Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Salon: Reading Retrospective

Since it's the last Sunday of the month, I guess it's time for my second reading retrospective. I started last month, by looking back at what I read in January 2002, the year that I started keeping track of the books I read. So returning today to the 2002 tab of my reading spreadsheet, I see that I only read two books in February. This probably isn't terribly surprising since it was near the end of February 2002 that we moved half-way around the world, from Japan to England.

If I remember correctly, I'd borrowed Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières from a friend and had to return it before we moved so I decided to try to fit it in. It's highly likely that I was a little distracted by packing and everything else an international move entails to really do justice to what I was reading. Plus I know that many people really like this one but I just really didn't, and only rated it 1/10! I didn't do reviews back then, just brief comments in my spreadsheet, and this is what I had to say of the book: "some parts incredibly boring, pathetic ending, total waste of time!" LOL. I do still remember being extremely annoyed by the ending. From my recent read of The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor, I think I understand a little better why. I think I simply have a hard time having sympathy for characters who essentially bring about their own unhappiness. I don't want to say more than that though for fear of spoiling either book.

I obviously returned the book, and then I took Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding with me for the trip. It was a reread for which I only said "still fun" and rated it 8/10. I don't remember exactly now but I suppose I decided to reread this one a) because I needed something light and easy to read, due to the stress of moving, and b) because we were headed to England after all! This reminds me that I haven't watched the movie, Bridget Jones's Diary, for a very long time. Maybe I'm due for a re-watch sometime soon.

And that was all I read 7 years ago this month! We had a lot of fun exploring London during those early days, as well as settling into our first flat there. Nowhere is perfect but we do have a lot of good memories from our time in England.

Do you remember what you were reading, seven years ago is probably too long so how about one year ago?

Back to 2009, this past week was a busy one, so not a great one for reading but I did finish An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro. It was a little slow, but I quite enjoyed it. Now I'm about half-way through Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan, which isn't saying much since the whole thing is only about 100 pages long. I plan to read a little bit more today and hopefully finish it up in the next day or so. Then that leaves me just a few days to try and fit in one more book for the 1% Well-Read Challenge which runs to the end of this month. I've got another short one lined up so wish me luck!

Also, I didn't receive a single book this week, so no Mailbox Monday for me tomorrow. I know I said in last week's Mailbox Monday post that I was going to refrain from buying any books for the rest of this month, and so far I haven't. But I'd like to know, is it cheating if I pre-order a book now that comes out at the beginning of March?

Week in Review:
Sunday Salon: From New York to Japan
Spring is in the air (Weekend Snapshot)
Mailbox Monday
'The Story of Lucy Gault' (Review)
'Breakfast at Tiffany's' (Review)
Friday meme roundup
PhotoHunt: Warm

Happy reading!


  1. I'm glad to find someone else who doesn't rate Captain Corelli's Mandolin - I couldn't even read much of it, it was so boring.

    Seven years ago I was reading lots of Anita Shreve - in August which was when I started to make notes of what I'd read. I loved them - more than her latest book. Last year I was reading Mark Twain, Paul Auster and Rosy Thornton amongst others.

  2. I have Captain Corelli's Mandolin on my list for this year...I hope I don't hate it! At least not that much :P

    I didn't keep records yet 7 years ago, but 6 years ago I was reading Something Wicked This Way Comes by Bradbury. I had forgotten I'd read that book in's not a very February-ish book :P

    And nah...I'd say it's not cheating :P

  3. Every so often I re-read Bridget Jones. Maybe not the best book ever written, but I just love Bridget. :) Happy Sunday!

  4. I actually had the urge to read Bridget Jones's Diary again recently, after flipping past the movie on Bravo. Might be fun, still!

  5. Looks like I finished 11 books last February! I'm surprised. Anyway, I'll just give what I think were the highlights: "Life in the Wake: Fiction from Post-Katrina New Orleans" and "Small Ceremonies" by Carol Shields.

