Currently Reading: The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
Hello everyone! After the success of my November challenge for myself – nine new blog posts in one month – I’ve decided to take on another one. However, this time I’m switching my focus. Instead of setting a writing goal, I’m turning my attention to my reading habits. Thus do I embark on my February challenge:
One Book a Week for this Geek! Four for February
Why yes. I am proud of that title.
And more importantly, that’s right! I’m determined to read one book for every week in February (i.e. four books for the month). I figure that was a fairly normal reading pace for me in college so it can’t be too hard an undertaking. Yet, it will hopefully help me to fulfill a personal goal, which is spending more time with my nose in a book rather than with my eyes glued to the TV. Fortunately, my favorite television shows are making it easier and beginning to endlessly suck… but that’s a rant for some other time and a different blog.
So with The Return of the King as my first book for the month (despite beginning it two days ago, in January), I will read four books in February. Furthermore, I’m holding myself accountable for this goal by proclaiming it on my blog, which, theoretically, means I’m holding myself accountable to others.
In the meantime, since this is likely to decrease my posting for the next month, I decided I’d give some more reading suggestions for you to fill the time in my absence. Again, the summaries come from the books’ back covers.
1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
“Pi Patel, a God-loving boy and the son of a zookeeper, has a fervent love of stories and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family and their zoo animals emigrate from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship. Alas, the ship sinks – and Pi finds himself in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi. Can Pi and the tiger find their way to land? Can Pi’s fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they do?”
I’m not sure if I’ve made it clear or not from the five or six times I’ve mentioned Life of Pi in this blog, but I really love this book. It’s beautifully written and despite the lack of action, Martel does a great job of making the plot compelling. But the reason I keep mentioning this book is that it keeps me thinking and guessing after the fact. I’ve read it twice, my best friend has read it four times and we still find new nuggets of metaphor and meaning each time we read it. It’s not a great book to read over an extended period, in short intervals, but it’s a wonderful novel, especially when you have a chunk of time to dedicate to it.
2. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
“With ravishing beauty and unsettling intelligence, Michael Ondaatje’s Booker Prize-winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an Italian villa at the end of World War II. Hana, the exhausted nurse; the maimed thief, Caravaggio; the wary sapper, Kip: each is haunted by the riddle of the English patient, the nameless, burned man who lies in an upstairs room and whose memories of passion, betrayal, and rescue illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning.”
It’s been a while since I’ve read this novel so the details of it are a little fuzzy. What isn’t fuzzy is how wonderful and complex the characters and stories are; how tragic and romantic the plot is. Even if you’ve seen the movie, it’s nothing compared to the book. In fact, part of what I find so frustrating about the movie is that it barely touches on the depths of the characters I loved best, Hana and Kip. Believe me, there’s a reason this novel is a prizewinner and is taught in so many English courses.
3. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
“We hear the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner. Unfortunately, Sister Mary Loquacious of the Chattering Order has misplaced the Antichrist. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride motorcycles. And the representatives from Heaven and Hell have decided they actually like the human race…”
This recommendation is partly for my friend who is reading this for her book club as encouragement. It really is awesome. If you are at all a fan of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you will certainly enjoy Good Omens. It has the same style of humor, subverting expectations, playing with words and cleverly reworking one of the most well known stories – the story of the Apocalypse. It’s light and fun reading, despite centering on such a morbid topic.
Here’s hoping these suggestions will entice you to also put your nose in a book this coming month.