I'm about half way through Palace Walk. The writing is beautiful, flowing; as a reader, I am swept along with the characters in their ordinary, day to day lives. There are moments of humor and wonderful characterization and detail, but there is also a great deal of stress for a modern, Western woman reading about not only a patriarchal culture, but one in which women can remain secluded their entire lives, a culture that allows the man all the power and decisions, and in which most females are subservient and obedient. Mahfouz pulls you into the lives of this family in Cairo, explaining the thinking of each one, seemingly objectively. Raised in an entirely different culture, I find the concept of considering women as objects and creatures with less "than half a mind" frightening. And yet, because Mahfouz handles everything so adroitly, I'm entirely intriqued by this family.
I'm almost finished with Paglia's Break, Blow, Burn -- it so easy to read one or two poems and Paglia's comments and put it down again, but I am enjoying Paglia's explication/analysis of each one.
When the tension in Palace Walk begins to feel stressful , I retreat to something else... Paglia's poetry analysis or The Shape-Changer's Wife, letting the tension release.
Booking Through Thursday
1. How many books would you say you read in an average month?
Last year, I read an average of about 12 books a month. So far this year, I've read more nonfiction and the average is about 9 per month.
2. In a year?
Last year 146. Normally, around 120+.
3. Over the last five years?
Using an average of 120, it would be around 600. I'm not going back through my old journals to count them.
4. The last 10?
Using the same average...about 1200.