On My Reading List: March 2016

March has been quite a month for me, with a four day training course at the start of the month and an upcoming weekend away with my bestie (here’s to twenty years of friendship, Becks, and many more to come!), plus a time-consuming project at work, and suffice it to say my reading time has suffered accordingly. Here, then, is my only reading list for the month.

The Canterbury Tales still has a spot, although I’m only making slow progress at the moment: The Nun’s Priest’s Tale of the rooster Chauntecleer and his mate Pertelote will, I suspect, deal amusingly with what Shakespeare referred to as ‘country matters’, and has the benefit of being only about ten pages long.

Selected Poetry of Emily Dickinson was actually a rather intimidating place for me: I read some of Dickinson’s work back when I was arguably far too young and inexperienced with poetry to appreciate it and was pleasantly surprised to find that I now rather enjoy it – the benefit of maturity, perhaps, or simply greater exposure to poetry in general (thanks, Culture Project!).

It’s obvious from the very first pages why Dostoevsky’s The Idiot is considered to be a ‘Christian’ classic specifically: from the opening pages the author wastes little time on characterisation, being apparently perfectly content with caricature if that will keep the plot rattling along. Rattling along it is, although I’m utterly convinced that it’s all going to end badly for poor Prince Myshkin.

This month’s pile.

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold has been heralded for years as the ultimate Cod War spy novel. The tale of British agent Leamas’ efforts to extricate himself from the Game by carrying out one last mission is short, sharp, and riveting, but the most fascinating part of the story for me was the B-plot featuring the young and naïve British communist Liz. I won’t tell you how it ends, but suffice it to say it ain’t James Bond.

In preparation for a planned series of war-related posts around ANZAC Day (watch this space), I’ve started reading Erich Maria Remarque’s classic WWI novel All Quiet On The Western Front, a post-War success in both Remarque’s native Germany and (once translated) in Britain and abroad due to its searing portrayal of the destruction of not only the physical lives but also the minds and spirits of a generation of young men – an experience common to both sides of the conflict.

My Bible reading is finally more or less back on track, with a total of sixteen books now finished and two more (Psalms and Isaiah, both among the longest) well underway. Given how grim much of the rest of my reading material is I think I might be turning to the romantic-to-the-point-of-erotic (or highly allegorical, if you’re more comfortable with that description) Song of Songs in the near future.

And now I throw it over to you: what’s on your reading list at the moment?


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