Wednesday, November 6, 2013

For the Record: October 2013

I've noticed something...I've gotten to a point where I have begun to want to blog again.  My house design hours have not slimmed down or gotten less stressful, though they are getting to be a little simpler now that we are down to the details instead of big picture goals.  I've been so absent for the last few months, which happened to coincide with Google Reader disappearing, that I think I'll have to slowly re-find all your blogs so I can start visiting again.  That sounds almost like a light at the end of the tunnel!

7 Books Read in October: (71 year-to-date)

2 read aloud to my 9 year-old:
  - The Enchanted Wood, Enid Blyton (4.5) My first experience with Enid Blyton!  Oh that I had found her when I was young...My 9 year-old loves the innocence and joy of the older books, and loves the British element.  You can be sure there will be other Blyton titles in our future.
  - Black Horses for the King, Anne McCaffrey (3) I'm trying to challenge my daughters listening ability, but this book was a bit beyond even that.  If it hadn't been for the fact that she adores horses, this book would have been a total bust.  Since it was pretty much entirely to do with horses, it was only a partial bust.  Archaic writing style and names made it a frustrating read-aloud.

2 AudioBooks:
  - A Room With a View, E.M. Forster (3.5) This is a book I am supposed to like.  After all, I like Austen and Trollope and pretty much any British comedy of manners.  But this felt rather contrived.  Sort of like Little Women.  Like the author was writing to sell a book instead of being spurred by an inner-writing-demon.  I liked the movie okay, though I prefer the movie of Little Women to the book also.  Hm.  I have A Passage to India on my shelf, but I'm rethinking that after this experience.
  - Possession, A.S. Byatt (3.5) I'm probably also supposed to like this book.  But my demographic fails on two major accounts: I do not live and breathe poetry, and I am not from a culture of academia.  And so I found this book quite tiresome.  I read about 50 pages and set it down for quite a while.  Then I decided that if I were to get through it I'd have to listen to it.  Even with a good narrator, it was still pedantic.  Too bad/So sad for audiobooks this month—at least I can cross these two authors off my list.

1 for Book Club:
  - The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay (3) On a positive note, there were some incredibly memorable characters in this book - often minor characters that aren't around for long.  I could hear them as well as see them and they won't be forgotten soon.  As for the rest of the book, it bugged me.  Perhaps because the 'highly autobiographical' element led to a meandering pace that didn't seem to develop properly.  I didn't really care about anyone.  And don't even get me started on the ending.  My group had a good discussion about it though, which is one of my favoritest things ever, so I can't complain much.

2 Newly Purchased Books:
  - The Childhood of Jesus, J.M. Coetzee (3.5) This was an Indiespensable book (from Powell's books) and my first experience with Coetzee.  It was interesting to read two South African authors in one month (inc. Power of One) —they were both so different!  At first, I was intrigued by this book.  The writing style was unique and refreshing.  Then, upon finishing, I felt somewhat ambivalent about the book.  I don't really like allegories, and I didn't get it.  Let me tell you, though, that it keeps popping into my mind.  I can't say that I really know what it was saying, but I'm starting to figure out what it was saying to me.
  - Kindred, Octavia E. Butler (4) One year ago, my 17 year-old son asked me if I'd read this book, since his girlfriend was currently reading it for school.  I hadn't.  Shame.  Boatloads of Shame. (cue Avett Brothers)  So I have to say, I think this is a good choice for high school required reading.  It is fast paced and interesting, but really shows the difference between the 70s (when the book was written) and the antebellum South.  Admittedly, that means there is some rough content (how could there not be?) And, unfortunately, there is a blank spot in my brain when I try to think of this book (what book did I just read???) so that must say something, but enjoyable all the same.


3 Current Reads:
  - When She Woke, Hillary Jordan.  So different from Mudbound that I don't really know what to think.  The writing is good, the content has me a little unsure of what I'll think in the end.
  - Oil, Upton Sinclair.  I bought this on a whim at my local book store, having never seen There Will Be Blood (which is based on the book) and having never read anything of Upton Sinclair.  Then I got cold feet and started dreading it would be a slog, so I got the audio version.  I've only just begun listening to it, but I'm enjoying the style very much (and the narrator is fabulous.)
  - Pippi Goes on Board, Astrid Lindgren.  Current read-aloud to the little one.  A little kooky, but fun.


On My Nightstand:
The books that were previously on my nightstand got put back on my shelf.  I always dread that happening.  It feels so much harder to get books back on my nightstand than to put them on there in the first place.  This is what is there right now.

  - Les Miserables.  I really need to finish this before I get too far away from having read the first 500+ pages and I need to read it all over again.  I liked it...I just haven't had the focus.
  - The Lighthouse Road, Peter Geye.  I really enjoyed his first book (Safe From the Sea) and am looking forward to this one.
  - Breathing Lessons, Anne Tyler.  I enjoyed The Beginner's Goodbye so much last month that I needed to find another by the same author.  This one was a Pulitzer Prize winner, and I'm hoping to hold off on reading it so I can choose it for my next book club read.  It's about marriage.  That should make for good conversation.



  1. I loved Mudbound recently and am looking forward to When She Woke. I realize it's wildly different, but I'm kind of excited to see what she'll do with it. And I want to offer my Early American Lit students the opportunity to read it in the Spring. Since it has the ties to Scarlet Letter. :)

  2. I've been stumbling along since Google Reader disappeared too. I didn't have time in the summer to really find another method for reading all my blogs. Now I'm still trying to find everyone. I started using bloglovin' but it just doesn't have the features of Google Reader.

    I have A Passage to India on my shelf as well. I bought a nice hardback copy, but I haven't picked it up yet.

  3. Aw so glad you are reading The Enchanted Wood to your 9 year old. I read it as a child and then read it to my own daughters. Loved the tales of Dame Washalot, Silky, Moonface and Saucepan!


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