20 Dec 2012
In 2012 I read #44 books, up from the 37 of last year. Of the 44 only 13 where from my original 199 Barnes and Nobles classic set. The others where new purchases or library check outs. Soooo have not made a lot of progress on my original 199 lol but that’s not from lack of interest in them nor from less passion for the classics in general. The original books just lead me down a rabbit hole of connected works. For example, the two Scott Fitzgerald books in my set lead to reading almost all of his books, plus Zelda’s, a biography, and essay collection. The one Hemingway short story included in the set, was actually pretty boring lol, but some how I ended up becoming obsessed with Hem and reading 4 novels, several short stories, and two biographies (one of which I am midway through).
Sometime during the summer, I think-can’t remember exactly when, I made up a new list of books to read: my Modern Classics list. I’ve made pretty good progress on this list, 14 out of 72 in just a few months. The tricky thing about the Modern classics is deciding which to buy and which to check out from the library. For example, I bought Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and although it wasn’t a bad book I do not think I will ever read it again. On the other hand, I’m finishing up a library check-out, Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, and I can see myself rereading it some day because it is so complex. Another thing that bums me out about library books, is most of the ones I check out are beat to hell and who doesn’t prefer a nice fresh book. It adds to the experience, doesn’t it?
I signed up for a few reading challenges this time last year. My results where decent, read half of the books for Adam’s To Be Read Pile challenge including: The Great Gatsby, The House of Seven Gables, Sherlock Holmes collection 2, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Mansfield Park, and Les Miserable. I checked off one book for almost all of Sarah’s Back to the Classics challenge categories however, I did not read any plays, Russians, or finish rereading Wuthering Heights. Ah well. I do not feel bad at all about not checking everything off my list. It better to follow the reading whims imo. I am very pleased to have checked Les Miserable off my list because it was AWESOME.
For 2013 I won’t even pretend to have a challenge list. For one thing, I realize that going to school leaves me plenty of time to read but zero time to blog! Majoring in English means my writing energy and time are completely zapped. For now, I’ll have to be happy with updating the blog during quarter breaks. Also re: challenges, as much as I love a list, I hate feeling obligated to read something. I have to follow my moods when it comes to picking a book. Each book has it’s own time. If read in that magical little window it comes alive. If read by force in another time, completely ruined.
Now my favorite books from 2012:
Especially The Sun also rises, and A Farewell to Arms. I want to reread them both RIGHT NOW. Also love all of the bits in all of the stories where Hem is talking about writing. I have the book: Hemingway on Writing on my Xmas list, *crossing fingers*
Yeah, pretty much obsessed with these two, Fitz and Hem. Their writing and their biographies. I’m looking forward to rereading all of Fitzgerald’s novels because I think they will be even better the second time around. I’m already enjoying This Side of Paradise more. The first time I read it I was like: 1- who the hell are all these writers that I’ve never heard of!? 2-Princeton sounds beautiful but I’ve never been there, therefore have no idea wtf you are talking about. 3- Amory is kind of a tool. This time around, I am more focused on the choice of words and the beautiful flow Fitzgerald’s writing has. Also, I am more accustomed to his male characters being kind of lazy good for nothings and am willing to forgive them lol.
Everybody knows Hemingway could be a bit of an asshole but this books captures how kind and loyal he could be to his friends. It also explains what went wrong at the end and it was SO DAMN SAD to read about a genius deteriorating. It still makes me ache to think of a great mind falling apart into paranoia likes Hem’s did.
Lust for Life by Irving Stone
Speaking of falling apart, this biographical novel on Van Gogh was flipping amazing. I bought it earlier this year, read the first chapter or so and found the writing a little awkward. I set it aside for a long time. When I picked it back up again I fell right into it. The writing gets much smoother and Stone really brought Van Gogh, his bother Theo, and the other characters and painters from this time to life.
As I said above: AWESOMESAUCE I thought it would be a difficult read but I felt like I flew through it. I did read an abridged version but it was still 800+ pages. To use an annoying phrase, it was action packed. I was constantly either loving or hating someone and yes, there were tears!
Save me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald
I’m including this in my favorites even though it was not quite what I expected. The book is more poetry than prose. Many sentences did not makes sense or where almost bizarre but I know each time I read it, I will get something new. Like poetry, I think it can be read in bits and pieces. I could probably spend an hour on a single page.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Again, not what I was expecting. A spin off of Jane Eyre that was so very different. But the ending was fantastic and thinking back on the book, I can almost feel the hot island sun and smell the intoxicating flowers. Another to reread.
My books completed in 2012 list
#44 The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
#43 Scott Fitzgerald by Andrew Turnbull
#42 Lust for Life by Irving Stone
#41 Fitzgerald and Hemingway: Works and Days by Scott Donaldson
#40 Les Miserable by Victor Hugo
#39 The Garden of Eden by Hemingway
#38 Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
#37 1984 by George Orwell
#36 A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
#35 Papa Hemingway by A.E. Hotchner
#34 The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
#33 Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
#32 Save me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald
#31 Gardner’s Art through the Ages Volume I
#30 The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
#29 The Awakening and selected short stories by Kate Chopin
#28 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
#27 The Professor by Charlotte Bronte
#26 For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
#25 The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
#24 A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
#23 Persuasion by Jane Austen
#22 Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
#21 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
#20 Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
#19 The Cambridge Companion to The Brontes
#18 The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
#17 Middlemarch by George Eliot
#16 Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
#15 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
#14 The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
#13 The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
#12 A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
#11 The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (reread)
#10 Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics by Liping Ma
#9 Classic Greek Myths to Read Aloud by William F. Russell
#8 Deconstructing Penguins by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone
#7 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
#6 Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
#5 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
#4 The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
#3 The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
#2 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
#1 Love and Freindship and Lesley Castle by Jane Austen