Cover of Under Fire: the story of a squadOr as near as damn it 10% anyway. Yesterday I finished Cormac McCarthy's All The Pretty Horses to finish one of my reading goals for the year, to read at least 100 of the 1001 Books list.
Reading the classics of literature, or at least the classics as nominated by editor Peter Boxall and his team of well read contributors, is an interesting experience, although the 1001 book itself puts these novels forward as the best novels ever written my experience so far has been that in my own opinion, some of these books are wonderful and fantastic, and some of these books are dull, turgid or just plain horrible.
In the wonderful category I would include H G Wells The Time Machine, W Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage even though at points I wanted to reach into the book and give Philip Carey a hard slap, and Under Fire : The Story Of A Squad by Henri Barbusse, a harrowing and all too realistic description of a French unit fighting and suffering in WW1.
The middle ground of books that are just alright takes in Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier in which I just could not warm to any of the characters and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje which had some absolutely beautiful writing but a slightly directionless plot.
At the lower end of the enjoyment scale I did not enjoy a protracted trek around the Scottish uplands with Sir Walter Scott's Rob Roy, and 120 Days Of Sodom by the Marquis De Sade is just horrible, both of these books took me a long time to finish.
My next reading goal then is 100 books for the year, and as I am on 90 books already I should manage this with ease unless my eyeballs drop out. How have I managed all this reading on top of a degree course and a job ? Well, it's amazing how much time you can find when you leave your Eve Online battleship in its hangar for a few months.