Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, August 2, 2009

July 2009 Reading Review

July 2009 was an excellent reading month for me. I completed 11 books. I discovered two new to be writers that I love, A J Byatt and Markus Zusak. I will, I hope, read all of their books.

These are the books I read in July 2009 with some comments. I will review a few of them in terms of their treatment of The Reading Life.

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak--I have already made a few observations on this book. It it a great book.
it is sad to see a lot of book stores have it in the Young Adult section only.

2. The Book Seller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad-This is an interesting book about contemporary Afgan family life.
It is worth reading if this topic interests you. I did switch into speed reading mode half way through.

3. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I have already reviewed this book. I am glad I read it and will read her
next book but I would not reread this work. It is a first novel and I like to read first novels.

4. I Am Messenger by Markus Zusak. I have already reviewed this really fun book. So far he has published
four novels. I have read two of them and will a third in August. He is young and a lot of people, myself
included, hope to read twenty more books by Markus Zusak.

5. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I should have read this a long time ago. Among many things this world
treasure tells the story of a great reading life cut tragically short.

6. The Long Recessional: The Imperial Life of Rudyard Kipling by David Gilmore. You can learn a lot about
Kipling's life and about the politics of the period from this book. You will not, however, get much of an idea
how he developed into a writer worth reading. Kipling is not on the reading list in many schools or universities.
I would not recommend this book to someone seeking an excellent literary biography because this book'
is not one.

7. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry-1990 Newberry winner by author of The Giver. A delightful book for those
eight on up. I have posted more on it earlier.

8. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. I really like the Folger Library paperbacks of
the plays. This was my first read of this work.

9. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. A beautifully written book with a great deal to tell us about
the reading life. I will try to talk about this latter. Some of the sentences are so wonderful I read
them three or four times.

10. Three Tales by Gustav Flaubert. If you are looking for a second Flaubert then read these three stories,
each about 30 pages long. Each is a unique masterpiece. These stories show the artistic
mastery of Flaubert. I would also recommend highly Flaubert: A Biography by Frederick Brown. To me
his book is a model of a literary biography that shows how Flaubert became a great writer and reader.
Flaubert was well traveled, had friends in high and low places, and did some things that may surprise you.

11. The Biographer's Tale by A S Byatt. This was my first of her novels and I was very happy to see she  has written lots of other books. It seems she is a core early 21th century Reading Life novelist.

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Kerrie said...

Well done on such a good reading month Mel. You might like to take the poll I have running this week about how many books you think you will read in the year. I love your bookshelf image at the top.

Table Talk said...

I actually found that 'The Historian' paid for a re-read. The first time I read it, while I enjoyed it, I thought that the amount of material she tried to include got on the way at times. I then had to read it a second time for one of my book groups and found that I was picking up on a lot more. Like you, though, I am looking forward to whatever she writes next.

Mel u said...

You are right-she tries to include a lot of material in the book. I guess my comment about not rereading may seem harsh as I reread only a small percent of the books I read. For sure she is a very talented writer.

Anonymous said...

He is young and a lot of people, myself
included, hope to read twenty more books by Markus Zusak.

I couldn't sum it up any better. The Book Thief is one of my favorite books, and I loved I am the Messenger. I have Getting The Girl on my bookshelf too. Happy Reading!

Jill =)

Melissa O. said...

You had a great reading month! I might need to check out The Book Thief myself... Hope you have a great August, too!

gautami tripathy said...

You read wonderful books in July!

TSS: Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis

Anonymous said...

the header on your blog got me - excellent! and what a treat to find your reviews...and of several books new to me. Stopped here thanks to Dolce's challenge - glad I did!

Memory said...

Sounds like a good reading month! I also really enjoyed both I AM THE MESSENGER and THE BOOK THIEF. Zusak is a great writer.

Suko said...

You have read some wonderful books in July, Mel. I've added your blog to my blogroll.

Jess said...

I Am the Messenger is one of my favorite books -- I am glad you enjoyed it. You should try The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Another great YA novel.

Ana S. said...

I love Byatt! Just finished her new one, The Children's Book, and it was stunning.

PS: You have such a cool header.

engelsigh said...

I'd like to read "The Book Seller of Kabul"