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, June 1, 2010

May 2010 Reading Life Review

May was one of the best reading months of my life.    I overcame a life time aversion to reading short stories.  I somehow decided a long time  ago that short stories did not provide enough substance for me to find them interesting.   They did not seem to create a whole world in which I could enter and I somehow felt they left me hanging.   I have seen a very similar sentiment expressed by numerous other bloggers in the last month or so.   I have now totally changed my mind on this and a whole new world of reading has opened up to me.   I will give  my thanks  to Suko for suggesting I enter a short story reading challenge, Spring into Short Stories hosted by LuAnn for being the   force that broke an aversion of long standing.    Once I get into something I tend to get very into it.   A year ago I had read no Japanese literature.    Now I have read and posted on 70 works by Japanese authors.   I have now posted on 37 short stories.   Through reading short stories (all of which I have read online) I have discovered several new to me authors like Kate Chopin, Flannery O'Conner, Alexander Pushkin, P. G. Wodehouse, Jhumpa Lahiri and my now much loved Katherine Mansfield.    I have embarked on a personal challenge to read all of her short stories.    Short stories are also a great way to "try out" an author.   You can read online a short story and then decide if you want to try a longer work by the author.   The short story poses its own unique challenges to a writer and reader.   There are thousands of stories we can read for free online.    Most are older stories in the public domain but some new ones can also be found.    This also means translations of stories will be older versions and there are very few Asian stories online as few were translated prior to 1970.

Short Stories read in May 2010

  1. "The Queen of Spades" by Alexander Pushkin
  2. "The Artist of the Beautiful" by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  3.  "The Gift of The Magi" by O Henry
  4. "The Shot" by Alexander Pushkin
  5. "The Open Window" by Saki
  6.  "The Spirit of Emulation" by Fernando Sarrentto
  7.  "Metropolis" by Crystal Koo
  8. "Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield
  9. "The Garden Party" By Katherine Mansfield
  10. "The Rocking Horse Winner" By D. H.Lawrence  1926
  11. "The Doll House" By Katherine Mansfield 1922
  12. "A Good Man is Hard to Find"  Flannery O'Conner 1955
  13. "The Mark on the Wall" by Virginia Woolf 1915
  14. "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson -1948
  15. "The Enormous Radio" by John Cheever 1953
  16. "German Meat" by Katherine Mansfield  1911
  17. "Hills Like Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway 1926
  18. "A Clean, Well Light Place" by Ernest Hemingway 1929
  19. The Baron by Katherine Mansfield 1911
  20. "The Sister of the Baron" by Katherine Mansflield  1911
  21. "Frau Fisher" by Katherine Mansfield  1911
  22. "Frau Brachenmacher attends a Wedding" by Katherine Mansfield  1911
  23. "A Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin  1894
  24. "The Withered Arm" by Thomas Hardy 1888
  25. "The Selfish Giant" by Oscar Wilde 1888
  26. "The Happy Prince" by Oscar Wilde 1888
  27. "The Modern Soul" by Katherine Mansfield 1911
  28. "At Lehman's" by Katherine Mansfield 1911
  29. "The Luft Bad" by Katherine Mansfield 1911
Japanese Novels read in May 2010

I have for some time wanted to read more Murakami and really liked the three works by him I read in May.   I now have added Murakami to my "read everything translated list" along with Oe, Tanizaki and Yoshimoto.    I expect I will soon be adding several more Japanese novelists to this list.

  1. Norwegian Wood by Huruki Murakami
  2. The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami
  3. Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
  4. The Cage by Kenzo Kitakata
  5. Five Modern No Plays by Yukio Mishima 
  6. Harp of Burma by Michio Takeyama
  7. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
  8. Somersault by Kenzaburo Oe
Western Novels

This month I completed Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford in the company of the others in the the first read along I have hosted.    I really enjoyed doing that and I learned a great deal from the posts of the other readers.    I also read my first Virginia Woolf novel, The Waves.    I will read more for sure.    I read Georges by Dumas for the Classics Circle, not a great book but an interesting one.   I read  two wonderful novellas, The Awakening by Kate Chopin  and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.     I also read Cardboard:   A Woman Left Dead by Fiona Place, a powerful novel about the effects of eating disorders.   

  1. A Man Could Stand Up by Ford Madox Ford
  2. Georges by Alexander Dumas
  3. The Awakening By Kate Chopin
  4. Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  5. Cardboard:   A Woman Left Dead by Fiona Place
  6. The Waves by Virginia Woolf
I would say, if I had to, that the best novel of the month was Parade's End.   The best for me discovery of the month was Katherine Mansfield.    The best cultural treasure I encountered  I wish I could convince others to read is Harp of Burma by Michio Takeyama.  

I thank everyone who has offered me suggestions to expand my reading in the short story and would love to get more ideas on that topic.   I take all suggestions seriously and have already read several of stories suggested   and credited the blogger who suggested them in my post.    

Mel u


Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

wow, great month! i'm curious, what's your favourite SS by katherine Mansfield? I've only read Miss Brill by her.

Astrid (Mrs.B) said...

Mel, that's so impressive that you've read all that. I should finally pick up my two Katherine Mansfield books. I found them at a secondhand bookshop last year and have yet to read them maybe because of my 'aversion' to short stories. I really should overcome that too.

Josette said...

You had a great reading month Mel! I wish I could stay as dedicated to my reading. :) Katherine Mansfield's stories are fascinating...I like Miss Brill best of all. For now.

JoAnn said...

What a great month, Mel! I've enjoyed following your short story discoveries.