Friday, November 30, 2012

November - This Month in Reading

Just when I think I can't read any *less* in a month, here is November 2012! First, let's just get this out of the way: I can't believe it will be December 1 tomorrow. It really seems like just yesterday that I was writing a blog entry about 2011's overall reading on December 31. So this month was not good for me in terms of reading - work has been insane with no end in sight until January (no, I do not work in Santa's workshop, ha ha). Life conspired to keep me from reading.

On the plus side, I met last month's goal, which was to read the last Mixing It Up Challenge book, and at least 1 TBR Pile Challenge book. I thereby officially finished the Mixing It Up Challenge - hooray! That was a fun challenge that I would like to do again. I also managed a book for the TBR Pile Challenge, leaving me with 2 books - 1 that is in progress and the other that is in progress as a chapter-a-day read, so both are on their way to completion. This is my last challenge for the year, so I am on track to complete all 4 of this year's challenges before the end of the year. So that is good news!

So for next month, knowing that reading time is going to be scarce :(, I would like to finish the TBR Pile Challenge books. I'd love to manage a TBR Pile Challenge alternate book as well, but frankly at this point I'll settle for just finishing the challenge!

How was your reading this month? Are you ready for December?? :-)

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Portable Dorothy Parker - Dorothy Parker (Edited by Marion Meade)

Dorothy Parker is a writer whose work I have been meaning to read for ages now, so when I found a copy of this book at half price during the Borders going out of business sale I eagerly purchased it. What an amazing writer Mrs. Parker was! Her writing was able to evoke such clear images in my mind, even in a very short story. Although there was the celebrated humor she is still well known for, there was a lot of emotion as well. Many of her short stories absolutely skewered the kind of self-centered, narcissistic, toxic person I cannot stand, and it felt good to know that there is someone else who has taken note of such horrors and served it up in a dish as entertaining as it was cold. To be fair, there were a couple too many stories that seemed to have a woman pining for a man, and although I enjoyed the poetry selections included in this volume I preferred the short stories and reviews. As with many of the books I have read in the past almost 2 years now, I am really glad that I read this now, as an adult with a lot of life experience, although I still wish I had read it sooner - if that makes any sense. Highly recommended.

A nice side note is that I have now officially completed the Mixing It Up Challenge - hooray! That was a really fun challenge and I hope to do it again next year!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier

Ouf, what a sad and depressing book! I'm sure this is a serious failing on my part but I did read with interest the parts of the book that dealt with how hard people had to work to get a single meal. In today's day and age, when my next meal is never farther than the nearest supermarket (if it's not already in my home, purchased from said supermarket) it seems like such a lot of backbreaking work to get the simplest meal.

But I digress. I enjoyed reading this book more than I thought I might, given its Civil War setting (a period of history I've never had much interest in), as the writing itself carried me along as it was enjoyable and not the pretentious claptrap I had feared it might be. However, at times, it felt very much like the subject matter underneath the writing was such hard work that I marveled at my will to keep going. More than once I questioned the purpose of such heavy writing; I guess it is very much true to life, and to the period in which it is set, and in fact mirrored the journeys of the main characters. On that level it was a definite success as it made me feel a kind of existential despair at a very low level in the background as I read. Not 100% sure what to make of it but I'm glad I read it.