Thursday, 2 April 2015

March in Review (Or How I Read a Ton of Short-Stories and Got Murked by Kant)

Is it safe to come out now?
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers. 
Well said Mr. Eliot. 

Despite the joys that accompany warmer weather and the Easter holidays, April has rarely been the the kindest month towards me. Too many horrible memories of the end of the school year with last-minute essays, assignments and of course, those dreaded exams. It can be a stressful time for students, or at least it was for me. It took long enough but I finally learned to improve my time management skills instead of having a total mental-breakdown during the end of the year crunch. Here's hoping this month turns out to be different and I will be on my guard when April decides to dish out a succession of left jabs to make my life a living hell. On a more positive note, I am looking forward to this month's Literary Movement Challenge hosted by Fanda ClassicLit: The Romantic period. Goody-goody gum drops! Keats, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Byron, Blake, Shelly! Plus a whole bunch of other great writers during this time who tend to be overlooked like Hannah Moore and Charlotte Smith. So exciting. Expect a lot more posts focusing on poetry this month. 

March proved to be a productive reading month for me. I stuck mostly to short-stories in order to catch up with the Deal Me in Challenge discovering a lot of gems along the way. I should be caught up now. I've been making my way through J.G. Ballard's massive collection and even became a new convert to Haruki Murakami after reading a bunch of his stories. A&P by John Updike now ranks as one of my best short-stories that I have ever read. The more I reflect upon it, the more it continues to rise in my esteem. I implore everyone to seek it out. Surely, you can spare 5-10 minutes (maybe even less depending on your reading speed)? 

Out of the five novels that I read in March, Memento Mori by Muriel Spark took the number one spot. Such a delightful and darkly humorous read! Considering that she is one of my favorite authors, I was thinking of hosting a Muriel Spark reading month sometime in-the-not-so distant future. Anyone interested? Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham was the biggest disappointment. If all goes according to plan, I should have a review up on this one by next week. Suffice it to say, I won't be reading anything from this dude anytime soon.
Surprisingly, I managed to finish Woolf's The Voyage Out a lot sooner than expected for the read-a-long challenge hosted by O at Behond the Stars. Review forthcoming.

And now this brings us to the infamous Immanuel Kant. I must be totally mental for thinking that I could tackle him head-on. Congratulations Kant, you single-handedly managed to destroy my brain, almost putting me into a coma if I hadn't tossed you out the window. Not only was this one of the most painful reading experiences but it may have turned me off from reading philosophy forever. Thanks a lot Kant.

That does it for my March recap. Bring it on April, let's dance.


  1. Oh, how I laughed at that picture. For some reason, it also reminded me of The Voyage Out ...... that feeling of isolation ......

    I can't imagine that you tried to tackle Kant on your near-first foray into philosophy!!! No wonder you were nearly catatonic! I have a book called Does the Center Hold? An Introduction to Western Philosophy that I plan to read before delving into anything heavy. I enjoyed some of Rousseau's thoughts, and Voltaire and Descartes to a lesser degree (of course, I've loved what I've read of Plato so far), so I want to keep enjoying philosophy and not get completely turned off of it (note to self: avoid Kant at the moment)

    It's fun to read your highlights for the month. I still have plans to read Spark but when, I'm not sure now ...... I have a book-pile-up going on at the moment.

    I'm looking forward to your The Voyage Out review, but even more so, your upcoming poetry posts. Can't wait!

  2. hahaha me too. I love that picture. It's cute and amusing and just so happens to perfectly capture my feelings concerning April. You make an interesting connection to "The Voyage Out." The sloth in foreground could very well represent Rachel on the ship, alienated by society. I like that.

    Yep, I'm a little crazy. Thought you knew that though? :P

    Bah, I knew that I should have read some kind of introductory book on philosophy like that one you mention instead of just diving right in to Kant without a life-preserver. Silly me.

    Spark is great and I really want to get more people to read her. I honestly think she might be up your alley. She's got that modern and classical jive going on--a nice combination of both styles.

    Excellent, I thought you might be one of the select few who would be interested in more posts about poetry. :)