Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from June, 2013

Reading report for June 2013

I finished 12 books in June, 8 of them rereads (of which one was an audiobook). Unusually, all the rereading had nothing to do with depression this time. I simply wanted to revisit some old friends (and possibly justify to myself why I keep them around). I finished one book in my Brontë project and one TBR challenge book. I also added a number of books to my library, mostly cookbooks, which fortunately don‘t count towards the TBR challenge, but I also added some books that do.

All four ‘never-before-read‘ books were satisfying reads (I hardly need to mention that all of the rereads were as well). The highlight was The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but the favourite will probably end up being the Calvin and Hobbes book. I can never get enough Calvin and Hobbes.

The Nora Roberts novel was the best by her that I have read this year. I have been noticing more and more that while I happily devour her old category serial romances and read her other books with enjoyment, the ones I end up giving…

Reading year by year

I have been keeping a reading journal since 2004. Before that year, my reading bookkeeping was sketchy to non-existent, and while I do have a list of around 370 books I know I read before that time (mostly keepers and old favourites), it's just a list of remembered titles with very little other information. I had the sense to compile certain statistical information right from the beginning of my journalling in 2004 and one of the things I have kept track of since the start was the original year in which the books I read were published.

The last time I was between books and in the limbo of deciding what to read next I was inspired by a discussion thread on my favourite book discussion board in which some of the members were organising a year-by-year group reading challenge for the 20th century.
I sat down and compiled a list of books I have read, by year, with a view to possibly doing a "fill in the gaps" year-by-year reading challenge. This was easy, because at the begin…

Friday book list # 10: Whiskey Beach (Nora Roberts) and Venetia (Georgette Heyer)

I have two book lists to offer this week, both gleaned from books mentioned in romance novels. One is all fictional titles and the other all genuine titles.

Lets start with Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts: 
Fictional titles, both non-fiction, history:
Calypso: Doomed Treasure by Charles G. Haversham
Whiskey Beach: A Legacy of Mystery and Madness

And now Venetia, by Georgette Heyer: Reference to the Greek and Latin texts is to the original languages in the novel, links here are to English translations.

Poetry: 
"The Corsair" by Lord Byron
"Cherry-ripe" (by Thomas Campion)
The Aeneid, The Georgics and The Eclogues by Virgil
The Odes, The Satires and The Epistles by Horace

Play:
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

Novels: 
Guy Mannering (by Sir Walter Scott)

Philosophy:
Phaedo (by Plato)
The Intellectual Powers of Man (as Intellectual Powers) by Thomas Reid

Non-fiction:
Essay on the Principles of Translation by Alexander Fraser Tytler (I have downloaded this one to my Kindle and plan to read it)…

Booking through Thursday

Today's question on Booking Through Thursday is "What’s the worst thing you ever did to your reading material?"

It’s time for summer reading, so … today’s question? What’s the worst thing you ever did to your reading material? Sand in the bindings from the beach? Dropped into the pool? Covers smeared with sunscreen?
And, if you’ve never done actual summer-time damage … have you EVER damaged your book/magazine/paper? Dropped it in the bathtub? Used it to kill a bug? Spilled with coffee?
The worst thing I have accidentally done to a book was spill tea all over it. I may also have crushed an insect or two between pages and left food-stains inside books.

I have, however, deliberately done worse things to books.
I have:
hollowed them out to make hiding places. To be fair to myself, these were books I bought second hand and started reading, only to discover that there were pages missing. I do have one Reader's Digest book ready for hollowing and I don't feel bad abou…

How I would love to be involved in a project like this myself!

Is "our" Jane going to replace Darwin on the English £10 note?

Good going, Miss Austen!

Read more:
BBC
The Guardian

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2013

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme where we post about top ten subjects relating to books. This time around it's "Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2013".

