Remember back in March when I posted a passionate pledge to read more novels by American women? At the time, I was very determined to commit the rest of 2012 to exploring and reading American writing. Well, just two short months later I feel that I am completely off-course and am struggling to find any interest in American novels. The only ones I’ve read since I made my pledge are Olive Kitteridge, The Blank Wall and The Song of the Lark , all of which I enjoyed, but mostly I only want to read British novels. I have to admit that in my heart of hearts I am an Anglophile. I like to believe that my heritage accounts for that – my paternal ancestors lived in Headcorn, Kent – but I really think it is my early indoctrination via British tv series. I started watching Masterpiece Theater when I was pretty young, 12 or 13, and that led me to watch the Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes series (the Jeremy Brett one) on Masterpiece Mystery and I was hooked from then on. Twenty years later I still have a major predilection for British films, tv shows, and novels and so I find myself failing at the challenge I set for myself because I can’t let go of my taste for British culture.
I have tried to read several American novels in the past month and I just find them so depressing. It strikes me that a lot of them are about ‘issues’ and I really don’t like being preached at. I suppose I prefer novels that are more drawing room-centered, more relationship-based than those that are trying to make a statement about social concerns. Maybe it really isn’t an American thing, maybe I just like reading more domestic-type novels (yes, I do) and I haven’t found the right American authors to read that are suited to my reading preferences.
I’m not going to abandon my plan, but I can’t abandon my fondness for British authors either. The above picture shows a few novels I want to read in the next few months and I am greatly looking forward to them. Perhaps I’ll slip in a couple of American-written novels in between these as a way to have the best of both worlds. I’m sorry not to have devoted myself to the works of my countrywomen the way I had planned to, but I hope that you (and they) will understand.