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Country Matters: 07/29/18
I maintain a good sized family library. We used to live in a tiny town home and we're all avid readers. Currently most of our family library is in storage. Yet, for the most part I have a good idea of what we have in our collection — what we've read and what we still have to read. I even used to have a catalog, the BTC, but I haven't updated it in ages. Believe or not, the turnover of our books is consistent enough that keeping up a catalog was a lot of work. Every once in a while, though, the system, such as it is fails.
Country Matters by Michael Korda is one of those points of failure. Back when I was active with Bookcrossing I brought home a copy of the book. Korda is the nephew of Alexander Korda and the person who gave me the book knew about my film studies background and insisted that was the reason I had to read it.
At the same time I was just finishing up Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House by Eric Hodgins — a roman à clef about building a home in the countryside while still commuting into the city. But 2008 or so was a busy time for me with young children, a full time job, this blog and review copies coming out my ears. Fun reading time was a premium and while I though the book sounded like it had potential, I had other titles vying for my attention.
As it turns out, I had also joined GoodReads back then because the wishlist site that used to be maintained by a fan of Bookcrossing. Somehow my to be read annotation for Country Matters also somehow included wishlist. Wishlist to me means I don't have a copy on hand and I need to get one before I can read the book.
That brings us to the present. Country Matters had boiled up to the top of my wishlist. It took eight years and by then I had forgotten that I already had a copy. My library didn't have a copy so I had to do an interlibrary loan, even though I had a copy sitting on my shelf in my bedroom!
Was the book worth the effort? Not really. Korda's memoir is outlined as a series of essays about the lessons learned from living in the countryside. It's rather homely and cute but it's also rather dry. There's not a lot of there, there. There's no sense of the town, no sense of Korda.