My December reading was very much dominated by short stories. I read the massively to me disappointing 1Q84 by Harukui Murakami. I had highly anticipated the book and maybe that added to the real sadness I felt over posting on it. I still will eagerly read another Marakami work and would like to see him win the Nobel Prize one day. I also read Joseph Conrad’s short novel, The Secret Agent. This was a very good book and it relates to today’s headlines. I did a virtual tour stop with an interview on Juno Charm by Nuala Ní Chonchúir. This is a very good book I commend to all lovers of poetry. Additionally, I read a first rate debut novel, The Value of the Rain by Brandon Shire, about the GLBT experience in America in the 1970s.
I have begun reading through the complete short stories of Flannery O’Connor (31). Her stories are beautiful and as deep as they come. I also read for the first time, the very controversial Russian writer, Maxim Gorky. Condemn him personally all you like, and he deserves much of it, his early stories about the poorest people in late Czarist Russia can stand next to the best of the world’s short stories. (Yes I know he was an apologist for Stalin in his latter years.) I also was happy to have access to twenty or so new to me short stories by R. K. Narayan. I just love his stories so much.
I also have been reading through some of the short stories of the American master of minimalism Raymond Carver. I can see his technical brilliance but the content of many of his stories do not appeal to me. Bottom line, to much drinking in his stories for me! Maybe it was the back to back reading of his stories that was the mistake, maybe one a week or so I could deal with the subject matter and savor his real brilliance. This is a personal issue with me on Carver, not a literary judgment. I also read a short story I hope a lot of people will read, “I Stand Ironing” by Tillie Olsen.
I also have begun to make use of Windows Live Writer as a blog editor. I owe this suggestion to Parrish Lantern.
As always I thank so much my very brilliant Cousin S for her editorial advice.
I acknowledge I have a hard time proofreading my own works. Errors that would jump out in the work of others go past me in my own writing. I have some odd errors I make over and over such as I will put “think” in the place of “thing” and vice versa. I try as I can to catch everything but for what remains, oh well.
I will do a year end report also. My monthly reports are mostly for me to have something to look back on.
Any suggestions for changes or improvements will be appreciated and respected.
I ended the month with 625 GFC followers and 1515 on Twitter. My page views and visits are up about 150 percent year to date. Some bloggers say they never look at their stats and even scoff at those who do. I enjoy tracking my stats, seeing what cities visitors are from etc. The top cities of residence for RL visitors in December were London, Delhi, Mumbai, New York City, Brisbane, Bangalore, Manila, Dhaka, and Los Angeles. The top countries are the USA, India, the Philippines, UK and Australia.
In January, I hope to post on at least two works by Charles Dickens in honor of Dickens 200th birthday coming on Feb. 7th. I also will post on a novel by Kenzaburo Oe, The Changeling. I also hope to read a lot more short stories in January. I am starting to read through the complete collections of Guy de Maupassant and the collected stories of Isaac Babel, for example. I will finish up the stories of Flannery O’Connor. I am also hoping to read the acknowledged masterwork of R. K. Narayan, The Guide in January. I am also excited to have a copy of the classic novel by Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable set to read very soon. Additionally I have a few review books to post on soon that look really good.