When Julian met Aphra: Behn vs Barnes

I have been reading Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending recently after a customer in the bookshop where I work told me that I really must read it. As it has been quite some time since I last read any of Barnes’ work I decided to rectify this omission, in between bouts of pursuing both my letter writing and my Reading Challenge. I suppose it makes a good contrast to zip between Aphra Behn and Julian Barnes. Potentially confusing too, exchanging one cast list for another and jumping back and forth through the centuries.

Book cover with flower head on grey background

The Interloper…

Julian Barnes’ book has to take priority (temporarily) over the Landing Reading Challenge. Sadly, it is a library loan that is so much in demand that it is un-renewable. I could of course be a bad citizen and library user and take it back late but I always worry that I might be blacklisted and not allowed to have any more books out. The quick-witted amongst you might point out that this can only be a good thing, as I would have no excuse not to read my way around the entire house let alone the landing.

This thought does indeed make me wonder whether I should forswear the library and get truly stuck in to my TBR Pile. However, if I did that then would I also have to promise not to buy any new books? I could foresee that vow being very difficult to keep up due to working with new books on a daily basis. I also have a distressing weakness for bargain sections, charity shops and remainder outlets. All of this purchasing potential makes it highly likely that my landing bookshelves reading project could take rather a long time to complete.

 My train of thought has now brought me to an ethical problem (of sorts). In my meanderings around various sources of new books I will most likely come across books that should be housed on the landing after purchase i.e. classics, poetry etc. Now, this will of course mean that the original constituent parts of the landing bookshelves will most likely continue to grow over time. But do those books form part of my Reading Challenge despite not being present when the challenge began? Indeed I discovered a copy of Gwen Raverat’s Period Piece lurking in the wrong bookcase entirely (and it is a book I have not yet got around to reading) so I should re-house it on the landing. Because if I don’t, then I shouldn’t read it should I? No wonder my TBR Pile just keeps on growing.

Now, back to tackling Aphra Behn and seventeenth century English (but not until after I have finished Julian Barnes)…

UPDATE (June 2013)

I have come across a notification about the Aphra Behn Society’s Biennial Conference which will be held in October of this year. The topic will be Women, Reputation, and Identity in the Long Eighteenth Century and the conference will be held at The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK.