Monday, June 23, 2008

Season's Readings Winter 2007-Spring 2008

Ah, summer vacation. At last I find the energy and motivation to blog again.

No forthcoming publications to speak of, and so I will continue my correspondence with the web-ether by relaying the poor history of my reading over the course of the year so far.

I closed 2007 by reading...

"The Prosperous Peasant" by Tim Clark and M. Alan Cunningham. I enjoyed this curious work immensely - though it's hard to define: not quite self-help, but a sort of quasi-fictional anecdotal wisdom of Japanese folklore to be applied to our culture. Anyone with an interest in feudal Japan would enjoy it for its stories alone, but those who choose to look beyond entertainment will find fuel for evaluation and application.

and continuing my progress through the Aubrey-Maturin series of Naval fiction with "The Ionian Mission" which trickled into 2008, where followed "Treason's Harbour", "The Far Side of the World" and "The Reverse of the Medal". All continue Patrick O'Brian's fine briny storytelling, and fantastic characters. I have had the added pleasure of having these stories narrated to me on audiobook by the brilliant Patrick Tull, and I am heartbroken that the next book in the series is not available at my library in audio with him as narrator.

and slowly continuing my progress through Mark Twain's "Roughing It", which I did enjoy, but suffered most cruelly from my other interests, requirements of time, and energy. In the end, finishing it became a labor that few authors other than Mark Twain could have maintained some semblance of enjoyment.

Also in the realm of audiobook, I adored Neil Gaiman's "Coraline" and "Stardust". both performed by the author. I have thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Gaiman's graphic novel work on "Sandman", but these two books finally gave me the opportunity to illustrate his rich works in my own mind. Gaiman is a master of darkness with beauty, and I will devour any other audiobook I can find read by him.

Thus ends my collection of first readings. During these season's I also reread "The Hobbit", on audiobook. See a pattern here? Unless it was in audio or I was teaching it, or it was consumed on a school vacation, I did little reading. As I have previously suggested, much of this was due to a lack of proper reading time. But then, as I finished my teaching credential concurrent with my first year of teaching, time I could have devoted to reading I spent on other interests - particularly video games. I have speculated on the reasons for this, and come to believe that it was a mixture of intellectual fatigue - with such a high percentage of my mental resources devoted to my teaching and credential coursework - and wanting to entertain myself with a medium that afforded me more control of the experience than literature. As the director of the film of my reading I have some say in the casting, art direction, and cinematography; but I don't control where the story is going. Video games gave me the control I craved in my escapism during this period. Now that I am truly free from lesson plans and credential requirements for a spell I am quivering with reading possibility and enthusiasm, and look to have a more substantial account for my next installment of Season's Readings.
Until then...

1 comment:

Tim Clark said...

Josh, thanks for the kind words about TPP. It's a real satisfaction to hear that a reader shared the enjoyment we experienced writing it.

Just out of curiosity: Where did you find our book? TPP is not exactly burning up the bestseller charts...