Many of my blogging friends took part in Dewey’s 24-hour Read-a-thon this weekend. I didn’t, but I have my own “thon” going. Quite by accident I find myself reading chunksters, one after the other. In late March I read Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady, and followed that with Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time (links will take you to my reviews). I was planning to read a couple of short Viragos next, but I received notice from my library that Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken was waiting for me. This was a surprise, since I was #58 in queue two weeks ago. Whatever! What’s another 400+-page book, eh? I don’t mind too much, but I really do think I’ll be ready for those short Viragos soon.
As a slight antidote, before starting Unbroken I turned to Iris Murdoch’s Bruno’s Dream. This is not a chunkster, and it’s also my first experience with an e-Book. I’m reading it on an iPad using the Bluefire reader app. The book is in PDF format. I like the portability, a lot, and can see its potential especially for those pesky chunksters. I’m not wild about the iPad’s backlighting; it causes glare that can make reading difficult in certain lighting conditions. The PDF format is a little clunky, too. There seems to be a lot more text on an individual “page” than I’ve seen in e-Pub format samples. This means the print is quite small, and I have to adjust the size to read comfortably (oh, my aging eyes!). And for some reason, the table of contents is off by 3 chapters. I’m curious how much of my experience is due to the format, the app, or the device … because I do feel pangs of e-Reader lust which may need to be satisfied someday. 🙂
Technology issues aside, the book is quite enjoyable. Bruno is an elderly, bedridden man, estranged from his son who is also his only living relative. While Bruno is a central figure in the story, most of the plot concerns others in Bruno’s life: his son-in-law, his caregivers, his son and daughter-in-law, and so on. Like most of Murdoch’s work, sexuality and morality are central issues, and the characters all become tangled in various muddles. I’m about halfway through and am really curious to see how all the tangles get sorted out.
And then I’ll return to my chunkster-thon!
What are you reading this weekend?
Read more from The Sunday Salon here.