Sunday, April 01, 2007

Reading Log, March 2007

I got a lot of reading in during March, but this heavy reading load may be coming to an end. We shall see. The weather is warming up and I want to be outside. But I may just end up taking the books out there with me.

Digging to America by Anne Tyler--This book was short-listed for the Orange Prize, and I've actually read it (the only one on the list that I have, by the way.) I haven't taken the time to blog about it particularly, but there was one character I really identified with. She had emigrated to America and lived there for 25 years or more, and yet she still felt like an "outsider"--not really part of the culture. Having lived nearly 10 years in Poland, I could empathize with her.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro--I want to read more books by this author, but I am holding myself back. No need to buy more books when the to-be-read shelves are sagging under the weight of books already in line, and gathering dust at the same time.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell--My Victorian lit fix for the month. I want to read more of this author as well, but I recently learned she left one book unfinished, so it stops abruptly mid-story. I've got to remember which book that was, so I can avoid it. (It might have been Wives and Daughters, but I'm not sure.)

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons--This was a light, fun read which lent some balance to the heavier books. I checked this book out of the library here in Krakow. They have a lot of older books like this, but not so many newer books, and they are useless as a source for anything recently printed.

Lost in Translation by Eva Hoffman--I haven't quite finished this autobiography yet, but I will probably write more about it when I do. This is another author on my must-read-more-of-her-books list.

Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun--According to The Plan, I should be up to page 180. Alas, my bookmark is at page 105. This just isn't a quick book to read, and I find that I can't read it in the evening. My brain doesn't work very efficiently past 8:00pm. I don't have that much daytime time to read, so progress has been slow. I may try to devote more time to this in April, in hopes of catching up.

W Pustyni i w puszczy by Henryk Sienkiewicz--I did make some progress on my Polish book this month, although not as much as I'd hoped. Next time I choose a Polish book to read, I am going to get something modern, so the language will be the language I hear and know.

The Two Towers and The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien--After my gluttony in reading so many new books, I switched to rereading, and these are rereads. I was trying to superimpose Tolkien over Peter Jackson in my head, and I have not been as successful as I had hoped to be.

Year In, Year Out by A.A. Milne--This light reading is divided according to the months of the year, so now I can started the April section. I'm definitely getting to see a different side of the author of Winnie the Pooh.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler--Another reread. It seems a bit odd to read about people reading about Jane Austen, but I had Jane Austen on my mind, so it fit my mood.

Lady Susan by Jane Austen--I read this short work with a group, and discussion is just getting underway. It was so short, I actually read it through twice.

Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers--I never feel entirely comfortable with saying I've "read" books that I actually "listened to," but this is the book I crocheted to during March, thank to Librivox. I'm almost finished with a small interlude project (not the big one), and I need to choose another audio book to start.

And last, but most emphatically not least,

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy--I wish I could say I finished this book in March, but I didn't. I read through more than a hundred pages, though, and have only 300 (out of over 1400) to go. I'm not usually a page counter, but this book has been daunting. I realized that part of the reason I've been neglecting it is that I did not want to reading about Napolean taking and burning Moscow. Once I realized that was going to happen (my recall of the history on that point was fuzzy or nonexistent), I was reluctant to move forward. I'm in the middle of that section now, and hoping to march through to the end of the book at least before I reach the one year since I began mark!

I'm also reading aloud Madame How and Lady Why by Charles Kingsley (to K.), and I read bits of several other books not listed here. I'm going to try to focus more of April on my non-fiction reading and limit myself to just a few novels. I love to read fiction, but I'm not getting to the other things I want to read and they are piling up.

The tallies for March look like this:

Total books read (in whole or part): 15

Completed: 9

Not yet finished: 6

Fiction: 11

Nonfiction: 4

Rereads: 3

Polish: 1


At 4:32 AM , Blogger Melanie said...

Please don't avoid Wives and Daughters!! It is her best book; and it is unfinished, but not mid-story. It's NEARLY finished, the ending is pretty clear. And the rest of the enormously long story is very, very good. Well, I loved it anyhow!

At 8:42 PM , Blogger MaureenE said...

I ditto Melanie. It's not like The Mystery of Edwin Drood where you don't know a major plot resolution. I read somewhere that if she had lived a week longer she probably could have finished it. And the movie has an ending, although goodness knows if she would have liked it. And Molly Gibson is such a dear!


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