I read a lot in December, and most of it was…not that great. While I was in Granada, I picked up and read Tariq Ali’s Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree, and it was so full of anachronisms (most of them food-based). He wrote like five sequels though, so no one should feel bad for him, really. Least of all me.
I didn’t want to let the year go out, however, without mentioning that I finally got around to reading To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. I previously panned Blackout and All Clear, two of her other books, but I loved this one so much that I might give them a second try (but probably not, let’s be real). It’s a riff on Jerome K. Jerome’s classic Three Men in a Boat, and to my (confused?) mind, there was something very Wodehousian about it, too. It was a delightful comedy and so refreshing after Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree, which on top of not being all that well written (I thought the characters were so flat…probably because there were like 100 of them) was also pretty grim. All in all, a nice, gentle 500 pages to ease you into the New Year.
Next year, I’m looking forward to traveling (I keep misspelling travelling/traveling) a lot, running another 10K, and reading some of the many, many books on my kindle and packed into every corner of my house, which include, in no particular order:
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
All Seated on the Ground by Connie Willis
Celestina by Fernando de Rojas (finishing it, anyway) Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff
Eric by Terry Pratchett
Swann’s Way (again, finishing…I actually love this book, but it has very little forward momentum, you know? It almost invites you to step away from it and come back after a walk.)
Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
The Life of St. Teresa of Avila
Maigret and the Man on the Boulevard by Georges Simenon
The Origin of the Brunists by Robert Coover
Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers
Out by Natsuo Kirino
Lazarillo de Tormes by I Can’t Remember
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe, for some reason
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (probably not)
Either/Or by Kierkegaard (again, why?)
Bring Up the Bodies by Hillary Mantel
Sometimes, I look through my kindle and I feel like I must have been drunk when I bought myself these books.