I'm a lean mean readin' machine right now, thanks to my extensive daily commute. Some days I like to mix it up a bit and polish off a Sudoku (aka The Devil's Squares Of Evil) or two instead, but most days I'm all about the lit-er-a-ture, don't you know? Even when it's pulp.
In the past week I've read a couple of easy peasy fun novels, "The Devil In Amber" (which I mentioned before) and then the prequel by the same author "The Vesuvius Club" (not bad, but I think "The Devil In Amber" was funner). I decided it was time to trawl back through my bookshelves and see if there was something there that either I hadn't read, or that deserved re-reading.
I read books pretty fast, up to 3 or 4 a week sometimes, and book buying gets to be an expensive habit after a while. Sometimes I buy second-hand to try and minimise the cost. I don't smoke and I don't drink much, so I guess it's my one 'vice' though right? I mean, internet porn costs nothing. So book choice this time around had frugality as an impetus.
So. I decided to read The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. Years back I had a phase of putting my name and the date I bought a book inside the front cover, and I was surprised to spot it yesterday and realise that I bought this in 1991, and had never read it. I'm only 50 pages in but wow, I'm loving it so far. Written in 1940, the setting (a small town in the US south) and the period place it in quite a foreign land, but the language is so evocative and the characters so well fleshed out that it isn't a difficult read. Not one of those 'worthy' classics that people slog through to have said they've read it. (Yes, I'm looking at you "War & Peace".)
I don't know much about Carson McCullers, except that she was a woman with a man's name and all the photos of her show a slightly built young woman of bohemian aspect with a ciggie frequently jammed between her fingers. The brief bio of her's which I've read lists a young troubled marriage, a stroke in her twenties and several later in life, a suicide attempt and decades of poor health before her death at 50.
The novel was published when she was only 23, 3 years married and a year before her first stroke. Maybe the title was somewhat prophetic, for it certainly seems like the rest of her life was one of struggle and difficulty.