Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction are some of my Literary Interests

Sunday, February 28, 2010

February 2009-Reading Life Month End Review

February 2009 was a very good reading month for me.   I read a book I wish I had read
 forty years ago so I could have reread it many times by now, Jane Eyre.    I followed it up with a very nice book by Charlotte Bronte's youngest sister Anne, Agnes Grey.     I read the first novel written without a man to help her  by a larger than life author  of 19th century French literature,  Indiana by George Sand.   She found her way about half way through the work (or maybe I did) and it is  master work ahead of its time and maybe ours also.   I followed this with Pierre Et Jean by Guy De Maupassant, Henry James called it a "small masterpiece", Flaubert pronounced it a work of genius, and Turgenev was quite enthralled and shared it with Tolstoy who admired it also.   I am sure De Maupassant will rest easy knowing I liked it too.   Maybe I will go see the movie of Drood (based on the novel of that name by Dan Simmons) to see the friendship of the author of a true Victorian chunkster, The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens depicted.   The book is great and I think any fan of the Victorian novel genre will like it.   

This month I decided to begin one of the projects I announced in January in my post on my plans for 2010,  posting on some books by Filipino authors.   In pursuit of this I blogged on two collections of autobiographical works by Filipino women.   I also read a very good and exciting 21th century work, Shanghai Girls by Lisa See.   She has written two other historical novels set in China and I look forward to reading both of them this year.    I also read two short novels by Junichiro Tanizaki, a writer of great talent who belongs on any list of best novelists of all times.

Not every book can be great or be compatible with  your tastes.   I read two books that I do not admire.   The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Morris was a chore for me to finish and I do not recommend it.    Another work I also did not really like was Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.   I at first thought maybe somehow this was me but I was reassured when my negative remarks on the book was reaffirmed by commentators.   Everyone does say he has written much better books so in a few months I will try another of his works.    I do not like writing negative posts on a book.   Of the 80 or so reviews I have done, all but three are positive reviews.  If I read a book and I do not like it I will say why and I will try to look within myself to see if it could be me.   

 Reading Challenges Update

I really like reading challenges.   They are fun for me, by joining in I am supporting the international book blogging community, it leads me to new reading discoveries and has helped my readership to grow.   So far this year I have signed up for 34 reading challenges with four carrying over from 2009 for a total of 38 reading challenges.  So far I have completed 15 challenges.   In some of these challenges I am going on to try to complete a higher level of reading.    For example in The All About the Brontes Challenge, I have completed my original commitment  and have now decided to read all the Bronte Novels this year (there are not that many).    I have read at least one book for 21 challenges I have yet to complete.   There are still two challenges that I have not yet started.   I expect to finish between 7 and 10 challenges in March, with any luck.   I should then when April begins be left with about 10 challenges to go.   I would like to complete 50 reading challenges this year and I will be signing up for some more next week.

To all challenge hosts, I thank you for your efforts.   I am learning somethings about what makes a good challenge and maybe in 2011 I will try to start one.    I am not able to place on my blog buttons or links to all the challenges I am in as when I tried it my load time slowed to a crawl.   I also try to read the posts by others in the challenges I am in and comment when I can.  This helps me get more ideas for books to read.

Tentative Plans for March 2010

The first week of March I hope to post on one classic novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and on a novel that I could see one day being a classic, The Name of The Rose.   I will read one or two works by Junichiro Tanizaki, one or two by Haruki Murakami, some classics and some by whimsey.  At some point I will start to read Ford Madox Ford's tetralogy, Parade's End.  

As always I thank the readers of my blog and very much thank those who take the time to write comments.  


Suko said...

Very impressive month end review. I know of no other book blogger who reads as much for all the various reading challenges.

ds said...

I am stunned that February is finished already! And I am always impressed by the number of books that you read and review, and how closely you do both. I have Shanghai Girls on the top of my current pile--we will have to compare notes (I did read Lisa See's earlier books as background; they are well worth it). I think you will like The Name of the Rose, at least I hope you do!

Read--and blog--on, Mel!

Chrees said...

If you can wait a couple of weeks to start Parade's End I'll be happy to post in conjunction on it with you. Although I'll probably go much slower!