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, February 28, 2010

February 2009-Reading Life Month End Review

February 2009 was a very good reading month for me.   I read a book I wish I had read
 forty years ago so I could have reread it many times by now, Jane Eyre.    I followed it up with a very nice book by Charlotte Bronte's youngest sister Anne, Agnes Grey.     I read the first novel written without a man to help her  by a larger than life author  of 19th century French literature,  Indiana by George Sand.   She found her way about half way through the work (or maybe I did) and it is  master work ahead of its time and maybe ours also.   I followed this with Pierre Et Jean by Guy De Maupassant, Henry James called it a "small masterpiece", Flaubert pronounced it a work of genius, and Turgenev was quite enthralled and shared it with Tolstoy who admired it also.   I am sure De Maupassant will rest easy knowing I liked it too.   Maybe I will go see the movie of Drood (based on the novel of that name by Dan Simmons) to see the friendship of the author of a true Victorian chunkster, The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens depicted.   The book is great and I think any fan of the Victorian novel genre will like it.   

This month I decided to begin one of the projects I announced in January in my post on my plans for 2010,  posting on some books by Filipino authors.   In pursuit of this I blogged on two collections of autobiographical works by Filipino women.   I also read a very good and exciting 21th century work, Shanghai Girls by Lisa See.   She has written two other historical novels set in China and I look forward to reading both of them this year.    I also read two short novels by Junichiro Tanizaki, a writer of great talent who belongs on any list of best novelists of all times.

Not every book can be great or be compatible with  your tastes.   I read two books that I do not admire.   The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Morris was a chore for me to finish and I do not recommend it.    Another work I also did not really like was Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.   I at first thought maybe somehow this was me but I was reassured when my negative remarks on the book was reaffirmed by commentators.   Everyone does say he has written much better books so in a few months I will try another of his works.    I do not like writing negative posts on a book.   Of the 80 or so reviews I have done, all but three are positive reviews.  If I read a book and I do not like it I will say why and I will try to look within myself to see if it could be me.   

 Reading Challenges Update

I really like reading challenges.   They are fun for me, by joining in I am supporting the international book blogging community, it leads me to new reading discoveries and has helped my readership to grow.   So far this year I have signed up for 34 reading challenges with four carrying over from 2009 for a total of 38 reading challenges.  So far I have completed 15 challenges.   In some of these challenges I am going on to try to complete a higher level of reading.    For example in The All About the Brontes Challenge, I have completed my original commitment  and have now decided to read all the Bronte Novels this year (there are not that many).    I have read at least one book for 21 challenges I have yet to complete.   There are still two challenges that I have not yet started.   I expect to finish between 7 and 10 challenges in March, with any luck.   I should then when April begins be left with about 10 challenges to go.   I would like to complete 50 reading challenges this year and I will be signing up for some more next week.

To all challenge hosts, I thank you for your efforts.   I am learning somethings about what makes a good challenge and maybe in 2011 I will try to start one.    I am not able to place on my blog buttons or links to all the challenges I am in as when I tried it my load time slowed to a crawl.   I also try to read the posts by others in the challenges I am in and comment when I can.  This helps me get more ideas for books to read.

Tentative Plans for March 2010

The first week of March I hope to post on one classic novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and on a novel that I could see one day being a classic, The Name of The Rose.   I will read one or two works by Junichiro Tanizaki, one or two by Haruki Murakami, some classics and some by whimsey.  At some point I will start to read Ford Madox Ford's tetralogy, Parade's End.  

As always I thank the readers of my blog and very much thank those who take the time to write comments.  


Suko said...

Very impressive month end review. I know of no other book blogger who reads as much for all the various reading challenges.

ds said...

I am stunned that February is finished already! And I am always impressed by the number of books that you read and review, and how closely you do both. I have Shanghai Girls on the top of my current pile--we will have to compare notes (I did read Lisa See's earlier books as background; they are well worth it). I think you will like The Name of the Rose, at least I hope you do!

Read--and blog--on, Mel!

Dwight said...

If you can wait a couple of weeks to start Parade's End I'll be happy to post in conjunction on it with you. Although I'll probably go much slower!