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, January 31, 2010

January 2010 Monthly Reading Life Review

This month I thought I would do something a little different for my month end post.
Reading done right has magic powers.    As I looked at the books I read in January I noticed that I have posted on more older works than I have in the past, one from the 11th century and one from the 18th.     I also read a number of novels set in the past and in diverse locations.  So everybody is invited on a grand around the world sea cruise.   Let us pick up our fellow travelers first.
The first port stop to pick up passenger is the courts of Angor, the great Mogul Emperor, with Salman Rushdie as our tour guide.    Staying a bit longer in India  and advancing a couple of hundred years we departed from the banks of the Ganges river to cross a Sea of Poppies with Captain Amitav Ghosh at the helm.    We have one more stop to make in India-some call center workers during One Night at the Call Center want to get out of the office very badly and I do not blame them.   Our next scheduled stop is Tokyo.
Stepping into the way back machine we go to 11th century Japan to hear some of the Tales of Ise and pick up a Samurai and his lady.  Skipping ahead a bit we make a stop in Tokyo to meet Naomi and Jiji.    Naomi's first question is "where are the ships stores".     From Tokyo we cruise along way to Johannesburg South Africa in the 1980s.   We pick up a very nice family there and the father wants to tell what he calls My Son's Story.   From there we cruise on to London.    A very large slightly odd gentleman in his 60s along with a very well dressed young man in his 30s come on board just having finished A Tour of the Hebrides.    We cannot help but notice that the younger man seems to write down everything his companion says.    We also take on Jeannette who for some reason wants to go at once to the kitchen so she can advise the head chef that Oranges are Not the Only Fruit.   Every body on board settles into shipboard life for the long trans-Atlantic portion of the trip.   James Boswell charms everyone but seems most interested in Naomi.    Dr Johnson at once engages in a conversation with our Samurai poet, he being the person Dr Johnson can learn the most from.     Our guests from South Africa confuse the captain by asking in what portions of the ship are they allowed to go.    The call center workers go wild when they find out all drinks and food are free.    So far none of our other Indian guests have left their cabins.
Our first New World stop is Birmingham Alabama in the 1930s where Harper Lee introduces us to a wonderful family.   The father in the family will end up friends with Dr Johnson but gives up on comparing professional notes from their work as Attorneys with Boswell.   His children cannot help but stare at some of the other guests.   Only one stop to go and that is Kingstown Jamaica in the 1840s.   We cross the Wide Sargasso Sea, taking on as a pilot through some very treacherous waters, Jean Rhys who introduces us to Mr Rochester and his wife Antoinette who he sometimes calls "Bertha".    Dr Johnson is completely taken with Antoinette and has to lecture Boswell about his colonial attitude toward her and the Indians.   Dr Johnson knows his friend Edmund Burke was right when he said that the cultural roots of Indian are much older than England.    Everybody is a bit confused as to why half way through the cruise Mr Rochester announces his wife will be confined to the cabin from now on.
Everyone is on board now.   It is up to the power of our imagination if we want to join this cruise are not.   Some of our guests are unpredictable.   The Emperor Angkor insisted on at least 50 cabins for his harem favorites, guards, foot tasters etc.    The  Indians other than the call center workers keep mostly to themselves.    The call center workers all consume mass quantities.    Boswell was a bit annoyed when Jeanette had no interest in him.    Many very diverse foods were served from collard greens and ham hocks for our guests from Birmingham to boiled sea weed with cod roe for Jiji.    The Emperor invites Johnson to his court to be his adviser.   Johnson says he will be honored to come as a guest but only if the Emperor will be his friend and not his patron.   Boswell has to be advised that it is a very bad idea to try to sneak into the cabin of one of the Harem girls of the Emperor.
Here is what I read in January 2010
The Tales of Ise by Arihara no Narihira

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Yellow Light Bookstore by Lewis Buzbee

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

5 One Night at the Call Center by Chetan Bhagat

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Sea of Poppies by Amitar Ghosh

The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

My Son's Story by Nadine Gordimer

10  Naomi by Junichiro Tanizaki

11  The Journal of a Tour to The Hebrides by James Boswell

January 2010 was a great month.     I read first  works  by four writers  new to authors  me I will for sure return to.   I revisited two old friends.   I added Jean Rhys to "my read everything they have written list." 

Reading Challenges
So far this year I have completed 9 reading challenges
I am still reading for 28 challenges-I expect to complete between six to ten  more challenges in February, with any luck.   Some new challenges will be started as the year goes on  and I will join some of them I am sure.   On July 30, 2010 I will be joining the Japanese Literature  4 challenge.    I fully intend to complete all these challenges but will not be stressed if I do not.   It is the journey that matters to me. I will give a more detailed challenge update next month.

 Notes to Manila readers-if any body in the GMA wants to work out a book swap please contact me-also we went to Cafe Juanita in the Fort Yesterday with some friends and it is the best restaurant we have yet been to in the GMA

As always I give my sincerest thanks to those who read my posts.   


Suko said...

I enjoyed my world cruise and look forward to next month's trips as well!

Michelle (su[shu]) said...

Sounds like a very interesting cruise trip, and one that you enjoyed very much. Hope the coming month will bring you to even more places, and meet some other interesting characters.

Mel u said...

Suko-thanks-I will try to do something different every month-

Michelle-thanks as always-I did enjoy my imaginary cruise-my first stop in February will be in Shangai and Los Angeles

Amanda Roper said...

You had a great reading month! I need to write my January review tonight. Also, I need to revisit Jeanette Winterson. I haven't read her since college.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to read any of Jean Rhys' work, but I did choose The Wide Sargasso Sea for the What's In A Name 3 Challenge. I'm glad to hear how much you love her work, as I strongly value your opinion.