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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A December Reading and Blogging Look Back and a Look Ahead at January.

 My December reading was very much dominated by short stories.    I  read  the massively to me disappointing  1Q84 by Harukui Murakami.     I had  highly anticipated the book and maybe that added to the real sadness I felt over posting on it.   I still will eagerly read another Marakami work and would like to see him win the Nobel Prize one day.    I also read Joseph Conrad’s short novel, The Secret Agent.  This was a very good book and it relates to today’s headlines.   I did a virtual tour stop with an interview on Juno Charm by Nuala Ní Chonchúir.    This is a very good book I commend to all lovers of poetry.   Additionally, I read a first rate debut novel, The Value of the Rain by Brandon Shire, about the GLBT experience in America in the 1970s.  

I have begun reading through the complete short stories of Flannery O’Connor (31).   Her stories are beautiful and as deep as they come.   I also read for the first time,  the very controversial Russian writer, Maxim Gorky.   Condemn him personally all you like, and he deserves much of it, his early stories about the poorest people in late Czarist Russia can stand next to the best of the world’s short stories.   (Yes I know he was an apologist for Stalin in his latter years.)   I also was happy to have access to twenty or so new to me short stories by R. K. Narayan.   I just love his stories so much. 

I also have been reading  through some of the short stories of the American master of minimalism Raymond Carver.   I can see his technical brilliance but the content of many of his stories do not appeal to me.   Bottom line, to much drinking in his stories for me!   Maybe it was the back to back reading of his stories that was the mistake, maybe one a week or so I could deal with the subject matter and savor his real brilliance.    This is a personal issue with me on Carver, not a literary judgment.   I also read a short story I hope a lot of people will read, “I Stand Ironing” by Tillie Olsen.   

I also have begun to make use of Windows Live Writer as a blog editor.   I owe this suggestion to Parrish Lantern.

 As always I thank so much my very brilliant Cousin S for her editorial advice.

 I acknowledge I have a hard time proofreading my own works.   Errors that would jump out in the work of others go past me in my own writing.   I have some odd errors I make over and over such as I will put “think” in the place of “thing” and vice versa.   I try as I can to catch everything but for what remains, oh well. 
 I will do a year end report also.   My monthly reports are mostly for me to have something to look back on.

 Any suggestions for changes or improvements will be appreciated and respected.  

I ended the month with 625 GFC followers and 1515 on Twitter.   My page views and visits are up about 150 percent year to date.   Some bloggers say they never look at their stats and even scoff at those who do.   I enjoy tracking my stats, seeing what cities visitors are from etc.     The top cities of residence for RL visitors in December were London, Delhi, Mumbai, New York City,  Brisbane, Bangalore, Manila, Dhaka, and Los Angeles.   The top countries are the USA, India, the Philippines, UK and Australia.  

 In January, I hope to post on at least two works by Charles Dickens in honor of Dickens 200th birthday coming on Feb. 7th.   I also will post on a novel by Kenzaburo Oe, The Changeling.   I also hope to read a lot more short stories in January.   I am  starting to read through the complete collections of Guy de Maupassant and the collected stories of Isaac Babel, for example.   I will finish up the stories of Flannery O’Connor.   I am also hoping to read the acknowledged masterwork of R. K. Narayan, The Guide in January.    I am also excited to have a copy of the classic novel by Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable set to read very soon.   Additionally I have a few review books to post on soon that look really good.   

Mel u


@parridhlantern said...

A very comprehensive post from someone with a varied reading life, hope windows live writer is working well for you, although you have to play around with it for a while to find what suits you (especially the add ons). Will be interested in the Oe post, but I think I've mentioned before I'm not a great fan of Dickens (too much exposure to him whilst growing up). I hope you have continued success for the New Year, best wishes.

Elena said...

I would love to hear your opinions on Flannery O'Connor. I had been wishing to read her for a long time now, but I am not a huge short story fan. I heard she has a very Southern theme body of work and that every text was influenced by her lupus.

Can't wait for your views on Dickens. He is one of the classics I find hard to like: I like the plot in Great Expectations, but I don't like the way he narrates it. Maybe you can enlighten me!

Song said...

I tend to make a great many mistakes when I'm typing too. Mostly, I tend to leave out words or add one too many. I really should make a habit of proofreading. Thing is, I get bored reading what I've written as soon as I've written it. :-/

How well does this Windows Live Writer work? I tend to use Microsoft Word when I'm not being lazy. But I only have spell check on for that.

As for books, have fun with Dickens, Mel! I'm not sure if I'll be reading any Dickens next year... will have to see...

Mel u said...

Parrish Lantern-I am learning windows live writers-I like all the font options a lot-so far I have some questions still like I find it hard to place pictures where I want them but I am thinking this is a learning issue

Elena-I have a few posts on Flannery o'Connor on line-hopefully I will post on a few more of her stories soon. I hope I can read Great Expectations in Jan.

Risa-you should try to read at least a Dickens short story in honor of Dickens 200th Birthday Feb 7 -windows live writer is a free download-it is a blog editing program-I am checking it out-it gives you a lot more fonts that the native blogger editor-I am still learning it

Unknown said...

I used to follow my stats daily. Now I forget about them for months at a time. But I'm very pleased to say that when I remembered to check them earlier this month, they were all very good. :-)

I think those who claim they neither follow them or care about them are not being entirely honest, myself.

Mel u said...

C. B. James-very interesting point about those who claim they do not follow their stats-thanks so much for your comment and visits

Nancy said...

I like classics very much. Your blog continues to inspire me to do better in my attempt at good quality book blogging. I'm now reading short stories by William Sydney Porter, also known as O. Henry, as well as rereading memorable Philippine stories, such as the Wedding Dance by Amador Daguio, for review on my blog. Keep those posts coming; I've happy to rediscover authors and discover new ones.

Nancy @ Simple Clockwork

Buried In Print said...

I love the Olsen story too! And I've had that experience myself, which you've described with Murakami's novel, having so anticipated something that I can't help but be at least a little disappointed with the reality of it. But anticipation is hard to shake for us bookish folks!

Mel u said...

Buried In Print-the Olsen story is really an amazing one-I am surprised it is not more blogged about

Anonymous said...

I've been using Windows Live Writer and I like it a lot. I'm yet to read an Olsen short. But I'm adding Raymond Carver to my list to read this year.