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

Friday, December 25, 2009

My Favorite Reads-Part 3-

Favorite Reads (other than Japanese)  Second Half 2009

In My Favorite Reads Part 1 I talked about the books I read in the first half of 2009, before I began my blog in July 2009

In My Favorite Reads Part 2-I spoke of my favorite Japanese reads among the 40 or so works on which I have posted on in 2009

Now in the last part of The Reading Life Best Reads of 2009 part 3 I want to talk about my favorite non-Japanese reads from July 7 to now.   I am still reading and hope to post on two more books by year end but both are Japanese works.

Most of the books I read since my blog began I have posted on.   I should note that when I fail to write a post on a book I have read, it is not a negative comment on  the book. 

There were three works I read in this period that I somehow could not bring myself to do a brief blog post about.   I will try to say why now.

  1. A Sentimental Education by Gustav Flaubert-This well might be a better novel than MB.   The editor of the book in the Oxford Classics edition  flirts with the idea that it is better than War and Peace but never fully embraces the idea.   Maybe you think Flaubert is an ice cold Olympian.   Those who know or have read only MB  will be shocked how full of the love of the pleasure of life A Sentimental Education is.   I am going to reread it pretty soon and feel then I can do a post on why I like it so much.    If you are in a personal quest to experience the greatest works of literature ever written, my advice is to read this book as young as you can so you have a standard to hold other works up to.
  2. Keepsake by Kristy Gunn-The only post on this work that would do it justice would be to scan it all in and post the whole thing.   Gorgeous prose
  3. Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli-young adult-deeply moving story about the Warsaw Ghetto-I love the last five pages so much I have reread them numerous times.   If  I had done a blog post right after reading this all I would have probably said would come down to "Do yourself a favor, read this book this week so the rest of your life you can have it in your head".

Best Blogged on Books

  1.  The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (books in no special order)
  2. Barefoot in the Park:  A Filipino WWII Childhood by Barbara Ann Gamboa Lewis.   This book deserves a high  place in the YA literature of WWII-
  3. The PowerBook By Jeannette Winterson
  4. Balzac and  the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Siuji
  5. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barberry
  6. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
  7. A Start in Life  by Anita Brookner
  8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Anne Borrows
  9. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton-unlike pretty much everybody else I do not see the deepest meaning of this work in its social commentary
  10. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  11. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford-can hardly be over praised
  12. I am the Messenger by Marcus Suzak-I know this is a quirky pick but read it if you liked The Book Thief .
Of my  top 12, 9 are by women.   This just happened by accident.

Only Real Advice I Offer From These Lists

If you are serious about experiencing the best literature the world has to offer, then read A Sentimental Education and The Good Soldier.   (This will not be a task, they are both hugely fun reads.) 

My best by far non-fiction read of 2009 is Flaubert:  A Biography by Frederick Brown-just what he says about Ivan Turgenev, a good friend of Flaubert, is fascinating.  

What are your favorite reads for 2009?   

Mel u


Suko said...

Mel, your lists are a great resource to me. I know I must read A Sentimental Education, The Good Soldier, Milkweed, and several others. I would have a very difficult time choosing my 2009 best reads; often I'm most smitten by the book I'm currently reading (which is Shanghai Girls, which I'll review in early January).

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you and your family!

Astrid (Mrs.B) said...

oh wow Mel, 3 of your best blogged books are appearing on my Best of 2009 list. I'll post that in a few days. I've never heard of Milkweed. It sounds like a must-read!

Mel u said...

Suko-I know the feeling of loving the book you are currently reading-I will look forward to your review of Shanghai Girls)

Mrs B-I will look forward to your list and seeing our common reads-

Michelle (su[shu]) said...

I've got The Thirteenth Tale sitting on my shelf, just waiting for me to finish up my library pile so that I can get to those books I own.

Of your list, I've only read The Powerbook and The Book Thief, both of which I loved also, particularly The Book Thief. I definitely want to try I Am The Messenger.

Would love to try A Sentimental Education and Keepsake as well. =)

Happy reading.

ds said...

Very interesting list(s), Mel! I do need to read A Sentimental Education. Am hoping to get to The Elegance of the Hedgehog as so many have recommended it; the Thirteenth Tale as well. I wish you many many more wonderful reads in the new year!