Thursday, December 31, 2009

What Have You Read-2009? What Do You Hope To Read- 2010?

We did this at the end of the year last year, and so I suppose it shall become the very first regular feature of my very irregular blog.

The Challenge: What have you read this past year? What was your favorite? What was your least favorite? What book would you most recommend to others to read? Also list one or two reading goals for next year. What do you hope to read? Do you hope to read more? Do you hope to read more of a particular type of material?

Even if you haven't read any books- what blogs, news sources, message boards, or magazines have you read?

Either leave your list in the comments or on your own blog with a link in the comments!!

What I've Read 2009:
One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Mr. Ives' Christmas- Oscar Hijuelos
Bridge of San Luis Rey- Thorton Wilder
Things They Carried- Tim O'Brien
Last Night I Dreamed of Peace-
Mister Pip-Lloyd Jones
Bachelor Brother's Bed and Breakfast-Bill Richardson
Robber Bridegroom-Eudora Welty
Between, Georgia- Joshilyn Jackson
Going After Cacciato- Tim O'Brien
Roxanna Slade- Reynolds Price
Steve and Me- Terri Irwin
Fathers and Sons- Ivan Turgenev
The Good Earth- Pearl S Buck
My Mortal Enemy- Willa Cather
The Open Boat and Other Stories- Stephen Crane
Camino Real- Tennessee Williams
The Autobiography of Santa Claus- Jeff Guinn

Favorite: Roxanna Slade Least Favorite: Going After Cacciato. What Everyone Should Read: Mr Ives' Christmas.

Goals For 2010
Mostly I just want to complete the War Through The Generations reading challenge. I want to be realistic in what I am able to do while not sleeping and having a wee baby in the house. Though I think in the next few weeks here, the time has absolutely come for me to read Nabakov. It astounds me often, the big gaps in my reading! Time to ammend at least this one.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 War Through The Generations Reading Challenge

This year's reading challenge? Vietnam War literature!! And unless something more significant (ack!!) than getting pregnant, moving, dealing with flooding problems, and having a new baby happens--I feel very confident that I can read at least six books which have the Vietnam War as a primary or secondary theme. I even already have a list!

Why am I so excited by this particular challenge? I have often joked that if I went to go get a doctorate, that I could-at any given time- write my thesis about Vietnam War literature, since I have read that particular genre so extensively. In my review of The Things They Carried, I speak of feeling a connection with this literature and with the war, since I was a young girl.

I wasn't sure about why that connection exists, but speaking with a good friend of a good friend at a party last week, I think I might have nailed down why this particular literature and era calls to my inner being as it does.(And yes...I of the party!! That's me! Baby in tow and talking about books. *giggles* Thank heavens for my Pee Wee Herman laugh!). As we were speaking about what we were reading, my current read being My Detachment by Tracy Kidder, he asked why I was drawn to Vietnam War literature. He felt that WWII literature was more compelling, because of the singularly horrific organization of evil which was present in the Axis regimes. As I understood it, he felt that such evil being allowed to manifest and exist in such a way was such a puzzle that all humanity could think of it for all of time and still not come to a firm understanding or resolution as to why it happened.

For me, however, while I do not disagree with any of the points he made, Vietnam War literature tugs at my soul and my consciousness in a far more personal way than the abstractions and altruisms of much WWII literature. Thinking about this, my working conclusion is that there is something about how muddled and how completely un-understandable the Vietnam War is in all its facets with which I deeply relate. I think that I connect with the idea of having been sold a bill of goods. Having been born in the 1970's , raised in the 1980's and come into my adulthood in the 1990's, my entire life centered around an illusion of peace and security. The suburban over-achiement myth has left so many of my peers and contemporaries as broken, wounded, essentially empty people. We collectively pretended for decades that there was no grey, when in fact nearly all of life is a muddled, overlapping mess of black and white. We began with firm ammendment of the will, yet ended with a deep, far-reaching purposelessness.

Vietnam War literature primarily focuses on just this dichotomy, the process of going through that confusion and loss of a sense of purpose, it's after effects both short- and long-term, and sometimes the resolution of taking these things and while never making sense of them, using them as a foundation from which to build a new life replete with purpose.. Mostly this is true, because the War itself and the people who lived during the War careened through these phases if not personally, collectively.

It will be interesting to come back to this post and the end of 2010 after reading more and re-examine my thesis. In the meantime, I hope you will consider joining the War Through The Generations Challenge this year! Check back throughout the year for my book reviews!

(PS-Please be patient and gentle with spelling and grammar errors--I have a feeling that most posts will be written just like this one--with a baby in arms, a toddler climbing on my back and shoulders ad interruptions from no less than 3 other people. :) )

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Michael at Christmastime

I cannot believe that Michael is 2 months old! The time has flown by and the first few weeks of his life are a blur. He is still working out the whole digestion-thing, but has made up for that grumpiness by starting to smile quite a bit. I expect another two months will find us with some semblance of a routine and rhythm to our days and nights. While I am trying to be in the present, I do look forward to a little more normalcy.

Christmas so far has been rather busy, so while fun it is also a little exhausting. We got lots of new games for Christmas, which I think deserve their own blog post in the next day or two.

In the meantime have fun perusing my new favorite blog:
My Monkeys And Me