The OF Blog: January 2011 Reads

Sunday, February 06, 2011

January 2011 Reads

After a slow start due to illness, I managed to read 40 books in January.  Several of these were re-reads of books I had read in my late teens or early twenties (in new editions, most of them leatherbound).  Made some progress on my 5x3 language/genre reading challenge; just need to write reviews for several of them in the coming weeks.

1.  Bradford Morrow, The Diviner's Tale (might review this in a week or two, time permitting)

2.  Giorgio Agamben, The Sacrament of Language:  The Archaeology of the Oath (already reviewed)

3.  J.M. McDermott, Never Knew Another (in case I run out of time for reviewing it, I will note that fans of his debut novel will enjoy this and those who were daunted by Last Dragon might find this fantasy trilogy opener more to their tastes)

4.  O.M. Gurney, The Hittites (the weakest of the four Ancient Empires set from The Folio Society)

5.  Harold Bloom, Flight to Lucifer (this is a novel that's going to require a re-read before I'd feel comfortable writing on it at length.  I did like the mixture of gnostic thought into a fictional cosmology.  How well the characters and plot integrate and interact with this is what's holding me up here)

6.  Alan Gardiner, The Egyptians (my second-favorite out of The Folio Society set)

7.  Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim (simply brilliant; maybe more later)

8.  J.M. Cook, The Persians (third-favorite from The Folio Society set)

9.  John Keats, The Poems of John Keats (already reviewed)

10.  Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (understanding greatly improved compared to reading it at 17.  Loved it this time through)

11.  Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford, The Inheritors (odd proto-SF novel that these two famous authors co-wrote.  Mostly enjoyed it, though.  Read this for free via Kindle for Mac)

12.  Rubén Darío, Azul.../Cantos de vida y esperanza (Spanish; already reviewed)

13.  Robert Browning, The Poems of Robert Browning (latter ones were good, but preferred Keats)

14.  Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady (the writing is great, characterization is well-done, and if I don't ever write a formal review of it, I'll just settle for noting here that I appreciated this a lot more than I did at 22-23)

15.  Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons (will review in the next 10-14 days)

16.  C.F. Ramuz, Jean-Luc persécuté (French; prose excellent, story not as interesting to me)

17.  Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, Grimm's Fairy Tales (review in the next few days)

18.  Plato, The Republic (thought-provoking; might take this and a few other philosophical works read and write a reflective essay later this month)

19.  Irene Hunt, Across Five Aprils (used in my class, this Civil War YA historical novel was excellent)

20.  Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary (French; already reviewed)

21.  Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary (Easton Press English translation; inferior by far to the French original)

22.  H.W.F. Saggs, The Babylonians (by far the best of The Folio Society set; serves as a capstone of sorts for the series)

23.  Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (review later today)

24.  Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (improved quite a bit from when I had to read it at 17.  Maturity does wonders for perception, I suppose)

25.  César Aira, Los fantasmas (Spanish; loved this short novel even more on a re-read)

26.  Samuel Beckett, En attendant Godot (French; more to say in the next week or so)

27.  Calderón de la Barca, La vida es sueño (Spanish; review in near future)

28.  Italo Calvino, Il Barone Rampante (Italian; review later this week)

29.  Italo Calvino, The Baron in the Trees (see above)

30.  Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron (more in the near future)

31.  Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (review later this week)

32.  Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (review later this week)

33.  Graham Harman, Towards Speculative Realism (interesting set of essays; might say more later)

34.  Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (already reviewed)

35.  John Stuart Mill, Political Writings (might touch upon this whenever I get around to writing that reflective essay I mentioned above)

36.  Miguel Cervantes, Don Quijote (Spanish; review in near future)

37.  Miguel Cervantes, Don Quixote (translation was decent, with helpful notes)

38.  Howard Fast, April Morning (YA historical novel set in 1775 Massachusetts; used in class; decent to good at best)

39.  Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (awesome poetry)

40.  Gerry Alanguilan, Elmer (already reviewed)

So far in February, I have read a further 10 books, completing the 50 Book Challenge portion in 36 days.  More on those in a month or so.

Which ones of these have you read and/or want to know more about?


marco said...

After a slow start due to illness, I managed to read 40 books in January.

Urge to kill rising...


I've read 7,9,10,12,14,17,18,21,23,24,26-32,34,36, 39

Jason said...

Loved Portrait of a Lady. Was seriously freaked out by April Morning when we read it in 7th grade.

And fwiw, by way of contrast, my book count for February and March is probably going to be: 1. (Granted, it's 1000+ pages of Pynchon, but... still.)

Amy said...

Wow, congratulations on such a fantastic reading month!

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