New books…

I’ve picked up (and by that, read “ordered from Amazon”) three new books:  The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg, Pere Goriot by Balzac, and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.  And, if you want to be technical, I also grabbed a book for my Kindle–The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett–because it was on sale for 99 cents and who can pass that up?

I am starting with the James Hogg book.  So far it has been pretty interesting and it reads easily–which, let’s face it, not all books written in 1824 do.  While I haven’t had a ton of time to read (mandatory work overtime is killing me), I try to grab a few minutes here and there.

Update later, gators.

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Easing back into reading, slowly

As I write this, someone in the living room is watching The Addams Family (movie, 1991); Wednesday and Pugsley are performing their Shakespearean death scene for the school talent show.  All I can hear are the gagging death-coughs of Christina Ricci…(which is, of course, the reason I KNOW it is The Addams Family).

*****

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.  I am reluctant to barrel through this book with unholy speed because I am enjoying how often I laugh.  I’m not talking about the material evoking an amused smile or a polite titter.  I mean sincere, deep belly laughs…the kind that make you the object of stares from strangers.

I inched a few steps farther into The Hobbit.

But, I am most proud of my passable progress through The Fires of Heaven; to be fair, it is an audiobook which leaves me free to do other things (like knit or draw) while listening.

*****

On a better note, my reading–as snail-like as it is–is allowing me to write again.  I forget how often they feed each other…

Things to catch up on…

Wow.

I was down for the count since the 1st with the lovely gift of the yucks.  I don’t recommend it.

What’s still on the nightstand

  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  •  The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

What’s outside

002

003

006
I’m now aware the window needs a good scrub.

What’s going on today

Mmmmm...pie.
Mmmmm…pie.

OK.  It’s a cheaty cherry pie from Marie Callender, but I’ve been sick and I want pie.

Plotting out the New Year

Smaller committment things signed up for in 2013 (so far):

The Classics Club

Because I really need to get my butt in gear with reading the classics, I want to really splash into it this year!  I’ve decided to give each month a theme so I can feel more excited about my progress.

While I will be reading more modern novels and other things besides classics, I thought I would try to finish at least two of the classics listed each month.  This will give me choice and flexibility…which, as a flibbertigibbet, is key to a good plan.

January (Adventure Month)Treasure Island (Stevenson), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Verne), The Three Musketeers (Dumas), King Solomon’s Mines (Haggard)

February (Travel Month)Gulliver’s Travels (Swift), The Time Machine (Wells), Around the World in 80 Days (Verne), Robinson Crusoe (Defoe)

March (Fight Month)The Nibelungenlied (unknown), Beowulf (unknown), The Last of the Mohicans (Cooper), Les Misérables (Hugo)

April (Anything Goes Month)Moll Flanders (Defoe), Madame Bovary (Flaubert), Eugénie Grandet (Balzac), Vanity Fair (Thackeray)

May (Maybe Mystery Month)The Complete Sherlock Holmes vol 1. and vol 2. (Doyle), The Moonstone (Collins),  The Big Sleep (Chandler)

June (Ah, Love! Month)Adolphe (Constant), Wuthering Heights (Brontë), Evelina (Burney), Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)

July (16th/17th Century Play Month):  Plays by Marlowe, Shakespeare, Ford, Molière, and Webster

August (Hot as Hell! Month)Journey to the Center of the Earth (Verne), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Wilde), The Divine Comedy (Dante), Paradise Lost (Milton)

September (The Dickens you say! Month)A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist

October (The Creeps! Month)Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stevenson), Dracula (Stoker), Frankenstein (Shelley), In Cold Blood (Capote)

November (Forgive me, it’s Nanowrimo! Month)The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

December (Punishment Month)Crime and Punishment (Dostoyevsky), The Mayor of Casterbridge (Hardy), The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne), The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas)

Counting up the reading year

I’ve been wretchedly lazy this year about reading, but I thought I’d take a look at what has been accomplished.

