Top of the Pile #29, #30: RAGE, Bleak House

When, early last week, we found ourselves homeless and with no roof-of-our-own prospects any time soon, we arranged to stay with friends for a while. Well, for as long as they could keep us before being driven mad by our domestic habits, really. They’re only people, after all. But I digress.

So one night after work, we packed the car with what little possessions we hadn’t yet put into storage, and were just about to set off for their place, when they called and cancelled everything.


OK, OK, they had a pretty sucky health scare to deal with at the time (all fine now, yay!), so we’re still on speaking terms and everything, but you can imagine how super excited we both were once we found ourselves stranded in what used to be our dark, wet parking lot, car packed like a sardines tin and no roofed destination in sight.

So we did what I assume most soft pillow accustomed, sleeping in the car reluctant people would do, and checked into a hotel.

We were only there for 2 nights, but it so happened that V had to work late on both of them, so I ended up having to kill a lot of time on my own, in a room only slightly larger than our storage unit, and providing about the same amount ofย  entertainment opportunities.

So I read a couple of books, of course.

The Country Doctor

First things first, I finished Balzac’s The Country Doctor.

Quite a few people, including some of you kind enough to be following my reading adventures here, have warned me about it not being the best of his works, and also about not much happening throughout.

I did find myself wondering where it was all going more than once, and I only kept reading because I found the descriptions, both of scenery and characters, absolutely beautiful, and of course, because there was little else to do in that shoebox of a room.

In the end, the story does reach a conclusion. So at least there’s that. Now, it so happens that I didn’t find said conclusion particularly impressive, and that the end feeling was that of being preached at throughout, which I never like, no matter how well disguised it is.

Now, by no means has all this put me off Balzac. In fact, I do plan to read my way through the entire Divine Comedy at some point (Perhaps next time I’m stranded in a hopelessly austere hotel room with no check out date in sight? Yikes!)


RAGE, Stephen SpielbergAnd speaking of Yikes…

I also read Stephen King’s Rage, another book I happened to have on my Kindle with no recollection of when and how that came to happen.

I had little knowledge of what it was going to be about, and pretty much no expectations to begin with, which I always find exciting, if a bit dangerous.

It proved to be a very quick read, easily manageable in one sitting, and kept me interested almost up to the end, when, as King seems to usually do for me, he threw in a little plot twist I found rather ridiculous and I actually managed to put the book down and go to bed, leaving the last 10 or so pages for the following day.

One thing Rage did for me though was that it made me want to revisit some really special troubled teenager reads from my past, D B C Pierre’s Vernon God Little and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin to name but a couple. The former I particularly miss, having read it in Romanian the year it won the Booker, quite a while back. So straight to the top of my book pile it goes, and as soon as I’ve got shelves again I’ll make sure I get a copy.


Bleak House, Charles DickensUntil then though, I’ve recently embarked on a Dickens reading marathon, and picked Bleak House after stumbling upon it in Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer, under Books to be read immediately.

It’s among the two or three Dickens novels I haven’t already read at least once, and it felt like such a fitting read what with the somewhat Dickensian weather we’ve been having lately, and me commuting through London for significantly longer these days. I actually find myself looking forward to my evening train trip, and I’ve only read about 200 pages so far, so that’s really something.

So yup, that’s all I’ve got for now on the reading front. Anything interesting you’re leafing through this autumn?

7 thoughts on “Top of the Pile #29, #30: RAGE, Bleak House

  1. you are quite calm for a hotel guest, and I admire that!
    about the books I’ve been reading lately: a couple of mysteries not worth mentioning, and right now two books in German: Lola auf der Erbse (a book for kids) and “The Loop” by Joe Coomer. The latest is called in German “the parrot, the telephone and the librarian” :)) I have no idea why they didn’t just translate the English title, but that’s something Germans do also for films, just to mess with our minds.
    “Lola auf der Erbse” is actually quite a nice book, my daughter bought it, and I wanted to read it with her. So here I am, struggling through German incredibly long words, stuck together like an endless sausage.
    “The Loop” is a bit harder to follow, mostly because the translation is as it usually is: miserable, and it doesn’t make much sense in German. And it’s frustrating, because I’ve read great reviews about this book..


    • Hahah, I really should read some sausage style German some time soon, I miss it!

      I haven’t done it in years and I’m afraid I’d have to rely on my dictionary for every other word, if not for every longer-than-four-letters word! ๐Ÿ˜€ I always try to read French and Spanish (and of course Romanian and English) writers in their original language, but German is so freaking intimidating! I might play it safe and pick a children’s book to start, maybe give Lola a try? ๐Ÿ™‚


      • ๐Ÿ˜€ maybe you should start with something smaller, with lots of pictures ๐Ÿ˜›
        but Lola is quite nice, as I told you. is not the usual hollywood style plot, it’s deep enough to make you feel like you are reading a book and not comic strips, but light enough so you can understand the story even if you don’t know all the words.


  2. I couldn’t read something as depressing as those in a depressing situation. I always have to read opposite books; I mean when I’m on a beach I like reading Jane Eyre (especially when she’s hiding on that cold, cold windowseat) and in winter time I like Our Man in Havana.


  3. Pingback: This Side Up | London Geek

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