Today I'm returning to the library lots of books that I didn't get around to reading or decided not to read. They are good books but time does not allow that I read everything. (Though I give it a good faith effort.)
In 1999 Susan Vreeland wrote a book I loved, as did most of the rest of the female English speaking world, The Girl in Hyacinth Blue, which took off from a Vermeer painting and wove a complicated art and artist-related story. Her latest novel is Luncheon of the Boating Party and it is about, not surprisingly, the genesis of Renoir's famous painting and the artist, his friends, his fellow painters, and life in Paris and environs in the late 19th century. Despite having all these appealing aspects the book did not appeal to me. I read the obligatory 50 pages required by Nancy Pearl and did not want to continue. This does not mean it isn't a good book or that it won't please other readers, it just means it didn't please me at this time. Back it goes.
The Annotated Wizard of Oz, which was created from L Frank Baum's masterpiece by Michael Patrick Hearn, came home with me a few weeks ago when my sister, my niece, and my grand-niece were about to go into Boston to see Wicked. I am a dedicated fan of The Wizard of Oz and I have a ruby slippers magnet on my fridge to prove it. The plan was to read this book, watch the movie, The Wizard of Oz, and then to read the book, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (by Gregory Maguire), and to watch the movie Wicked. This required split-second timing, which did not work out. I got the movie Wicked and this book but am still waiting for the movie, The Wizard of Oz, and the book, Wicked. By now I've lost interest in the project and so back goes this fine book unread, and the movie unwatched, at least for now.
Time's up on the new biography of Bette Davis, Dark Victory, by Ed Sikov. I really want to read this but I got only as far as page 13 (which comes to three pages as the book starts halfway down page 10.) I was so busy reading other books that have come due since I borrowed this from the library, books that I have bought recently, the next book for the book club, a book I borrowed from Isabella, and books for the challenge I've signed up for, Outmoded Authors, that I never got to this one. Alas. I will borrow it again, or better still, buy it when it comes out in paperback.
This post is getting too long so I'll just mention a couple of the other books I'm returning. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann was going to be part of my reading of Mann in conjunction with the 22nd Avenue Book Club's reading of Bel Canto by Ann Pratchett, which is purportedly related to The Magic Mountain. That plan has evolved into a gigantic Thomas Mann project that you will hear about later if it actually comes to pass.
And once again The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright goes back unread. I've borrowed it no fewer than three times and probably more, but somehow I never get further than about page 100. This book is another candidate for purchase now that it's in paperback.