The problem with library books is that you have to read them within three weeks or pay fines. I’m paying fines on two books because I just couldn’t finish them in time.
I read P.D. James’ A Time to Be In Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography recently. I really enjoyed it. I sought out this autobiography after wondering what P.D. James thought about having her book, Children of Men, made into a movie which hardly resembled the novel at all. Unfortunately, P.D. James has no real Internet presence (no blog for her!) and so I turned to her other writings. (I’m guessing now that she hates hates hate when they did to her novel.)
I’ve never read a P.D. James murder mystery, but after reading her autobiography, I look forward to reading her body of work, starting from the beginning.
Meanwhile, here are some quotes from the autobiography which struck me:
I began writing Cover Her Face when I was in my mid-thirties. It was a late beginning for someone who knew from early childhood that she wanted to be a novelist and, looking back, I can’t help regretting what I now see as some wasted years. In the war there was always the uncertainty of survival and one needed more determination and dedication than I possessed to embark on an 80,000-word work when the bombs were falling and lack of paper made it difficult for anyone new to get published. There is also in my nature that streak of indolence which made it more agreeable to contemplate the first book than actually to begin writing it. It was easier, too, to see the war years as a preparation for future endeavor rather than an appropriate time to begin. I can remember the moment, but not the date, when I finally realized that there would never be a convenient time to write my first book and that, unless I did make a start, I would eventually be saying to my grandchildren that what I had wanted to be was a novelist. Even to think of speaking these words was a realization of potential failure.
There is no point in regretting any part of the past. The past can’t now be altered, the future has yet to be lived, and consciously to experience every moment of the present is the only way to gain at least the illusion of immortality.
I also read a biography called Anne Morrow Lindbergh: First Lady of the Air. I knew nothing about Anne Morrow Lindbergh other than the fact that she wrote the classic, Gift from the Sea (which I read immediately after finishing the biography.) What an interesting life she led–she and her husband, Charles, flew many exploratory routes in the early days of aviation–back in the day when they flew by sight, not by instruments. And then, of course, there is the tragedy of the kidnapping of their firstborn son when he was less than two years old. (The baby was murdered.) Back in their day, Anne and Charles were hounded by the press, much like celebrities of today. So much has changed in the world, yet so much has stayed the same.
Now, I’m finished with the library books, ready to start reading something new. Fiction, I think. I have literally hundreds of books on my shelves waiting to be read . . . a glut of reading material, an overabundance, too many choices.
What are you reading?