Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Some Books Are Better Than Others

I am struggling to find something really compelling to read, now that I've finished The Cave Painters, by Gregory Curtis. That was a great book. I love the subject matter--the beautiful paintings of animals deep in the caves of France and Spain. And I felt the author wrote well and organized the material extremely well, combining the history of the discovery, exploration, and attempts to explain the cave art with solid descriptions of the caves themselves. It read like a mystery and yet was solidly grounded in fact the whole way. The author was very forthcoming with what were his opinions versus what is generally agreed on and he also made clear his allegiances in the politically charged world of archaeology. Must read more about this soon.

Meanwhile, I picked up Lorna Doone, a story I remember reading quite a while ago and getting totally engrossed in it. I have a friend named Lorna whose mother read this while pregnant, hence the name. I've gotten about 60 pages in, and while it is readable (though challenging, since it is written in dialect), I am not caught up in it yet and wonder if it is really worth wading through all 600+ pages of packed type. I looked it up on Wikipedia, learned that while it was inspired by historical events, it declines to pass itself off as "based on true events" like so many movies these days. It insists on calling itself "a romance." Will I finish this book or not? Should I keep in on the bookshelf or not?

So, while debating the virtues of reading Lorna Doone, I have become distracted by Chasing Cezanne, by Peter Mayle. A disappointing book, written almost entirely in generic or cliched descriptions. I think I'll finish tonight but it makes me question my previous intention to read a Year In Provence, if this is a sample of his writing.

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