What I’m Reading – February 2014

What I'm Reading February 2014

With Valentine’s Day almost upon us, I thought it fitting that at least one of the titles I read this month be explicitly about love and such is the case with Australian Love Poems 2013, thus also filling my minimum self-set poetry quota. While it contained some beautiful poems, many by names I already admire and some that are new to me, I couldn’t help but feel once I’d finished that I’d could (should?) have instead sat down with a number of Dorothy Porter titles to get a real taste of lust and desire: Akhenaten and The Monkey’s Mask, for example.

Something that’s come to my attention this year is that the 14th of February is also International Book Giving Day and I can think of no two better choices than The Secret Museum by Molly Oldfield and Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience by Shaun Usher.

What an adventure and a privilege for Oldfield, to be shown into the secret archives and storage rooms of the world’s greatest libraries and collections to see the treasures that are too precious to be put on display. Her humility and gratitude is reflected in the stories she relates and this is an easy, engaging read.

Another winner is Letters of Note – as I was reading it, I instagrammed pictures and got an immediate response from other’s who love it as much as I do. I cried no less than four times; late at night I would nudge Adam in the ribs to get him to sit up in bed as I shoved the book under his nose saying ‘Read this! Isn’t it amazing?!’

It even inspired one of my Month of Poetry Twitter poems:

You’ll have to read the book to get the full context! (The letter was from Clementine Churchill to her husband, Winston Churchill.)

Last mention goes to Ender’s Game, which I finished on the weekend. Adam has been pestering me to read it ever since we first got together and in the many rotations our bookshelves have gone through over the years the area designating the ‘books I’ve been meaning to read but never have quite gotten around to it’ has featured this title – along with Dune, as well as others. I have to admit I was feeling defensive against it as a text even before beginning because Orson Scott Card, it turns out, is a horrible person. The novel itself was sexist and I didn’t enjoy the fight scenes – such as they were – and I had a lot of trouble connecting with any of the characters. I asked Adam why he liked it so much when he was a little boy. “I didn’t read too much into it back then. I was interested only in the story.” Fair enough too, I guess. I won’t be reading any of the sequels though, and let’s leave it at that.

Are there any Ender’s Game fans? Am I being too harsh? What is everyone reading this month?

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Karen Andrews is the creator of Karen Andrews. This is one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country and is a two-time finalist in the Best Australian Blogs competition. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Is an exercise junkie (when she finds the time).

Comments

  1. Anthony says

    Hi Karen

    Just finished Junot Diaz’ The Brave and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I’m now reading Eclipse Four Ed. by Jonathan Strahan and The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi.

    Best

      • Anthony says

        Diaz was both fantastic and frustrating. I did out the novel down a few times but I was glad that there was enough in it to lure me back. Diaz voice here is fresh and innovative,with a wonderful sense of humor. I think, however, the plot needed a little more in terms of narrative and he possibly went for too many voices. Parts are brilliant and by the end I certainly thought it worth it. 8/10 from me, which is a very high ‘A’ but I do understand some readers’ frustrations with the text.
        Thumbs up from me. Could do with a Spanish gloassary too…

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