Tag Archives: Long Awaited Reads Month

It is January & thus it is Long-Awaited Reads Month

Due to some personal circumstances (which appear to be completely okay right now) I have not been very present in the blogging world. So, first things first: I wish you all a wonderful and very happy 2014! 

Being absent also meant that I never got to post about the beginning of Long-Awaited Reads Month. An event that is well under way, it already being the 11th of January.

LAR Button Final

As I wrote in an earlier post, the rules for this event are simply:

  1. Read books you’ve been excited to read for a long time but never seem to get to in January. You can do this exclusively for the whole month (my approach), you can do it for just one week, or you can simply try to get to one or two of these books in January. Your level of commitment is entirely up to you!
  2. If you’re taking part, you can come back to one of the posts about Long-Awaited Reads Month on the blogs of Ana or me and leave us a link to a LAR-related review; you’ll then be entered in a giveaway for a book you’ve always wanted to read that is up to $15/€11/£10 on BookDepository (open worldwide).
  3. If you want to talk about the event on Twitter, the hashtag is#LARMonth.
  4. Have fun!

Personally, I have not had a lot of time to read this month. However, I did finish Eva Ibbotson’s The Secret of Platform 13, and am currently in the middle of John Green’s Looking for Alaska and Frances Hardinge’s Fly By Night.

Have you read or started reading anything for Long-Awaited Reads Month yet? Are you enjoying it?

Long-Awaited Reads Month 2014

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Like last year, Ana and I will be organising another Long-Awaited Reads Month in January 2014. When Ana asked if we should organise this theme month again, I was super excited. January 2013 was a month of wonderful reading; some of my favourite books of this year were read during that month. It is very satisfying to finally get to those books you have been looking forward to for forever, and then actually enjoying them. Certainly, Long-Awaited Reads Month helped me conquer some of my January blues. Moreover, seeing other bloggers join in and enjoy it as well was an amazing feeling. So, let’s hope January 2014 will be as good.

The rules for this month are very simple (as explained by Ana earlier today):

  1. Read books you’ve been excited to read for a long time but never seem to get to in January. You can do this exclusively for the whole month (my approach), you can do it for just one week, or you can simply try to get to one or two of these books in January. Your level of commitment is entirely up to you!
  2. At the beginning of January, Iris and I will post something signalling the official start of Long-Awaited Reads month. If you’re taking part, you can come back to these posts and leave us a link to a LAR-related review; you’ll then be entered in a giveaway for a book you’ve always wanted to read that is up to $15/€11/£10 on BookDepository (open worldwide).
  3. If you want to talk about the event on Twitter, the hashtag is#LARMonth.
  4. Have fun!

We certainly hope you will consider joining us! For to us, sharing great reading with lovely online friends is the best thing in the world.

Now, I do have a great many plans, and I know from last year’s experience that I will probably end up reading many different titles, but I cannot help but give you a short glimpse of the titles under consideration at the moment. Actually, I have a particular shelf that has held many of my Long-Awaited Reads over the past year:

  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver: I think this book was first recommended to me back in the days when I spent a lot of time on the Silverchair forums as a fourteen-year-old. Now that I am studying mission history, I think it is high time I finally read this one.
  • Small Island by Andrea Levy: A few years ago I gave The Long Song to a friend of mine and immediately bought Small Island for myself. This book sounds right up my alley.
  • Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine: This book truly seems to have been on my list for forever. In reality, I think it might have been two years. But every day occurrences, and certainly Ana’s conviction about this book, makes me desperate to read it. Yet, I never actually sit down to do so.
  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: This year I read Half of a Yellow Sun by Adichie for Long-Awaited Reads Month and once more became convinced of her genius. In 2014 I’d love to read Adichie’s other novel, before turning to her Americanah.
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy: Another one of Ana’s recommendations (I think I bought it on my first visit to her?). At the same time, this is another one of those titles that came to me through online friends years ago (another forum? livejournal?). Long-awaited, indeed.
  • The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt: Another one where I’d like to follow this year’s example. After reading Possession, I’d love to finally read The Children’s Book; a title I have actually owned longer.
  • Alas, Poor Lady by Rachel Ferguson: This was on my list last year, but I did not get to it. I’d love to get to it this year.
  • The Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner: I read the first book in this series from the shelves of Ana on my visit to Cambridge. I now own them all and would love to read them during this month as she did last year.
  • A title by Frances Hardinge: I have both A Face Like Glass and Fly By Night on my shelves, and even though they have only been there for a little over 6 months, I’m still super excited about them and really want to love them.