Here are mine, in no particular order:

A travelogue with a difference.
From the Author's Note: "This tale is the story of a real journey made in 1969 by a group of Indian villagers. For a short time I was able to travel with them. I travelled 15,000 kilometres in the third - class carriages of Indian Railways, over a period of seven months. ... To the villagers the journey was an adventure thrust upon them by unexpected fate when their kindly landowner died leaving her wealth in a trust fund for her villagers. Many of them found the confrontation with the world beyond their village alarming and unsettling. After their travels they returned to the years of crisis and war which resulted in the formation of Bangladesh and the tidal wave, famines and struggle which followed …

Reading journal (and possible SPOILERS) for Shirley by Charlotte Brontë, part 3.

Shirley has arrived, and she is, as I surmised, the young owner of Fieldhead Hall and therefore Mr. Moore's landlady. So far the narrator has shown her to the reader only from the outside, i.e. her emotions and thoughts are not revealed, and so she is just a little bit mysterious.

While Shirley owns the book's title, the protagonist so far has been Caroline Helstone and it looks like an interesting little love triangle is going on between her, Shirley and Mr. Moore, with both ladies in love with him and he wavering between the penniless Caroline, whom he seems to feel some regard for, and Shirley and her money, which he is in dire need of. I only hope it will not lead to the very tiresome trope of one of the ladies dying to make way for the other to marry the gentleman. The death would have to be that of Caroline, because there have been possible foreshadowings of that nature, although there has also been an indication that it will not happen. I hope it doesn't - it's …

Friday book list # 9: Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer

Books mentioned in Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer. Some books contain oodles of titles. This one has 2:

The Inflexible Captive by Hannah More, a play.
and
The Pythagorean Diet, or Vegetables only conducive to the Preservation of Health and the Cure of Diseases, by Dr. Cocchi. Amazon.com gives the title as: The Pythagorean diet, of vegetables only, conducive to the preservation of health, and the cure of diseases. This seems to be a translation (from Itailan) of a transcript of a lecture on Pythagoreanism and would probably have been published as a pamphlet.

Both appear to be included as sources of humour.

Reading journal/notes for Shirley by Charlotte Brontë, part 2. Includes teasers.

Chapter VII and still no sign of Shirley.  The chapter begins with a charming description of what it is like to be eighteen:
...at eighteen the true narrative of life is yet to be commenced. Before that time we sit listening to a tale, a marvellous fiction, delightful sometimes and sad sometimes, almost always unreal. Before that time our world is heroic, its inhabitants half-divine or semi-demon; its scenes are dream-scenes; darker woods and stranger hills, brighter skies, more dangerous waters, sweeter flowers, more tempting fruits, wider plains, drearier deserts, sunnier fields than are found in nature, over- spread our enchanted globe. What a moon we gaze on before that time! How the trembling of our hearts at her aspect bears witness to its unutterable beauty! As to our sun, it is a burning heaven - the world of gods. It goes on for two more paragraphs, but I'll let this suffice. You can look it up if you wish to read the whole thing.
--

This novel has an omniscien…

The new Hobbit trailer

I've see it and on the one hand I am somewhat upset that a whole lot of changes have clearly been made to the beloved story, but on the other I'm going "Woa! This is going to be fun!"

I think it's best not to be too bothered about the changes and simply consider it an interpretation rather than an adaptation.

Here it is, for your perusal:

Reading journal for Shirley by Charlotte Brontë, part 1 (herein may be SPOILERS, so beware)

Editied, with additions in blue.

I'm three chapters into Shirley and wondering when the titular character will make her first appearance. As with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, my first Brontë Project read, I took care not to read anything that could give me an indication of what the novel is about so that I would come to it with a (metaphorical) clean slate. You see, I am one of those people who absolutely hate reviews and forewords to books that blithely give away important plot points, as if the writer assumes that everyone must already either have read the book or at the least know everything about it so that it's okay to drop spoilers on the reader. As a result, I now read forewords only after I have read the book. But back to Shirley.

That the title character is female I only found out accidentally. I had read somewhere that before Shirley Temple rose to Hollywood fame, Shirley was a man's name, so I assumed - since this book was published in 1849 - that Brontë's …

Friday book list # 8: Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Books and other publications (including poems) mentioned in Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, including imaginary works. For further discussion of some of these (and for annotations of other stuff in the book) visit the BookDrum entry for Cold Comfort Farm.

