Happy new year everyone! I hope you’re all as full of delicious food and relaxed as I am. Before we launch into a new reading year, I just wanted to do a little bit of housekeeping by telling you quickly about some of the books I read but did not review in 2013. There aren’t that many… mainly because I didn’t read that much, but I also may have forgotten a few because I’m notoriously poor at keeping a record of what I’ve been reading. So there were several more than made this list, but these are the some that I at least wanted to briefly mention.
Virginia Woolf: A Room of One’s Own (1929)
The reason this book never got reviewed was because I wanted to post on it so thoughtfully that I just never got around to writing said thoughtful post (talk about setting too high expectations). What struck me about A Room of One’s Own, as far as I can remember, was how much of it still applies to women’s position in society almost a century later. This is why we need feminism. I also remember that there were parts I disagreed with, but have sadly forgotten what exactly they were and now do not have my annotated copy with me. This must be the most underwhelming paragraph ever written about A Room of One’s Own, as well as the complete antithesis of the post I so much wanted to write when I’d just finished it. I can only recommend that you go and read it yourselves, right now.
Carl Bernstein & Bob Woodward: All the President’s Men (1974)
Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness got me interested in the classic account of the Watergate scandal with this post. When I was younger, I very much wanted to be a journalist, and it’s no secret I’m a bit of a politics junkie, so this book was likely to be a big success with me. And it was, to the point that I got so captivated by the story I couldn’t sleep for sheer excitement. I’m not totally sure why I never wrote about it, but All the President’s Men turned me into a Watergate obsessive for about a week. This is much, much better than most political thriller’s I’ve read.
Katie Kitamura: Gone to the Forest (2012)
And now for something completely different: Gone to the Forest is a novel about the end of colonialism in Africa. A white family based on a farm witnesses the decline and downfall of their lifestyle as what they came to see as “their” land is slowly taken and the country descends into civil war. Before this background, the family’s own struggle – Tom, the son, versus his elderly but tyrannic father – unfolds, with a love triangle mixed in. This book had a lot of potential, but it somehow missed the mark for me. I didn’t like the style, which seemed very tedious to me, and that made it impossible for me to get drawn into the storyline. I think this may work for other people, it just didn’t work for me.
Carlos Fuentes: La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962)
The reason I never blogged about this is that I think I read this book the wrong way. It somehow turned into a staple on my bedside table and it took me months to read it. Which, given the way the novel is constructed, made for an extremely confusing reading experience interspersed with moments of lucidity that made me think “this is bloody brilliant”. Come to think of it, that’s possibly a very fitting reading experience for a novel based on the perspective of a man on his deathbed who is slowly descending into confusion and reliving different scenes of his life. However, I think a reader may get more out of it than I did if they read it in larger chunks than I did.