I think I’ll stop there. There are so many exciting titles on my shelves that I could go on and on, but you get the idea right?

Hopefully Ana and I will see you sharing your LAR reading on twitter, your blog, or our blogs in January :-)

Wrapping Up Long-Awaited Reads Month

I wish January was not over yet (who would have though I would ever say that?) but alas it is. Therefore, Long-Awaited Reads Month has also ended. I hope you enjoyed delving into some long-awaited books with us, I know I certainly did!

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Ana has the final linky list of posts for this month. Please let us know if you have not been included in either my earlier list or hers and we will remedy it.

As for the giveaway of a book you’ve always wanted to read but don’t own yet that is up to $15/€11/£10 on Book Depository, we have decided to give you another month to leave links or comments on our posts (for Iris on Books: preferably this one or the one posted at the beginning of January) with your links to reviews, and/or if you have not written a review with a comment telling us about which book you have read to participate. Ana and I will then select two winners and will contact them (so make sure we can find your email address when you comment).

My own January reading was all kinds of wonderful. I only managed to read five books (Thank Heaven FastingThe Brides of Rollrock IslandComet in MoominlandThe House of Mirth, and Half of a Yellow Sun), and then finished another one in February that I had started as a long-anticipated read: Cranford. I was rather lucky in that I actually loved (almost) all of my long-awaited reads, even if I have not written about all of them yet. I feel inspired to pay more attention to the books that have been lingering on the TBR pile and/or wish list for too long for whatever reason (mostly because of fear of not liking them after wanting to like them so badly), and I would certainly love to organise something similar again. In the meantime, I hope to devote a little time each month at least trying to read more of my anticipated reads.

Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson

Comet in Moominland - Tove JanssonComet in Moominland – Tove Jansson
Translated from the Swedish by Ernest Benn Limited
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1990 (original: 1946)
Buy: Amazon | Bookdepository *

There is a reason why I love Tove Jansson’s fiction for children. It has to do with quotes such as the following, showing Moomintroll and Sniff returning from a day playing outside and meeting Moominmamma in the garden:

“We’ve had supper, ” she said. “You’d better see what you can find in the larder, my dears.”
Moomintroll was hopping with excitement. “We’ve been at least a hundred miles from here!” he said. “We followed a Mysterious Path, and I found something terribly valuable that begin with P and ends with L, but I can’t tell you what it is because I’m bound by a swear.”
“And I found something that beging with C and ends with E!” squeaked Sniff. “And somewhere in the middle there’s an A and a V- but I won’t say any more.”
“Well!” said Moominmamma. “Fancy that! Two big discoveries in one day! Now run and get your supper, dears. The soup is keeping hot on the stove. And don’t clatter about too much because pappa is writing.”

In short, it is in being able to capture the homey feel of a loving home in a short scene. It is the fact that Tove Jansson takes the characters who are children seriously. She does not explain their exxageration, or unnecessarily emphasises  it. She feels no need to explain it away or ridicule it. The parental figures take their child, and their (I guess?) adopted child (Sniff) seriously. They allow them to go on adventures, they allow explorations and questions and finding things out for yourself, they allow them to take risks, but they are also there as caregivers. Moominvalley feels like a utopian society in that way, but one that doesn’t come with a bitter unfolding. It is simply a world where people have different interests, they seek different forms of fulfillment, creatures are allowed to smile at that, but never to question those motives or to ridicule them. I rather like to find myself lost in a world such as that, knowing I will encounter a number of surprising and intriguing characters along the way.

In Comet in Moominland, Moominvalley is threatened by a comet. Sniff and Moomintroll set out on a journey to visit the observatory in the lonely mountains to learn more about the comet. Once there, they encounter a stock of interesting characters, but they also realise that they will do anything in their power to protect those they love.

Comet in Moominland is the second Moomin book I have read. The first I read a little over a year ago, Moominpappa’s Memoirs. The one thing I had to get used to in these books is how everything is presented as taken for granted. There is no “hello children, this is Moomin, he is a strange creature that we’re not familiar with, and he lives here and here, and he does this and this, and his parents are Moominpappa and Moominmamma, and his friends are..” (but perhaps that can be found in the first book of the series, The Moomins and the Great Flood?) Instead, Jansson throws you into this world as if it is an accepted thing, which I had to adjust to at first? although really, I much prefer it this way.

