typing. She enjoys the sudden ups and downs movements while my fingers dance over the keys…and continues to snooze. Beer is our national drink (The Netherlands) ….and a Heineken is synonomous with reading a good French book….tangy and refreshes body and soul.
    Enjoy your books!

    1. As a regular reader of French literature, I’ll have to pick up a six-pack of Heineken. Sounds like an excellent pairing.

      Actually, that could make for an excellent Sunday Salon–beverage/book pairings.

  5. Amy Rea says:

    I could not agree more about the opening line of Pride and Prejudice. It’s perfect in so many ways. Did you know that Colm Toibin wrote a book about Elizabeth Bishop, titled On Elizabeth Bishop?

    1. Oh, well. I was going to stay home reading today, but now I see I’ll have to go the library yet again. Colm Toibin On Elizabeth Bishop. Sounds like something else I need to read. 😉

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