Well, earlier this week I was contacted about the final selections and this is the list that the people organising the event have come up with.
Double Fault, Lionel Shriver
A Room with a View, E M Forster, (romance between Lucy and Cecil)
Period Piece, Gwen Raverat
Love Among the Chickens, P G Wodehouse, (Chapter XIII. Tea and Tennis)
As you can see, the connections between the game and the narrative in most of the books are as tentative as the texts I came up with, so there obviously really is a gap in the market out there just waiting to be filled by someone other than Lionel Shriver. Nevertheless, I've signed up to participate because I want to encourage the Institute's attempt to reach out to a wider audience. I think the basic idea of linking exhibitions with other art forms is a really good one and who knows what possibilities there may be in relation to future exhibitions.
So, I will try and whip some enthusiasm for Double Fault, difficult as I know I'll find it. I have real problems with Shriver's written style. It doesn't matter how good or otherwise her work may be, the surface structure just gets in between me and it. Forster, of course, is never any hardship and this particular book a wonderful summer read. And, I suspect that the same will be true of the Wodehouse. I don't know the chosen book, but doubtless it will be good for a wry smile at the very least and if it has to do with tea then it's bound to be a winner where I'm concerned. I think the Raverat is a memoir. I must check. If that's the case then I will be very interested in it because I know she and her husband were good friends of the Woolfs and I enjoy anything to do with Bloomsbury.
What with this and the Summer School June to September is going to be a busy reading period, but then how does that make it different from any other period in my life? What I will find interesting about this project is to see what the dynamics of the group will be like. I've never been involved in an ad-hoc coming together like this before. All the book groups I've belonged to have been made up of people who, for the most part, already knew each other. There is the potential here for a certain amount of fireworks as people jostle for position. It could work very well or it could be a recipe for disaster. I shall just have to wait and see.