Wednesday, January 07, 2009

RAWS Potpourri

I am mixing it up in this Read Along With Satia because I can so there is fiction, memoir, and inspirational/self-help this time. The Tale of Genji is still here mostly because I still want to read it. However, I have considered dedicating another year to reading only literature written by women and if I haven't read this by then (then being 2011) then I'll read it at that time. Still . . . if anyone out there wanted to read it now I wouldn't say no to the idea. First novel ever written was written by a woman living in Japan. It is a massive book and when you consider that this was all written in kanji, by hand, it seems impossible to imagine. I would love to someday see the original manuscript, just to get a full appreciation of the scope of this epic endeavor. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens is one of those novels I've wanted to read since I was a teenager. I don't really know why I haven't read it already. I remember being curious about it when Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth were so fond of it, wondering what it was they found so enchanting. So I guess we have Little Women to thank for my endless curiosity about this novel. I've actually considered trying to read all of Dickens' works, the ones I haven't read already, that is. Truth is, I'm not sure that his writing merits that kind of commitment given his propensity for going on and on, to get every penny out of every word he could. I have the habit of rambling without that being reinforced in my reading. But how much could one novel hurt? God is No Laughing Matter by Julia Cameron because I love her book The Artist's Way and I'm sure this will not measure up but I would like to give it a read through to see if it can live up to my lowered expectations. This is not to say that Cameron can't possibly write another great book but I think that TAW transcended into iconic status so immediately that it will be hard for Cameron to ever manage it again. I rather like the title of this book and I am curious because the reviews suggest that the title is misleading. In any event, I've a feeling this is a book I'd rather read along with someone than on my own and yet I also know I would like to read just to see how Cameron manages to live up to the brilliance of TAW. Red Azalea by Anchee Min is a memoir about Min's experiences growing up in communist China. I heard her in an interview on NPR and read her novel Katherine which is loosely based on her personal experience. I would love to read her memoir to see just how loose the novel is compare with the memoir. She also published a novel about Chairman Mao's wife (the title of which completely eludes me at the moment) and I obviously liked her first novel well enough to want to read her memoir. I've a feeling that this is one that would make for some great discussion/dialogue. The Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray is a memoir I've had sitting on my shelf for entirely too long. I bought it for a book group that never met to discuss it. In the meantime, it's been sitting on my shelf unread and taking up space. I either need to read it or rid my shelf of it. Naturally, I would prefer to do the former. The memoir sounds rather uplifting and with reviewers using words like "lyrical" and "must read," it is hard to just not say I read it. It feels like a waste to have bought it and not to at least give it a try.

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