As I work my way further into the month of re-reading, I’ve had a lovely satisfying wodge of Hardy to get my teeth into. I have had to stray away from the well-trodden path again, though, as I won a book on the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme, and the deal with those is that you have to read and review them within a month of receipt. So, there will be one more review of a non-re-read, then it’s familiar territory through to the end of the month (hooray!)
Tim Forbes – “It’s Game Time Somewhere”
(LibraryThing Early Reviewers; e-book)
Forbes, after one career change involving becoming a golf promoter, decides to re-ignite his old love of sports, planning a quest to see 50 different sports events over the course of a year. But heading to what he thinks will be the great, big game/event fun of his youth, he finds both the sportspeople (arrogant, celebs) and the crowds (alcohol fuelled and aggressive) ruined for him, perhaps by the greed of the team and event owners and especially the media. Here he has to deepen his search below the slightly shallow level he’s been pursuing, and look at research on the subject, which makes it more interesting and valid, actually.
Will his old love of sports be rekindled by an engagement with the “minority” sports he finds a little ridiculous? Will he find a new way to “monetize” minority sports and participation (this aspect annoyed me a bit, but it is the lens through which he, as a sports events promoter and marketer, sees things). I was moved by the description of his wife’s enthusiastic new hobby of running and the description of her first half marathon. It wasn’t at all a bad read, although it took a bit of time to get going into the actual meat of the quest, and a lot of the information was of course on American sports, so I missed some of the finer detail as I didn’t know the rules, but it was interesting and a good read – also a bit more substantial than some of the e-books one comes across.
Thomas Hardy – “The Mayor of Casterbridge”
A deep psychological study of Michael Henchard’s rise and fall through Wessex society, and a gripping page-turner full of dramatic irony and reversals of fortune, played out against a rich landscape of town and country, modern commerce and ancient monuments. Decency prevails, even in dark hearts, and old loyalties hold true. Elizabeth-Jane, the heroine, is a quiet character in the vein of Thomasina from “The Return of the Native”; the supper scene with two love rivals grasping the same piece of bread is sublime; the low characters are kept in check but still add light and shade. The Chorus stands in judgement and fate looms over the characters, a fate growing from their own character flaws, magnified and twisted as the narrative powers on. Back to the masterpieces and a satisfying read.
I really do not remember much about this book, although I’ve clearly read this copy of the book before. You’d think that I’d recall that the heroine shares my name! I do remember the feel of it and the town, and I will without doubt re-read it again at some point; it’s a masterpiece, not too dismal but with layers and depth and truly moving scenes.
Currently reading – I’ve just finished the third book of the “Dark is Rising” sequence but can’t start the next one until M has started this one. Also in the middle of a lovely Georgette Heyer, “The Nonesuch”, set in Yorkshire and delightful!