…you sit down to dinner with your 22-month old and he says “Book? Book?” and points to a book on the near-by shelf.
I guess I have had my nose in a book a lot lately. (In my defense, my husband has been out of town, my son takes forever to eat, and I don’t usually read during dinner, just during breakfast and lunch…)
How do you know you have been reading too much? Or is there such a thing?
This past weekend was a wake-up call to slow down my reading once again. I didn’t read a book for two days! I enjoyed my reading-filled July (with a record number of pages!), but I suspect the rest of August will find me reading less compulsively, reading more classics, and trying to be less calendar-driven (i.e., challenge-driven). I’m really missing the spontaneity of reading whatever classic is calling to me.
I say all that, but I’ve apparently already finished six books this month. When did that happen?
See my notes by each book below.
- The Arabian Nights II, translated by Husain Haddawy (270 pages; fiction). FINISHED! This volume had four stories; they were okay, but not spectacular. Now I know why the other volume’s translation is considered “best.”
- Castle Waiting by Linda Medley (455 page; fiction/graphic novel). FINISHED! This was fun. Don’t let the 400+ pages scare you; it’s a fairly fast read.
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (librivox.org audiobook, on 32 of 38 segments, 25.5 hours total; fiction) My current audiobook; downloaded via Librivox.org. I will certainly finish in the coming week. It’s lots of fun, and I can’t believe I’ve been so patient with the audiobook; I’m dying to see how it ends.
- The Stories of John Cheever (20 of 61 stories, 820 pages total; fiction/short stories). Part of my Pulitzer Challenge. I made no progress this week; my goal is five to ten stories a week.
- The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne (120 read of 180 pages; children’s fiction). I’m reading this aloud to my son, a little bit every day.
- The [Barnes and Noble] Poetry Library: John Donne (42 of 98 pages; poetry). My current poet. No progress this week, despite the fact that I got some analysis to help me (see new loot, below). I should make progress this week.
- Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathon Swift (90 read of 355 pages; fiction). For My Children’s Literature Project. I finished part one (of four), and I’m aiming to finish part two this week.
- Beloved by Toni Morrison (9 read of 275 pages; fiction). For the Beowulf on the Beach Challenge. I started this, but I didn’t have the chance to sit down with it. Because this is one of my favorites, I’m looking forward to really reading it, so I’m just waiting for the chance.
Old Library Loot
- The Chicago School of Architecture: A History of Commercial and Public Building in the Chicago Area, 1875-1925 by Carl W. Condit (63 read of 220 pages; nonfiction). There is something so fascinating about buildings and how and why they are built as they are. This is a book that (1) requires concentration and (2) is not for late night reading. When I’m fully awake and able to concentration on it, I enjoy it.
- An Edge in the Kitchen by Chad Ward (80 read of 210 pages; nonfiction/reference). For The Spice of Life Challenge. I am enjoying it, just going slowly, about 10 pages a day when I can. If only I had “new kitchen knives” in the budget this month!
New Library Loot
I got a few new books this week.
- Bloom’s Major Poets: John Donne (110 pages; nonfiction/critical analysis). This is to help me make sense of Donne’s poetry.
- The Soul of Wit: A Study of John Donne by Murray Roston (220 pages; nonfiction/critical analysis). This is also to help me make sense of Donne’s poetry; I’m judging a book by its cover this week, and this book is ugly, smelly, and looks densely boring. I’ll try to give it a chance despite that.
- The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (trans. Ivan Morris) (265 pages, plus 140 pages end matter; fiction). I’ve decided to read this for The Japanese Literature Challenge. I know, I’m crazy to join yet another challenge. But this challenge is to read one book! And Shonagon sounds wonderful.
- 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (95 pages; nonfiction). For the Take a Chance Challenge, chance number 10 book/movie comparison.
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (11 hours audiobook; fiction). For the Take a Chance Challenge, chance number 1, random book selection. My requirements: fiction audiobook section, second aisle, third column form the right, third shelf down, tenth book in from right. I gave my self the option of tenth book in from the left too, so I guess I cheated. I’d actually heard of this particular one, so I chose it over the tenth book from the left.
I really would love to read all of these books, but it’s a bit unrealistic. Since I only finished two books, adding 17 to the list is a bit excessive. How do you control your TBR additions?
- Maw Books is giving away 14 Cows for America, which I added to my TBR last week.
- Becca at Bookstack ponders the secret club of reading. How do children of non-readers get in it?
- Jenni at Banquet of Books ponders the need for reading partners: someone who will engage with you in a dialog about books. Thanks to all of you for being that for me! I love to discuss books.
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Heather at Age 30+ says this is one of the best books ever. And she had put off reading it much as I have.
- Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot says this is very good. I still haven’t read any Adichie!
- Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton. Amanda at the Zen Leaf was going to give away this Austen-esque modern romance but couldn’t part with it, she liked it so much!
- The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. Teresa at Shelf Love says “There’s a reason some books are classics. They address questions that won’t go away as long as there are people on the planet.” That is, I think, a perfect way of describing why I like to read classics.
- Mudbound by Hilary Jordan. Softdrink at Fizzythoughts “flat out loved this book” which explores racism in the segregated south.
- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. I got this at a discount table a year ago but I haven’t read this. Books and Cooks says she liked it, and was surprised that many in her book group did too.
- Eclogues by Virgil. I didn’t know Virgil wrote poetry until I read the review by Jason Gignac at 5-Squared.
- After the Fire, A Still Small Voice by Evie Wyld. Bluestalking says this is as gorgeous as prose gets: “You cannot come away from it unmoved.” I’m intrigued.
- Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. 3000 Books says “Mister Pip is not just about a book; it is about all books, and all that books can be.”
- Apologies to an Apple by Maya Ganesan. Jason Gignac at 5-Squared really likes these poems, and I’m intrigued, since they’re written by an 11-year-old.
- Speak by Laurie Halsie Anderson. Christopher at 50 Books Project talks about how this YA novel about rape is current high school reading.
- Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages by Anne Mendelson. Emily at Evening All Afternoon shares my love of milk and dairy products, so she really enjoyed this book. Plus, it would be perfect for my Spice of Life Challenge.
- Inventing English by Seth Lerer. Emily at Evening All Afternoon has some great thoughts about this book, which is all about the evolving face of English through history.
- Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz. Meagan at 50 Books Project says this is a travelogue through the south to learn about the War of Northern Aggression. Being from the north, I’ve never learned about the Civil War from the Southern perspective. Maybe this funny book would do that?
- Iran Awakening by Shirin Abadi. Nymeth at things mean a lot read this to get a better grip on the current Iran situation. I’m interested for similar reasons.
- The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise-Bauer. Jenni at Banquet of Books quoted from this; I want to read it now!
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Teresa at Shelf Love says that she liked rereading Joan Didion’s memoir of the year after her husband died; she says “Although death, grief, and illness are the focus of the book, Didion’s narrative also includes excursuses into the writing life that she and Dunne shared.” It sounds depressing but powerful.