You've probably noticed that it's been a quiet couple of weeks on the blog.
This has been on account of the fact that there's been a frantic flipping of pages on my part to complete the mammoth "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand.
In fact, I even found myself dividing the book into 100 page segments & attempting to read one of these each day during the last week in my quest to reach my target.
There are 1168 pages in this most incredible book and although I pride myself on being a fairly fast reader, the nature of the content meant that I often found myself pausing for reflection, doing that most wicked of things 'earmarking' corners on pages where the writing really 'found its mark' and quite often reflecting on the characters and their actions even when the book wasn't in my hands.
I know this book won't be for everyone, but I relished it and am going to return to the bookseller who recommended it to me and give her a little pressie as a thank you for sharing the gift of Ayn Rand's writing - that's how much I loved it!
My only error was to type in "Atlas Shrugged" into a Google search as I neared the end of the book, and watched a snippet from the movie which was released last year. Ayn Rand had drawn the characters so beautifully in my imagination that it was startling to see actors who looked nothing like what I'd envisaged and I found myself grappling with the mismatch as I completed the book- don't you hate that?
I'm not sure whether I'm going to watch the movie in full or not, perhaps in a month or two.
I won't spoil the plot by trying to explain it, but if you like a big book with a strong philosophical bent, terrific characters and a great storyline - then this might be a 'goodie' to pop onto your reading list for 2012.
This was only one of the books that I managed to tick off my list however.
The second was a present sent to me by my special friend Jane, who is a fellow 'lover of language' & reading.
There is so much that I love about this book.
1. Its presentation - a cream and gold embossed hardback with burgundy embellishments.
2. It's a celebration of the etymology of phrases - love that!
3. It taught me something new.
4. It's something that I could share with Captain V, the 'Gifts', students I teach, and perhaps even you.
The title of the book?
"Opening Pandora's Box - Phrases Borrowed From the Classics And The Stories Behind Them" by Ferdie Addis.
Here's a little excerpt to give you a taste of some of the delights contained in this book:
Times of happiness and prosperity
"In Greek mythology, Alcyone was a daughter of Aeolus, the god of the winds.
She was married to Ceyx, son of the Morning Star, and they enjoyed such a happy marriage that they claimed to be as lucky as the ultimate couple, Hera and Zeus.
This of course, was a mistake. If there was one thing guaranteed to get the gods in a mood, it was hearing themselves being compared to lowly mortals.
To punish Ceyx and Alcyone for their pride, Zeus changed them into birds: Ceyx became a diver, and Alcyone became a kingfisher, or alkuon in Greek.
Ovid had a different version of this story, where Alcyone changed into a bird after her husband dies in a shipwreck. At any rate, both versions agree that the newly feathered Alcyone soon found a kingfisher's life to be far from straightforward. Every winter she would lay her eggs in a nest by the sea, and every year storms would sweep the nest away.
Finally Zeus, taking pity on the unfortunate woman, decreed that for seven days around the winter solstice the seas would always be calm. These tranquil days in the middle of winter are the halcyon days, which have come to stand for any period of peace and happiness."
So there are my two books for 'Jan - Feb' and now to check in on my reading goals, here's how they look:
* I'd like to read two books per month [Tick! It was close but I made it.]
* I'm keen to read at least one Australian novel
* I'd like to complete a classic eg: "The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky [Started Yesterday]
* At least two biographies or autobiographies will be in my selection
* One informative non-fiction will be in my list [Tick - thank you Jane x]
* Inspired by Gifters' recommendations I'm going to try new authors & titles [for me]:
~ "When God Was A Rabbit"Sarah Winman;
~ "Before I Go To Sleep" SJ Watson;
~ "Shakespeare's Wife" Germaine Greer;
~ "Stasiland" Anna Funder;
~ One Gerald Durrell title - am open to suggestions here;
~ The first book in the "Mistborn" series by Branden Sanderson;
~ "The Tiger's Wife" by Tea Obreht; [I'm thinking that this will be a co-read with Dostoyevsky this month]
~ "Foals Bread" by Gillian Mears;
~ "Past The Shallows" by Favel Parrot;
~ "The Weight of Silence" by Catherine Therese and finally
~ "Five Bells" by Gail Jones.
~ "Enjoy Every Sandwiche" by Lee Lipsenthal
~ "Autumn Laing" by Alex Miller
~ "The Heart Garden" by Janine Burke
How about you? What have you read over the past month?
Do you have reading goals that you'd like to keep? Any great recommendations for the rest of us?
I haven't created a formal 'Linky' for this first get together as I wanted to see what each of you had to say to each other about the books you've read.
I'd like you to see this as your own space for encouraging the love of reading in yourself and others, so please take the time to comment and reply to each others' notes just like you were having a chat at a reading group.
If you've written a 'Vive le Livre!' post - yippee! Please include the URL in your note so that we can all have a read. Visit and reply to each other, get busy with words, in short - celebrate the love of books and reading.
If you'd like to share the fun with your own readers, I'd be thrilled if you included the button (which is just to your right in the sidebar) in your post to spread the word...sorry dreadful pun, I hope you can get past it.
Until the first Tuesday in March, happy page turning!