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Sunday Salon: the Back in the Saddle Post

October 18, 2009

The Sunday Salon.comOn Thursday, I broke out of my reading slump. It was all rather sudden; I looked up at the clock to realise I’d spent the last three hours engrossed in books, which hadn’t happened in forever. Up until then, I’d finished precisely one book all week: the one-CD Neil Gaiman Audio Collection. Since then, I’ve finished nine. And I couldn’t be happier! When I realised the slump had ended, Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle” started running through my head, and it’s been popping back in over the last couple days.

I’d forgotten how glorious it is to be a voracious reader. I suppose I should tell about some of these books, shouldn’t I? (I apologise for being unable to provide any excerpts; I have so many books out of the library in anticipation of the read-a-thon that I have to return whichever ones I’ve read right away!)

GateoftheSunI’ve already reviewed The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection, which I think would make a great introduction for someone thinking about audiobooks! So it’s on to The Gate of the Sun by Elias Khoury, which I read for the Orbis Terrarum Challenge. I picked it mainly because I don’t read a lot of Palestinian fiction (in fact, I think this might be my first one), and the summaries mentioned Arabian Nights and “magnum opus” quite frequently. Since I’m in the middle of Arabian Nights, I feel quite confident saying that Khoury’s book isn’t that similar. Whereas Arabian Nights is straightforward story-telling, Khoury took the stream-of-consciousness, unreliable narrator, more than a taste of postmodernism approach. Half the time, in Khoury’s novel, I had no clue what was going on, or what the narrator was talking about. I think the narrator was as confused as me, and I’m sure it’s a comment on how being refugees and people-without-a-country for several generations now is quite confusing, but it did make the reading less enjoyable. There were so many stories in here, about the various sufferings of the Palestinians, and I really connected to.many of them. Khoury does a great job of humanising the victims (and the freedom fighters), although I will say that it’s very one-sided (which isn’t a problem for me in fiction, while it would be in nonfiction)-the Israelis are pretty much always the bad guys. That being said, I couldn’t love the book, and picking it up was often a chore, simply because of the narrator and his confusing style. Now, I love Virginia Woolf, so it’s not the stream-of-consciousness per se that alienated me. And I loved postmodern books like If on a winter’s night a traveller and House of Leaves, so I’m not automatically opposed to the genre. But in this case, I didn’t care about the narrator much at all, so while I often connected with minor characters in stories he told, I got impatient hearing him harp on and on about his life (and the book’s over 500 pages, which is a lot of harping). I’m not sure why that is, and I definitely plan giving Khoury another chance (though I’ll go with a shorter one-probably Little Mountain about the Lebanese Civil War), but I’d only recommend this book to those with enough interest in the subject matter to get through some obscure prose.

AtLargeandatSmall Then I finished Anne Fadiman’s essay collection At Large and At Small as part of the My Year of Reading Dangerously Challenge. I mentioned this in my ‘currently reading’ sidebar, but I think it bears repeating: Fadiman and I have a bit of a complicated relationship. While her prose is often beautiful, it also occasionally veers into pretentious territory. So I was a bit nervous going into this one. But I ended up loving it! The essays are written in the ‘personal’ style about everything from flying the flag after September 11th to butterfly collecting to being a night owl. Reading the book, I was struck by how wonderful Fadiman is at writing conclusions; the ending has always been the most difficult part of writing for me, whatever the genre, but Fadiman is a master. Each essay ends on a perfect note. Even the book itself concludes with a mini-essay about a rafting trip that is shocking and thought-provoking and unexpected in the best way. Sure, there were a few sentences that had me roll my eyes, but they were very few-for the most part I was smiling throughout. I was sad to return it to the library, and would love to have my own copy so I could dip into it to reread an essay or two at will. I think this would be a wonderful first book of essays-it’s quite slim (in fact, it left me hoping Fadiman is planning a follow-up collection!), always entertaining, and the prose itself is sublime. This book made me a much bigger fan of Fadiman than Ex Libris did, and now I definitely want to read her journalistic book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.

