Personal Updates,  Random

September Reading

September is over and I can’t believe it. It has been a very interesting, very challenging and very busy month:

After quite a boring August, I decided to start working my PhD on the 1st of September, and it felt great. For some time now, I have felt that I found my place, professionally speaking. Doing a PhD in literature would not be the safest bet for many people – you can also read Naomi’s change of life here – but, I think -and I feel and I know – it is the best thing I could do in life. So, I started very passionately to collect books on crime fiction (any surprises on my topic? I don’t think so 😉 ) and I got 11 amazing titles that I know I need to read, but when I handed in the list to my lovely professor, she very politely told me it was too much. I am supposed to read until December/January 2014 and then write the very first chapter. So, 11 books cannot be done. We both agreed on the 4 most important titles and I already read one this September: Murder by the Book? Feminism and Crime Fiction by Sally Munt. Needless to say, it was amazing.

 If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. 
- Katherine Hepburn
“If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting” 
- Katherine Hepburn

Doing academic reading is a little bit tiring, especially since I need to take notes and create diagrams including my own thoughts, so I only managed to read 4 books in September, but I am positive one of them has only made me fall even more in love with crime fiction. Can you believe I had never read Asa Larsson? Well, I bought Sun Storm (Rebecka Martinsson #1) in mid-September and it only took me a week to read it. I love the main character, Rebecka and I want to be friends with her. I want to be her! She is the perfect feminist crime fiction heroine. And the best news is that my local library owns all the books translated in the series until now – in Spanish – so that I will be able to use my library again.

I also read Her by Harriet Lane, a book you have all been raving about and that I loved as well. I couldn’t believe the ending! What did you think?

Because I could not allow myself to start a PhD in crime fiction without having read two great classics, I finally got my hands on The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie and Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers. They were both good, I was not as impressed by Roger Ackroyd as many people are, but I loved Dorothy L. Sayers because her work has the perfect combination between a good mystery and a charming and funny main character. Again, I found myself wanting to be friends with Lord Peter Wimsey, but who doesn’t?

So, plans for next October? I hope to keep my 50-to-60 hours a week working schedule, although I have to admit that sometimes I feel overwhelmed, but nothing that an hour of TV cannot fix. The Puppy also helps a lot, because e is always up for a walk, and I am always thankful for his energy. I also plan on returning to blogging, but I blame my absence on the amount of time I have spent on filling in forms, writing articles and studying. I really miss writing here and reading your reviews, so don’t worry. I’ll be back as I ease into a routine. Please bear with me.

And you? What have you been up to this past month? How are you feeling about going back to work/school after the summer holidays?




  • WordsAndPeace

    this is awesome, congratulations for launching into a PhD. So your topic will be crime fiction? how are you narrowing it down? I think it would be fabulous to compare the American and the French models. If I were younger and had time, I would work on that. The French are getting big on that, but in a style different fro American writers

    • Elena

      Hi! Well, I studied English literature, so I’m all for English detectives. It takes a lot of time indeed, but it feels like the best thing I can do.

  • rivercityreading

    Sounds like you have a pretty fascinating trip down the road to your PhD ahead of you! I can’t wait to see how it goes. I have a copy of Her that I’m waiting to read, so I’m glad to hear good things 🙂

  • Sarah

    Well done for getting started on your PhD. I’ll look forward to hearing the progress of your researches. ‘Roger Ackroyd’ isn’t my favourite Christie either but it was innovative at the time.

    • Elena

      Thank you, Sarah. I totally agree about Acrkoyd: somehow it felt very modern (all about the silences and postmodernist theory), but I don’t know, I am not a Christie fan and I think I will never be…

  • Alex

    I’ve always privately held the opinion that if you can successfully fill in all the forms necessary to begin a PhD the powers that be make a note of the fact and then give you the award at the end of three years regardless of what else you write 🙂

    While it isn’t exactly my area, I am interested in how crime fiction works in terms of structure and so if you were ever to feel like posting your original reading list I would really like to see what was on it.

    • Elena

      Thank you for those words, Alex. Paperwork for my PhD wasn’t that much, but the forms for the scholarships – scholarships that I didn’t get – were crazy.

      I hope my blog and my posts keep you interested. I will write about what I read for my PhD as well as about what I read for pleasure. I don’t have a reading list yet, but I hope to have one by the end of the academic year.

  • Alice

    Best of luck with your research these next few months, I must say you and Naomi are making me want to do a PHD (not that I think any University would let me do one haha).

    Roger Ackroyd isn’t my favourite Christie either. One of those books that is amazing because of the twist, but otherwise I wasn’t blown away.

    I am glad it’s autumn, October is my favourite month I think. I’m back on track with my reading and generally more interested in books again. Also, it’s jumper weather once more, and this makes me very happy.

    • Elena

      Thank you, Alice! Oh, I think universities would actually fight to get you… and I say this only based on your comments here.

      I am a big winter fan in general and Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I start to worry/get ready/wait for Christmas by mid-October, so… And jumpers, and wool and coats are a dream. Sadly, Spain is still sunny and hot.

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