15 January 2009

Bookish musings

books at the bedside
Originally uploaded by allisongryski

As I mentioned last year, I started making an effort to stretch my reading choices a bit. It was moderately successful. I struggled through some books I really didn't particularly enjoy (Catcher in the Rye, Wuthering Heights), but I'm glad that I know these "classics" now since there are many allusions to them. I also read some interesting non-fiction, which is not a genre I generally choose (Under the Tuscan Sun, Hugh Fearlessly Eats-it-all). And I read some books I was sure I would enjoy based on liking the tv/film adaptations (Pride and Prejudice, I Capture the Castle).

Overall, I read fewer books than I planned in 2008; I was aiming for 50, but only read 38 (counting some children's picture books). Doggedly dragging myself through the books I didn't like so much took rather longer than the length of the books warranted. You can see my full list of 38 under my 2008 tag on LibraryThing.

My reading plans for 2009 include The Hobbit (amazingly, I've never read it), American Gods (it's been on my shelf for a couple years), Cryptonomicon, and some carry-overs from 2008, Dune and 1984. For the rest, I'll make it up as I go along.

What are you reading these days? Any suggestions?


Barbara Prime said... Best Blogger Tips

I really enjoyed American Gods - it's kind of dark but the story is really fascinating. Dune is excellent too - very dense writing, that is, all story and no wasted words. I found George Orwell to be horribly depressing though, and couldn't finish the one book of his I tried to read.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I admire your perseverance with some of those classics.
For me, 'American Gods' was hard to get into. It is currently sitting in my "not finished pile, maybe won't" stack.

I can't say that I adored 1984, either. But it is one of those classics that people (mis)quote, or allude to a lot. I suggest following George Orwell with 'Brave New World' (Aldous Huxley).

They're both dated but from a social activism point of view, quite good reading. Of course I had to read them in First Year English back when dinosaurs wandered the halls (we called them 'the profs').

I am reading "Ombria in Shadow" (Patricia McKillip) right now. On my finished pile so far for 2009 are 'The House of Many Ways' (DWJ), a Stephen White ('Kill Me'), 'The Grand Sophy' (G-Heyer) and 'The Spirit Gate' by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. You can tell I spent a fair amount of time in airports and on a plane this month!

Blaise said... Best Blogger Tips

wow. that's a loaded question if ever I heard one. Right now (as in today) I'm wrapping up the second installment of John Scalzi's Heinlenesque Old Man's War series. The first one was excellent, easily the best Sci-Fi I've read in a while.
Naomi Novik's Temeraire series up to the 4th book (i'm waiting to get the next one) Highly recommended
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson was good.
Camouflage Joe Hadelman wasn't great but wasn't bad.
Seeker by Jack McDermitt was good.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman started strangely but worked it's way to being quite engrossing (teen lit)

I'm branching out into non-fiction as well, based on a newfound interest in WW2:
I'm reading the Guns of War and the Guns of Victory by George G Blackburn, arguably one of the best recollections of Canadians in World War 2. The forgotten Soldier Guy Sajer, a german's account of WW2.

I have brsngr waiting for me at the library, though i'm not looking forward to it too much. Eragon was a good book, but Eldest was ok and everything I've read about brsngr says it's pretty marginal.
Spook County is sitting on my to be read shelf as well, haven't really eased into that one yet.

For classics I love, I'd go down the path of Hemmingway first probably his Nick Adams stories, maybe some Steinbeck (canery row). Heart of Darkness is definitely worth a read if you haven't read it yet either.

You could also branch out into classics from other languages translated. That's my next goal (I want to read love in the age of collera soon)

A note on Cryptonomicon. I consider it to be the last Stephenson worth reading. I made it through the entire baroque trilogy (dear god) and when I read the first couple of pages of his latest book, Anathem, I could tell it was going to be exactly the same. I can't take his new style. Someone should hire him a ruthless editor.

superfink said... Best Blogger Tips

Man, I know people are probably doing this to you a lot but YOU DIDN'T LIKE CATCHER IN THE RYE? That book basically made my life worth living in high school. I immediately went out and gobbled up everything Salinger wrote. Holden is my hero. I even talked like that for a few years. I might still......