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

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Reading Life Review -First Quarter 2015 - January, February, and March -Future Plans

As of today, The Reading Life has had 3,371,897 pages views.  There are 2556 posts on my blog.  @Thereadinglife has 3936 Twitter followers.  

The most viewed posts on my blog are on short stories by authors from the Philippines, followed by my posts on Katherine Mansfield and R. K. Narayan.  The top five visiting countries are the United States, the Philippines, India, Germany and Russia.  The most likely city of residence for a visitor is the metro Manila area.

I like free books, much as drug lovers would like free opium.I look at every book I am sent.  In no way does my accepting a free book constitute a promise to post on it.  I only accept E books so there is little expense in sending me a book.  I prefer E Reading.  I see anti-e readers as like priests protecting the temple of a fading religion.  

There may be value in my posts as the same publishers and authors have been sending me their works for years. 

I almost never post a negative review on a work.  If I don't like a novel or even a short story I will not finish it.  I feel no need to post negative reviews to show I am tough.  I am not a scholar, an academic or a pedagogical professional, but nor do I defer to those who are.  

I began two new reading projects in the first quarter.  Reading projects are kind of my way of organizing my reading and a method that hopefully allows readers to see what can and will be featured on my blog.  Once I start a project I consider it to reflect a core focus of my reading.  Once started, I consider a project permanent, even if I move away from that reading area for years.  Projects, I have found, illuminate each other in unexpected ways.

I have been reading a lot of literature by authors from the area of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire the last two years, Stefan Zweig and Joseph Roth perhaps foremost, so I decided to create a project for them.  

I recently was given The Complete Short Stories of Clarice Lespector, 85 stories.  I was so impressed by the first few of her stories I have read that I intend to read and post on all her stories.  To show how reading projects overlap, I have another project focusing on Yiddish Literature.  Lespector was born in a Shtetl in the Ukraine.  Driven out by vicious pograms her parents moved to Recife, Brazil when she was a child but I can already for sure see the impact of this heritage on her work.  I think once the collection is published in August this year she will be ranked as one of the greatest short story writers in the world.  

For the previous four years I have focused on Irish Short Stories in March.  This year I continued that tradition in a lower key way than in the last two years.  Never will I give up on the Irish.

I am reading through Honore de Balzac's The Comedie Humaine.  I have as of today completed 54 of the 91 works.  Balzac is a towering genius with an incredible influence.  I am also reading some secondary works on Balzac.  I recommend that all serious literary autodidacts read the full work.  Many book bloggers could, if fully focused,  finish it in three months.  

My plans for the next quarter include a lot of more of the same.  I now have over 100 high quality collections of short stories on my E Reader, easily 2500 stories.  I have eight collections of short stories from the Indian Subcontinent, with at least 100 new to me writers.  I intend to start a  project on Indian short stories very soon.  I am always looking for great writers I have not yet read.  I know out there in the reading life world there are untold authors that I have never even heard about much less read whose work I would love.

The International Book Blog Community is great, huge and ever expanding. I am proud to be a member.  Some of us read young adult novels about fairy queens, other trace out obscure refrences in Spencer's The Faire Queene.  Some book blogs are truly works of art,labors of deep love.  Some are like a class in comparative lit at the finest university.  Others are like sitting in a small Parisian cafe talking about Katherine Mansfield or Hart Crane with an old friend.  Some book bloggers tell you a lot about their lives, others  reveal near nothing about themselves.  

I offer my great thanks to Max u for Amazon Gift Cards.

My blog has opened up many new things for me.  It helps keep me going during dark times.  Through it I have done Q and A sessions with over 100 writers, some are hobby writers and others are taking their place on the world literary stage.  If anything on my blog is of lasting value it is my Q and A sessions.  

I thank humbly all who visit my blog, from serious readers to home work help seekers.  To all commentators, you help keep me going.  To guest posters, you enrich The Reading Life.

To my fellow book bloggers, don't close or stop your blog during a down period in your life. Just slow down if you need to but don't quit!   It will not happen for me but imagine how great it will be when there are thirty  or more year old blogs the owners of which can look back on their old readings of classics.  Through my blog contacts I have discovered many great writers.    

I hope a year from now I am very into totally new to me reading life areas.  For example, this time last year I had never read any Yiddish Literature now I love it.   

Big books I hope to reread soon include Proust, Don Quixote, and Ulysses. I want to read some late Henry James Novels.  I will continue reading history of various sorts.  I like to read literary biographies and am always happy to post on a new one. I am hoping  to read all of C. K. Scott Moncrieff's translations of Stendhal.

1 comment:

Amateur Reader (Tom) said...

Good advice there at end. A good blogging manifesto.