Breakdown

Total books:  40 (+1 that will be finished before the New Year)

Rereads:  17

Classification:

  • Classics from my list:  8
  • Scifi:  31
  • YA:  12

Total pages read:  18,676 + 759 = 19,435

Average book length:  474 pages

  • books above: 17
  • books below:  24
  • longest book:  The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time #4) by Robert Jordan
  • shortest book:  Why Read? by Mark Edmundson

Books begun in 2012 and not yet completed:

  • Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  • In the Kingdom of Men by Kim Barnes
  • A Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
  • Letters by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Red and the Black by Stendhal
  • The Kingdom of Gods by N. K. Jemisin
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • A Scream Goes Through the House by Arnold Weinstein

Why were these books not completed?  Mostly the problem stems from sheer laziness on my part.    Two are not complete because I have a bee in my bonnet about them and am irritated with the writing and the content.  Two are not finished because I had to return the book to the library for another patron and have not checked it out again.

What am I most pleased about?  Nothing really.  I didn’t manage to get through all of Austen this year.  I can’t seem to finish Sense and Sensibility and I haven’t begun Mansfield Park.  I’m mad that my list for “not finished this year” is ten books long!  I am a bit grumbly about only finishing 41 novels…and 17 of those are re-reads!  Geez.  My 2012 was not a year for books.

What do I hope for 2013?  I really want to get on with my Classics Club list.  I am going to make a tentative goal to complete at least 30 classics next year.  No more waffling!

A New Year’s Readathon for the Classics Club!

classics-club-readathon-january-2013Hey everyone–

The Classics Club is going to kickstart the new year with a big 24-hour readathon on Saturday, January 5th.  Woohoo!  Since that will be my last Saturday before school starts back up again, I thought it was excellent timing!

[Click the pic for more information…]

Since I still have plenty of books on my list of potentials for the Classics Club challenge, I think this will be the shortlist of choices for the readathon:

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
  • Maybe a few chapters out of Clarissa by Samuel Richardson

We shall see.  Who knows…it may be something entirely different!

Where, yet again, I fail to follow the plan…

I should just stop making lists of things I plan to read–I never follow them!  And that wretched siren of a library compelled me to leave my bed early this morning and bring home two books.

When will I learn?

Letters is the one I picked up first.  It is, as all correspondence should be, interesting and occasionally very funny.conversations with vonnegut

The other book I picked up is a collection of Kurt Vonnegut interviews compled by William Rodney Allen.  I enjoy reading what authors have to say about writing.

So, apologies to my potential list for December.  Beyond finishing up with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, it is possibly a fact that I will never look at you this month.  Just sit there on the corner of the bookshelf and pray that you become more appealing to my reading whims…

Joining RBR’s TBR Pile Challenge 2013!

Over at Roof Beam Reader, the To-Be-Read Pile Challenge for 2013 has been posted!  Adam will be hosting the project for the year and, if you slog through your 12 chosen books and post an “I’m done” comment, you will be eligible for a $50 gift certificate to Amazon or The Book Depository.

I’ve been flapping around for a few hours trying to limit my choices down to twelve and two alternates!  It is all well and good to continually add books to my “to be read” list on Goodreads, but it is quite another to have to actually make solid choices that I will stick to.  [I think it is quite obvious by now that I am not really a follow-the-plan kind of girl!]  But I have done my best and I’ll just have to go from there…

My List for the 2013 Challenge

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
  2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chambon (2000)
  3. The Hunger Games (the 3 book set) by Suzanne Collins (2008-2010)
  4. Pattern Recognition by William Gibson (2003)
  5. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (2003)
  6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1967)
  7. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2001)
  8. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (2003)
  9. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (1999)
  10. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (1847)
  11. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1980)
  12. A Scream Goes Through the House:  What Literature Teaches Us About Life by Arnold Weinstein (2003)

Alternates

  1. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (2002)
  2. The Professor and the Madman:  A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester (1998)

This should at least make me begin to feel better about the unread books clogging up my shelves!

