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Not Exactly Analyzing: September 21, 2008

September 21, 2008

This morning, as I was finishing The Fatal Englishman, it occurred to me that I don’t really analyze the books I’m reading. I’m not even describing them, for the most part. It made me wonder why I’m doing this, and who I’m talking to when I post.

I’m partly talking to myself; I’m partly talking to an imaginary “you”. But do you — whoever you are, assuming you’re out there — want descriptions of books and analysis? I imagine you must — someone’s reading list is pretty dull.

But it might be worthwhile to try to record how I’m responding to different books, so I’m going to start with The Fatal Englishman.

I have to say that I’m not entirely sure what to make of this book. I don’t get the connection between the three Englishmen profiled, and I’m not entirely sure that the tenuousness of the connection isn’t part of the story. It’s a well-written book, so reading it was no punishment, but I didn’t start off interested in the three men whose lives are described in the book. Nor was I more interested in them when I finished it. (There’s apparently a good biography of the first, the painter Christopher Wood, and the second, Richard Hillary, wrote a book, The Last Enemy, about his experiences as a fighter pilot in WWII.)

So, in a nutshell, not a book I’m going to re-read.


So what’s next? I’m not sure. I’ve borrowed Sarah Gristwood’s Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics from my sister — I borrowed it from the library but wasn’t in the mood for it before I had to return it. I’m thinking my sister will let me borrow it for a longer period of time.

I’m guessing the title pretty much covers what the book’s about. The broad outlines of the story are very familiar to me — I’ve been reading about Elizabeth I since I was in grade school, a million years ago. So I’m not looking at this for information, per se, so much as I am looking to see a familiar story from a different perspective.

On the other hand, I might be in the mood for fiction again. It’s impossible to say right now.

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