PoesChildrenNow for a more controversial book…I decided to go ahead and keep reading Poe’s Children ed. by Peter Straub, the horror anthology that provoked my post on the portrayal of women in some of its short stories. I don’t want to drag that up again, and you’ll be happy to know that while I read several mediocre stories, none of them enraged me by their portrayal of women, and there were a few that I definitely enjoyed. At the end of the day, I think Straub and I have rather different criteria for good short stories, and I’m not sure I could recommend this book (I’ll be reviewing the rest of the stories tomorrow, in case you’re curious). As a whole, there were far more ‘meh’ (or simply awful) stories than good ones, and I think you could find a better anthology. And if you have any scary story anthology recommendations, please share!

ClaudineatSchool Next up, I read Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance by Lloyd Jones, thereby completing the New Zealand Challenge. But I’d like to write a whole post about it, since it’s the only book I had to read for the challenge. ;) So we’ll move right along to Claudine at School by Colette. This is the first novel of the Claudine quartet, and as I learned in the introductory note from Colette, it was her first work! (That she wrote for her husband, and that was originally published under his name.) This is my second Claudine book (the first was “Gigi”), but I’ve been in love with her as a person for quite awhile, and now I can confidently say I’m in love with her books as well. Claudine is a precocious, provincial 15-year-old, with a dead mother and absentee father, who offers her sharp commentary on her classmates and teachers as well as accounts of the various adventures she gets up to. It’s quite hilarious, and while Claudine is a bit of a brat, I love her. :) I read this for the Challenge That Dare Not Speak Its Name, and there’s definitely a couple of nontraditional relationships in it (I’ll leave you to discover them for yourself). Claudine herself is equally attracted to women and men, in fact she seems more attracted to women while merely enjoying leading men on. Anyway, reading this book was like drinking champagne-all light and bubbly, but at the same time quite memorable. It’s short, like most of Colette’s works, so I encourage everyone to give it a try! As for me, I can’t wait to read about Claudine in Paris-I’m sure she’ll get up to even more hijinks there!

WhiteMughalsI expected to love William Dalrymple’s White Mughals (I picked it up as a history selection for the World Citizen Challenge), which was described in the summary as “The true story of a tragic and passionate love affair–and a testament to the Indian conquest of the British imagination.” Riiiiiight. So there is a love story buried in the book, but it rarely receives center stage. It’s more a book about the political machinations of the British in mid-late 1800s India, and unfortunately while I can tell that Dalrymple did a lot of research, he doesn’t seem quite able to form a cohesive book out of it. I was often confused as to who he was discussing (since several of the main people have the same first name), or why I needed to know what he was telling me, and the book jumps about in time, theme, etc. with no real rhyme or reason. And there are lots of footnotes, which I usually love, but since I was already disoriented, stopping to read the footnotes just resulted in me feeling more lost. I think if I already knew more about this period in India’s history, if I already had the big picture in my mind, I would have enjoyed the book quite a bit, since Dalrymple provides quite a few fascinating ‘small picture’ stories. But without the larger context, I can’t say this was a huge success for me. I’m still glad I read it, since the history is fascinating, but it was a bit of a struggle. I’d like to give Dalrymple another shot, though-I’m eyeing his City of Djinns, which is an expat/travel memoir about New Delhi. I’m thinking he might be better at a more intimate style of nonfiction.

SpelloftheTiger Fortunately, the next nonfiction I read was incredible, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone! It’s called Spell of the Tiger: the Man-Eaters of Sundarbans by Sy Montgomery, and I read it as my science book for the month. I wouldn’t say it’s a science book, though: I had imagined more about the tigers themselves. This would have made a marvelous World Citizen read, though, especially for the culture category. Why? Because Montgomery is primarily concerned with how the relationship between the people living in Sundarbans (which is a huge area of mango groves/swamps along the Indian-Bangladeshi border) and the tigers. This is the only place in the world where tigers regularly hunt people. I can’t convey to you how fascinating this book was! It looks at everything from government attempts to cut down on tiger attacks (For example, tigers only attack the backs of people, never the front, so officials distributed masks for the residents to wear on the back of their heads when they went into the forest. This worked perfectly for 5-6 months, when the tigers figured out what was going on.) to the religious significance of the tiger to stories from the individuals who live there. Montgomery never dehumanises the people of Sundarbans with cliches about poverty or development-while she doesn’t speak much Bangla (she couldn’t find a university in the US that taught it), she obviously prioritises connecting with the people she meets, and that really comes through in her writing. The book is also full of a reverence for nature that was wonderful to read. I really, really loved this one, and I will definitely be reading more of Montgomery in the future! (She also wrote a children’s picture book based on the same topic.) My only dilemma is which one first: she’s written about snow leopards in Mongolia, pink dolphins in the Amazon, Jane Goodall, connecting with nature close at home, and most recently about her pet hog Christopher. I think even those who don’t usually like nonfiction should give Sy Montgomery a go!

