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

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November 2009 Monthly Reading Life Review

November 2009 was a very good Reading Life month for me.   I blogged on all of the works I read in November with one very notable exception.   I will list below first the book I did not blog on and some comments on it, then the books I have already posted on with a short additional comment in most case, then a few random observations and such.

Book I Read but did not Post On
1.   Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon.   Gravity's Rainbow is firmly in my list of twenty greatest novels of all times.   I first read it about a month after it was published.    I still in fact have the hardback I read many years ago.  I have reread the work numerous times.  I see it as a wonderful near inexhaustible work.   I know this is now a minority opinion and that is ok.   When I heard Inherent Vice was coming out I was excited but worried as it sounded too much like Vineland.  I had to force myself to finish Vineland.  Perhaps I am missing something, but if a new to me author had written Inherent Vice I am not sure I would have completed it.   I will give it a second change in 2010 and I am sure there are dissertations already being started on the book.   I cannot endorse this book to any one who is not really into Pynchon, as  I still am.  First time Pynchon Readers should start with The Crying of Lot 49.   I kind of hope Pynchon will get the Nobel prize one day (odds makers put this at about 500 to one last year) just to see who he would send to pick up the award for him.

Books I Posted About in November
2.  The Thirteenth Tale-by Diane Satterfield-a fun very bookish work.
3.   The Handmaiden's Tale by Margaret Atwood-liked it a lot
3.   The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood-very imaginative myth retelling
4.   Leaving Home by Anita Brookner-typical very well written Brookner
5.   People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks-good Reading Life book
6.   The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte-fantasy for bookish  boys?
7.   My Life by Anton Chekhov (novella)-wonderful work
8.   Shamela by Henry Fielding-Novella-still very funny after 200 plus years

Japanese works I posted about in November
8.  Hardboiled by Banana Yoshimoto-a novella
9.  Hard Luck by Banana Yoshimoto-a novella
10. Shame in the Blood by Tetsuo Miura-collection of short stories marketed as a novel
11. Mandrians by Ryunosuke Akutagawa-a collection of short stories
12.  Woman of the Dunes  by Kobo Abe-my first Abe-there will be more
13.  The Makioka Sisters by Juniciro Tanizaki-considered his master work
14.  Kusamakura by Natsume Soseki-a beautiful meditative novel
15.  Crazy Iris and Other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath edited by Kenzaburo Oe-read four of the nine short stories in the collection of 9 this month
16.  Hiroshima Notes by Kenzaburo Oe-nonfiction-collections of essays
17.  Teach Us to Out Grow Our Madness by Kenzaburo Oe -novella

Reading Challenges

Women Unbound Challenge-completed the fiction segment
Japanese Challenge-will continue to read for this
Chinese  Challenge-3 of 5 read
November Novella Challenge-completed-four novellas

I like reading challenges.  They are fun for me, can open up new reading areas and by joining in and participating we help support the book blog community.  I will be joining a number of challenges as 2010 begins.  My book blog started in July 2009 so  I could not properly do a lot of challenges.   I will do a number of challenges in 2010.

Some bloggers have asked if others have year end reading plans.   I hope to read my 3rd Atwood in December, my second Murakami, two Oe Novels, and Naomi by Tanizaki.   I will be posting shortly my second reading review of The Old Capitol.   

All in all November 2009 was a very good Reading Life month for me.  As always I thank and appreciate my readers and commentators. 

Mel u


Rosaria Williams said...

I love coming here, to get advice on good reading, to get insights on unusual books. I will keep returning.

I am familiar with Atwood, a favorite of mine.

Suko said...

Mel, you've had an exceptional month of reading-- kudos to you! I always enjoy reading your in-depth reviews. :)

JoAnn said...

November was an excellent month for you! Last weekend I purchased The Makioka Sisters. Although I probably won't get to it before the challenge ends in January, I do plan to read it this winter.

Anna said...

What a great month for you! I'm always getting new titles to add to my to-read list from your reviews.

Diary of an Eccentric