So, I know it looks like my motivation for writing a blog evaporated after all of two posts, but it really wasn’t like that! Truth be told, my reading plan of the ‘Ten Unfinished Books List’ was always much too optimistic.  It seems to be my lot in life to be constantly distracted by some brilliant new plan or project (in fact usually several at once), whilst chronically underestimating the time required for such adventuring and (attempted) self-improvement. Alas. To make matters worse, I am a consummate procrastinator, so obviously I felt guilty every time I tried to write a post that didn’t include finishing Book 1 on the list, clearly a daft choice to begin with:

‘The English Patient’ by Michael Ondaatje

It has never taken me so long to read a book before, ever. Partly for the reasons above, but partly because ‘The English Patient’ is not a book to be rushed. Mr Ondaatje is quite the gifted wordsmith and seems to prefer his characters complex and analytical:

When someone speaks he looks at a mouth, not eyes and their colours, which, it seems to him, will always alter depending on the light of a room, the minute of the day. Mouths reveal insecurity or smugness or any other point on the spectrum of character. For him they are the most intricate aspects of faces. He’s never sure what an eye reveals. But he can read how mouths darken into callousness, suggest tenderness. One can often misjudge an eye from its reaction to a simple beam of sunlight.

Everything is gathered by him as part of an altering harmony. He sees her in differing hours and locations that alter her voice or nature, even her beauty, the way the background power of the sea cradles or governs the fate of lifeboats.”

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, though not so much the protracted reading time…

Which brings me to Book 2 in The Unfinished Book List (actually it was originally Book 10, but it was the nearest on hand when I finished Book 1, so there you have it – my inherent laziness):

‘Foreign Correspondence’ by Geraldine Brooks

If only every author could write non-fiction so well. Geraldine Brooks is a genius and despite the fact that I am pretty jealous of her life as a foreign correspondent, not to mention the writing skills that got her there, she would totally be on my ‘Top 10 People to Invite to a Dinner Party’ list. And as a bonus, this book takes about 8 hours, not 8 months, to read. So I am swiftly moving on to the only one of the books on this list is on loan, as it seems only fair that I finish it and return it to the generous chap who lent it to me nearly six months ago (Go on, be honest – how many books currently in your possession are in need of a ticket home to their rightful owner? I count 4).

…That is, somewhere between that new hobby or two I mentioned… Like learning to make chocolate truffles…

…And making more of an effort to keep my balcony herbs alive (I was devastated to discover that buying a pretty red watering-can does not miraculously make for green thumbs)… Here’s hoping for a sudden improvement in my attentiveness.