Although I’m a devotee of Kindle and of buying books in the middle of the night, I also from time to time order half a dozen or so books from the library, from a list I have written in a blue notebook with a cat on the cover.   The list almost fills the book, so when ordering any title, I have long since forgotten why the title appealed to me.

This week something went wrong in my ordering process.   I was seeking a book by Barry Unsworth, as annoyingly the actual book of his I had selected was not available.   I must have pressed the wrong button because instead of getting one, I ended up with three.   My vague recollection was that I had read and enjoyed a book by this author about a group of mediaeval ‘players’ (actors) which was most evocative about those times.


When I examine the three books, (Moonraker’s Gift, Pascali’s Island, The Greeks have a Word for it,) they don’t in any way bring to mind the formerly enjoyed story.   But it is going to be difficult to get the library to produce a book by an author whose name I do not know, and none of whose titles I can remember.


I like, in fiction as well as in life, men of action and practical competence.   If the hero is a soldier, he should be fighting battles, planning campaigns, leading armies.   He shouldn’t be obsessing over whether war is valid.   (That has its place, but it’s not in a novel.)  If he’s a churchman, he should be building cathedrals, spreading his creed, pursuing his career – doing things, in other words.   There’s a school of English novels where the ‘hero’ sort of angsts and frets his way ineffectively from front to back and I have no more time for this kind of novel than I have for this type of man.   I find I don’t actually care whether he justifies his moral position, and besides what on earth does it matter since he never DOES anything on which one would be obliged to take up a position.   These three novels appear to be of this ilk.


I rifle through them with varying degrees of tedium.   I read the first few pages.   I read the last page.   I read a couple of pages from random sections within, all in the hope that some page, some paragraph, some sentence will arouse in me a curiosity to see what happens next.    Nothing.   All angst and hesitation.


In my younger days I used to pride myself on always completing a book once I had started it.   But these days I reckon life is too short.   Boring books, like boring people, are best avoided.   So I return the three tomes unread to the library.


If anyone can figure out who was the author of the charming book I read about the group of mediaeval players, then I’ll put HIM on my list!





About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.


  1. Kate Kent says:

    The Reckoning

  2. Nan says:

    “Mediaeval Play” by Barry Unsworth filmed as “The Reckoning” may be what you seek.


  3. adhocannie says:

    OK, that seems to have been the novelist and book. I wonder why I enjoyed that novel so much and fail to be appreciative of subsequent ones?

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