mjj (flemmings) wrote,

"There is no end to the making of books and much reading is a weariness of the flesh"

I'm trying to read Liz Williams' The Poison Master. It's slow going. It's very slow going. I discover that she's not an American writer, she's British. She's a British writer who writes tapwater prose, fantasy characters with 20th century vocabularies and mindsets (and no difficulty in using words like 'paranoia' even though their world contains no psychologists that I can see) and gormless heroines of a singular romance novel vapidity. Needless to say, I am displeased.

The fantasy world story is interrupted by the periodic appearances of Doctor Dee, for reasons I'm sure we'll eventually find out. By association of ideas and to divert the pain by tandem reading, I pick a book off my shelves, The House of Dr. Dee. Bought I forget when or where, never read, etc. I start reading. Am at once disoriented. This seems to be a novel. I thought it was a history, and for some reason a history by someone who usually writes about China. At last I realize that what I was thinking of was The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci by Jonathan Spence. I must have picked the wrong book off the shelf. I go back to look through my China section because I know I bought The Memory Palace at some time. Here's The Death of Woman Wang, and there's Emperor of China, but nowhere is there a Memory Palace. What I thought was The Memory Palace was clearly The House of Dr. Dee. Which is confusion indeed.

So I take Necklace and Calabash off the shelf and go read Judge Dee instead. Thank God for Gulik and Judge Dee and would there were more of him.
Tags: china, reading_07

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