I’ve been reading The Well at the World’s End by William Morris since 1972.
I’m only at chapter 5 of this fantasy and, even though I look at it once in awhile (with several years between), I always seem to be able to track what’s happening. Morris’ book was influential for C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien for their stories in the worlds of Narnia and Middle Earth, and those are certainly more accessible than the world Morris creates. Morris’ is at once medieval and contemporary, living on a foundation of ancient myths and the dreamy world of late-Victorian culture. (The book was first published in 1896.) Like Morris’ wonderfully rich and complex decorating designs, the story is dense and complicated. (Below is one of Morris’ wallpaper designs.)
But even the complications sort themselves out as the story evolves. And I might even finish it one of these days.
My decades-long, interrupted reading of this book led to the creation of this blog. I love reading and talking about reading. I’ve spent most of my life – even as a child – recommending one book or another to friend and stranger. Just the other day I was waiting for the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and I noticed that the woman across from me was reading Jeanette Haien’s wonderful Matters of Chance. So I asked her if she was enjoying it (she was), and recommended Haien’s lovely little novel The All of It. And I’ve always thought it would be fun to write reviews.
So this is what I hope to do in this blog. It won’t be a patterned thing. I’ll either write about what I’m currently reading or whatever book on my shelf catches my eye on a given day. It will mostly be fiction, and certainly a lot of mysteries, but there will probably be some historical fiction, biography, and theology in there as well. I hope this will also be a conversation, so I look forward to your comments about my reading and about your own.