Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Looking Back: January

I started blogging in July, but I started tracking my reads in January. I've reviewed a few of the books I read pre-blogging, but I wanted to do a summary of this years' reads that I haven't talked about yet. Also, I'm interested in doing my normal breakdown as to gender/fiction/translation. So, here goes! This is January's installment, and since I only read four books, it'll be brief.

Total: 4 books
2 fiction                          50%
2 nonfiction                   50%
2 female authors           50%
1 works in translation   25%

Out of Africa, Isak Dineson: One star, aka, I'm ready to send you to prison for writing this.
Dear lord I hated this book. First of all, it's a bunch of annoying ramblings from a white European woman managing a coffee plantain in Kenya. I gave up trying to count all the different ways she compared "the native" to various animals. There are parts where the writing is really beautiful, but it just wasn't worth it. Stick with the movie, if you must visit this story: gorgeous scenery, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep.

Still from Out of Africa. Credit

Bleak House, Charles Dickens: One star.
Yes, I hated this, too.  I read this for my book club, a collection of lawyers who just had to read Dickens' polemic raging against the Chancery court. I predicted pretty much every plot resolution from the first few pages. Static, two dimensional characters, healthy dose of misogyny, way too many coincidences - blerg. 

Eat Me, Linda Jaivin: Two stars.
Honestly, I'm embarrassed to admit I read this. As a rule, I don't read erotica. A friend, who shall remain nameless, passed this one to me, promising that while the first chapter was rather explicit, the rest didn't rise to that level. That may be so, but I can be a bit of a prude when it comes to my books. It was pretty funny in some places, and I thought it was a nice representation of women taking control of their sexuality. If you are into erotica, this probably isn't a bad choice.

Eating the Dinosaur, Chuck Klosterman: Four stars.
Have you read Chuck Klosterman? No? You should. His essays are funny and charming. Some are a bit dated, but I don't really care about that. Yeah, he's kind of annoying, and over privileged, but he's got a healthy sense of self awareness, so that takes the edge off.


Violet said...

I got half way through Bleak House and decided that life is too short to waste time reading the word "chancery" eleven billion times. I did watch the BBC series, which is pretty good, if you like costume dramas. I just don't get along with Dickens at all. I haven't read any of your other January books.

MJ said...

@Violet Well, you didn't miss anything by abandoning it. I promise "chancery" was mentioned at least another eleven billion times.

Shannon @ Reading Has Purpose said...

I didn't realize that your blog is so young! What do you think about the whole blogging thing so far?

I plan to start categorizing my books as well. I just need to come up with the categorizies.

To me 4 books is plenty! It's about one a week.

MJ said...

@Shannon @ Reading Has Purpose I like it so far! I've never formally kept track of my reading, so that's really fun. I also like sharing my thoughts & reading about good books.

And I guess 4 books is a decent amount in a month. I think I had most of Bleak House finished in December, but didn't totally finish until January. It was a slow month - I didn't have many choices on my shelves, hence the lackluster reactions.