My Seriously Belated List of 2015 Reading Resolutions; Or, Why I Suck At Making Resolutions

BalloonHey everybody, did you know it’s February already? I certainly didn’t. Sadly, this is not because I spent the entire holiday season sitting on a beach somewhere with an incredibly attractive, shirtless young man, sipping tropical cocktails and wearing an appropriate level of sunblock.

No, once again a lethal combination of personal qualities – laziness, love of food, and a tendency to procrastination – combined with a number of other events – namely an existential crisis brought on by the realisation that I had no idea what to do with my life now that I had finished university – to create an atmosphere of relaxation punctuated by moments of blinding panic as the old year wound to a close and 2015 took over. Also, I really got into Battlestar Galactica. Continue reading

Summer Plans, And All That Stuff

summerplansCue dramatic music, please… because I am finally ready to resume normal life. Yes, that’s right, I’ve finally finished my university work for this year. That means that I can now return to regularly programmed human activities, such as showering, holding conversations that last for more that fifteen minutes (and are related to something other than essays and assignments), and actually, you know, leaving the house more than twice a week.

So what have I got planned for my extended summer holidays? Well, I can’t say for sure yet, but I can say with some certainty that it will involve a lot of books. Continue reading

A Sentimental Journey (1768), by Laurence Sterne

sentimentaljourneyThis book is #6 on my Back to the Classics list for 2014.

Well, it’s been a while since I posted a book review. But fear not! I haven’t been neglecting my reading. In fact, now that the winter break has begun, I’ve finally been able to focus on Books I Actually Want to Read, rather than constantly struggling through the tyranny of Books I Must Read For Class or Risk Failing. Meanwhile, I’ve got a backlog of reviews that I’m hoping to share with you all, starting with another travel-inspired tome.

There are several reasons why I wanted to read Laurence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy. Not only is it a turning-point in the history of travel writing, it also makes fun of the self-obsessed and narrow-minded travel accounts of older generations, something I’m sure almost everyone enjoys, if only in small doses. Sterne’s novel was also a precursor to the approach of Romantic writers like Goethe, whose Italian Journey I read earlier this year. Continue reading

Back to the Classics

classics2014It’s been a while since I updated here; I’ve been on a whirlwind tour of Istanbul and Athens (more on that later) so I’ve got plenty to tell, but first I thought I’d share the titles for the other challenge I’m attempting this year. The Back to the Classics challenge looks a little less daunting than Classics Club, so I’ve chosen seven categories to tackle, most of which are also on my Classics Club list. So, without further ado…

Back to the Classics Challenge

  1. A 20th Century ClassicBrideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh Completed; review here.
  2. A 19th Century ClassicChilde Harold’s Pilgrimage, by Lord Byron Completed; review here.
  3. A Classic by a Woman AuthorCastle Rackrent, by Maria Edgeworth Completed; review here.
  4. A Classic in TranslationLysistrata, by Aristophanes Completed; review here.
  5. A Classic About WarA Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens Swapped for All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque. Completed; review here.
  6. A Classic by an Author Who Is New To YouA Sentimental Journey, by Laurence Sterne Completed; review here.

Optional Categories:

  1.  A Classic That’s Been Adapted Into a Movie or TV Series – Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers Completed; review here.
  2. Extra Fun Category: Write a Review of the Movie or TV Series adapted from Optional Category [Above] – Disney’s Mary Poppins.

I’m ashamed to say I’ve never seen Mary Poppins, so I thought I’d pick that title for the optional category so that I have an excuse to (finally) watch the movie. Strictly speaking, too, A Tale of Two Cities is not about war; but as the rules say that events like the French Revolution are acceptable for this category, I went ahead and selected Dickens. I’ve already started on two titles on this list, so stay tuned for reviews!

EDIT 10/12/2014: I’ve decided to swap my ‘Classic About War’. Instead of Dickens, I’ll be reading Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, which is a little more appropriate, I think, for the anniversary of World War I.