Here I am, back from my weird, indefinite hiatus doing the Monday meme again, (though how long for I’m not sure). For the past 2 weeks there wasn’t much to report in the way of reading anyway, as the frenzy of real life kind of took over. You know how it is, in the quiet moments you squeeze in a page here or a paragraph there, but that kind of shallow reading leaves you confused as to what’s actually going on. So I left off altogether. There’s no point in doing it if there’s no joy in understanding what’s happening.
For this week I am determined to complete the 50 Books A Year Challenge. I’m on no.46 at the moment, so I’m hoping September will be the month where I polish it all off. It’s my first attempt at a challenge to read so many books in a year. Previous years I’ve managed about 25-30 max, but I’m really proud that I can get so many under my belt. After I pass the 50 mark I’m going to continue to see just how many I can get till the end of the year. Next year’s challenge might very well be ‘100 Books A Year’. Here’s hoping!
OK, so here’s how my reading list looks like:
1. ‘Lavinia’ by Ursula Le Guin
I’m halfway through this amazing story about Lavinia, daughter and Princess of Latium and the Trojan warrior Aeneas. This fated tale of star-crossed lovers is told from a unique, sensitive perspective that questions the very fibre of ‘myth’, credibility of epic poetry and the concept of immortality through writing. Le Guin is a fluid, fluent writer whose ideas are easily absorbed by her readers. Lavinia’s tale is similar to that of Helen of Troy; and Le Guin wanted to explore what made Helen’s story survive throughout the ages, while Lavinia’s fate was passed over briefly in that Virgilian epic, ‘The Aeneid’, condemning her unjustly to a ‘long life, but a small one’.
2. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
I can see how this work was a serious turn towards the contemporary. Flaubert tried hard to breathe life into Emma Bovary. She is full of complexities and what’s more, she is very much like us. It’s fascinating to see that after all these years a modern audience can still identify with her (even moreso now, I think), and that is the hallmark of a true classic. It never stops saying what it has to say. As I’m halfway through this one too, I’m not going to say much about it, except that Flaubert was a true master of description. His turn of phrase, his minimalist way of setting up a scene is a real breath of fresh air compared to his peers. There are no rambling paragraphs to be found here, just a story, a real story that he simply lets unfold.
So, that’s it for this week. I hope I’ll have more to report back next Monday. Have a happy reading week everybody!