I feel I’m finally getting a balance back between reading and blogging. It felt very good to be unplugged for nearly five days, and I think I may have to do that more often. I’m also trying to shy away from challenges in the coming year. There are so many that have tempted me, but I think I’d rather have freedom to read whatever I want to once I close a book and want to pick up the next. I have enough structure as it is, with the Classics Circuit and book groups and so forth.
Fiction and Nonfiction Reviews
In November, I reviewed a few things I finished previously.
- Macbeth by Shakespeare (190 pages; play and essay of commentary).
- Jane Austen: A Biography by Carol Shields (5 CDs about 5 hours total; nonfiction/biography).
- The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (550 pages; fiction).
- Proust was a Neuroscientist by Jonas Lehrer (200 pages; nonfiction).
- Too Many Cooks by Emily Franklin (360 pages; nonfiction/memoir/cookbook).
- Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child (110 pages; nonfiction/reference/cookbook).
- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (425 pages; fiction).
I also read or reviewed the following:
- Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton (285 pages; fiction).
- Jane Austen’s Little Advice Book by Jane Austen, edited by Cathryn Michon and Pamela Norris (125 pages; quotes from Austen’s fiction).
- My Life in France by Julia Child (300 pages; nonfiction/memoir).
- The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins by William Clarke (205 pages; nonfiction/biography).
- Two Histories of England by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens (160 pages; fictionalized nonfiction).
- Too Late the Phalarope by Alan Paton (285 pages; fiction).
- Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks (abridged audiobook, on 5 of 5 CDS; nonfiction).
- The King of Inventors by Catherine Peters (425 pages; nonfiction/biography).
- Aucassin et Nicolete by an anonymous author, translated by Andrew Lang (about 35 pages; fiction/really old classic).
- Medea by Euripides, translated by Rex Warner (about 50 pages).
- Harlem STOMP! A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance by Laban Carrick Hill (135 pages; nonfiction/coffee table book).
- Carmen by Georges Bizet (opera on CD, plus commentary).
- Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (opera on CD, plus commentary). I’m tired of opera this week!
- Carmen by Prosper Merimee (about 60 pages, from Project Gutenberg; fiction).
- Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter by Seth Lerer (330 pages; nonfiction).
- Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell (484 pages; fiction).
- The Harlem Renaissance: An Explosion of African-American culture by Richard Worth (115 pages; children’s nonfiction).
- My Antonia by Willa Cather (265 pages; fiction).
Not all my posts were reviews this month.
- October in Review
- Reading Journal (4 Nov): Reading Progress and Library Loot
- Reading Journal (11 Nov): I Am a Quitter
- Reading Journal (18 Nov): Planning for a Quiet December
- Reading Journal (25 November): Unplugged Edition
As I mentioned in my I Am a Quitter reading journal, I decided to quit a few challenges early. I will be incorporating some of those books in to my monthly plans, but I think I need to step away from challenges. I’m hoping I can revisit my monthly goals at the beginning of each month and play it by ear a bit more.
Past and Ended Challenges
- 9 for 09 challenge [ends 27/12/09] 4/9 QUIT EARLY. I decided not to put the necessary effort into this challenge.
- BiblioShakespeare Challenge [ends 31/12/09]. 4/6 QUIT EARLY. I decided not to put the necessary effort into this challenge. I will do better at reading Shakespeare next year!
- Science Book Challenge [ends 31/12/09]. 3/3 FINISHED.
- The Spice of Life Challenge [ends 31/1209]. 8/6 FINISHED. I loved this, as it was my own challenge!
- World Citizen Challenge [ends 31/12/09]. 5/7 Postponed. I’ll probably read the last few books next year!
- Dewey Decimal Reading Challenge [ends 31/12/09]. 10/10 FINISHED. I read Children’s Literature for the 800’s century.
Some projects appear on more than one list because part of the challenge is timed, but the overall project is not. I’ve made a note if I’m currently reading a book that applies to a particular challenge.
See the list of books I’ve read and what I’m planning on reading for each challenge on my Current Challenges page.
Everything Austen Challenge [ends 31/12/09] 5/6 (Coming up: a Jane Austen-ish moive)
The Japanese Literature Challenge [ends 30/01/10]. 0/1 (Currently in progress: The Pillow Book. I will read this over the next few months.)
Really Old Classics Challenge [ends 28/02/10]. 2/4 + 0/1 retelling
Women Unbound [ends 30/11/10]. 2/8
HTR&W project: poetry. 0/21 poems I’ll begin this project in earnest come the new year.
Nobel Challenge. 15/101 authors
Pulitzer Challenge. 12/82
Newbery Medal. 29/88
Caldecott Medal. 44/72
My History of Children’s Literature Project. 6/15 chapters (I’ve finished the book, but I am reading novels from chapter 6 still. In progress: Treasure Island)
U.S. Presidential Reading. 2/44 presidents
Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1/15 presidents.
My Short Story Author Project.
My Poets Project.
Favorite Authors to Read.
Classics/Must Read Lists
Reading Journal (2 Dec)
This weekend I unplugged from blogging. I also indirectly unplugged from reading too as I watched more TV, played with my family, and otherwise enjoyed the holiday. I did finish one book, and I made good progress on some others. This week I hope to get the two children’s books finished, as well as the Harlem Renaissance criticism finished. I also hope to continue to make progress on Jesus the Christ and begin The Pillow Book.
I didn’t go to the library all week (amazing!) and I will hold off on posting “finds” until next week, since this post is already quite long.
This week, I finished one book.
- My Antonia by Willa Cather (265 pages; fiction).
Each week, I list my progress so I can see how my reading compares week to week.
I’m going to add some other books of mine in the coming week.
- Our Latter-day Hymns: The Stories and Their Messages by Karen Lynn Davidson (85 read of 455 pages; nonfiction).
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (60 read of 196 pages; children’s fiction). For My History of Children’s Literature Project.
- Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (about 150 pages, from Project Gutenberg; children’s fiction). For My History of Children’s Literature Project.
- Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage (130 read of 735 pages; nonfiction). My December priority. I’m making steady progress and I was right: it’s perfect for immersion during the month of December!
- The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon (about 350 pages; fiction/really old classic). I haven’t begun yet! I hope to make some progress this week.
Old Library Loot
- The Harlem Renaissance edited by Harold Bloom (160 read of 300 pages; nonfiction/essays). Background info for the upcoming (February) Classics Circuit. I’m hoping to finish this in the coming week.
- Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.
- One of Ours by Willa Cather.
- O Pioneers by Willa Cather.
- Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Fenyman by Robert Fenyman (on disc 6 of 10, about 11 ½ hours total; nonfiction/science). I’m enjoying this very much!
- A Son at the Front by Edith Wharton. For the Wharton Classics Circuit. I’m first in January, so I’d better get reading!