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