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

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

August Reading Wrap Up

August was a busy month for me.   I time traveled and I place shifted.

I went to the London Theater in the 1780s with  Evelina.    I got A Sentimental Education in  Paris during the 1848 French Revolution.    I wondered  What Massie Knew as her divorcing parents shattered her world.   

I tried to get A Start in Life reading Balzac with Doctor Weizel.     At least  she has beautiful red hair.   I opened The Book Shop I have always wanted to.   I lived Off Shore on a house boat on the Thames.   I spent some time in a Maoist Reeducation camp along with Balzac and a Little Chinese Seamstress.  

I hated  to do it but I said Goodbye Tsugumi  but I know I will see her again one day.    I wondered what The Blue Flower  has to do with life as a student in  Germany in the 1780s.

.   I even heard Fichte lecture.   I eave dropped on The Duke and Duchess of Beaufort.  I learned some Aussie slang while wondering which of two brothers

was best at Getting the Girl.   I spent some time After Dark in Tokyo at a Denny's.   I fell in love with Dewey:  The Small Town Library Cat that Touched the World.    Five teenagers showed me their view of The Real World.    I played An Angel's game in old Toledo while I browsed in a very strange library.    I was trapped in a Crimson Labyrinth

August 2009 was a great reading month for me.    I will list all the Books I read, in order of  publication along with a comment or two on each one.

1.  Evelina by Francis Burney  1778.   A very well done epistolary novel    It is her most popular novel.
Samuel Johnson admired her a lot..    In truth I would have enjoyed longer letters from some of the other 
parties in the novel.

2.  A Sentimental Education by Gustav Flaubert.  1869   
Ford Madox Ford is reported to have said that a person cannot consider themselves well  educated until they have read this book fourteen times.

In his introductory remarks the translator Douglas Parmee flirts with
the notion that it is better than War and Peace.    Almost every list I have ever seen of the

of the world's best novels includes one Flaubert Novel in the top twenty list.  My list would now
include two of his novels.   I loved this book for its richness, its love of the city life, the great food in the story.
Unlike his more read novel, I liked some of the people in this book.    Read this book because you want to,
not because you are assigned it in a class or saw it on a list.    This book has a great deal to tell us
about The Reading Life.   Once I have read it a few more times I may try to talk about that aspect of the book.     Three Tales  is also a great read and lets us appreciate more Flaubert's talents.
I would love to receive comments from those who have read Salammbo or The Temptation of 
Saint Anthony.


3.   What Massie Knew by Henry James-1897.    Henry James enters into the mind of of a young girl whose
parents are divorcing.    I am reading or rereading all of the novels of Henry James as a personal  challenge. I am in the process of rereading all of the novels of Henry James.   Like all of his work this is brilliant in

4.  The Book Shop by Penelope Fitzgerald -1978.    This was my first of her nine novels.   I liked it so much
  I ended up reading three of her works back to back   

5.   Off Shore by Penelope Fitzgerald 1979-A Booker Prize Winner.   A line in this book has been haunting 
me for two weeks now:  "She fell in love as only a violinist can"     

6.   A Start in Life by Anita Brookner-1985-I posted on this in August.  Yesterday I bought another one of
her twenty three novels.   She wrote her first one when she was fifty and has written one a year since then.

7.   Balzac and  the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Siuij-1989-I reviewed this in August.   
 I really like this wonderful book.    I will read all of his other books. 

8.   Goodbye Tsugumi 1989 by Banana Yoshimoto-I posted on this in August.

9.   The Blue Flower  by Penelope Fitzgerald  1995-   The very model of a historical novel.   Once I have 
read all nine  of her novels I will post something on what she tells us about the reading life    

10.  Beaufort:  The Duke and Duchess-1657 to 1715.  2001 nonfiction by Molly McCain-a decent 
study of life among the nobility.   She makes some dubious psychological projections on the subjects.

11.   .   Getting the Girl by Markus Zusak.  2004 My policy on Markus Zusak is very simple.
 Whatever he writes I will read as soon as I can get a copy.

12.  The Crimson Labyrinth by Yusuke  Kishi-2006-I posted on this in August

13.  After Dark by Haruki Murakami 2007-I have already posted on this.

14.   Real World by Natsuo Kirino 2008.  I posted on this wonderful book in August.

15.   Dewey:  The Small Town Library Cat that Touched the World by Vicky Myron-2008-I reviewed
 this book in August.   I look forward to the movie.


16.   The Angel's Game-Carlos Zafron.   After I read The Shadow of the Wind\  I will try to do 
  a reading life review of these two books.   


Mel u.   





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Suko said...

Mel, you did have a great reading month. I enjoyed the creative format of this post. Thanks for all the book recommendations!

ds said...

Love the way you described your August! I'm a big fan of Penelope Fitzgerald, so I can't wait to read your thoughts on her. And someone else has read Maisie. Yay! Isn't she great--you wouldn't think James would get into a child's head in that way, but he was positively brilliant. Must redress the gaps in my "Sentimental Education" among other books mentioned. Great post--thank you.

Mel u said...

Suko-yes I did have a good month!-September is starting off well also-glad you liked my opening section of my review

DS-I became a follower of your blog -I will go back and study it-I was a bit nervous as I wrote my opening section-I cant really say how much I liked "A Sentimental Education". To me it has the artistic perfection of "Madame Bovary" and edifies us tremendously about France in the 1840s-it really makes you wish you could eat some of the meals described in the book-

Table Talk said...

What a wonderfully varied month. If I have one worry about my forthcoming Masters it is that it will steer my reading down a narrow channel and I will get grounded along the way.

Mark David said...

Wow what an excellent month Mel. Congratulations, it sounds like a great experience :)

verbivore said...

Wow - that's a busy month! I'm quite envious as my own month's reading was rather slow as I get closer and closer to my maternity leave.

I love A Sentimental Education, one of my absolute favorites. And you've convinced me to try Penelope Fitzgerald!

Mel u said...

Table Talk-looking forward to the Henry the V reading group. I bought the Folger Library paperback and have read the introductions and will start on the play shortly-

Mark David-thanks very much

Verbivore-thanks-I hope to read your opinion of
Fitzgerald Soon

Mark David said...

And I really like your idea here of combining book titles to form a prose. Perhaps I'll try to do this at the end of the year (hope I remember to), since I don't really get to read so much every month :)