Reading Diaries – v. I

It’s finally post-Christmas – post-crazy, if you will. These are the two weeks of break that I am most looking forward to. Catching up with friends, reading, and brainstorming for the next semester. Tomorrow is New Years Eve, and I’m celebrating for the first time by going to a few parties with the Boy.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be using this blog as a space to reflect on the copious amounts of reading that I’m doing – I love writing about what I’ve read; I think it’s an incredibly healthy reading habit, and one that I hope to partake in for reflection purposes.

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Yesterday’s books were A Holiday for Murder by Agatha Christie and The Shelf by Phyllis Rose. The former, I’d already seen via the BBC Poirot adaptation, so no surprises there, sadly. But it was still a good read. After not reading (for pleasure) for a long time, it was absolutely delightful to start up again with something easy and enjoyable. If I’d started with Rose’s work, then I might have been less inspired to continue.

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Not that I didn’t like Rose’s book. Actually, I think it’s one of the better scholarly-lite works that I’ve read in quite a while. If you’re not familiar with her, Phyllis Rose is a feminist literary critic and essayist. She’s done a bit of work on Virginia Woolf, which is how I first became acquainted with her (although I’m not a particular fan of her approach to Woolf, I must note). However, I was entranced by the premise behind The Shelf, where Rose picks, at random, a shelf of library books that she has not read, and reads (+ writes) her way through them. LEQ to LES. Each chapter in the book is a mini-essay – some more scholarly than others (her chapters on “Women and Fiction: A Question of Privilege” and “Domesticities: Margaret Leroy and Lisa Lerner” are both phenomenal discussions on women and writing), while others are more anecdotal or take the shape of personal reading diaries.

This book is scholarly, but readable. It’s Rose both approachable and transparent, and through those qualities, I think I’ve come to love her scholarly approach – far more so than when I attempted to read her more formal work(s). The New Yorker concludes that “Rose’s stunt is useless – and wonderfully so” because it reminds us that reading doesn’t have to have an agenda or a due date behind it (source article). Besides the fact that this is directly relevant to my current reading experience (thank you, university), I’m just thoroughly entranced by this book. If this sounds at all interesting to you, please do read it. I think you’ll be surprised by it, in the best possible way.

Happy reading, and happy New Year, mes amis!

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