Reading Progress: January

As I mentioned at the start of the month this year I have decided to do the 50 Book Challenge again.  As a result of this I’ve decided that I will do a monthly update on my progress because well… 
So what was my grand total completed books for January 2012?  Three.   I read three books, and started five.  I liked all of them but to be honest I wasn’t very ‘into’ them.  I had been hoping that by now I would be really wrapped up in the reading, but I’m not.  I read a disappointing Neil Gaiman book that in retrospect was a bit of a door stopper, but I decided to run with it because every other one of his books that I have read I read very fast.  I will be doing a review on that in the near future. 
I read ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and thought it was interesting, but not much else, hence I didn’t even bother with a review.  In my opinion, because of it’s classic status it would be a tough one to review anyways, and at the end of the day I think everyone should try as many classics in their lifetime as possible, irrespective of reviews.  The classic book lover in me also screams that reviews (unless from the actual time period) of the classic genre are at best a bit pointless, and at worst a bit… I suppose the word would be wrong.  To me it feels wrong.   I did review ‘Heart of Darkness’ by Conrad before, and that was probably the hardest review I’ve written so far.  It just felt wrong.  I know I’m rambling (lack of sleep) but my point is that I just don’t see myself doing many (if any) reviews on such books in the future.  I know I am probably coming across as a book snob, and I am probably insulting some bloggers out there.  I don’t mean to offend in any way.  I’ve just never once actually read a review of a classic prior to reading it, and I like it that way.  I like figuring out for myself why the book is so special (or in some cases overrated).  However, I do like reading reactions to those kind of books, and obviously I am doing the classics challenge, and enjoy how that is being done.  It is nice to discuss classic books. 
The third book that I read in January was ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’.   It was a re-read after several years (four and a half to be exact) and I loved it like I always do.  Like most readers my age, Harry Potter was one of my childhood favourites, and so it was a nice re-read.   I also started reading ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ which is going well. 
Finally I also started ‘Crime and Punishment’ which so far I am enjoying.  It’s very engaging to read about a mind that is so apparently ill and fractured.  In the past I tried to read the book, and got quite far in, so I know what is to come for a good part of the book.  My reading mood right now is probably on the dark, gloomy and gritty side of the scale. 

My obsession with crime dramas helps me find new music

2011 was the year that I got into Crime dramas / Cop shows on TV.  It started with Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, then progressed onto Law and Order: Criminal Intent.  Then, after watching a lot (by that I mean seasons upon seasons) of the Law and Order franchise I decided to try out Criminal Minds.  I found out about this song ‘Far from Home’ by Five Finger Death Punch from the Criminal Minds episode ‘What Happens at Home’.    Great for when you feel angsty or a little sad and it fit the ending of the episode with Agent Seaver perfectly. 

While I’m still on topic, I think my obsession with cop shows is really impacting on my reading.  However, I am currently reading ‘Crime and Punishment’ by Dostoevsky and I have to say that because of the analysis that they do on Criminal Minds I am seeing the book in an entirely different way then when I tried to read it a few years ago. 


January Prompt – A Classics Challenge

The above is a picture of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, famously known as Lewis Carroll, the author of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.  He was born on 27 January 1832 in England, and he lived there all his life, only leaving once to go on a trip to Russia with a friend.  He also wrote the sequel to ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ called ‘Through the Looking Glass’, and also the less acclaimed novel ‘Sylvie and Bruno’.  Carroll was several things throughout his life – such as a mathamtician, lecturer, novelest, photographer.  He liked to invent things, like a writing tablet that you could use at night.  He also liked to illustrate his unpublished manuscripts – he even did it with Alice, but he then hired a real illustrator once the book was going to be published.  Scattered throughout the post areexamples of his handwriting/drawing skills, in my opinion they look cute.

Carroll wrote in a genre called Literary Nonesense.  It was a genre that I’d never heard of before.  I found ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ an interesting text to read.  I feel that I would have loved and tresured the book, if only I’d read it as a child. The book is very dreamlike, I don’t know if I am spoiling it by saying that it was all a dream.  I admired that the book and the way it was written played this straight – it felt like a dream, and had the logic of a dream.  So ironically it was quite realistic.  Even though it is all supposed to be a load of nonesense sometimes Alice would say or do something that I found quite profound.  Here’s an example:

‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.’Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.’You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’

I think Lewis Carroll wrote for his own amusement.  He wrote a lot, but only published something if he thought it was extra special.  ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ was well recieved and popular when it was published.  It was rumoured that the Queen at the time loved it so much that she wanted him to dedicate his next book to her.   Over the years it has been loved by lots of people and studied by many as well.  There have been many adaptations of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ over the years, some of which I have enjoyed such as the recent Syfy version.

This post was made in responce to Novembers Autumn’s post which can be found here. 


Bookish New Years Resolutions

I have made some reading resolutions for 2012, which I have to say I am very excited about and I feel should put down in writing on my blog.    Mainly I am doing this to shame myself into attempting to do what I say I want to. 
This year I am doing the 50 Books Challenge again.  I did it for the first time in 2010 and loved it.  I thought it was a lot of work, but it was well worth it as I discovered about three new book series that year and tried a pile of books that I had bought but never read before.  I didn’t do it in 2011 because I did feel that reading shouldn’t be about numbers, but had thought about trying the 50 book challenge again in the future.  As you can see I am very excited, and if you are a slower reader like myself you might be able to understand why. 
I’ve already posted on here about doing the Terry Pratchett challenge and the ‘A Classics Challenge’.  I also hope to read something for the ‘Once Upon and Time’ and R.I.P Challenges too.  
Happy New Year!