Happenings around here

It seems I am lacking my “Classics Club” oomph, so I have been reading other things that are definitely NOT on my CC reading list.  They are brainless and fun and they are managing to close the gap in my Goodreads goal for the year!

Completed:

The Calliope Reaper-Jones Series by Amber Benson.

I’ve been hearing about these books for a while now so I tracked them down through my library.  The books are fun and easy to read in an afternoon.  In fact, I plowed through all four in three days without any trouble.  Great for beach reading (or lazy snow-day reading)!

The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde.

After a few books in the Thursday Next series that fell a bit flat (for me), this one seemed to put everything back on track.  It was amusing, fast paced, and smart.  I really love the worlds Jasper Fforde creates…and this one is particularly wonderful.  The one thing I missed from this was actual interplay from BookWorld instead of references to it…although, to be fair, Thursday is recovering from some serious injuries.  But, now, we are left with a mystery:  the world of Dark Reading Matter.  A great read!  [If you haven’t yet read anything from the Thursday Next series, start with The Eyre Affair.]

 

Current:

Changes by Jim Butcher.

Ok, technically this is a re-read.  I’m listening to this on audiobook even as I type this.  This book is the epitome of a bad few days for Harry Dresden.  Honestly, throughout the whole series, I don’t think Butcher has really amped up the “torture Dresden” fun-with-writing like this.  The first time I read this it felt harsh–I was emotionally wiped out!  The reason for re-reading this:  Dresden #14, Cold Days, comes out a week from tomorrow!!! [[[squee!]]]

 

Upcoming:

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher.

Another re-read, I’ve got to get through it before November 27th.  This is what happens to Harry after the übercatastrophe of Changes.  It is a quieter book, but don’t let that fool you into thinking nothing happens.  Harry has quite an active almost-afterlife!  This book really puts Harry in touch with the other characters and what his absence has caused.  The new non-Dresden world isn’t pretty.

Cold Days by Jim Butcher.

Oh, yeah!  November 27.  Mine!  I can’t wait to see what will happen with Dresden’s return and how things will fall out with Mab and the rest of the crew.

Austen in August: out of time…

This month went by too fast!

Austen in August has been great fun.  I finally managed to finish Pride and Prejudice which is something that should have been done ages ago!  That was my biggest hurdle for the month so I feel quite pleased with myself.

I will most likely not finish Northanger Abbey before midnight tonight as I have a stack of student papers to grade instead.  My one concern:  I do wish I had a book copy of NA.  I was reading it online (Project Gutenberg) before I grabbed a copy for my Kindle.  And, while I can highlight and take notes on my Kindle, I do find a hard copy of a book to be my preferable medium for such things.  However, I do think this will turn out to be my absolute favorite Austen novel, even with its rough edges.

From the library

I managed several of the essays out of the compilation, A Truth Universally Acknowledged.  I will probably pick that one back up from the library as it was interesting to see what different writers think of Austen.

Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners.  It was cute but not exactly what I expected, so I just flipped through.  If you are confused by certain behaviors in Austen’s books, you might get a chance to understand what and why it happens.  To me, the snippets out of Austen’s letters and books just read like common sense and didn’t really illuminate anything of which I was unaware.

I didn’t get to Austen’s collected letters before having to return it.  I will definitely check those out again.

Both Emma and Sense and Sensibility are in my audiobook files on my computer and I will begin listening to those soon.

The rest

Eventually, I will get around to Mansfield Park–hopefully before the end of the year–and then I will have made my way through all of Austen’s major works.  That would make me feel like I had really accomplished something.  If I can do that, I may try to get through all of Dickens next year!

Even though I didn’t quite finish the second book this month, I still loved Austen in August.  I had a chance to see what others thought about the author and the books.  It makes me wonder if this isn’t a better method of experiencing and discussing literature than a traditional classroom…

Ok.  So that’s my last two cents for the month.  😀  Have a glorious weekend.