It's hard to believe it's already the last Sunday of September! So I guess it's time for another look back at what I was reading in 2002, the year that I started keeping track of what I read.
Seven years ago this month my reading took me to "heaven", from where I watched over my family and the man who murdered me, Russia, first to a country estate at the turn of the century and then to St. Petersburg in the winter of 1941, and finally to a peculiar house with strange neighbours, a mysterious passageway, and where I had a rather scary adventure.
I'm not sure I'm terribly interested in seeing the recent film but I quite enjoyed reading The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I wrote in my book journal at the time that I thought the writing was sometimes choppy but that overall it was a compelling story. There was that one scene which I still don't think fits the tone of the rest of the book, and if you've read it you can probably guess which one I'm referring to, but otherwise it was a really good read. Have you seen the film? If so, is it any good?
Next up in September 2002, I read the play, Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov, in preparation for watching Sam Mendes' direction of the play at the Donmar Warehouse in London. The play has some memorable characters as it is but seeing the play after reading it really brought the story to life. I was quite spoiled when we lived in London and saw some fantastic plays and musicals. I really miss it.
In my brief reading notes on The Siege by Helen Dunmore, I wrote that I found the characters somewhat flat but that it was interesting to read about the siege of Leningrad, a part of history that I know little about. This still holds true, as my knowledge of Russia is pretty pitiful. I've only read one other book by Dunmore, Mourning Ruby, but I've been meaning to read something else by her. Any recommendations?
Seven years ago was also when I read Coraline by Neil Gaiman for the first time. I wasn't completely wowed by it but Gaiman does have a wonderful imagination, and it's a great book for this time of year. I've since read it again, and enjoyed it a bit more the second time around. I'd love to see the film sometime as the stop-motion animation looks amazing! Have you seen it?
As for what I've been reading this past week in 2009, it was actually a bit of a slow start to the week in terms of reading but when I managed to find some time I spent it in Darfur with Halima Bashir and her family. I finished Tears of the Desert this morning and I'm so glad I read it. It was a very moving story and it left me feeling so sad about all the horrible things people are capable of doing to each other. As part of The Year of Readers, I've been reading for Book Wish Foundation, a charity that helps refugees of Darfur, and reading this book re-affirmed my desire to help even if it's in a very small way.
I'm not quite sure what I want to read next. I think tonight I'll go back to the book of Poe's stories, and go on from there. I have a few review books that I should get to soon but I also have some books I'd like to read for the R.I.P. Challenge. Why are there always so many books, and not enough time?
Earlier in the week I also asked if anyone would be interested in a Japanese Literature Reading Group and I'd like to say thank you again to those of you who said you would. I'll have a post up tomorrow announcing the first group reads. Everyone is welcome to participate so I hope you'll consider joining in when you can. Happy reading!