August Reading

What are you reading and why?

Last night, I finished reading The Last Empress by Anchee Min. It is the sequel to Empress Orchid, which I read earlier this year. This book is a thoroughly-researched history of the Empress’s life, and is completely 180 degrees from the way she is portrayed by most historians, like this one. Wow. If you read that link, and wonder how this woman could ever be portrayed as compassionate, loving, dedicated to her sons–in short, likable, then check out the book. (Literally, check it out, it is available at the McPherson Library).

This month, I have three books in my stack. The Help, due to the movie’s recent release, The Paris Wife, due to its current popularity and my love of Paris, and One Hundred Years of Solitude, the book that is taking me One Hundred Years to finish. I expect that I’ll be able to finish The Help and The Paris Wife quickly, because books that are über-popular, let’s face it, usually aren’t terribly difficult. This does not mean they aren’t good!! They’re just easier.

Why am I reading the aforementioned? Well, I try to read for reading’s sake. It keeps a person’s brain engaged in a way that TV never can. It allows me to brush up on grammar and vocabulary, and (in a book written in an accent/dialect like The Help) my creativity. I’m sure there’s a term for “reading aloud in your head” to make the funny spellings of dialect-written books make sense, and it helps exercise that skill.

I haven’t cracked open The Paris Wife yet but I’m excited in getting to it after The Help. One Hundred Years of Solitude is on my list because I enjoyed Love in the Time of Cholera and buzzed through that book very quickly. This one is proving much more tedious and less engrossing. But it won awards, and is supposedly the author’s best work, so I must finish it.

Click on any photo to be taken to where the book can be purchased. Except I got them all from the local library.

Reading (2)

Happy May, everyone! It’s still chilly here, not a typical Kansas May, which is in fact very irritating to me. That and the fact that my bike has disappeared, but that’s neither here nor there.

I’ve always loved reading, and when I’m not chasing around the dog these days (can’t take my eye off of him for a minute) I still try to fit in a few chapters every day. I finished those library books I wrote about last time, loved one (Empress Orchid) and thought the other was just OK (The Life and Opinions…). I’m on the waiting list  for Water for Elephants but since the movie’s out, the list is rather long, so we’ll see. Everyone (like me) wants to check it out before watching the film. I’m currently working on One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, an author I like (while in Morocco, I read Love in the Time of Cholera).

One Hundred Years of Solitude is on my (drumroll) arbitrary list of 100 books I will read someday. I know, right? Well, there’s a new tab at the top of the post which I adapted from a word document that’s been sitting around on my desktop for about a year now. I don’t remember who compiled it or where I found it, but it’s a list, and I do love crossing things off lists. I want to read many or most books on it, so it’s up there. If you want to check it out every now and then to see how I’m doing, well, that’d be fun :)

Also, don’t forget to vote for me (on the right sidebar). They’ve reset their counts and with lots of votes I could break into the first page easily!


Every year I have the personal goal of reading 50 books, and I usually get somewhere around 25-27, but this year I haven’t finished a single one so far. This is distressing. So, yesterday I got two books from the library! And somehow I’m already halfway through the first one. I’m impressed with myself, mostly because lately it’s been hard to focus on one thing for such a long period of time.

Right now I’m reading Empress Orhid, by Anchee Min. I read Min’s memoir, Red Azalea, after I heard her speak at PLNU’s Writer’s Symposium By The Sea a few years ago and I like her writing style. She uses detailed descriptions but doesn’t let it bog down the movement of the  book.

Click the book to be taken to the Amazon page.

Next is a book I saw reviewed a while ago in Vogue or Vanity Fair or some magazine, it’s called The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O’Hagan. Evidently it’s a peek into Monroe’s life through the eyes of her dog. Sounds cute and I can’t wait to finish Empress Orchid to begin this one.

Again, click the book to go to Amazon.

What are you reading these days?