ImNotScared I then picked up Niccolo Ammaniti’s I’m Not Scared for the Orbis Terrarum Challenge. I’ve been wanting to read this Italian book all year, and I was so excited to finally get to it! (I always read my OT choices in a certain geographical order.) I had avoided reading any plot summaries, and I think that was the way to go, so I’m not going to tell you much about this. I will say, it’s narrated by a young Italian boy, set in the 70s, and that it had both nerve-wracking and heart-wrenching moments, though more of the latter. This book was quite simply incredible: while it wasn’t as straight-up scary as I expected, it was so much better than I thought! Ammaniti’s writing is wonderful-he doesn’t feel obligated to spell everything out, or answer every question; he trusts that the reader is intelligent enough to put it together. It’s the kind of book that I’ll never forget, and that as soon as I finished I wished I had a book club to discuss it with! It’s short too, at precisely 200 pages, so go read it already! :) I can’t believe this was his debut novel-I hope to read more of his works soon.

AngelsandInsectsFinally, I finished listening to the audio version of Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt, a collection of two novellas (“Morpho Eugenia” and “The Conjugal Angel”). Byatt is one of my very favourite authors, so while I definitely loved this one, I can’t really give an objective recommendation. But I will say, that those of you who loved Possession should try this out-both novellas are set in Victorian England, and there’s more of that Byatt pastiche here. “Morpho Eugenia” is about sex and class and secrets and insects, while “The Conjugal Angel” is about ghosts, seances, sex, love, and oh yeah-secrets. ;) I’ve read most of Byatt’s fiction at this point, and these definitely hold their own! As far as the audio portion goes, I liked the narrator-her tone fit with Byatt’s style!

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50 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2009 6:06 am

    I’ve read the first two Claudine novels but some time ago; I plan on rereading them soon and then reading Claudine Gets Married and Claudine and Annie. I liked the non-traditional relationships and love Colette’s writing. Her short stories are wonderful as is “Gigi”, “The Cat” and Cheri. I need a month of solely reading Colette.

  2. October 18, 2009 6:18 am

    I want that tiger book! Now!! And I actually added Claudine at School to my Bookmooch wishlist just the other day. I think it was Jason who first recommended it to me, but you’ve just confirmed my impression that I’ll love it!

  3. October 18, 2009 7:09 am

    Glad your reading slump has passed, mine has been going on for the last 2 months and is painful! All the books look great especially the tiger book.

  4. October 18, 2009 7:49 am

    Fantastic reviews as usual. Now an OT question: how do you find out about so many challenges? If you’re new to challenges hosted on blogs, how do you find? How do you keep so many straight? Last could you link to challenges when you reference them?

    Thanks,

  5. October 18, 2009 7:57 am

    I think I read all four of the Claudine novels about 8 years ago. I at least read the first three. I didn’t enjoy them as much as you, but I was reading them under a certain amount of duress and resentment (long story) so I was naturally biased against them. I’d like to revisit Colette one day. I have several books on my shelf, including Gigi and The Vagabond. I think I’ll start with non-Claudine novels first.

  6. October 18, 2009 7:58 am

    I’m so glad you are out of your reading slump! And I totally want that tiger book!

  7. October 18, 2009 8:14 am

    Yes, I’d say you were back in the saddle….leading the pack, I’d say! Slumps are awful. Glad you are out of it.

  8. October 18, 2009 8:28 am

    Yay Claudine! The books get better as they go along, as Colette is less and less just writing to make money for her nogood husband, but even the first one, I wrote a poem ( albeit a bad one ) once about Luce Lanthenay, and have characters based on her float through my mind all the time… Yay! Claudine!

  9. October 18, 2009 8:30 am

    The Claudine book looks like something I would enjoy–I’ll have to check those out.

    I’m glad you got out of your slump. Nine books is a lot!

  10. October 18, 2009 8:32 am

    I’m really happy to hear that your reading slump is over.

