Reading Journal (May 20): Rebecca Reads A Little Slower

Since I haven’t been finishing nearly as many books this month, it’s been quite around Rebecca Reads. I’ve been enjoying the nice spring weather and getting some other projects done. Today, I thought I’d share some of my “in progress” reads so I can get your thoughts about these books in progress. It might be nice to look back on my reading progress when I finished books too.

I have finished two books I’m going to review in the coming week: Billy Collins’ Sailing Alone Around the Room (poetry collection) and The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman (Newbery winner).

Fiction

I’m currently reading The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy, which is 900 pages long. Since I’m on page 175 even after three weeks, it may take a while at this rate! I’m enjoying the slower pace (although I do intend to pick it up a bit). It’s a slower book, so taking it slowly is appropriate. Galsworthy won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the 1930s, so the writing is quite enjoyable, even if the story is slow.

I also started reading Julius Caesar, which I’m reading for both the Martel-Harper Challenge and the BiblioShakespeare challenge. My edition (Signet Classic) includes a few short essays about the play, and I hope that will enhance my reading of it.

After my abandoned attempt to listen to Brave New World via audio, I picked up the audio of 1984 by George Orwell. Thus far (an hour into it), it is much more rewarding than Huxley’s book, simply because there is a character I can identify with. I’m also better able to relate to it, since like The Handmaid’s Tale (reviewed here), it’s about a character that remembers the time before totalitarian rule.

Also, via Dailyreader.net, I get one 10-minute increment of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe each day; at this continued rate, I’ll finish in July or August. It’s an interesting novel, but not powerfully written. I’m glad I’m reading it for the historical value, but I’m also glad I’m reading it in little chunks.

Library Loot

I checked out Husain Haddawy’s The Arabian Nights for the “folklore” section of the Once Upon a Time Challenge. Since I’ve already read a few fantasy and fairy tales books that count for the challenge and I’d only signed up to read one work, I probably won’t push myself to read this in the time before it’s due back at the library. It does look very interesting and I look forward to reading it in full someday. According to reviewers on LibraryThing and Amazon, a version by Husain Haddawy is the one to read.

Children’s

I’ve been reading my son the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Treasury by Betty MacDonald. We’ve finished the first two books in it, and I’m in the middle of the third and last (Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic). I got kind of burned out reading chapter books aloud to him because of my push at the end of April to get many minutes of reading together, so I’ve been going slower, reading every other day or so. I do want to finish this volume. I’ve enjoyed it, although I have to say maybe Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is best in small doses.

Nonfiction

In nonfiction, I’m reading The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington. This is for the “politics” category of the World Citizen Challenge. I’m surprised at how readable it is; I was afraid it would be “beyond me.” At the same time, it’s rather poorly written: lots of bullet points and headings. I’m more of a transition girl, so the lists and headings make it feel disjointed and just pasted together in terms of argument. I am enjoying it, but I’m also going rather slowly.

And that’s it in the reading front. Make sure you go and make a guess at my giveaway post as I’m going to choose a winner early next week.

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. I really liked Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but I read an annotated edition that added to the experience.

    Sorry Brave New World isn’t working for you. I thought the best part was then end, and it made me do a lot of thinking about what it is that personal happiness really consists of. As I stated in my review of this book, “Perhaps ‘too much’ is its own brand of poverty[.]”

    Lezlie

  2. Lezlie, annotated would be a great idea for Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I am enjoying it as I read it, just not impressed with the writing side of it — the story and context and historical setting is fascinating.

    Yeah, I’m thinking I’m going to end up revisiting Brave New World some day.

  3. I have heard good things about the Forsyte saga, but (surprise, surprise!) the length intimidates me, so I haven’t felt compelled to get a copy. Moreover, I don’t even really know what it’s about! Whenever you should finish it and review it, I’m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts! I’m a monogamous reader, so if I were to read a 900 page book, I’d likely not be able to update my site for a couple of weeks! 😉

    I do hope you like 1984! It’s a book I’ve been meaning to re-read one of these days. It’s been way too long since I last read it!

  4. I can’t remember who did the translation of Arabian Nights that my sister and I really enjoyed. Stephen or Steve somebody. Darn. If I figure it out, I’ll come back. In the meantime, my sister loves his translation and the book, and I read pieces of it a couple years ago and thought it was very funny, but didn’t have time to read the full collection.

    I’ve considered reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Thanks for the forewarning that the writing itself might not be so hot.

  5. I checked out a ‘companion to the Arabian nights’ book from my library on a whim this last time. And I just got the Haddawy translation last month (I won a contest to pick any book I wanted from Amazon! yay!), so I really want to start reading soon. Want to have a read-a-long? (I totally understand if you’re too busy.)

  6. I used to get the snippets from DailyReader, but then would get frustrated because I wanted to finish the story right now. I don’t blame you for abandoning Brave New World; it’s probably the most abandoned book at my school for independent reading. I haven’t read 1984, but if its anything like The Handmaid’s Tale I would probably like it. I’m hoping to pick it up this summer.

    Miss Piggle-Wiggle was one of my favorite books as a child, but I think I got burned out after reading two. I don’t remember reading more than two of them.

  7. Steph, Well Forsyte is rather hard to describe. There is a quote in it about how novels must of course always have plots and I think it’s kind of a dig at his own novel because some may say it doesn’t have a plot! I’d describe it at a 40-year saga of one family’s multi-generational conflicts at the turn of the century.

    I’m obviously not very “monogamous” in my reading…:)

    Amanda, it’s good thus far, just not one I’d love to read all at once. I like to read lots of books at once and that’s a good example of why.

    Eva, yeay! A fellow reader! I have to say, though, that I have yet to actually finish a read-along in a given time frame. I’m reading Forsyte Saga is a LibraryThing read-along and everyone else finished it about a month ago. I’m hoping to finish the introductions this week and next and then maybe start the “nights” the next week. Which publication by Haddawy did you get? The copy I have from the library is the Everyman edition; I’ve been told I’d also have to read Arabian Nights 2 to get some of the familiar stories, so maybe I still have the “wrong” edition.

    Kathy, you say that, and yet, many people (maybe even you!) follow serial TV shows from week to week. I see reading a few novels at a time as similar. Sometimes I’m in the mood for one book, sometimes another.

    Christina, yes, some times I request the next snippet right away, usually to finish the chapter. But I read books that I don’t want to sit down with and read cover-to-cover, so it works for me. I may try Brave New World again (in hard copy!) since so many people DID love it.

    I realized that one of the three Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books were written two decades later. Hmm. I think the author lost her touch? It doesn’t feel as “good” to me in reading it. Lots of fun when I was a kid though. I’m almost done with it, so review next week, hopefully!

  8. Eva, I meant to say that for Arabian Nights I hope to read the introductions by the end of next week, and then maybe start on the rest of it.

  9. You know I love those dystopian classics – sorry to hear that you couldn’t get through Brave New World – it’s a weird one.
    In other news, I have nominated you for a Lemonade Award!! You can find more info on my blog. Thanks for all the great reviews, I love reading them even if I don’t comment!

  10. Don’t worry about a time frame! Some books I think are better spread out, and I bet Arabian Nights is one of them. 🙂 I have this copy, and I know there’s a second volume, so we probably have the same stories! I think it’s so weird there isn’t a convenient, complete copy of Arabian Nights, you know?

  11. Jessica, aw, thanks for the award! That’s so sweet!

    Eva, yes, I was thinking this was a read a little at a time book. I’ll see where I get before it’s due back at the library without any more renewals.

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