Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jane Austin

The read every book we own project has taken me to Jane Austen.

Up until today, I have never read any Jane Austen stuff despite having various paperbacks in my collection since my teens. Those paperbacks got donated to the library's used book sale when Maureen bought The Complete Jane Austin Novels.

Austen, Jane is one few of our A and B authors that I haven't finished reading yet. I put off reading her til the end of this segment because I didn't have any enthusiasm to get started with her stuff. Maureen had already warned me I wouldn't like it. Plus being a compilation of all her novels, the book is very large and rather heavy.

I've seen various Masterpiece Theaters and movies based on Jane Austen books and I didn't really hate those, so how bad could it be?

As usual Maureen was right. I read a page and a half and found it very wooden, even for the late 1700s. To be fair, knowing that some stories take a while to get going, I jumped to the middle and read a random page. Didn't like that either.

I honestly couldn't care about young women finding wealthy husbands so they wouldn't have to work. I grew to dislike the parasitic English gentry while reading all the Agatha Christie novels. I don't really want to spend any more time with them. Even Agatha got sick of writing about them. 

For this project, I do not have to finish every book we own, but I have to give them all try. Jane Austen the Compete Novels (or whatever it is called) is one of only three books so far that I gave up on before finishing.

Also on our shelf for this segment is The Darceys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman. This sequel to Pride and Prejudice is a book Maureen bought. Since I won't be reading the original, it makes no sense for me to read this one either.

Two books in the project down in a manner of minutes. Now that's what I call progress! Not the best kind, but progress none the less.

Shadowchase by Martin Blank

I continue on my quest to read every book that Maureen and I own. This project will take me many decades.

Next up was Shadowchase by Martin Blank. On the cover is a sticker "Encore Books  14.95 Discount Price 2.98". So I must have picked this up from the clearance rack at Encore. Published in 1989, I suspect I bought this book shortly before moving out of my parents' house in July 1990, which was near the only Encore Books I recall shopping at. If so, I have owned this book for 22 years and it has moved with me four times. Thanks to this project I have finally read it.

And I'm very glad I did. I loved reading it so much I decided to look up other Martin Blank books. The Googles surprisingly had little to offer me. It took some searching to discover that this was the only book Martin Blank ever wrote.

After a successful career as a businessman, then as the head of his local Chamber of Commerce, Blank released this book and then retired to supposedly pursue writing. I found a article from 1990, announcing his retirement from the Chamber. He had a very successful run there, greatly increasing membership and expanding the Chamber's scope of operations. I say "supposedly" above due to the other article I found.

The other article was his obituary from 1998. He died after suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease for many years. If you are only going to get to have one novel to your credit, you couldn't do much better than Shadowchase.

I won't spoil it by giving too much detail. Great characters, great story, funny, smart, time well spent. 

With shades of David Goodis, there supposedly was a French movie made from the book. I say supposedly again since despite heavy googling, I can't find any evidence of any such movie.