This is my second post for National Library Week! What is the primary purpose of a library? Is it a capitalist institution satiating the desires of the majority? Is it a social program giving needed information and internet access to the underprivileged? Is it a museum to knowledge for knowledge’s sake?
Well that’s a bit in dispute. As it happens, I am writing this blog at the library because we don’t have internet at our trailer but what we use the library primarily for is … reading! I know, we’re trailblazers. I like each year to track and challenge my reading goals and then write blog posts about it. Thank you for being a part of this.
As it would happen, we are one quarter the way through the year and I am one quarter through my reading challenge. I think they call that being on track 😉 I have set out this year to read 42 books and complete a 25-point reading challenge.
The tally as of March 31 is 13 books!
- Saint Odd (series finale!)
- Around the World in Seventy-Two Days and Other Writings by Nellie Bly
- The Black Mountain (Nero Wolfe #24)*
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s (and other stories)
- I Am Malala*
- For Whom the Bells Toll
- Their Eyes Were Watching God
- The King’s Speech*
- American Gods*
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy*
- The Monarch of the Glen
- The King in Yellow*
*Audiobooks – while I am proud of my list thus far, I don’t want to mislead you, reader, in thinking I have all this time to sit down and read-read.
As for the Better World Book Reading Challenge, I’ve fulfilled the following:
- Fantasy Novel (Odd Thomas)
- Short Stories (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
- Color in Title (Black Mountain)
- 100+ Years Old (Around the World in 72 Days)
- Set in a Place You Want to Visit (Monarch of the Glen ((Scotland)))
- Over 400 Pages (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
- Colored Author (Their Eyes Were Watching God)
- Female Author (I Am Malala)
- About A Historical Event (The King’s Speech)
- Adapted Into A Movie (Hitchhiker’s Guide)
Nellie Bly is kick ass and there’s just no other way to give her justice. I’ve written on her before and I won’t belabor the point. Her newspaper career began after she submitted a response to a gentleman’s bitter letter-to-the-Editor of what is to be done with daughters who will not marry. Bly’s response, support a society in which it is safe for women to work and make a living wage, ruffled a few 1880’s New England feathers. The newspaper hired her on the spot. Of her works, I enjoyed the undercover jaunts, Ten Days in a Madhouse and The Girls Who Make Boxes, best. In both stories, she brings to light the real conditions in which turn of the century women were living and exposes injustice therein.
Speaking of turn of the century, The King in Yellow was a surprise! I downloaded the audiobook one evening having forgotten what it was about or why I was interested in it. Written by Robert Chambers, The King in Yellow is a collection of short stories all centering around a fictitious devil-book of the same name. These memorable stories are in the delightful spooky gothic style of Shirley Jackson and make me smile even now to think of.
And speaking of ruffling feathers, Truman Capote. As a persona, he puts a bad taste in my mouth but I freely admit Capote is a fantastic writer. I enjoyed each of the stories in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the title story being my favorite. I like Audrey Hepburn as much as the next person, provided the next person thinks she’s all right but no Julie Andrews. I have never liked the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s however (sorry Selene). I found it dark and long and confusing. I just remember the cat and the rain and not knowing what was going on. Isn’t that the one where she does that weird snapping dance thing in a club? I digress. The short-story, by comparison, is richer than I remember the movie. Holly Golightly, in text, is vibrant, exciting and a little frightening. In just 100 short pages you come to love, hate and love-to-hate her in the most delightful way.
I did not enjoy all my early year reads however. The King’s Speech by Mark Logue was a huge disappointment. I didn’t realize until starting it that this book was written after the movie was made. Apparently, the makers of the movie sparked Logue’s interest in his own family and he wrote this johnny-come-lately book from stuff that didn’t make it into the movie. It’s like the most boring “special features” on a DVD.
I am Malala as a book was a bit dull. Her story and life are fascinating and I’m glad to have read it; it broadened my world-view. However, the book itself reads a bit like a report for school. While learning Pakistan’s history helped explain the state of the country the day Malala was shot, it got hard to read after a while. I do not mean for my critique to detract from her story or her history, both are rich and important for modern Westerners to understand. I recommend it highly, just with that small caveat.
As always with these reading reports, I must stop before I ramble too long. If you want my opinion on the others, don’t hesitate to ask and I won’t hesitate to answer profusely.
I’ve enjoyed most of the books I’ve read so far and I’ve got another stack ready to go. Let’s see if I remember to update again in June!
Remember the best place to try a new book is at the Library! You aren’t out any money on duds and any gems you find are easy to share! What have you checked out lately?