  6. Nah..that's not cheating. It is just being organized or something like that :)

  7. I like that you are able to go back so far in time, Nat. I wish I'd been keeping track in 2002.

    Your post reminded me a bit of Sara Nelson's book about how her reading impacted her life and vice versa. Life events certainly can play a role in how much we read--and exactly what we read.

  8. Totally not cheating :D

    I told myself I wouldn't get any new books - but I don't count contests and gifts from folks.

  9. I love reading retrospectives! And as much as I love the book myself, I'm not too surprised to hear that you didn't like CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN. It's definitely a love-it-or-hate-it kind of a book.

    As far as last February's reading goes, I had a pretty diverse month. I read a science fiction novel that I really didn't enjoy, a YA fantasy that blew me out of the water, a Jane Austen that absolutely delighted me, a folklore collection, a YA faerie tale, a mystery, a graphic novel, another YA fantasy, a putridly bad short story collection, a remarkably good short story collection, a pulp novel, a YA short story collection, another mystery, and a TV show companion.

  10. What fun to be able to look back at what you were reading that many years ago! I wish I had kept better track of the books I read. I've only starting tracking since I had this blog.

  11. I didn't keep track of my book reading 7 years ago, but in Feb. 2007 I was reading "What is the What" and "Anne of Green Gables." Feb. 2008 was a big reading month for me: "Dreamer's of the Day," "Neverwhere," "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (for the 2nd time; still didn't care for it), "Book of a Thousand Days," "Gods Behaving Badly," "Empire," "Desert Noir," and "Desert Wives." Whew!

    I just finished reading "The House at Midnight" and am pondering how to write a review. It was written well enough, but I didn't care for it at all. Like you I "have a hard time having sympathy for characters who essentially bring about their own unhappiness" and I had a hard time with the narcissism and co-dependent behavior of the characters. I'm surprised I even finished the book.

    Pre-ordering a book would not be cheating ;o)

  12. I loved Captain Corelli's Mandolin when I read it long ago but I do agree with you on the ending!

    And Bridget Jones. That book was just so much fun and the movie is great. I need to re-watch that myself. Just love seeing Colin & Hugh in that one.

  13. BooksPlease - It is nice to find someone else who didn't like Captain Corelli's Mandolin.
    I have a few Anita Shreve books in my stacks that I should try to get to sometime.

    Nymeth - LOL. I hope you like it better than I did, whenever you get to it. A lot of people love it though so you just might too. :)

    Trish - She's such a fun character!

    priscilla - I think I'll have to watch the film again soon. It's been stuck in my head since I mentioned it here.

    Teresa - You had a great reading month in February last year! I really should read something else by Carol Shields one of these days.

    samantha - LOL. Thanks. I did preorder it and one other book to keep it company. :)

    Wendy - I've never read Sara Nelson's book although I've certainly heard about it numerous times. Life events really do affect our reading, which is sometimes unfortunate when they keep us from reading at all. Hope you've been getting back into your books this weekend.

    saveophelia - I wouldn't count contests or gifts either although I haven't gotten any books at all these last couple of weeks. My mailbox has been feeling a bit neglected. :P

    Memory - I'm having fun looking back at what I was reading so long ago. Your reading last February sounds like quite an interesting mix. You have me curious what the 'YA fantasy that blew you out of the water', and the 'remarkably good short story collection' were.

    Kim L - I wish I'd started even earlier but I'm enjoying looking back and remembering what I was reading then.

    Terri B. - You really did have a good month of reading in February last year! What did you think of 'What is the What' the previous year? I'm thinking of getting it to read more about the situation in Sudan.
    Good luck writing that review. It can be hard when you want to be fair but just didn't like it. Those kinds of characters sure can be exasperating sometimes.

    Iliana - I'm glad to hear that even though you loved the book, you didn't like the ending of 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin'.
    Colin & Hugh are great in the Bridget Jones movie. I definitely think I need to dust off the DVD soon.


Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you and I read every single one!

P.S. In an effort to eliminate spam, I moderate all comments, so there will most likely be a delay between when you submit the comment and when it appears on the post. Please let me know if you have any trouble leaving comments here, and you can also chat with me on Twitter, if you prefer. Happy Reading!