Sunday Salon ~ Reading for the Snowbound

While I was washing up this morning (well, even the mundane jobs have to be done every now and again) I happened to catch the thriller writer, Andy McNab, being interviewed on the radio about books to be read while snowbound.

Now, one of the more interesting discoveries that I’ve made about myself as a reader over the past couple of weeks is that when I have apparently endless time in which to do nothing but read I can’t sit for more than an hour or so without needing to get up and fiddle with something.  Maybe this is because the leisure time is enforced, I don’t know.  Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the idea that there might be some books that were better for the snowbound than others (perhaps I’ve been choosing the wrong ones!) and even more intrigued by McNab’s choices, which included Great Expectations and Catcher in the Rye.  The one thing that his selections had in common was that they were plot driven rather than character led.  Of course, this might have something to do with nature of his own writing, I don’t know.  He did set me wondering, however, if there were books that were more appropriate than others and whether or not you have any ideas that might help me to take better advantage of the time the snow is forcing me to spend in my comfortable new chair.  I’ve read everything McNab suggested and I’m sated with re-reading at the moment, so what can I pick up instead?  All suggestions gratefully received.

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Published in: on January 10, 2010 at 6:35 pm  Comments (8)  

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  1. I’ve never, ever been snowed in and I’m much more of a character-driven vs. plot-driven reader, but I will say that Wolf Hall kept me glued to my chair for all of yesterday. (It helped that I am suffering from a miserable cold and that the bad weather knocked my Internet out.)

  2. I’m a character-driven reader myself (and funny, but I would definitely consider Catcher in the Rye to be character-driven and not plot driven, so maybe those terms are subjective), but I always enjoy Donna Tartt’s The Secret History when it’s grey and cold. Happy Sunday!

  3. Personally I suspect it’s more a matter of temperament. No matter how engaging a book is, I am much too antsy to sit and sit without getting up every so often and “fiddling” with something!

  4. I know exactly what you mean! When I have no time to read I dream of the moments when I can read uninterrupted for hours on end. And…when those moments arrive, I am constantly thinking of one more quick chore that I should do. Why do we do that? I have no answers.

    I can understand what McNab is saying, but I am not sure that it holds true for me. I think I am very fickle, and oftentimes I will just skim the first chapter of several books before I find one that resonates with my reading mood.

    I hope you find something to hold your reading interest soon.

  5. We get snowbound often enough! And as I get older, if it’s too cold I stay in more often too, so I guess that would be cold-bound. Hmm, let me see: I would pick a book I hadn’t read before, one with a strong plot and good characters. I think it depends on what mood you’re in, if you want a romance/some happiness and good dialogue, then it’s Jane Austen (which wouldn’t be a new read, but definitely time well spent!), and if it’s mystery and mayhem, then something by a favourite mystery author – Arnaldur Indridason, Peter Robinson, Nevada Barr, catch up on any Ian Rankin you haven’t read yet, Henning Mankell, Dana Stabenow – many of these are set in northern climates, so as the wind howls around your house and the snow piles up (or the ice keeps you from going outside) you can feel commiserated with by the detectives in these stories who have to cope with the same kind of elements!!! I find it very comforting to read a mystery set in cold Iceland or Sweden or Alaska when we’re shivering here in Ottawa too…..

    By the way, I’m waiting on a copy of An Instance of the Fingerpost because of your recommendation, I hope it comes soon! Amazon.ca hasn’t said it’s out of print yet……

    If I am housebound, I also would take it as the opportunity to read something I’ve been long wanting to read but haven’t sat down to it yet. I think of winter over here as one long reading session sometimes!

  6. Thank you all for your suggestions. I think you’re right RIB, it has a lot to do with temperament. I hate been confined to the house for any reason and it isn’t helping that our bright blue days seem to be over and cloud cover makes me ratty as well. (maybe I should go an live in a desert somewhere?) A number of the books you’ve mentioned would be re-reads for me, but the more I think about it the more I think certain re-reads, those that come under the heading of old friends, might actually be the answer. I know that when I’m ill I always return to 84 Charing Cross Road, in fact one of the ways that I know I’m ill is because I find myself taking that down from the bookshelves!

  7. If your snow has not yet melted, then possibly the Andrew Taylor series of Lydmouth crime novels? They are ones I find myself able to read for hours at a time – and yes, I get antsy too when there is absolutely nothing else to do but read. You are probably just ensuring your efficient circulation by hopping up from time to time!

  8. I realize that snowy weather doesn’t always mean bad weather, but whenever I’m stuck inside on a rainy day I almost always read an Austen or a Bronte. But I’m like you, I can never sit still for that long when being homebound is imposed and not voluntary!


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