I feel like this blog is turning into belated reading wrap-ups and nothing else. I swear I’ll get back in the habit eventually.
In March I read Mythology by Edith Hamilton. This collection of Greek myths (and a few Norse ones) somehow escaped me during my educational years. I don’t know why I was never required to read it, as it gives a thorough grounding in the stories that pervade western culture.
In addition to being a great compendium of so many myths in one place, I also deeply appreciated Hamilton’s commentary upon the stories she chose to relate, as well as her thoughts on the authors from whom these stories originate. It made it less of a straight retelling of myths than it did an examination of how these stories functioned within the context of the time they were created, and an acknowledgement that myth is a fluid thing that alters and shifts with each person who tells it.
For anyone wanting to brush up on their classical mythology, definitely give this a read.
When the agony of old hurts
Threatens to overwhelm and drown me
In the darkness of betrayals long past
I remember the feel of your pounding heart
Beneath my hand, gently resting against your chest,
And the electric, expectant silence between us
As you found the courage to tell me
I love you
For the very first time.
I read (or rather, listened to) one novel during the month of February, which was…
…A Wrinkle in Time by Madelein L’engle! This is one of those books that I somehow missed as a child, and I wanted to have it read before the new film adaptation by Ava DuVernay came out (which I still have not seen, but have every intention to watch it soon).
It probably shouldn’t have surprised me the extent to which scientific theory played a part in the story, given the premise and the book’s very title, but I was impressed by L’engle’s ability to weave such complexity into the very heart of the book.
While I’ve listened to many audiobooks in the last year, this was the first time I felt the narration may have detracted from my enjoyment of the story. Something about the narrator’s interpretation of Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace’s voices bugged me through the entire novel – but I have yet to put my finger on why that was. In any case, it took me out of the story more than once, and I wish I’d read a physical copy and just imagined their voices instead.
That’s it for now with reading updates! More to come soon.
Evils of the world,
take heed: children do not stay
While old wounds flare from
Time to time, it’s only the
Memory of pain.
I swear I will get back to posting these in a timely fashion. Pinky swear.
I finished reading one book in the month of January, and that book was…
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursual K. Le Guin! I actually started reading this towards the end of 2017 but due a chronic case of Life Getting Busy, I wasn’t able to finish it until January. This one is a novel that has been on my radar for a long time, as has Le Guin’s work as a whole. I know I read a different novel of hers when I was in college, but it was so long ago now that I don’t remember much of it, apart from the fact that it was The Lathe of Heaven. But I digress. I very much enjoyed The Left Hand of Darkness – particularly its commentary on gender/gender roles and how such dynamics can influence the very fundamental structure of society. What happens when toxic masculinity doesn’t exist because there’s no such thing as masculinity except in strictly biological terms? What happens when every member of the population has the potential to bear children, and therefore everyone has a stake in the rearing of children? I found the examination of these questions (and others like them) fascinating.
The story’s political commentary also hit a little too close to home in certain instances. Brutal, accurate, and poetic – but uncomfortably relevant to the current events of 2018.
Definitely check this one out. But you don’t need me to tell you that. This is a classic of science-fiction. You already know you should check it out.
Whenever my vanity depicts my form
As something less than perfection
(Whatever it is that “perfection” means)
I remind myself that the curves
And stretched skin exist because
My body has known abundance
And has spent all its days
In the land of plenty.
Hunger – vicious, gnawing hunger –
Is a foreign language
That I have never heard,
And the “imperfections” are simply
My body’s thank you
For all the good fortune it has known.
Here it is! The full list of every book I read in 2017. The grand total: 27. This was a little bit shy of my goal to read 36 books this past year – I wanted to see if I could average three per month – but per usual, life happened and got in the way of reading time. The bolded titles are some of my favorites of the year:
1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
3. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
4. The Gunslinger by Steven King
5. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
6. Animal Farm by George Orwell
7. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
8. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
9. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
10. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
11. The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
12. Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
13. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
14. Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
15. Saga, Volume Seven by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
16. In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan
17. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
18. Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan
19. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
20. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
21. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
22. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
23. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
24. Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.
25. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
26. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
27. milk and honey by Rupi Kaur
As you can see, books with a mythological bent (either retellings or analyses) and the entirety of the Memoirs of Lady Trent series got a lot of love from me this year. And while I enjoyed many other novels listed above, the books in bold are the ones that have stuck with me the most.
Here’s to happy reading in 2018!
Hey folks! Long time, no see.
I figured since January 2018 is nearly over I should get this up sooner rather than later. And if you’re wondering where my November 2017 wrap-up went, it doesn’t exist; I didn’t finish reading any new books during that month as I was a bit busy working what is close to a full-time job and rehearsing/opening a play. Leisure time was in short supply for a spell.
But anyway, here’s my final monthly wrap-up of 2017:
Others before you
Have offered me
What I thought was love.
Not until I tried
Of your honeyed wine
Did I realize
Was all I’d ever tasted.