Tag Archives: bibliophilia

Bibliophilia: September

Two days in a row, I’m practically a professional.  I read several books in September, but the only one from this book list was Slaughterhouse-Five.  I had intended to stick to this book list, because 1294 books really is enough for me to tackle, but there is a book list from the Guardian, which is often credited to the BBC, I believe.  It filters around Facebook from time to time.  Anyway, it’s a list of 100 books that well read people should have read.  I have read some, but not all, so I decided to sprinkle those in.  From that list I read The Kite Runner, The Secret Garden, and Anne of Green Gables.

It’s been a nice process to work through some of the books that I never got around to reading when I was younger.  I jumped right into fantasy in middle school, so I’m doing some backtracking, although I will never be able to get through all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  It just isn’t possible.

Mini Review: 

Slaughter-Five is the second work by Vonnegut that I have tackled.  It uses science fiction tropes like time travel and aliens to create a picture that is highly unusual.  Billy Pilgrim’s life bounces around from moment to moment, centering on themes of war and fate.  It’s a quick read, but has a lot of depth.  I am glad that I encountered this particular book, even if I wouldn’t choose literature like this for every book.  It’s worth a read.

 Queued Up: I’m planning to tackle A Room with a View, keep plodding through War and Peace and will maybe try to get through Uncle Tom’s Cabin in time for a October report.

 Total: 57/1294

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Bibliophilia Update: June

Due to starting a new job, moving, going home twice, and general insanity, I only read two books in June.  I read more than two books in June, but only two from my book list.  I read Dracula and Of Mice and Men.

Mini Reviews: 

Of Mice and Men is pretty short, but has really intense themes.  I had planned to read East of Eden really soon, but may put it off, for fear of it being as intense as Of Mice and Men.  I also found it really heartbreaking to know that George had taken so many pains to take care of Lennie, just to “put him down” at then end of the book.

Dracula I absolutely loved.  I feared that it would be a bit morose, but instead it was a tale of grand adventures crossing the globe.  I loved the analysis of sexuality, folklore, and colonialism.

Queued Up: I’m in the middle of A Tale of Two Cities, The Metamorphoses of Ovid, and The Fountainhead, all of which I hope to finish in July.

Total: 53/1294 

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Bibliophilia Update: May

This month I have read Pride and Prejudice, Animal Farm, The Life of Pi, The Blind Assassin, The Graduate, and Great Expectations.

Mini Reviews:

Animal Farm had many of the same themes as 1984.  I saw the pigs turning into men from a mile away.  I enjoyed how the pigs manipulated and changed the rules of the farm-yard as it best fit their needs, however the story seemed to follow precisely the path I thought it would.  I don’t know if that makes me a good predictor or the story predictable.

The Blind Assassin took awhile for me to get into.  I felt like the three storylines were not integrated until late in the book, which was, I am sure, Margaret Atwood’s intention.  It was sad and lovely and heartbreaking, especially knowing how Iris ends up alone, giving her triumphs and trials all to Laura, even in death.  It took me about 1/3 of the book to get into it, but once I was in the story was a lovely adventure.

Great Expectations is my second Dickens work, and the second that I have liked more than I anticipated.  I fell in love with Pip and his little world in the first half of the book.  I found the comeuppance of both Pip and Estella to be fairly perfect as they had to come to terms with their avarice and poor behavior.

The Life of Pi was an allegory for the stories that people tell through humans, animals, and even plants.  The religious undertones that permeated his narration took a view of life that contrasted with the views of adults in his life and the conventions of society.  While I understood the nature of the story’s big picture, I found the book itself grim.  The animals devouring each other and taking advantage of their small space for predation was difficult to read for  me.

Pride and Prejudice is a portrait of the Victorian world it was written in.  Only after reading a bit of literary criticism was I able to discern some of the components of the book lost on my modern mind.  Elizabeth’s ridiculous mother and thoughtless sister Lydia provide Elizabeth with people on whom she can utilize her razor-sharp wit along with her love struck sister, and the proud Mr. Darcy.  I still didn’t love it, but it was worth the read.

The Graduate was a whim that I started late in the month.  It is a coming of age story for a man who has just finished college and is looking for his path in life.  This book takes place in the 60s and perhaps I am jaded as someone who came of age during a recession, but he is just whiny.  He gets these great opportunities for funded graduate school and throws them away in favor of beer, a pool, and an affair.  He eventually finds true love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine and scales mountains to get to her.  I found the writing a bit perfunctory, but that was probably a stylistic choice more than anything else.

Queued Up:

Dracula – Bram Stoker, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Total: 51/1294 

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Bibliophilia: April

Bibliophilia update: I finished 1984, Cat’s Cradle, A Christmas Carol, Little Women, and Anna Karenina.  I feel like that’s a pretty decent achievement.

Mini reviews (with spoilers):

1984 was dystopic as I knew it would be.  I didn’t love it, but it’s nice to know the origin of the term “Big Brother.”  I also found it compelling that to escape punishment he had to betray Julia.

Cat’s Cradle was also fairly dystopic, although I did like the way that they interconnected all the people through Bokononism (a religion in the book.)  Slaughterhouse Five is also on the list, but I am going to wait a bit before I tackle more Vonnegut.

A Christmas Carol is a story that I’m familiar with, but it was good to read it on paper.  I also haven’t seen an adaptation that accurately represented his time at the school and with his long lost sweetheart, so that was a new component of the story for me.

Little Women is another story that I’m familiar with.  I loved watching the version with Winona Ryder and Christian Bale when I was younger, but there were things skipped in the movie that the book included.  I would have rather had Jo end up with Laurie, because I think it was more fitting, but the book did a better job of having Laurie and Amy fall in love in Europe, rather than having her appear home all worldly and grown for him to fawn over.

Anna Karenina, aye aye aye.  It was a series of stories and interwoven interactions between Russian aristocrats.  It was a dense read.  Although Anna Karenina is the namesake of the book I was not her biggest fan, especially when she got all melodramatic at the end.  I kept thinking that she must have post partum depression and that she needed some antidepressants.

Queued Up:

My next conquests are The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, Dracula by Bram Stoker, and the Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

Total: 45/1294

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