As if I wasn’t already busy with upcoming folio and exhibition preparation, and any leftover freelancing projects to complete, I have decided in my funny head to read as much as possible this month (from the 7th to 30th September) in the spirit of the Books Alive campaign, which is supported by Book Thingo, from which I’m drawing inspiration.
The last time I participated in a reading challenge was in my final year of high school, for the Australian Readers’ Challenge to encourage literacy in Aborigine communities, but back then I had a generous time span of 6 months to read 10 books. Quite a cinch, right? Wrong! VCE did not allow me to read much other than set Literature texts. Anyway. The same holds for uni, unfortunately.
Now I have a shitload on my to-read list. I keep buying and buying and accumulating and accumulating, until my house nearly tumbles from too many books crammed into too few crevasses. (OK I love to embellish my words, but it’s true, my balcony was on the verge of collapsing at one point but probably not for reasons I imagined…)
Anyway, I’m going to post my progress here periodically during September. So wotcher! Without further ado, I give you:
Jen’s “Books I’ve Either Borrowed for a Long Time or Bought a Long Time Ago” Reading Challenge
Books I’m Partly Through
My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell
Eve of Darkness – S. J. Day
Skeletons at the Feast – Chris Bohjalian
The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough
The Russian Concubine – Kate Furnivall YAY!
Wives and Daughters – Elizabeth Gaskell
The Diplomat’s Wife – Pam Jenoff
The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx
Man Alone With Himself – Friedrich Nietzsche
Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer
Batman: Knightfall — Broken Bat – Doug Moench
JLA: New World Order
Batman: Officer Down
Next up … (I’ll be lucky to reach this point)
Bound By Your Touch – Meredith Duran
The Book of Rapture – Nikki Gemmell
Little Dorrit – Charles Dickens
Lord of the Fading Lands – C. L. Wilson
The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J.K. Rowling (yeah, laugh at me)
Eve of Destruction – S. J. Day
Eve of Chaos – S. J. Day
Burning Bright – Tracy Chevalier
Passion and Pleasure in London – Melody Thomas
Road to Paradise – Paullina Simons
Mine Till Midnight – Lisa Kleypas
Never Dare a Duke – Gayle Callen
As an Earl Desires – Lorraine Heath
- Duke of Shadows – Meredith Duran.
Duran really evokes a sense of the time in a turbulent era of British India, married with the intense romance between the two leads, this is quite impressive stuff! I really like the heroine here. Not coincidentally because she happens to be an artist either. :P
- Bound by Your Touch – Meredith Duran
Guess I was slightly disappointed by this book’s premise, after reading a very awesome Duke of Shadows, but nevertheless this is still wonderfully written, with strong characters and relationships.
- Not Quite a Husband – Sherry Thomas
This author is now one of my auto-buys. I was blown away by Delicious, and this one is almost equally as good. I have quite a thing for “renewed and rekindled romance” and this novel has it in spades. Interesting parallel to Duran’s Duke of Shadows, given the location and the political intrigue. On the other hand, it did seem awkward why the couple would break off in the first place; they had such great chemistry when they were first acquainted.
- The Russian Concubine – Kate Furnivall
I wrote a long-arse review on my Goodreads account which has sort of become a rant (I digress), but I will say here that it was an enjoyable read, and I appreciated (VERY MUCH, in fact) the attention to historical detail, and the touching love story between two people of entirely different cultures and race. And I can’t wait to read the next novel. ;) I think I’m on a roll with the inter-racial romance thing (mainly a Chinese man with a European/Anglo woman) …
- Eve of Darkness – Sylvia Day
I remember devouring the first third of the novel, thinking what a unique—albeit occasionally confusing—premise this was, and then getting bored towards the end. I’m hoping the next two instalments have more to offer.
- Mine Till Midnight – Lisa Kleypas
Wow, I have not read a Kleypas novel for a couple years at least! But now I’m doing major catch-up, and she’s still got it. Appealing characters and taut, amusing narratives of country life. I’ve always thought her forte was in the Gypsy/English (or “lower class” male with “upper class” lady) pairing. Hah!
- My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durrell
A delightful, light read about Gerald’s eccentric adventures with exotic creatures and people in Corfu, but more interesting and amusing to see are the reactions Gerald’s animals can coax out of his siblings and indulgent mother, who aren’t always as open to the wild menagerie growing bigger and bigger each day. Worth checking out the film too; it’s pretty faithful and captures the whimsical voice of the narrative.
- Batman: Knightfall: Part One — Broken Bat – Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, Alan Grant
I was pretty much gnawing my fingernails off out of fear for Bruce. He’s perpetually the man of strength and indestructible resilience and stamina, so it’s frightening to see him crushed by another man. A shitty villain like Bane. Oh sure, he deduced Batman’s true identity under a year or so, but that doesn’t make him a worthy villain to me. At least Ra’s al Ghul and perhaps even Hush (the villains who know that Bruce is Batman) has more charisma and showmanship than the steroid-glutting brute. Bane is boring. It’ll be interesting to see how Bruce recovers, and how Gotham will react to the new Bat on the block …
- Batman: Knightfall: Part Two — Who Rules the Night – Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, Alan Grant
Well, after finishing Knightfall volume one, I had to keep going, didn’t I? Jean Paul Valley (aka Azrael or Azbats) takes over the mantle of the Bat, and pretty much goes even more batshit nutters, becoming more aggressive and brutal than Bruce, crossing the line where Bruce would not, driving Robin away, and even coming up with a new and improved Bat costume. All heavy metal and artillery, yo! The final showdown with Bane is intense, but loses energy by the end when I just wanted it to end, damn it!
- Batman: Knightfall: Part Three — Knightsend – Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, Alan Grant
Good grief what a bizarre climax.
I’m not sure what I think yet.It was great to see how Bruce manages to rehabilitate himself, emotionally (although never quite to the degree you or I imagine, heh; he’s still psychoBat!) and physically after Bane snapped Bruce’s back. He even approaches the deadly assassin, Lady Shiva, for guidance. Does he cross the line? Knowing Bruce, I think we all know the answer anyway. I’m just glad Bruce kicks some major Jean Paul arse by the end. It was all quite sudden though—when Jean Paul took off the mask; it unhinged him, which I thought was quite a poignant moment. And it just hit home how much I miss Bruce Wayne as Batman in the current DC universe. Where are you Bruce?!
My aim was 10 books for September, and I just made it! Of course, I didn’t finish all the books that are on my currently-reading list, but I’ve taken a lot off the load already.