  11. October 18, 2009 8:54 am

    The tiger book sounds fascinating! It’s funny that you posted about it this morning; I just woke up from a really involved dream about hunting tigers. :)

  12. October 18, 2009 9:30 am

    Looks like you read some great stuff this week. I haven’t read White Mughals but I did read his City of Djinns and thoroughly enjoyed it. I too loved At Large and At Small but I don’t have the problems with Fadiman you’ve found in the past. Don’t know if that makes me pretentious too or not. LOL! But her The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is really quite good since you haven’t read it yet.

  13. October 18, 2009 9:33 am

    Congrats on being back in the saddle again. And just in time for next week’s fun. Also loved Angels and Insects as I do most everything by Byatt. Have you seen the film?

  14. October 18, 2009 10:08 am

    My gosh! There’s so much to comment on here, I don’t even know where to start. The beginning is as good a place as any I suppose. I’ve never read Fadiman’s work, but I happened to pick up The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down at a garage sale a couple of weekends ago, and I can’t wait to dive in (famous last words). And this essay collection sounds delicious. I think I’ll check out a couple of her books for the Read-a-Thon.

    I’m really glad you found some enjoyable pieces in Poe’s Children. I’m still reading 20th Century Ghosts but I seem to have stalled out on the bug story, so I think I’m going to skip it altogether and go on to another selection in the book. Life is too short to stall!

    Spell of the Tiger is not a book I would be drawn to on first glance, but OH MY HEAVENS, it sounds so good when you discuss it. Simply fascinating.

    I’ve never heard of I’m Not Scared, but I’m fascinated by it now, too. I hope my library has it. Crossing fingers!

    Finally, I’m a Byatt slacker. I have several of her books on my shelves, but after all the poetry in Possession tripped me up, I’m consistently a little hesitant to pick up her stuff. I suppose I should really try something on audio to get me over this little fear, and Angels and Insects sounds great. I love novellas.

    Happy Sunday, Eva!

  15. October 18, 2009 10:23 am

    Can I echo everyone else’s thoughts that Spell of the Tiger sounds amazing? I’m Not Scared has me intrigued especially since you didn’t give us much to go on but you enjoyed it so much. Of course, I’ll have to check that one out as well. Glad you broke out of your slump…looking forward to hearing about what you read during the readathon.

  16. October 18, 2009 10:51 am

    I’ve heard a lot about the Claudine books recently. Will have to look into seeing if I can get a copy :-)

    I have The White Mughal on my shelf, but haven’t read it yet. My friend read it and Dalrymple’s later one called The Last Mughal. She said she much preferred The Last Mughal, but I think it’s probably written in the same sort of vein, so you might not like that one, either.

  17. October 18, 2009 11:39 am

    I see you have read “Forest Lover.” I had a much longer review on my first blog. This is the blog I loss some time ago. It was very painful. The small bit I wrote about was all I could use on CSM.

    I’ve never taken time to be in a Readathon. Don’t really know what I’m doing. Do you cheerlead and read at the same time??? Because I want to definitely read my books.

  18. October 18, 2009 12:30 pm

    You’ve just reminded me of how much I want to read Collette! She caught my eye at the bookstore a couple of years back, but somehow I’ve never quite made the time for her. Soon, I hope.

  19. October 18, 2009 12:33 pm

    It must be the day for mention of post-modernism. I swear I wrote the team name suggestions before I read your post!

    And you must read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. I didn’t find it at all like Ex Libris…in fact, it’s hard to believe the books were written by the same author! You might even be able to claim it as a science book, as it deals with how medicine and culture can butt heads.

  20. October 18, 2009 12:44 pm

    I too seem to finally be out of my slump! I picked up Wandering Star by JMG Le Clézio on a whim the other day and it’s absolutely beautiful! I can’t wait to review it because my review will almost certainly be glowing.

  21. October 18, 2009 2:28 pm

    Nine books in just a few days…whew. Awe. Plain and simple. And of course, now I want At Large and At Small and Spell of the Tiger and I’m Not Scared. Of course, if I didn’t want my wish list growing by leaps and bounds, I’d just stop reading your SS posts, huh? One of those “no one to blame but myself” kind of things.

  22. October 18, 2009 2:46 pm

    So glad you are back!!!

  23. October 18, 2009 4:02 pm

    Nine books?? Goodness gracious! I need you to rub some of that book lust off onto me. I’m reading Rebecca right now and am finally enjoying it, but I had hoped to finish it today. Now I’m not sure if I’ll finish before the read-a-thon!

