August Reading Update

Books, Reading

After my crazy July when I read a collection of stories and essays, two novels and four graphic novels, I settled back into a more typical routine and read two books in August: Henry Miller’s The Colossus of Maroussi and Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris.

As I mentioned last month after reading Miller’s The Cosmological Eye, I find many of his post Tropics works fascinating because they feel less strained and more authentic than those books where he forces his notorious persona. The Colossus of Maroussi might be one of Miller’s finest books. It chronicles his trip to Greece that he took right after his Paris period. He had to leave France because of World War II and fled to Greece. However, he had to subsequently leave there as the political situation got more dangerous, heading, at that point, back to the United States.

The Colossus of Maroussi is one of his most cohesive and well-focused books. Most of his work after the Tropics consists of short essays and stories. Absent here is any sign of the bawdy character of his earlier more famous works. The Colossus of Maroussi contains no sex and no foul language. It is an insightful and entertaining travelogue featuring a wide array of interesting characters. In it, Miller struggles with his own future as his formative years in Paris are behind him and his future is uncertain.

AugustReadingElantris, of course, is a much different kind of book being Brandon Sanderson’s debut fantasy novel. At one time, I read a fair amount of fantasy and science fiction, mainly in my teens. College distracted me from this interest as all my reading was then dictated by my course work. I never grew dismissive of these genres, never felt that I outgrew them, but other interests came to the forefront. I chose Elantris because it was recommended to me and because it is a standalone work. It wasn’t as big of a commitment as some of the multi-volume works would have been.

Elantris is an enjoyable book set in a well-realized fantasy realm. It tells the story of a mysterious ailment, the victims of which are exiled in the once beautiful city of Elantris. The book is told from three main points of view: a prince from a neighboring city who becomes an exiled victim, his bride via an arranged marriage who never met the prince and who is told that the prince had died, and a religious leader who is trying to convert the city. Elantris is solid entertainment, a great debut novel and a good choice to reintroduce myself to fantasy.

I also took another bite into my big pile of literary magazines and finished the Summer 2012 issue of The Missouri Review.

By the end of August, I had complete 18 books. I’m on a good pace to reach my goal of 25 books for the year.