Hi!

It’s been a while since I posted here, hasn’t it? I’m afraid my posting schedule is going to continue at this glacially slow pace for a while. This is a busy semester with a large extra responsibility on me in addition to my usual courses (it involves event planning — NOT my favorite thing!). Plus I’ve already ridden 1,041 miles since January 1st. And I just finished reading all 925 pages of 1Q84. So, busy.

As for what I’ve been reading, 1Q84 was an enjoyable story, not terribly fast paced but paced well enough to keep me going, and with characters I became fond of. But the writing! I don’t know whether to blame it on Murakami or the translator, but there were strange repetitions, awkward dialogue, distracting point of view shifts, and unnecessary explanations. Still, I could let those things go and just enjoy the story, which was good because I spent three weeks or so reading it.

Also, I listened to The Tiger’s Wife on audio and liked it very much (nice mix of realism and myth, a simple story at heart, although with a multitude of other stories surrounding it), and also Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones, which was harrowing. I found its style lyrical in a way that didn’t work for me — I thought it distracted from the characters and story rather than adding to it — but the situation and story were memorable (poor family in Mississippi in the days leading up to Katrina, a 15 year old girl coming to terms with the fact that she is pregnant).

I just started Zadie Smith’s essay collection Changing My Mind, and although I’ve only read one essay in the book, I’m already in love. The essay was on Zora Neale Hurston, and its mix of the critical and the personal was absolutely perfect. And I’ve also slowly been working on a collection called Essayists on the Essay: Montaigne to Our Time. It’s right up my alley, of course, and very, very good. The book is made up of short excerpts from essay writers discussing the genre itself. In addition to offering a good chance to think about one of my favorite genres, it’s motivating me to read more essays — and I don’t really need more motivation as I already read plenty!

That’s what’s going on with me. I apologize for not coming around to my usual blog haunts to comment, but I have been reading Google Reader faithfully and have enjoyed keeping up with you all.

10 Comments

Filed under Books

10 responses to “Hi!

  1. Hi! Nice to hear from you. I too rely heavily on Google Reader. I’ve noticed it decreases the likelihood that I’ll actually comment, so I’m trying to break out of it a bit (like now!).

    I have Changing My Mind too and really like what I’ve read in it. My first stop, of course, was the essay on Middlemarch, which I’d read in a slightly different / shorter form when she first published it online (I forget where). It’s so smart but also, as you say, nicely blends the personal and the critical.

  2. Glad to hear that you’re only quiet out of busy-ness, and still well and reading! I just started listening to Jesmyn Ward’s novel on Friday and am quite enjoying it so far (she’s just taken her test, so that might change the tone). I’m also planning to listen to 1Q84, which doesn’t seem quite as crazy, now that I’ve heard your thoughts on the characters; I’ve never listened to a book that long before, but with what you’ve said about pacing, I’m thinking it might work out well, especially as when listening I tend to focus less on the construction and more on the story, so I probably wouldn’t even noticed what you have spotted (i.e. with the repetitive elements).

  3. Wow! Over 1,000 miles on your bike already? You’ll be in great shape for racing. I’ll get to IQ84 eventually, I like Murakami but have most of his other books to read so I am in no hurry. Your essay reading sounds great. I have that Zadie Smith book on my TBr shelf. Essayists on the Essay is right up your alley and it sounds excellent. I might have to check it out myself.

  4. Glad to see you back again for a moment, and congrats on all those miles! Keep up the good work! I still have 1Q84 staring at me. One of these days we’ll see what I think. You have made me nervous about it. :)

  5. Welcome back! that’s amazing riding! I’m keen to read the essay on Hurston, sounds fascinating.

  6. No need to apologize. Glad to see someone else is coming around about as infrequently as I these days (and at least you didn’t claim to be turning over a new blogging leaf, like I did). I’m not sure I can plod through IQ84, but I’m very interested in reading The Tiger’s Wife, especially since I was told it’s reminiscent of Life of Pi. Glad you liked it. Congrats on all those miles already! Helps that we’ve had such a mild winter, doesn’t it?

  7. I am really looking forward to Zadie Smith’s collection of essays. I own it! The issue is just getting around to opening it… But delighted that you are loving it – bodes very well for me.

  8. HI! Being busy is excellent, although sorry to hear you’re stuck with an extra task you don’t enjoy much. I have trouble following so many blogs that update really regularly and am not around as much as I used to be those days, so I’m quite happy waiting for your lovely updates to appear.

    I’ve just finished reading The Tiger’s Wife and I can just see how nicely it would translate to audiobook. My copy came with a sticker saying it had been read on the radio, is your audiobook a recording of that, or a seperate thing?

  9. Hello,

    I have just stumbled across this site and for a title of “ofbooksandbikes” I’m surprised by how few (none?) cycling books you read! I haven’t trawled through all your books read lists so forgive me if you have read these but I thought you might have read the very funny “French Revolutions” or the excellent Lance Armstrong autobiography “It’s Not About The Bike”. Also Alistair Humphreys rode around the whole world, every continent I think, and his two books (they’re really one story split over two books) are very good.

    Anyway, you read a hell of a lot more books than I could ever manage so keep blogging and keep biking.

    John

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