It’s WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.
• What are you reading now?
John Buchan’s *The Courts of the Morning*.
Seized by an urge to read something new by a long-known author, I was actually pursuing the rarely seen *Sick Heart River*, the last Edward Leithen book, and among the last Buchan wrote. But in the Kindle Store I found one of those compendiums for about $2.99, called *The Essential John Buchan*, but probably including everything a non-researching reader cd. want by him, and more.
As a kid Buchan’s thrillers were among my best discoveries. We didn’t have a library in range, but our family were readers. I started off my mother’s bookshelf with *Greenmantle*, which thrilled and awed my adolescent imagination no end. The disguises! The mayhem! The amazing journeys, down the Danube, across Turkey! The fearsome night battlefield scenes outside Erzerum!
When I got to it, *The Thirty-Nine Steps* was something of an anti-climax. Of the others available, and the family bookshelf held quite a few of the old Pan paperbacks, my best choices were *The Island of Sheep* and *John McNab.* *Sheep* had wonderfully eerie settings somewhere in the Norse islands, and a mysterious maybe-treasure out of Africa and a charmingly minor-key end. *John McNab* was a straight rollick and I still like most of it.
But en masse, nowadays, Buchan is going to be a once-off, I fear. Not so much that the mayhem has dated as that the cultural matrix gets grit in my teeth. Buchan doesn’t parade his misogyny or his anti-Semitism. But every now and then an ugly reef surfaces, and my reading boat gets a horrid jerk up in mid-reach. Yes, a man of his time, sure, but anti-Semitism and misogyny are not, to me, ever forgiveable. Georgette Heyer was his contemporary, and he wd. doubtless have scorned her work as women’s comedies. But she’s worn a hell of a lot better than he.
• What did you recently finish reading?
John Buchan’s *A Prince of the Captivity*
• What do you think you’ll read next?
NOT something by John Buchan
Sylvia Kelso lives in North Queensland, Australia, and writes mostly novels, in fantasy, SF and mystery/time-travel genres, with alternate North Queensland or analogue Australian settings. Two of her novels have been finalists for best fantasy novel in the Aurealis Australian genre fiction awards.
What about you? What have you been reading lately? Put the link to your WWW Wednesday entry in comments, or just tell us!