I began 2020 with a fire in my belly for reading. I made up a goal to ensure a robust literary year: 20 novels, 20 plays. I proceeded to read more nonfiction than ever before, and I have no regrets.
I do not speak or read Russian, so I am at the mercy of literary critics, polyglots, and bored Amazon reviewers. There are many P&V detractors. Whether they prefer other modern translators, Constance Garnett, or someone in between, many reviews (that are not featured on book jackets) criticize Pevear and Volokhonsky. The more I have read, the more I have had to accept they may not be the be-all end-all of Russian translators.
For my fifth annual Reading Recap I decided to do something a little special: procrastinate for five months before finishing it. In my defense, I was very busy around New Year’s, and I am very not-busy now.
I had one goal for reading in 2018: enjoy it. I forced myself to read too many educational books in 2017 for no reason other than I should, and I did not want to wear myself down that way again. I believe I succeeded.
Early this year I followed Marie Kondo's advice and put every book I owned on the floor to be judged. I held every book and decided whether it brought me joy--if yes it stayed, if no it was discarded. Unfortunately, the joy a book brings can fluctuate based on all those words between the covers. … Continue reading Queen Harvest’s 2017 Reading Recap
Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City is a remarkable piece of pop history. Larson takes two very different historical narratives–one bringing pride and hope to a city, the other leaving shame and fear –and sews them into one fascinating garment. I expected the serial killer to keep my interest, but I was pleasantly … Continue reading In Review: The Devil in the White City and The Fountainhead
I ought to warn you that this essay will contain spoilers for Wolf Hall (and lots of them), but I am not sure that this book can be spoiled. Wolf Hall is historical fiction, based on the actions of Henry VIII and his councilors surrounding the English Reformation. In addition to the king, the three … Continue reading In Review: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
I'm now in my second year of prioritizing reading as an adult, and I don't know how I let all those years before slip past. I used to have four or five TV shows in regular rotation, but I have spent the last three months just slowly rewatching Mad Men because TV isn't as important … Continue reading Queen Harvest’s 2016 Reading Recap
The Ulysstes? The Ulistes? No. What better day than Bloomsday to revisit my plan and preparations to read Ulysses. Right on schedule, I started Ulysses January 1, and I was able to finish on February 1. I am not foolish enough to make any attempts toward analysis, but I am comfortable saying that Ulysses is … Continue reading In Review: The Ulysses List
Learning that a friend read over 200 books last year compelled me to reevaluate my reading habits. A voracious reader as a child, I had let various distractions take priority over my time, even though reading continued to bring me joy and satisfaction. I read maybe five books in 2014, and I found that unacceptable. … Continue reading Queen Harvest’s 2015 Reading Recap