countess olenska

by Marasop

She’s fabulous.  I wanna be her!


on 2011 reading goals

I totally forgot that I made reading goals for 2011.  I listed seven books that I had to read within the year.  I read a total of 24 books but only three out of the seven books listed.  The list included:

1. Noli Me Tangere by José Rizal

2. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (for re-reading)

4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

5. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

6. A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (or any other Jules Verne)

7. In Cold Blood / Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

I read items 2, 3 and 4.  Three out of seven.  Almost 50%.  Not bad.  Anyway, reading Swann’s Way was enough of an achievement for a year, I think.  I didn’t bleed with the effort as I thought I would.  I actually really liked it.  And I read it at a time when something else was particularly engrossing me and I couldn’t help but note that just when I started reading Swann’s Way –this book that I have been wanting to read forever, and I knew was very good, and that didn’t disappoint — then this singular, remarkable, out-of-the-blue thing happened to me.  It’s notable how there is a parallel between what we read and what goes on in our lives.  I always say that I seem to read just the right book at the right time of my life.  There was no connection between Swann’s Way and what was going on with me, except that I was really curious about it and I thought Marcel Proust controversial and I was feeling all sorts of controversial at the time.

I have read The Age of Innocence before.  I liked it well enough but it didn’t really hit the mark for me.  I re-read it to see if I would like it better but I felt the same as I did after the first reading.  Newland Archer, though, would remain to be one of my favorite male characters from a book.  The movie was really good, though.

Of Mice and Men.  John Steinbeck hit the mark for me with Grapes of Wrath: it is one of my all-time favorites.  This book, Of Mice and Men, is a short one and I really can’t comment on it except that I am thankful it’s crossed off my list.

This year, as I’ve said, I won’t be picking what particular books to prioritize.  I will go with whatever feels right at the moment and whatever would help me de-stress from my law studies.  There is one book that I know I will read before the year is over: Ulysses.  It is a done deal.

the age of innocence

The Age of Innocence

Elizabeth Peyton

I read Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence at a time when I was just getting into the classics and read anything classic without looking for any particular title.  When I finished reading I knew it was a really good book but I couldn’t decide whether it was a favorite or not.  I really loved the bittersweet feel of the story, though, particularly the ending.

I saw the movie a while back.  Powerful.  I loved it.  It was one of those rarity of a book made to movie that was actually great.  (Still, of course, never greater than the book.)  I guess the gap between the reading and the watching was too long to make me look out for finer comparisons.  Nonetheless, the movie did something that enhanced my feel for the book and made me want to read it again.  I’ve always thought of re-reading it, but watching the movie just increased my desire to immerse myself into the book again.  This Wharton book definitely deserves a second reading.  Anyway, The Age of Innocence the movie just had to be great.  It was directed by no less than Martin Scorsese and starred Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder.

I had to put this in here to prioritize.  The first half of January has ended and I haven’t even finished a book yet.  Being busy and all, I have to prioritize my books for the year, including those I want to re-read.  I have a mental list but I’ll put it in writing here after The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.  Fancy title by the fancy Douglas Adams.  (I am just about to start a cult!  I am so extremely fond of Adams.)