Thursday, January 29, 2015

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

Other than reading this not long after re-reading Catcher in the Rye and feeling like there was a similarity in crappy dispositions and a tendency to get hung up on stuff... I didn't get this book. Help. Can you explain it to me?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My 2014 Reading Recap

Here's a look at all the books I encountered in 2014. It feels pretty good! It was my first year really embracing audiobooks, and it shows--I only read a small handful of the books pictured.

Top picks of the year
1. Ready Player One (audio)
2. The Goldfinch (hardcover)
3. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy (audio)
4. Mansfield Park (e-book)
5. Beautiful Ruins (paperback)

Most disappointing books
1. Havisham (audio)
2. Death Comes to Pemberly (audio)
3. Anne of Green Gables (audio)
4. To Rise Again At A Decent Hour (e-book)

Best new-to-me author
Chuck Palahniuk (audio)
Best know-nothing pick
Out Stealing Horses (paperback)

Guiltiest Pleasure
All The Cat Who... books (audio)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Jane Austen and blogland

I follow this blog, Bookshelf (, which produces a lot of bookish stuff. It's mostly something I get notifications about, see in my feed, and occasionally save an email alert if I really want to go back. I definitely don't read or click through often enough.

One post I'd been sitting on is "The Best Books About Jane Austen." This morning I decided to look quick, copy the titles into my Goodreads to-read list, and go about my day. Holy cow! This isn't a quick list, this is practically a bibliography of what to read about Jane Austen (over 30 titles). From biographies to annotated editions to etiquette books, it's quite the list! If you're a fan of Austen I suggest you check it out. And if you just like books, give the blog a test drive.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

I'm heading to India for vacation a week from today. It's so surreal! In light of the trip, the first book I finished in 2015 is A Passage to India by E. M. Forster. I liked the book, and thought it was more eventful than I anticipated. More eventful, definitely, than Howard's End, which I listened not more than three months ago but cannot remember. As I tend to feel about most books, I wish I had studied this in school. The echo, wasp, and caves were all recurring and had obvious secondary meaning as symbols and motifs, but I didn't quite get them on my own. The version of the book I read even had all the wasp passages highlighted and I couldn't quite find the meaning. This book may entice me to check out SparkNotes.

I also found some of the writing really quite lovely in terms of the ideas and how they are presented. Here are four of the passages I flagged. Even though they're old ideas, there's something so new about them. Maybe they're just easier to connect with this way.

If this world is not to our taste, well, at all events there is Heaven, Hell, Annihilation--one or other of those large things, that huge scenic background of stars, fires, blue or black air. (201)

The annual helter-skelter of April, when irritability and lust spread like a canker, is one of her comments on the orderly hopes of humanity. (204)

But it struck him that people are not really dead until they are felt to be dead. As long as there is some misunderstanding about them, they possess a sort of immortality. (248)

He had built his life on a mistake, but he had built it. (296)

I wish I had read this book faster, because I would have so enjoyed the opportunity to compare British-Indian affairs in this with those in my favorite mystery, The Moonstone. Alas, I am slow, and the Wilkie's work is long, and I do not want to abandon my book on the trip, so I will not be reading it right away. I've packed some others that I don't mind setting free if I need more room in my luggage. (Yes, yes, that's what e-readers are for, I know. But I don't want to hassle with all the cords and conundrums of technology while traveling in a country where my first priority is packing toilet paper.)

As a final note, totally love this cover of the book! Definitely better than the edition I read.