Essential Reading: February 2014
The fruitful start to my reading year, January, has now ended and the second month of the year greets us with so much promise. The year, reading-wise, started slowly and I actually feared that I lost interest in reading but, thankfully, the three books that I read (and, in one case, is still reading) at January’s end are truly magnificent examples of literature. Let’s recap, shall we?
- Where There’s Love, There’s Hate by Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silviana Ocampo (3/5)
- A Schoolboy’s Diary by Robert Walser (4/5)
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (4/5)
- A Sport and A Pastime by James Salter (3/5)
- Filboid Studge, The Story of the Mouse That Helped by Saki (4/5)
- A Month in the Country by JL Carr (5/5)
I’m still taking my sweet time with Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary because it seems that it’s the kind of book that should be read slowly. I should also say that I am incredibly happy with Madame Bovary and it, along with Guy de Maupassant’s tales, redeemed French literature for me since my failed attempt to plow through the insufferably dense passages of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.
Anyway, for my reading list for February, I chose to highlight books written by women (except for one) since I made it my reading resolution to read more women authors and also because I noticed that my January reading was entirely composed by male writers (except for Silviana Ocampo). If you would notice, I chose two books from foreign authors and then another two from Filipino authors. Here they are:
- What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver – Our book club’s Book of The Month so I have to read this despite the author’s gender not fitting with my theme for the month. Anyway, Carver is a really good short story writer so his works transcends my requirements.
- Now, Then, and Elsewhen by Nikki Alfar – I really don’t know what to expect with this collection of short stories but I assume that Nikki Alfar primarily writes speculative fiction since she’s one of the editors of the Philippine Speculative Fiction series.
- The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – This book is a part of the LA Times’ 61 Postmodern Books list and, as you may have known, I am doing my best to plow through that list. Also Atwood is considered to be one of the major writers of our time and I haven’t read any of her works so I guess now is a good a time as any.
- The Mango Bride by Marivi Soliven – A product of my first book signing, The Mango Bride is a Palanca-award winning novel that details the lives of two Filipino women as they try to make a new life for themselves in America.
- The Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt – This is one of Rhena’s favorite novels and it is written by the wife of one of my favorite authors so I’m quite aghast at myself for not having read this yet despite constant nudging from Rhena. So, in order to rectify my mistake, I have decided to include The Summer Without Men this month.
I’m quite happy with my choices this month because they’re quite eclectic. There are short stories, novels, and a novella spread out through different genres. I hope my streak from the end of January continues.