    As for scary story anthologies–is there anyone scarier than Poe himself? I love a good psychological thriller and he, to me, is the original.

    Have a great week, Eva!

  24. October 18, 2009 4:17 pm

    Well you don’t muck about, do you?! I should say you were well and truly out of your slump with all of those! I don’t think I can hack any more Byatt for the time being but I am intrigued by Collette…I have never read any of her stuff but I do have something by her somewhere…I hope this week sets you off on even more exciting reading adventures!

  25. October 18, 2009 4:45 pm

    I haven’t heard of any of those books! So thank you for introducing me to some new authors.

    So glad you are out of your reading slump. 9 books is quite a break through! :)

  26. amateurdelivre permalink
    October 18, 2009 5:43 pm

    I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately as well – good to know I can snap out of it at any time, lol! Great books by the way – have added some to my TBR list!

    Tracee

    http://reviewfromhere.com

  27. October 18, 2009 7:15 pm

    The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down was fabulous, and also one of the best book discussions my group every had!

  28. October 18, 2009 7:44 pm

    When I was trying to find the Wilkie Collins books I plan to read for the Classics Circuit, the bookstore had Collette books right next to Collins (you know, because of alphabetized order :-) ) and I was tempted to bring one home. Maybe next time I’m there, I will!

  29. October 19, 2009 3:39 am

    I’m glad to hear you’re back with your reading, Eva. :) Sometimes we all need to take a small break from it. I love that you broke out of the reading slump after a three hour session haha!

  30. October 19, 2009 5:22 am

    Claire, my library copy has all four, so I’ll probably read them all this month. :) It sounds like you and I agree on Colette! :D

    Nymeth, you’d love it! Mythology and blending religions galore! And at one point, Montgomery says if we let tigers go extinct, we’ll be killing a god. It reminded me a bit of Anansi Boys too, only of course Tiger there wasn’t at all noble.

    Katrina, I hate reading slumps-I hope yours ends soon!

    Susan, there’s a really helpful blog that catalogues challenges-http://novelchallenges.blogspot.com And I see about them on other people’s blogs and check them out. I keep them all straight on my ‘Current Challenges’ page. And I’m not going to link to them when I reference them, because formatting my Sunday Salon posts already takes forever, and I don’t want to spend any more time on them! lol BUT, if you go to my ‘Current Challenges’ page, you can click on any challenge at the top, and that’ll bring you to more info on it. And I always include a link to the challenge rules or blog, so you’ll be able to get to them from there. ;)

    Amanda, lol! I thought you didn’t want to read Colette because of Jason?! Did I make that up?

    Heather, you should read it! Now!

    Debnance, thanks!

    Jason, lol @ Colette’s lazy husband.

    Lola, they’re quite short, so it’d be easy to try out the first one and see if you like it. :)

    Literary Omnivore, thank you!

    Jenny, that is funny! That must have been quite a stressful dream.

    Kristen, lol-I don’t think you’re pretentious! Maybe I’ve got a blue-collar chip on my shoulder. ;) I’m glad you enjoyed City of Djinns-I really think I’m going to try it!

    Frances, thank you! I haven’t seen the film, but I love Kristin Scott Thomas, so I’m considering it. :)

    Andi, I love long comments-thanks for leaving one! Fadiman’s essays would be great for the read-a-thon. And yeah-that bug story in 20th Century Ghosts is pretty awful. Listening to it was disturbing, since I couldn’t gloss over anything. I think you’d really enjoy Spell of the Tiger and I’m Not Scared! And good luck w/ Angels & Insects. :) I know Byatt’s not for everyone, but I love her to bits and pieces.

    Samantha, of course you can! :) I hope you get to read them! And love them! :D

    Aarti, really? It’s funny how books can suddenly pop up, isn’t it? :) That’s interesting about The Last Mughal-I think I’ll try City of Djinns first. When I think of Indian, I tend to think of southern India more, so a travelogue about New Delhi sounds fascinating! And since Dalrymple’s bio said he ‘splits his time between London and New Delhi’, I imagine it won’t be a negative book. ;)

    Tea, I’m so sorry you lost your blog! :( I do cheerlead and read at the same time-read-a-thon is the only time I speedread! But even though I usually split my time half-and-half, other readers cheerlead for just an hour or so. It’s up to you! :)

    Memory, her books tend to read quickly! :)

    Softdrink, I believe you! hehe That’s interesting about Spirit Catches You-now I totally want to read it!

