In the High Peaks

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Whither My Direction in Books?

From May until mid-August, I read dozens and dozens of books and enjoyed the freedom of following my fancy, like a guest at a gourmand's banquet, while also pursuing my interest in German literature in translation.

So, with the fall teaching semester beginning this week, what plans do I have for my reading? I have oodles of books on tap, in every genre, to suit every mood, stacked next to my reading couch.

From September through December, I plan to be in the midst of reading one book of history at all times. I love history, spent a decade writing and publishing my own works of history, so perhaps I feel I have distanced myself too much from this genre.

Yet, concomitant with my history reading, I also intend to be in the midst of reading a work of fiction at all times. I hope I continue my exploration of European crime fiction because I have enjoyed these novels immensely all summer long. Still, I don't expect that all my fiction reads will be ECF.

On the days I am not teaching, I plan to read for a minimum of one hour each morning. On the days I am teaching, I will read for 30 minutes before dinner. (This is a bare minimum--I hope to spend more time reading than this.)

So I'll wish myself luck with this plan and see how it goes.

I also plan to post a blog entry at least three times per week.

What's Up Next!
My current history read is Leningrad:The Epic Siege of World War II, 1941-1944 by Anna Reid, a British historian, who is also the author of The Shaman's Coat: A Native History of Siberia and Borderland: A Journey through the History of the Ukraine. Leningrad has already received high accolades, for incorporating recently published scholarship and a new examination of Soviet archives. Reid does not intend to surpass Harrison Salisbury's 900 Days, but her examination and analysis supersedes all that Salisbury had access to back in the 1970s. The Siege of Leningrad was an epic human cataclysm in which thousands of people managed to survive despite all the odds stacked against them.

My Fiction Read: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. I imagine many of you have read it. Did you like it? Did you go on to read additional titles in the series? I'm hoping this will be a relaxing, get-away-from-it-all read.


  1. Just noticed your comment on Stu Allen's blog. I love German lit (having studied German), and I have recently read (and reviewed) a lot of German literature. Most of it is rather old though...

  2. look forward to seeing what ECF book you choose there seems to be loads out there at the moment on area of translation that is flourishing ,all the best stu

  3. Tony,
    Thank you for stopping by! I envy your knowledge of German. I'll be touring your blog often now that I've discovered it.

    If I can be perfectly frank and irreverant, I just damn well hope I can finagle the ECF reading this fall. I do love it so! And good luck to you with your reading goals,


  4. I have to admit I did not enjoy the first Maisie Dobbs book which I read some years ago - a bit simplistic I thought. I don't read historical fiction generally, but did enjoy Laura Wilson's Stratton's War series (first one set in the Blitz, the second one nearer the end of the war and the third in the 1960s).
    I haven't read Leningrad but my husband read Stalingrad by Anthony Beevoir a while back and thought it excellent.

  5. Maxine,
    You know, I have my doubts about Maisie Dobbs, too. I wonder if later books in the series are any better.

    And I will definitely look up Laura Wilson's Stratton's War series. Sounds fascinating and right up my alley!

    Thank you!