Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's On Your Nightstand - January 2011

Finished - Things Fall Apart by Chinua Acebe
                  The Know It All by A. J. Jacobs
                  The White Queen by Phillippa Gregory

Started - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
                The Art of War by Sun Tzu
                The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

I have been trying to read this book for several years and assigned it to my AP Human Geography class, which forced me to finally sit down and read it.  Upon finishing it, I wonder what took me so long.  Achebe's writing style leaves room for the reader to draw their own conclusions and fill in the blanks in many instances.  Hallmarked as one of the first African books really about Africa, it gives great insight into life in African villages before the arrival of the white man and colonization.  I found myself drawn into the symbiotic relationship between the Ibo and their natural surroundings.  Everything had a reason, a purpose and a story.  When the white man came and destroyed this relationship, I found myself more than just a little bit ashamed of my ancestors. 

I viewed the main character, Okonkwo, as a tragic hero in this novel.  He achieves so much - building a successul farm, becoming a great warrior, marrying 3 wives, earning many village titles, but he also loses a great deal culminating in the losses of his son, his culture and belief in his fellow man.  For Okonkwo, his Ibo people and Africa, things truly did fall apart in this novel.

Rating - B

Last 2 Reading Challenges for 2011

When creating my original challenge list for 2011, these two challenges had not been posted yet, but I was looking for them!

Southern Literature Challenge

Jen at The Introverted Reader is hosting the Southern Literature Challenge.  This is the one type of challenge I really wanted to join this year and I am so glad I found it.  I am signing up at the Y'all  Come Back Now level - 4 books. 

I plan on reading
I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg
The Cracker Queen by Loretta Hannon
South of Broad by Pat Conroy
probably a Joshilyn Jackson book

Historical Fiction Challenge

I participated in this challenge last year at Royal Reviews and am following it to its new home at Historical Tapestry.  The Historical Fiction Challenge is one of my favorites, as in the past I have mostly read historical fiction.  I am signing up at the Struggling with the Addiction - 10 books.  I am hoping to overlap many books for this challenge with my other challenges. 

My first read will be Philippa Gregory's The White Queen

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Best Books of 2010

As we ring in a new year, I wanted to share the books I consider to be the best books I read in 2010.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larrson
Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Signoria da Vinci by Robin Maxwell

Overall this year, I read 36 books with a total of 13,486 pages.  Not bad statistics for a very busy school year which severely limited my reading time.  I only wrote 16 reviews, a dismal number at best and one statistic I hope to increase over the course of 2011.