    Lu, I’m glad you’ve broken out of your slump!!! That book has a great title. :D

    Debi, those are all SMALL books! Even Spell of the Tiger is only 230 pages, I think. So at least they don’t add a lot of length to your wish list! hehe

    Jen, thanks!

    Trish, you know-I’m not a huge fan of Poe’s short stories (although I love his poetry, and there are a few stories I really love). I hope you get through Rebecca before the read-a-thon. :)

    Rachel, Colette’s nothing like Byatt, so you should give her a try! ;)

    Allison, I hope if you try some of them out you enjoy them. :)

    Tracee, it was a very suden snap-out!

    JoAnn, it seems like everyone who’s read The Spirit Catches You loved it! Oh cool!

    Valerie, Collins and Colette-two marvelous classics authors. :D hehe

    Ceri, lol-that’s when I REALISED I was out of my slump! I definitely don’t have 3-hour sessions when I’m in a slump! ;)

  31. October 19, 2009 6:51 am

    Congrats on returning to the land of the voracious reader! It is wonderful isn’t it.

  32. October 19, 2009 7:48 am

    I’m glad you’re out of the reading slump. I love all of your books. I’ve gotta write the titles down.

  33. October 19, 2009 8:01 am

    “how glorious it is to be a voracious reader”! I agree! So much fun. My side table is falling over right now from all the books I”m in the middle of, and it’s a great feeling.

    Love the Tiger cover and have added a few more to my lists — the Fadiman and the Byatt!

  34. October 19, 2009 9:28 am

    Hi Eva,

    This is my first time doing a Readathon. Don’t know whether it matters, but I signed up to be a reader. Wish me luck. Are you in it too?

  35. October 19, 2009 10:05 pm

    This is an amazing post! I’m so glad you are back in the reading groove again. :)

    I added three books to my wish list from this post: the Niccolo Amanti book, the tiger book and the Complete Claudine.

    I very much enjoyed reading your reviews.

  36. October 20, 2009 3:32 am

    I have probably said this a hundred times but I’m not scared is one of my favorite books EVER. I couldn’t find any other book by the same author here, but I’ll keep looking :)

    The White Mughals looks so daunting. I have almost picked it up many times, I might as well skip it altogether.

  37. October 20, 2009 5:56 am

    Sagustocox, thanks! It IS wonderful.

    Tea, thank you!

    Rebecca, lol-that’s awesome! You should read the Tiger book & then read the children’s book w/ your son. :) Or maybe I’ll read it with my niece when she comes up here. That’d be a fun review!

    Tea, I am in it-I’m a reader, a cheerleader, and a co-host. ;) So you’ll definitely see me around on Saturday!

    Alyce, thank you!

    Violet, isn’t it so amazing?! He has 3 books out now, it looks like, so I hope you can get your hands on another one!

  38. January 23, 2010 4:23 pm

    Way late, but I was looking over your map of travel by books and I saw that you had read I’m Not Scared. When I studied abroad in Italy we had to read Io Non Ho Paura (I’m Not Scared) by Niccolo Ammaniti IN ITALIAN and I ADORED it. I cried at the end, but then I’ve always been rather over-emotional. :) I’m so glad to find another person who has read it and loved it in America. I haven’t read the English translation, but I’m curious as to how well it translates. I think I might pick it up.

Trackbacks

  1. October Challenge Wrap-Ups « A Striped Armchair
  2. December Challenge Wrap-Ups « A Striped Armchair
  3. Travel by Books: 2009 Wrap-Up « A Striped Armchair
  4. West Asian Authors « Diversify Your Reading
  5. Southern European Authors « Diversify Your Reading
  6. Assembling My Atheneum: A.S. Byatt « A Striped Armchair
  7. Sunday Salon: the Gobsmacked Post « A Striped Armchair
  8. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (thoughts) « A Striped Armchair
  9. Claudine at School by Colette | A Good Stopping Point
  10. The Ventriloquist’s Tale by Pauline Melville (thoughts) « A Striped Armchair
  11. Angels and Insects; Morpho Eugenia « Care's Online Book Club
  12. Angels and Insects; The Conjugial Angel « Care's Online Book Club

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