May Reading Notes

I am reading again! Properly, I mean. Not half-heartedly picking unread books off the shelf and then forgetting about them the day after. I’ve tried to be ‘modest’ in my selections for the month (as in, not overly ambitious with myself) so I won’t do anything drastic, like go into hibernation again.

  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Kristin Lavransdatter pt. 3, Sigrid Undset (reflections here)
  • Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
  • Orlando, Virginia Woolf
  • The Glass Palace, Amitav Ghosh

And I’m maybe thinking of participating in a few readalongs. Would really like to read some Borges this month, but seeing all my essays are due in the next few days, I’m a bit stretched for time. Also, a few of the books chosen for the yearly thing seem to be obscure. Hence, hard to attain. And if they don’t stock it at the Book Depository, then I ain’t buying it. So we’ll see :)

At the moment, I’m just glad to have rediscovered something that I thought was lost to me forever. Because for the longest time I didn’t read anything at all, and I’d never thought it possible that books would ever not give joy to me. But Claire gave me a beautiful (but sad) quote from The Thirteenth Tale the other day –

“I have always been a reader; I have read at every stage of my life and there has never been a time when reading was not my greatest joy. And yet I cannot pretend that the reading I have done in my adult years matches in its impact on my soul the reading I did as a child. I still believe in stories. I still forget myself when I am in the middle of a good book. Yet it is not the same. Books are for me, it must be said, the most important thing; what I cannot forget is that there was a time when they were at once more banal and more essential than that. When I was a child books were everything. And so there is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of books.”

I hope that at the very, very least, I’ll never lose that nostalgic yearning.


9 thoughts on “May Reading Notes

  1. Have you not read One Hundred Years before?!?!? It is SO. GOOD. Probably one of my top five books of all-time. I think it is probably magical realism at its very best, and Marquez is an unparalleled genius when it comes to writing.

    I also (re)read Northanger Abbey earlier this year (actually my first book of 2010), and had such fun with it. Whenever I’m in a rut, Jane Austen saves the day!

    So glad you’re reading (and posting) again!

    1. I know! I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet either. I’m not very familiar with Marquez…. the only thing by him that I’ve read is Love in the Time of Cholera. Which I liked immensely! Hahaha magical realism. While I respect your stance on genre fiction, but I think I disagree with Pratchett when he calls MR just another form of fantasy. Yeah, genre exists in all books, to an extent. If we attempt to categorize things, and look for conventions here and there, we’ll find them, even in ‘high-brow’ literature. Ishiguro, Atwood – they’ve all experimented with genre after all. But I think the fact remains that the MAJORITY of books that are marketed as genre fiction are badly written, and trashy. Am I going to get whipped for saying that? Maybe. But it’s true. Genre fiction is looked down on by book-snobs, because it’s become commercialized. People buy those mass-marketed paperbacks to get a certain story, with certain rules/boundaries, and publishers are only too happy to oblige. It’s just the same as how Hollywood films are going down the drainnnn.

      Then again, maybe all of this snobbery is BS, because I’m familiar with the term ‘magic realism”, and I’ve definitely used it before in referring to certain books and writers, but I only have the vaguest notions about what it actually is.

      Anyway,. excuse the rant/digression. LOL maybe I should be less angry so I won’t scare people away from my blog hahaha

      Conclusion: I’m really looking forward to reading Marquez again :)

  2. I am doing a May-long celebration of Milton! You could read just one poem and count yourself as a participant. I’m really just reading for fun, so I hope if you do read something Miltonian it’s for fun.

    I second Steph’s comment on One Hundred Years of Solitude. I can’t remember details now (it’s been a few years) but I remember loving it!

    1. Oh noes :(

      I always love your projects because they’re challenging (reaaaally really enjoyed that pre-Shakespearian classics thing last year) but I think Milton is a bit too heavy for me right now!! Maybe I’ll read juuuust one poem, if I’m feeling up to it later this month? Thanks for letting me know! :)

        1. Rebecca, I wanted to join you in Paradise Lost but found that I cannot squeeze it in. I’ll just be listening in on the conversation and hopefully pick it up next time.

  3. Me three on Hundred Years!!! I also just read Northanger Abbey in January. Was planning to read Mansfield Park this month but then realized I had probably committed to too much, yikes.

    I agree some titles on the list are a little hard to come by. I had to ask my brother for some favours just to get a couple of them. But hopefully you can join in most of them. I’m really excited to have you along.

    That quote is indeed sad, but the goal is to find something that’ll make us feel that way again. Hopefully, this year we get to experience it again. :D

    1. Claire!! LOL I think the greatest difference between us is that we both overcommit to things, but I always end up giving up halfway and you actually manage to read everything, and enjoy it while you’re at it. I don’t know how you find the time!

      Hmmmm I checked the Book Depository, and they have the Oe and a few others. I just wish I wasn’t so picky with covers and all that, because sometimes the only thing that holds me back is that I don’t like how the cover looks hahah

      1. Don’t know how I do it, too! But I had no job before. And I do now. It’s really taking its toll. Although I’m in a better shape this year because I didn’t join as many challenges as last year! You have your studies so you’re excused. :D

        I’m definitely with you on the covers! Do you know, I have been wanting to read that Oe for YEARS, but I didn’t like the cover so I put it off, waiting for a better one to come out, but it never has, so I’ve decided finally to just go ahead and read it. And then, when I received my copy, I was very happy to see it didn’t look as bad as it does on screen. The paper and printing did not disappoint.

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