Friday 7 November 2008

Ellis Peters might be the other woman to my neglected books

It took me a surprisingly long time to finish reading Ellis Peters' Monk's Hood, another incomparable Brother Cadfael murder mystery. But I've been so exhausted this week that before today, I was finding it hard to read more than 20 pages at a time. And me not being able to comfortably read 100+ pages in a sitting is like saying Tom Cruise should be the head of the American Psychiatry Association - WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

I have been sick, but my fatigue is only partially the result of negative things; the other part of my fatigue comes from the fact that I submitted my thesis this week; Tuesday, to be precise. YES. (For non-academics, that just means I've officially handed it over to the grand inquisitors, I mean examiners, who will question me at my thesis defense, which has now been officially scheduled for early December.) I would "woot" now but I'm still too tired. Okay, maybe a little "woot."

So, the most prominent sign of my exhaustion, barring my inability to stay awake in the afternoons, read more than 20 pages in a sitting, and lack of desire to do pretty much anything? I've lost the ability to count for, scouring the shelves for a good yarn, I picked up the third Brother Cadfael medieval whodunnit without having read the second, One Corpse Too Many.

I was sure it was time for number 3, but when my memory returned several hours into the reading of Monk's Hood I recalled that I'd read a non-Cadfael Peters (Black is the Colour of My True Love's Heart) precisely because I don't even own the second Cadfael yet. I began to despair for myself, thinking that being tube-fed and entertained with bright shiny objects dangled before my googly and unfocused eyes might not be too far in the future.

The Cadfael books don't appear to require being read in order but it offends my control freak sensibility not to read them in order. Monk's Hood was, of course, solid gold and Peters' mix of crime solving and historical description kept me completely engaged. I adore this woman and am so happy she was as prolific as your best Grub Street hack - I have at least 18 more Cadfael books to read before I run out, not to mention all her other non-Cadfael efforts. The coming reading years will be good ones, they will.

Now that I'm done Monk's Hood, however, which I just picked up as a little read on the side, I really need to get back to Bernard Cornwell. I will continue the relationship, for the kids, but I'm going to be totally honest and say that I'm not sure I love him anymore. It's sad but sometimes people just grow apart.

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