Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had a lovely New Year’s Eve and that you’re all ready to welcome the year 2015! But before we get into the new year, let’s look at December Reads.
In December, I read an astounding number of 11 books! The great number is partly explained by uni stress that was channeled into escapism through reading. In addition, the holidays gave me free evenings that I could spend cuddling with a book or my fancy new Kindle. Another explanation is that the list contains two comic collections, an essay and a play, all of them taking only a few hours to read. 3 of the books that I read were from my own shelves, so I did manage to make my unread books pile a bit smaller. December was also a month with lot of lists, reflections, and future plans: I posted my Tove100 wrap up; about one of my next year’s reading challenges (Reading England), my Best of 2014 post and tomorrow you’ll hear about my goals for 2015!
I was swamped with uni work all the way until December 15th, after which I traveled to northern Finland where I spent my Christmas with my family and my boyfriend. The holidays were definitely needed and the Christmas preparations, such as baking gingerbread cookies and cleaning, really helped me to wind down. Now I’m feeling rested and prepared to take on new challenges!
Books read in December:
- Fables vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
- Politics and the English Language by George Orwell
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Moby Doll by Saara Henriksson
- Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde
- Murder on the Thirty-First Floor by Per Wahlöö
- Cry of the Peacock by V.R. Christensen
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- Pelinavaus (Villimpi Pohjola 1-2) by JP Ahonen
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
- Soul Kitchen by Jasmin Ramadan
I’ve quickly talked about Orwell’s essay, Politics and the English Language, in my recent book haul, but I thought I’d still share some more thoughts. In this 24-paged essay Orwell presents the idea that what we say and how we express it is not politically neutral. Orwell is very critical towards the use of flowery and arbitrary words and constructions, because in his view, they are meant to obfuscate what is really being said. Some of Orwell’s rules for style are in use even today and in his essay he also gives some examples of the ‘bad writing’. If you’re interested in Language, I’d definitely recommend you read this. 5/5
Continuing to read from my collection of Oscar Wilde’s plays, I read Lady Windermere’s Fan in December. The play features a young couple – the Windermeres – who are about to celebrate their anniversary by holding one of Lady Windermere’s famous parties. The love is still blooming for the couple, but the day before the party Lady Windermere hears from one of her admirers that Lord Windermere has been frequenting a house of another woman. In the next scene Lord Windermere gifts her wife a fan for their anniversary, but quickly after requests that she includes Mrs Erlynne to her guest list – the very same woman he has been seen to frequent. Wilde’s wit is dry and the play includes many twists and turns, making it a wonderful page-turner. 4.5/5
Next up I read Murder on the Thirty-First Floor by Per Wahlöö. It follows a police inspector Jensen as he is called to the land’s biggest printing corporation to solve a bomb threat. As he interrogates the suspects, he begins to discover some very shady practices at large in the corporation. To be honest, I struggled with this book and only kept reading because I wanted to finish it. The books was written in late 60s and the society depicted in the book is the Marxist nightmare of the future. I felt smothered by the overbearing politics in the book, and the redundant writing definitely didn’t make it any better. I understand that the style reflected the dystopian monotony that the book was describing and I liked the concept of the book, but I can’t really give more than 2.5/5.
Around the same time that I was reading Murder on the Thirty-First Floor, I began reading Cry of the Peacock by V.R. Christensen. It is a historical fiction romance set in the nineteenth century, featuring a young woman who is invited to live with the wealthy Crawford family after the death of her father, their estate overseer. I guess I was slightly naïve in expecting more focus on the historical era than the romantic who-will-be-paired-with-whom. Overall, the book was a light and easy read, but there were also some disturbing grammatical errors that rubbed me the wrong way. Not really something I’d recommend unless you enjoy reading romances with historical settings. 2/5
Books in my January TBR:
- The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (currently reading)
- Fitzgerald or Hemingway for Jazz Age January
- A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde
- Dial M for Murdoch by Tom Watson and Martin Hickman
Now on to my January TBR. The first challenge of the month will be to finish The Name of the Rose which is around 600 pages. So far I’m really enjoying it, but it is a very slow read and features a lot of difficult terminology. At the moment I’m doing okay, but if I start feeling that my enjoyment of the story is dwindling because I don’t understand the language, I might switch into a Finnish translation. Another challenge that I’ve set myself for in January is Leah’s Jazz Age January reading event. This means that I’m trying to read at least one fiction either written in the 1920s or set in the 1920s. Last year I read Brideshead Revisited for this challenge, so this year I hope to read either one of Fitzgerald’s other novels or some Hemingway. I haven’t really decided yet. My “Wilde choice of the month” is going to be A Woman of No Importance, and I also hope to slip in some non-fiction in the form of Dial M for Murdoch. Otherwise I’m keeping my TBR open so that I can pick up books that I feel like reading at the moment.
Happy reading! x