What this blog is about…..

I have always enjoyed reading novels, but I spend much of my time reading academic books and policy papers for work and always used to feel rather guilty about reading for fun. So, a couple of years ago I decided to dedicate more timeto novel-reading and set myself the target of reading 52 novels per year (i.e. an average of one per week). I’m now in my third year of the project and this blog is a chance for me to record the reading I’ve done and to receive suggestions for other novels. I’m also happy to hear from anyone who wishes to discuss any of the books discussed here.

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11 responses to “What this blog is about…..

  1. I’ve written three posts about:

    * Iain Pears’s The Dream of Scipio.
    * John Updike’s Gertrude & Claudius.
    * Three books by Barry Unsworth.

    Have you read any of them?

    I was planning to have a blog like this one dedicated for books and films, but then that project fell through and these three posts, which I had already written, is what left of that idea.

  2. profmike

    No, I haven’t read any of the books you mention here, but if you recommend them, I will certainly add them to my list of future reading. Hope you like the blog – it’s fun to do, although sometimes it’s difficult to keep pace with the reading. I currently have three more books that I need to find time to write about!

  3. I do recommend any of the three books by Unsworth, especially The Songs of the Kings. I read your posts on the main page and I wish you had said something about the plot of the books because I’ve never heard of any of them and I had no idea what they were about.

  4. profmike

    A point well made. The reason I have generally steered away from recounting the plots of the books is mainly because that information is generally widely available by just doing a quick search on Amazon and I don’t really want to replicate the publisher’s blurb. Perhaps Ishould think about providing a link to the right Amazon page? In addition there is the question of time – I’m alredy finding myself slipping behind with the blogging and if I were to recount the plots of the novels, then the postings would be at least twice the length.I’m already writing on average 300 words per book, which over the year will work out at nearly 20,000 words. I don’t really have time to write much more than that. The blog is trying to be something slightly different – just recordingmy reactions to the reading I’m doing and inviting others to do likewise. I hope it’s reaonably clear which of the books I’m enjoying and if there’s anything that I wouldn’t recommend then I will say so very clearly! Thanks for your comments and happy reading!

  5. I have to say, the recent posts are easier to read, without the need to leave this blog and go looking somewhere else for informatin. Thanks!

  6. profmike

    Good. Perhaps I’m beginning to get a bit better at this whole blogging thing! Thanks.

  7. Hi – love the blog, I have read many of the same books and agree with much you have written. I too came to Cormac McCarthy late but I like the fact that I am reading about the USA – never were the divisions of a common language more accentuated. I was going through some other things you might like for future and I greatly enjoyed An Equal Music by Vikram Seth (so much better than his magnum opus that is A Suitable Boy). I also enjoyed Falling Man by Don Delillo and The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster, both post 9/11 books taking a new look at New York stories. Anyway, I hope Christmas and the coming New Year brings much joy and time for reading.

  8. profmike

    Thanks, Andy, and glad you like the blog. Brooklyn Follies I read a couple of years ago when I discovered Paul Auster. I remember trying to read A Suitable Boy, but it was one of the few books I gave up on – I think I was just defeated by the length of it! I will try again, though, with An Equal Music I don’t know Falling Man, but will put it on the list for next year. Thanks for the recommendations! Have a great Christmas and New Year and hope Santa brings you plenty of reading.

  9. Dear Mike, Your blog is so impressive! For the pure love of reading… I have a book to recommend for people who read lots of books: Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics. At times it is a tad familiar — precocious teenage girl, alternative life style teacher with influence, etc… but mainly it’s quite sharp, and at times very funny. And it’s clearly a book for booklovers. Each chapter is named after a different book, but often in a tangential way (and never, as I had feared, in a pretentiuos way). It was named one of the New York Times’s best 10 books of 2006, which is quite an honor.

  10. profmike

    Thanks, Carole. Very glad you like the blog and your recommendation goes on the list!
    Mike

  11. jayne

    Going to try to read your thoughts, as I cant speak to you!

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