Monday, February 03, 2014

January's Round UP, Projections for February

Just as all resolutions begin on a high-note at the beginning of the year, January has also been a good month for reading. Though it hardly portends how the rest of the year would turn out to be, and this January was no exception. With these books, I am fulfilling my 2014 reading projections:
  1. The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins. [569p] This was a selection by the Writers Project of Ghana's Book and Discussion Club for the month of February. It is a story full of suspense, of heart-wrenching escapades involving very naive and very wicked people. There is something beautiful about this book. At least those who have read it have praise the selection.
  2. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. [547p.] I decided to read this book last year, but I could not muster the necessary courage and mental fortitude to brace it. I had heard of the numerous characters (same as for Rushdie's Midnight's Children). I read this basically because of the news that surrounded it - its ban and the fatwa that was placed on the author. For me, the book does not deserve all those hype. It is less than Midnight's Children. And it is only good in certain portions. I believe the critics would have said something different if not for all those hype resulting from the furor that followed its publication.
  3. The Case of Wagner/Wagner Contra Nietzsche by Friedrich Nietzsche. [135p] This book consists of two essays by Nietzsche on the music of Wagner. In them, Nietzsche accused Wagner of degeneracy and for pretending to be a genius. I wondered what Nietzsche would have had to say about our arts scene today, where music is no longer music but nudity and sex, where talent is more of one's ability to dare and be naked, not the boldness to create things new and unique.
  4. Fellowship of the Ring (Book 1 of Lord of the Rings) by J. R. R. Tolkien. [423p] I have had the set of Tolkien's trilogy for more than half a decade. Until then, I had only read the Book 1; thus, this is more of a rereading. I decided this year to read the entire trilogy.
  5. Eugenics and Other Evils by G. K. Chesterson. [179p] This is an essay on events in the scientific and political world in the early 20th Century when scientists either believed or fooled the people that they could breed diseases out of existence by controlling who could get married and who could not. These were the dark times when science was made to believe as if it could answer everything. Here Chesterson discussed how weak, hollow, empty, and foolish such an idea was and how it percolated deep into politics leading to the Lunacy Laws and others.
In February, I will continue with Tolkien's trilogy, possibly I will read the remaining two books. These are the books I will likely read:
  1. The Two Towers (Book 2 of the Lord of the Rings) by J. R. R. Tolkien. I am currently reading this book. Do you know that The Lord of the Rings was considered a racist book?
  2. The Return of the King (Book 3 of the Lord of the Rings) by J. R. R. Tolkien. I may complete the trilogy, if all goes well.
  3. Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie. I was very lucky to have been gifted with this book. It completes my Adichie collection. It is also the second Adichie I have received as a gift, after Half of a Yellow Sun. I have decided to read every book she publishes and so this will be the fourth.
  4. The Psychology of Nations by G. E. Partridge. This year, which should have been the case last year, I am reading a lot of essays on topics I am very much interested in. And thanks to the Gutenberg Project, I can access these ebooks from my phone. Even though I still claim not to be a fan of ebooks and e-readers. Already I have read Nietzsche and Chesterson.
Already my reading seems to have been dominated by non-African books. This is a reflection of the poor availability to African books I have always lamented about. Besides the African Writers Series (by Heinemann) which seems to be widely available, what are other publishers doing to distribute widely?

What did you read? What are you reading?

2 comments:

  1. It's worth lamenting about: availability is obviously an issue all around. I was in the same position for a time with the Tolkien novels, and I got caught in a cycle of perpetually rereading the first volume, always intending to read on. Eventually I did complete the series (and enjoyed it thoroughly). Now I am trying to mend the same pattern with Madeleine L'Engle's time series, in which I keep reading the first two volumes, but never seem to "move along". That's where reading goals help, right? Well, sometimes. Heh. Hope you enjoy your reading this month, and good luck with your plans!

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    1. I thought availability was a unique problem here.

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