January ’13 was…

When I look back on January 2013 I have a sense of relief. All things considered this month was better than the last. In the grand scheme of things January treated me kind. No major meltdowns. No minor catastrophes to speak of. I started training for Just ‘Cause in the quiet way. Four to five miles a day and I didn’t stress about the numbers. If I didn’t make five or even four I didn’t have a hissy fit or beat myself or moi up. I cut me & myself some slack; gave us a break. I know that as the months wear on this won’t always be the case, but for now it was nice to go easy on me, myself & moi. The running was a different matter. Just as relaxed a schedule but not so easy going on. The run is a little over six weeks away and I’ve done next to nil in order to train. New Guinea has been awesome in that I’m working on speed intervals on level five. Let me repeat that. Level five. Nothing to write home about. I used to operate at level nine. Enough said. On with the books! I am pretty proud of the list.

  • Lives of the Painters, Architects and Sculptors by Giorgio Vasari ~ in honor of National Art Month way back in October. This finally completes the series!
  • Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day by Philip Matyszak ~ in honor of Female Domination Day in Greece.
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray ~ in honor of January being the first month I read something from the first chapter of a Lust book. I admit I didn’t finish this one.
  • Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham ~ in honor of Maugham’s birth month. I also didn’t finish this one.
  • Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron ~ Happy new year. Read something to make me happy.
  • Idle Days in Patagonia by W. H. Hudson ~ in honor of January being the best time to visit Patagonia.
  • The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll ~ in honor of Lewis birth and death month.
  • Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson ~ in honor of the month all Creatures Great and Small aired.
  • Tatiana by Dorothy Jones ~ in honor of January being the month Alaska became a state.

On audio I listened to:

  • Final Solution by Michael Chabon ~ in honor of January being Adopt a Rescued Bird month.
  • No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith ~ in honor of Female Mystery Month
  • City of Thieves by David Benioff ~ last minute add-on. This was addicting!

For the Early Review program with LibraryThing:

  • Gold Coast Madam by Rose Laws (started in Dec)
  • Her by Christa Parravani

For Fun:

  • Leave Your Sleep the poetry book for children by Natalie Merchant

Of Human Bondage

Maugham, William Somerset. Mr Maugham Himself: Of Human Bondage. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1954.

I have to give fair warning – this story is incredibly sad and slow. It is the story of club-footed orphan Philip Carey (whom you won’t like very much) from the time of his birth until he becomes a married man.  All of his life he he has been hindered by his deformity and maybe this is what makes him so nasty. You pity him at first and as a result probably one of the saddest scenes in the entire book is before Philip turns sour, when he is just a teenager. Philip is praying to God for a normal foot. He wants to run and play like all the other boys in preparatory school. He just wants to be normal. At school he had read passage in the Bible that led him to believe that if he just prayed long enough and honestly believed in God’s work he would be healed of his deformity. Of course that doesn’t come to fruition and he is bitterly devastated. Things turn from bad to worse when a so-called friend seeks the company of other boys. Philip’s plight (like the plot) plods along painfully. Philip eventually leaves school to live in Germany for a time. He then goes to Paris to study art. By this time we are used to his callous ways. I personally started to tire of his selfishness and indifference to the people around him. I ended up not caring what happened to him. This is where my reading ended. How sad is that?

Reason read: Honoring the fact Maugham was born in the month of January. Enough said.

Author fact: Maugham was supposed to be a doctor. Turns out he was a better writer.

Book trivia: Of Human Bondage was made into a movie starring Bette Davis (in 1934). Of course it was.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “100 Good Reads, Decade By Decade: 1910s” (p 176).