Real: Novels: Did She Love Him? by James Grant Home Influenceby Grace Aguilar How She Loved Him by Florence Marryat (this should actually be How They Loved Him) Macaria, or Altars of Sacrificeby A. J. Evans-Wilson  Mansfield Park by Jane Austen Persuasionby Jane Austen Shirley by Charlotte Brontë Villette by Charlotte Brontë Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Poetry: 'Julian and Maddalo' by Percy Bysshe Shelley 'Adonaïs' (An Elegy on the Death of John Keats, Author of Endymion, Hyperion, etc.) by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Publications: Family Herald Vogue
Imaginary: Novels: The Fulfilment of Martin Hoare by Anthony Pookworthy, A.B.S, L.L.R.
Non-fiction: The Higher Common Sense and Pensées by the Abbe Fausse-Maigre (these are works …

Reading Journal for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, part 6 - various comments and disjointed thoughts

Differences in the characters of Helen and Gilbert. Helen is a fascinating woman, strong, determined and intelligent and a proto-feminist, albeit she is sometimes a bit too fond of preaching morality. Gilbert comes across as hot-headed, rash and ever so slightly stupid, albeit also quite a solid and decent guy (as seen mostly in his interactions with her son), and it's a bit of a stretch to imagine why such a fascinating woman as Helen would fall for him. Possibly it's that he is the first potential suitor she has come across who is also a decent human being? In any case , the only thing they seem to have in common is a liking for suffering and a love of literature.
--

An interesting note on class in the story is in the final chapters of the novel when Gilbert Markham begins to have doubts about the possibility of ever getting together with Helen, because he at some point realises that they come from different social classes. I had him pegged at the beginning as a member of th…

Reading journal for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, part 5

After I wrote the last entry I didn't touch the book for several days. Not because I wasn't interested in continuing, but because I had other things to do. My mind occasionally (very occasionally) goes wandering in other directions than reading and I had a few days during which I simply didn't feel like picking up a book. On with the journalling, but first a BIG FAT SPOILER WARNING: Read no further if you don't want any surprises revealed to you about the story.

I finished it yesterday. I found the middle section, consisting of Helen's account of her courtship and marriage an utterly realistic portrait of a marriage entered into with more haste than forethought.

Both parties has unrealistic ideas of the other. Huntingdon seems to have married out of a spoiled, egotistical, hedonistic man's desire to make a conquest of something he sees as utterly desirable - in this case a living, breathing woman (or girl, really) - that didn't quite turn out to be as deli…

Reading journal for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, part 4

This is either very profound, or very trite, I can't decide which. I just know I like it:
Helen to Gilbert, at their parting:
"We are children now; we feel as children, and we understand as children; and when we are told that men and women do not play with toys, and that our companions will one day weary of the trivial sports and occupations that interest them and us so deeply now, we cannot help being saddened at the thoughts of such an alteration, because we cannot conceive that as we grow up our own minds will become so enlarged and elevated that we ourselves shall then regard as trifling those objects and pursuits we now so fondly cherish, and that, though our companions will no longer join us in those childish pastimes, they will drink with us at other fountains of delight, and mingle their souls with ours in higher aims and nobler occupations beyond our present comprehension, but not less deeply relished or less truly good for that, while yet both we and they remain es…

Reading report for May 2013

I finished 11 books in May, 6 of them rereads. Two others I had started reading some months previously but then stalled. It was nice to reduce my stack of partially read books, even if just a little. Another 2 were audio books, both Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, one a re"read" and the other a first time "read". I generally prefer to read books rather than listen to them the first time I encounter them, as I feel that I absorb them better off the page, but with all the audio books I have listened to in the past 2 months I feel I am regaining my ability, acquired during my childhood and teens when I listened avidly to plays and book readings on the radio, to perfectly follow and enjoy books aurally.

The relatively low number of books read, as well as both the rereading and the audio books, may be "blamed" on other activities: I have been quite busy with some of my other hobbies, especially painting and sewing, and with tidying up and attempting to de-clutter…