Saturday, 1 February 2014

February Intentions

My intentions for February are to share more thoughts on the books I read than I did in January, and to read from this stack:

Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (1988)
- Margaret Atwood's seventh novel and finalist for both the Governor General's Award and the Booker Prize.

Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery (2000)
- since I'm planning to read The Elegance of the Hedgehog, I thought I'd read Gourmet Rhapsody first since it is her first novel, and they share a setting. It is the only library book in my pile.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (2006)
- recommended by Lucy (Tolstoy Therapy)  and Bellezza (Dolce Bellezza).  Thank you!

Bear by Marian Engel (1976)
- winner of the Governor General's Award, and a New Canadian Library title.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (2006)
- my Little Free Library Project find for February.

A Student of Weather by Elizabeth Hay (2000)
- one of my favourite authors (Diane Schoemperlen) says: "Elizabeth Hay lays bare the perilous power of love and all that we prefer to keep hidden about ourselves.  Unsparing and unsettling, this exceptional first novel shines." Sounds too intriguing to leave on the shelf!

Letters from a Lady Rancher by Monica Hopkins (1982)
- letters home to England written from 1909-1911 by a young woman who married a rancher and started a new life as a homesteader in the foothills of southern Alberta (re-read)

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
- it's African-American Literature Month at the Classics Club, so I'm hoping to read this classic by Zora Zeale Hurston

Dust Tracks of a Road by Zora Neale Hurston (1942)
- autobiography of this Harlem Renaissance author.

The Stones of Florence by Mary McCarthy (1956)
- to satisfy the inevitable February wanderlust.

Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery (1920)
- Elizabeth and I have been working our way through the Anne series.  Rilla is next up, and perfect timing for contemplation of the centenary of the First World War.

Dear Life by Alice Munro (2012)
- I plan to read a short story collection each month this year.  This is my choice for February.

Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill (2006)
- Canada Reads Winner 2007; I read a short biography of the author and am fascinated by her!

The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy (1945)
- winner of both the Governor General's Award and the Prix Femina of France, a New Canadian Library title, and Gabrielle Roy's first novel (I'd like to work through them in order).

Génération Filles: Au-delà des limites par Melanie Stewart (1999)
- I want to improve my reading in French so I'm starting easy.  Very easy.

Edited to add:
Magyk by Angie Sage (2005)
- recommended by Samantha (A Musical Feast) and already well underway!

I don't really expect to read all these books in one month, but I am really excited about each of them.  Have you read any of them?  Are there any you would suggest I bump to the top of the pile?  This is the first time that I have stated my reading intentions.  Usually, I decide what to read next as I finish my current book, so this is a bit of an experiment.  Do you set monthly intentions for your reading, or do you play it by ear? 


  1. Definitely recommend the Atwood - I *love* everything of hers I've read!

    1. I actually removed The Blind Assassin from my stack because, well, it is over 500 pages long. It'll probably make it to my March list. I've yet to be disappointed with her writing either.

  2. That's quite a pile! I could never read so many in one month - kudos! I don't tend to set intentions for a month, in part because my schedule tends to be marked by other boundaries than the changing of months. I do sometimes pull out a stack of books I'd like to tackle next, though - perhaps I should do that more; it would certainly minimize the overwhelming feeling of picking a next book off already overstuffed shelves.

    Of the books you picked out, I've only read Water for Elephants, and it didn't impress me much, perhaps because I wasn't really willing as a reader to immerse myself in the very different sub-culture it describes. I'll be curious to hear what you think!

    1. I forgot to add Magyk! I'm about 50 pages in and enjoying it very much. Thanks for the recommendation. Always good to be reminded not to judge a book by its cover.

      I really don't know anything about Water for Elephants (love story amongst circus folk?) but occassionally feel compelled to read popular fiction just to stay current. Of course "current" for me is a relative term since it was published eight years ago, haha!

    2. It's one of the best feelings when you recommend a book and then they like it. I'm so delighted you're enjoying it!

      I do the same thing, reading popular fiction so I know what everyone's talking about - that's why I read Water for Elephants, and The Help, and even (I confess) the Fifty Shades series. It's nice to be able to talk about books with people who don't read the more obscure sorts we bloggers tend to like. Eight years feels like just yesterday when you spend a lot of time reading 18th and 19th-century fiction!

  3. Setting book intentions! That's a good idea! I'll implement that. It might help me stop reading only trashy ebooks and actually read the books I want to read.

    1. I've missed you, Angeliki! I hope your reading is going well.

  4. I loved Cat's Eye, and didn't know that it was a finalist for the Booker, but can see how it would have been. Heck, I think it should have won. Margaret Atwood's older stuff, like this one and The Robber Bride, are far more meaningful to me than the Sci-fi stuff she's been writing. Oryx and Crake...blegh, in my opinion. :)

    1. I think I love each of Margaret Atwood's different styles. "Oryx and Crake"'s sequel "The Year of the Flood" is a finalist in Canada Reads this year, defended by Stephen Lewis (!) so I'm really excited to follow along with the discussion. I thought "Oryx and Crake" was good but I do prefer her earlier work for sure. I didn't get to Cat's Eye this month, but in a way I don't want to rush through her oeuvre!

      You know, I have a suspicion that after MA dies we will find out that she's actually published under different names. So if we outlive her we'll have more to read after she's gone. That's my prediction anyway!

  5. I usually follow my mood though for March I've actually had to write a schedule out, because all my reading this time has "deadlines" (I'm either writing a review or doing a read-along).

    I'm quite eager to read Alice Munro and Cat's Eye, so I very much look forward to your reviews on those (whenever you get to them)!

    1. Sounds like you will have a busy reading month in March! I didn't make it to Cat's Eye this time, but am half through Alice Munro's Dear Life. I am loving Dear Life so much that I want to savour each story so I'm not rushing it. I was going to read Cat's Eye but got sidetracked by Jo Baker's Longbourn...and the Olympics :)


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