Actually, I would argue that the world and its creatures are presented as fact more than works, because it has that “fantasy which you know can’t be real but still feels real nonetheless” thing going for it. Perhaps an explanation for this can be found in the familiar settings? The homes, the weather, the sea, even the explanation of the comet once Moomintroll arrives at the observatory..

As always, Jansson writes in her quiet style, that is sparse but invites engagement and silent contemplation. Similar to the only adult book written by Jansson that I have read, The Summer Book, she does an incredibly job at describing the setting of this tale. But more than that, her writing just invokes the pleasure of knowing that Jansson must have loved these characters and this world.

I feel as if I could ramble on and on, but perhaps the only thing I really want to say is that this book made me glow a little inside, and made me want to have my very own Moomin to hug close (with preferably the same will of his or her own).

Actually, there is one more thing that I would like to mention. I am afraid that I might make this sound almost too idyllic and unreal, and because of that rather bland. The thing is, there are real treasures buried here. On their journey, Sniff and Moomintroll encounter dangers. Moreover, they are sometimes endangered because of their own mistakes. There are lessons buried in this book, even though they are luckily not -in your face-. Last but not least, this book, set at the time of a possible apocalypse, infers some interesting reflections on the different ways people deal with a threat to the only world they know. Again, all that is done in an open-minded, funny, and non-judgemental way, but one that at the same time foregrounds love, hospitality, and (extended) family. It might sound insipid and sugar-coated, but it does not feel that way when reading it. I, for one, only found Comet in Moominland endearing and surprisingly reflexive.

Other Opinions: Presenting Lenore,  utter randomonium, My Favourite Books, Yours?

* These are affiliate links. If you buy a product through either of them, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price.

Long-Awaited Reads Month: Link Roundup #1

Hey everyone! This post signals the halfway point of Long-Awaited Reads Month. This makes me very sad, as I have been reading, albeit slowly, some amazing books in the past weeks. I wish we could do this more often. Or perhaps I will just challenge myself to pick up more of these books that I really want to read but never quite get to throughout the year.

Now for the wonderful: Below you will find links to posts of fellow bloggers who have written about the books they have read for #LARMonth. I have looked through the comment left on Ana‘s and my blog, and on twitter using the hashtag. However, I am aware that this is not the most waterproof system. So if I have missed your post, don’t feel shy to let me know and I will link up to it.

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Sasha blogged about Franzen’s The Discomfort Zone, discussing her dislike for the man behind the author, but also seeing glimpses of an author she is interested in.

Meghan reviews Connie Willis’ Blackout over at Medieval Bookworm, which she really enjoyed. However, she does warn readers about the book ending in the middle of the story, and recommends to have the follow-up, All Clear, ready to go when you start.

Debi read The 10PM Question by Kate de Goldi for her own personal spin on Long-Awaited Reads Month, being that she only reads books she added to her TBR pile because Ana recommended them. So far, this is going well, as she truly loved The 10PM Question.

Susan wrote about Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley, a retelling of Sleeping Beauty which she calls “a funny magical fairy tale”. She certainly made me curious to read it!

Over at LibraryHungry you can find a post on John Scalzi’s Red Shirts, which seems to have been a surprise in that it was more conceptual and lighthearted than expected – in a good way, I think?

3GoodRats joins in with two posts about books she has long wanted to read: Rebbeca by Daphne du Maurier, which is “fantastic in many ways”, and Honolulu by Alan Brennert, a “fascinating story, beautifully told”.

Kelsey over at Sentimental Drivel read Deerskin by Robin McKinley, which deserves a lot of praise, but also has its flaws (sorry, I didn’t read the whole review as this book is on my immediate TBR pile and I wanted to avoid spoilers!)

Gavin from Page247 writes about Bring Up the Bodies, which is “chilling and beautiful”.

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Again, if I missed your post by accident, I am really sorry. If you leave your link here I will make sure to remedy the situations. I hope you’re enjoying reading these long-awaited reads as much as I am. If you’re still contemplating whether or not you want to join, may I remind you that each review will be an entry for a giveaway?