Literary Sundae: Fruit, Nuts, a Little Whipped Topping

candied-coconut-sundaejpg-01b9a12712b7c5acIt’s a cold, rainy day here and I find myself reviewing some of my reading from the last twenty some-odd years. I notice that several of my most well-thought-of titles were read more than once, generally because of an online reading group selection or possibly a new translation or even reading in the original as well as in translation. I suppose it’s possible I reread a book or two just for the fun of it but that would be unusual since I tend to discard or trade-away anything I’ve already read.

I thought it would be interesting to make a list of the top four titles I read for each year. I won’t vouch for the ranking or even whether a book would interest me today, but generally I consider most of these books to be highly recommended.

What do you think? The full list of twenty titles per year is at Best-By-Year.

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Once Again …

images-1.jpg… not all of the February reading suggestions I had intended were actually posted on this weblog. Quelle dommage! Just so no one misses out on my musings during the month of February, I’ll publish the complete list (I do this anyway, even if I’m always punctual posting my suggestions).

You might not have noticed but I have been slipping several newer texts into my reading list, texts that often were included in recent suggestion lists. I suspect I’ll need a few more months reading books that haven’t hit the remainders stack yet, but so far I’m not enthused by the state of today’s new publications.

I will suggest, however, that a lot of the literature coming out of Africa, the Middle East, and South America, is a better route to good reading than sticking to American or British books. I suppose Joseph Roux put it in perspective: “Literature was formerly an art and finance a trade; today it is the reverse.” This, of course, pertains to much of what we consider the Western World. The Capitalism monster even devours literature.

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February Was Weird

images.jpgDespite the limited number of days in this last month, historically I have pumped up my reading process and put January to shame … usually. This time it was just average and other than a couple of titles, not very memorable. Will March comes in like a lion and crush all expectations?

Maybe.

First, I decided to read the complete Wool cycle (there are many more by this author). I first heard of the original Wool novel as samizdat, eventually read it, enjoyed it, wasn’t sure of all the hype. Now I’m going back for the four following books to get the “big picture.” I’m also starting Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. I have read an enjoyed VanderMeer in all his weirdness and have been wanting to start this trilogy: I guess it took the movie (which I will not see until it’s on cable) to poke me into action.

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Blame It On Christmas

images-1.jpgYou know that December 25 is not the birth date of Jesus, and that many religions do not consider Jesus as the Messiah. Islam recognizes Jesus as an important prophet, but not as God. The truth is that around the end of the year we all celebrate some kind of holiday, mostly in the form of massive commercial ventures designed to increase yearly profits for the corporations and with little more than a quick nod to any social or religious significance to the holidays.

No wonder Republicans are touting Christmas.

It seemed clear that the “war on Christmas” was a commercial ploy which attempted to link religion to capitalism and lead the rubes and deplorables in a non-existing rumble with godless anti-patriotic liberals.  Besides, Coca-Cola owns Christmas, right? Perhaps some festive revelers say Happy Holidays so as not to violate any copyrights.

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