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

Monday, February 28, 2011

February 2011 Reading Life Review-Sunday Salon

Please Join Us 3/14 to 3/20
February 2011 Reading Life Review

Before I review February, I want to invite everyone to consider joining in for Irish Short Stories Week.    It will be from March 14 to March 20, March 17th is St. Patrick's Day.    The idea is simple, just post on a short story by an author from Ireland that week and leave me a comment so I can create a list of everything.    I will be posting on at least one Irish short story a day that week.     Leave me a comment if you might be interested in participating please.

February was a decent reading month for me.   I did not read as many books as I have in the past but I did read  some  good short stories and three ancient Greek tragedies as well as one of the most famous sequences of love poems in English, Sonnets of the Portuguese.       The biggest Reading Life discovery for me in February  was Elizabeth Bowen.   

Books Read

  1. Elizabeth Bowen by Victoria Glendinning-a wonderful biography
  2. Oliver Twist  by Charles Dickens-not his best work but some great characters
  3. Theresa Raquin by Emile Zola-my 3rd Zola novel-for sure I will read more
  4. The Fifth Queen by Ford Madox Ford-great prose-read his big two books first
  5. The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen-very good novel about London in WWII
  6. The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen-read number 5 first
  7. Three plays by Euripides -The Bacchae, Electra and The Theban Women
  8. Sonnets From the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning-no post 
Short Stories I did not post on

  1. "Tea" by Saki-his stories are all similar so I did not post on these
  2. "Quail Eggs" by Saki
  3. "The Guest" by Saki-I am getting to like Saki more and more
  4. Ma'ame Pelagie"  by Kate Chopin-I am 50/50 on her-
  5. "The Oval Portrait" by Edgar Alan Poe-a fun story-liked it a lot
  6. "The Mass of Shadows" by Anatole France-twist ending story-will try him again soon
  7. "Chance" by Alice Munro-great story-will be reading more for sure
  8. "The Robe of Peace" by O Henry-wait for the twist ending as always
  9. "The Kiss" by Kate Chopin-worth reading for the prose style-good at creating atmosphere
  10. "A Day in the Country" by Anton Chekhov-the true master of the short story
  11. "The Last Lesson" by Alphonse Daudet -set in the Franco-Prussian War
  12. "Price's Always Open"  by  John O'Hara-a New Yorker story from the 1930s
  13. "A Byzantine Omelet" by Saki-my 12 read Saki story this year
Collected Short Stories of Elizabeth Bowen

So far I have read 68 of her stories.    I am posting on them in groups based on when they were written.    Unfortunately few of these stories are online ("The Demon Lover" can sometimes be found online).    I have 18 more stories to go.   I will post soon on 14 of her stories from the WWII era (her best work) and will post on her last four stories during Irish Short Stories week.  In fact there might be a party at Bowen Court, her 40 room manor house, for participants and authors from the event!     I have not been able in my posts to convey either how much or for sure why I like her work so much.    Maybe she is  not  as great a writer as her friend Virginia Woolf or the  artist her acquaintance Katherine Mansfield was but taken as a whole, her short stories are one of the great literary treasures of the 20th century.      

Posted on Short Stories
I posted on 18 short stories in February (not counting the Elizabeth Bowen stories).    All of the stories I posted on I enjoyed.   Here are the top eight in random order

  1. "How Much Land Does a Man Need" by Leo Tolstoy-
  2. "Rentafoil" by Emile Zola-a good way to get started with Zola
  3. "Bella Fleace Gives a Party" by Evelyn Waugh-great prose stylist-wonderful wicked satire
  4. "The Servant Girl" by Estella Alfon-might be best  story by an author from the  Philippines
  5. "The Old Order" by Katherine Porter-really interesting short story set post civil war USA
  6. "In The Flower of Age" by Colette-I will be reading more of Colette soon
  7. "A Society" by Virginia Woolf-beautifully written satire-
  8. "Young Archimedes" by Aldous Huxley-more to Huxley than Brave New World
Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions on Irish Short Stories week-I hope you will consider joining us.    

Mel u


Rebecca Reid said...

I think reading Irish for St. Patricks' day is a great idea! I'll have to find something on my TBR to read along with the group.

Mel u said...

Rebecca Reid-that would be great-there is also lots of classic Irish short stories online-all of Joyce's short stories and Wilde's for example or Bram Stoker

Mystica said...

You have got me interested in Elizabeth Bowen.

Mel u said...

Mystica-that is great-sadly only one of her works-20 novels, at least 88 short stories and one work of nonfiction-a short story "The Demon Lover" can be found online-it is a fun story but far from her best work-

Anonymous said...

8 long novels and countless short stories and on top of that blogging too! Well done. Your diligence left me at awe. Happy St Patrick's Day!