By the time I worked my way through last month’s list I felt like I was drowning in testosterone, so I’ve kept this month’s list short and gentler.
‘Cider with Rosie’, by Laurie Lee (1959): is a memoir of the author’s childhood growing up in a village in the English Cotswolds in the years following World War One. These are no misery memoirs but neither does the golden glow of nostalgia entirely obscure the reality of a life in which it was perfectly acceptable for a house to flood every time there was a storm, education to consist of a rudimentary Three R’s delivered as well as they would ever be by the age of 14, and for a child to have eleven siblings, of which four were deceased. And that’s before we’ve even reached the superstition, murder, and suicides. Lee shares his memories with a warmth and humour which is irresistible even when his recollections are decidedly unsettling. Continue reading “On My Reading List: July 2017”
I feel like it’s been a while since I did one of these posts, and looking at the impressive pile of books that I’m working my way through the sad news is that there’s a great deal that’s worthwhile but nothing that really grabs me. Continue reading “On My Reading List: June 2017”
I may have gotten a little carried away on my last visit to the local library, because my current reading list is long, very long, particularly when I still have around 400 pages to go in Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’ (which, to be fair, puts me over two thirds of the way through it). Still, at least it gives me a varied literary diet.
Continue reading “On My Reading List: April 2017”
Like many people whose dominant learning style is Reading (VARK: Visual, Aural, Reading, Kinesthetic), I just love lists, so a Facebook page dedicated to lists of books to read, where you can check off the ones you’ve already read and compare your score to other users, is an extremely happy-making thing for me.
They have an increasing number of other lists as well, but book list challenges still feature regularly. One of my favourites, and one which was a starting-point for The Culture Project, was The BBC Book List Challenge, which apparently has nothing to do with the BBC but did the rounds of the internet a couple of years back with the sub-heading ‘the BBC believes you’ve only read six of these books.’ The average Goodreads user has a score of 23/100. I started at 38/100 in October 2014 and am now at 66/100, not counting all the other books I’ve read which don’t feature on this list.
What’s your score? Are you pleased with it? Surprised? Displeased? Let me know.
February has been a quiet month for me, reading-wise. I’m well behind in my annual Bible read, which is a situation I must rectify during this Lenten season. I have, however, completed the four Shakespeare plays I mentioned back in January. Perhaps it’s having slogged through the Canterbury Tales last year, but I’m finding Shakespeare much easier to read these days. Still not easy, mind you, but easier. These are the other things I’ve been reading: Continue reading “On My Reading List: February 2017”
While I didn’t get as much reading done as I planned over my holiday break I still managed to finish off a few titles and add a few more to my current list. Continue reading “On My Reading List: January and February 2017”
As I said at the very beginning, there’s a shameless bias in this blog towards English Culture, but the rest of the world is hardly a cultural void, so here is my pick of five of the very best works of European classic literature. I’ll be honest, I’ve only read three of the books on this list, but I have grand plans to tackle the remaining two in 2017 (mind you, I also have grand plans to read at least twenty other books, some of them quite weighty, in 2017, so we’ll see how that works out for me). These are books which not only spoke deeply to their own time and place but have continued to speak to people throughout the years. They’ve become ballets, operas, and popular musicals, and served as sources of wisdom and inspiration for readers all over the world. Continue reading “Five Classics of European Literature”
Having confidently stated just a couple of weeks ago that I would be back into the swing of blogging from now on, the northern part of the South Island was hit by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake just after midnight on November 13th. Here in Whanganui I was woken from a sound sleep and sent scurrying for cover as the ground rocked and swayed for what felt like forever (at 90 seconds it was a good long shake). In Kaikoura, on the north-east coast of the South Island, things are much worse. Continue reading “On My Reading List: November 2016”
My Reading List this month is short and sweet, mostly because I’ve spent far too long slogging my way through some weighty tomes and needed some shorter, sweeter works to stop me from going bonkers.
On that note, I’ve dragged out one of my favourite poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins. I’ve written about him before, and if you’re not familiar with his work it’s well worth checking out. Be warned: his ‘sprung verse’ is a shock to the system if you’re used to reading in your head. Hopkins needs to be read aloud, the words tumbling joyously off the page and through the air before they reach your brain. Continue reading “On My Reading List: August 2016”
Taking a few days break after a busy month at work has provided me with a very welcome opportunity to catch up on my reading, and the result is a fairly large pile of books on my current reading list.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark, is, from the standpoint of someone trained in the current ethics of working with young people, a somewhat sinister study in the risks to young people of teachers who cross professional boundaries to pursue a cultish personal relationship with their students. Miss Jean Brodie is a woman in her prime, and determined to encourage a select group of favourites ‘”the crème de la crème”’ as she flatteringly calls them, into a love of truth, beauty and the arts. But it’s the 1930s and Miss Brodie is also worryingly impressed by the ‘achievements’ of Continental fascism, leading one of her students to make the difficult decision to ‘betray’ her for the sake of others.
My Mother’s House and Sido, by Colette. Continue reading “On My Reading List: May 2016”