Wednesday, 21 January 2015
Reading Journal #3: A Bumper Reading Month
This month, I am in love with reading again. I always enjoy reading, but sometimes I get into a phase where I want to spend every free minute lost in a book, and happily that's where I am now. I'm reading during Giles' naps and all evening after he has gone to bed, and I'm simply loving it. What's more, I'm picking up some fantastic books too.
The Strange Library isn't really much of a story, and I read it in under an hour, but it had a beautifully haunting quality about it, a bit like a fairy tale. I'm sure there is some deeper meaning to all of the strangeness, to do with grief and obedience, but I was happy just to revel in it and enjoy the experience. It helps that this is a truly beautiful book, and the images add a lot to the story. Now that I've finished this one, I'm looking forward to exploring the more surreal side of Murakami, starting with The Elephant Vanishes, a collection of short stories I already own. 4 out of 5.
There was a Country is a powerful book. Achebe blends history, politics, memoir and poetry together to create a personal account of the time. Starting from his childhood during the British Empire, Achebe gives a brief overview of Nigeria gaining independence, and the problems that came after, before launching into the Biafran war. Achebe manages to impart a lot of information without it ever feeling dull, and the poems were haunting. Whereas the actual text occasionally lacked emotional engagement, the poems more than made up for it. Sometimes Achebe's straight-forward writing made the book all the more impacting, particularly when he was discussing the deliberate policy of starvation employed against the Biafrans, and the near-misses encountered by his family. My only complaint is that sometimes Achebe became too bogged down in names and individual events rather than showing the whole picture. But the tone of regret, of Achebe's sadness at the lost opportunity Nigeria's independence represented, permeates the whole book and makes it devastating. 4 out of 5
The Blue Castle has a lot of comic moments and a perfectly swoon-worthy love story, but at heart it's a coming of age story, about finding yourself and having the courage to make your own choices in life. I loved watching shy, obedient Valancy stand up for herself, and act according to her own personal values. In a way, this book was ahead of it's time, what with Valancy moving out, getting a job to support herself, and even making her own marriage proposal. The Blue Castle is a dream of a book, that made me smile, inspired me, and reminded me of the joys that life can bring. 5 out of 5.
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I LOVE The Blue Castle - it's one of my favourites of the L.M.Montgomerys. Apart from the Annes, I think I probably re-read it more than any of them.ReplyDelete
I've only read the first Anne, but intend to read the rest of the series, and start the Emily series too.Delete
I enjoyed The Strange Library, but my favorite is still 1Q84ReplyDelete
1Q84 scares me because of it's length, which is why my plan is to get into Murakami's short stories first.Delete
I love The Blue Castle but I hate the cover here. Is this supposed to be Valancy? Far from it.ReplyDelete
Funnily enough when this book was first published in Poland (in 1920's I think) it was censored. All the satire bits, most of the bitter bits were removed. Apparently the author of Anne books was not supposed to be ironic or satirical or do social critique. And she was merciless sometimes :)
It's actually a really nicely published book, but the girl on the front is nothing like Valancy! I wouldn't like to read it without the satire, that's the fun of the book :)Delete
I love it when we're on a reading spree! Immediately after reading my first Murakami, I wanted to read more of his books. But now, years later, I'm not so keen. It bugs me there are a lot of elements in his book for no reason and rarely an underlying theme (at least that's what he says). Still, I would like to try another sometime.ReplyDelete
Reading sprees are awesome! I'm packing in as much as possible before my maternity leave finishes next month.Delete
I do wish to read more about Biafran war as well. I haven't read any Achebe yet, which is a shame.ReplyDelete
I've read this and Things Fall Apart, which is enough for me to know that I want to read more.Delete
Your want to read so much has come at a great time with all these greats books to delve in to!ReplyDelete
This is the second time today I've seen The Strange Library on a blog; I'll have to look in to that one, sounds intriguing. My first experience with Murakami's writing wasn't so great but I'm keen to give his work another go.
I'm having a bit of the opposite experience to at the moment... I've haven't been doing a whole lot of reading. I think it's more to do with my choices than mind set though... I don't know!
Bits & Bobs
Which Murakami did you try first? I'm wary of his longer ones, so I'm hoping that short stories will ease me in gently.Delete
And I think we all go through reading phases, and phases where we don't fancy it so much and just want to binge on Netflix shows!
I love that feeling when I spend every spare moment reading. I'm currently dealing with Hawthorne pushing his bedtime back from 5:30 to 7. It's good in the end, because he's also sleeping through the night, but I a missing the 5:30 me-time! Hope it keeps up for you!ReplyDelete
I am insanely jealous that you have a baby who sleeps - send Hawthorne over to teach Giles a few lessons! Naps are 20 mins max, bedtime is 7.30 and he has never slept through :(Delete
I am pleased to hear you've been enjoying your reading so much. I haven't read any of these but I love the sound of The Blue Castle.ReplyDelete
It's the best feeling to be completely in love with reading like you mentioned. Slumps are the worst after all.ReplyDelete
You know I think Murakami is a hit or miss for most. It's either you like it or you don't. I am one of those people who think the books are okay... The Strange Library sounds awesome though.
Wow, what a great month of reading! I really need to try a book by Murakami.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad you're enjoying your reading! The first part of this month was engrossing as far as books go. This week has been a little less so because work is so busy, but I plan to spend today and a good bit of tomorrow in my books. :)ReplyDelete