Sunday 25 December 2011

I'm making it official: Bookphilia is on hiatus

As it's been a solid month since I last posted, this will surprise no one; indeed, you may be wondering why I'm bothering to make it official at all. Well, I don't like to just disappear without saying anything (as I have) so here it is: I'm putting the blog on hiatus, until I don't know when. I definitely see this as a hiatus and not as a precursor to a deletion, but I have no idea how long this radio silence might last. I do know that I haven't really had time to engage with it in the way I'd like to in months, and I also don't know when things will improve in this regard. Also, and perhaps just as significantly, I think writing only about books has reached a critical enough low on my interest scale that I need to think seriously about making this into a different kind of blogwhich might necessitate a new name and a new layoutmore things that take time I don't currently have, in other words.

Before I head off into an internet-quiet 2012, here's a short reading update. I'm currently 300 pages into Charles Dickens's Bleak House (yes, I plan to keep up with my Victorian lit reading plan, even if I'm not able to write about it) and it's absolutely stellar; it's so good it's challenging David Copperfield for the "Best Dickens Novel" honours in my soul. I think Dickens is a genius; slightly restrained Dickens is uber-genius. I'm ready it incredibly slowly because I just don't want it to end. And as it's 900+ pages long, it might just not ever end. #win

Before getting the best Festivus gift ever (i.e., rolling out of bed very late to eat pancakes and read Dickens!), I finished a few other things, all of them very good, none of them perfect (although Sanshiro was close). First up was Dorothy Sayers's awkwardly titled Have His Carcase. More awkward than the title, however, was the plot which was just too ridiculously complicated; it was almost laughable. That said, I don't actually read Sayers for the plot. I read Sayers because she was an extremely gifted prose stylist and because the interactions between Harriet and Lord Peter are entirely irresistible. I loved this book in spite of its plot.

Next up was Charlotte Bronte's Villette, the tale of a downtrodden but alternately rebellious, funny, mean, and hysterical woman of mysterious origin (not that Bronte ever did anything with the mystery she invoked around Lucy Snowe, damn her eyes). Lucy's adventures in being a self-supporting single woman result in adventures with ghosts, gaggles of teenaged girls, a Machiavellian boss, and a ferocious but strangely attractive male English teacher and no one knows which of said challenges is scariest. I alternated between being repeatedly surprised at Bronte's excellent writing (I love Jane Eyre, but in the many times I've read it, I don't honestly remember being struck by the writing per se), enjoying the story, and wanting to give Lucy a good hard shake for trying to be so self-effacing. Self-deprecation rendered in extensive and minute detail does not make for good reading, even when done by a gifted author. Overall, I enjoyed Villette quite a bit but I'm fairly certain I will never feel tempted to re-read it.

Finally, there was Soseki Natsume's Sanshiro (the new Jay Rubin translation!), which I read in two days while Hubby and I traipsed around the perfect and beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal. Soseki is one of my favourite authors (in spite of my finding Botchan to be just shockingly over-rated) and Sanshiro did not disappoint; it was alternately quietly hilarious and sharply satirical, somewhat silly and deeply saddeningrather like the titular boy-hero himself. This book was just lovely; it made me wonder why I haven't stormed through more of the Soseki cache I have stashed in my bookshelves...Probably because my rationing instinct is stronger than my consuming instinct when it comes to books; if only that were true of peanut butter toast!

Now, we're all caught up. While I try to figure out when and how to return to Bookphilia, I will be reading, hopefully only from the large collection of unread books already in my possession. Yes, I have made a New Year's resolution, which is very unlike me. I've resolved to try and not buy myself books in 2012. I will, of course, continue to accept books as gifts because if I didn't, the lovely people who give me presents would likely go mad with confusion about how to give me things. Selfless of me, isn't it?

See you soon(?) my friends! (PS-I'll keep my currently reading tab here up-to-date just in case anyone's curious; you can also find me on Goodreads, which I remember to log into every 1-2 weeks).