Thursday, November 29, 2007

Two memes in one!

First, a Thursday Thirteen. Dorothy and Danielle have both posted their lists of 13 books they'd intended to read this year, but will be carrying over until the next. I, of course, have many more than 13 that I really thought I'd complete in 2007, but the first eight below, which I officially claimed were on my year's reading list last New Year's Eve, particularly sting. Not enough to attempt rushing through the whole lot in December, but enough to make them a "priority" again in 2008.

1. The Charterhouse of Parma. Stendhal. I really enjoyed The Red and the Black, so don't know why I let it get brushed aside except that it looks time-consuming.

2. Germinal. Zola's on the Catholic Church's List of Prohibited Books, so I can read this one for the ILL Challenge and that will counteract the tiny print that will cause me to squint.

3. Tristram Shandy. I started it, but could not stay focused to save my life. It's also on the prohibited list so additional incentive next year not to let Sterne defeat me again.

4. A Sentimental Journey. Perhaps I started with the wrong Sterne and I should read this one before Tristram Shandy?

5. Buddenbrooks. Mann. No explanation for not reading it; it just kept being brushed aside last winter until I forgot about it.

6. The Metamorphoses. I need to buckle down and read a book or two of Ovid each month until I'm done.

7. The Blithedale Romance. Hawthorne. It's right here on my desk. Maybe I should read it in December? The cover looks all nice and wintry. Hmmm.

8. The Guermantes Way. Honestly, this one may carry over until 2009, particularly since I want to read Ulysses next year. Proust is on the back burner at this point.

9. The Yiddish Policemen's Union. I'm letting this Chabon represent all the new fiction I had to buy immediately and have allowed to languish unread on the shelves. I'm going to curtail new book purchases next year, I promise.

10. April Witch. I'm letting Axelsson represent all the hardback fiction from prior years that I have allowed to languish unread on the shelves.

11. Thomas Hardy. I'm letting Tomalin's biography represent all the nonfiction I had to buy immediately before allowing it to, well, you know what.

12. Suite Francaise. I'm letting Nemirovsky represent all the books I've received as gifts because I requested them, yet have allowed to yada yada yada.

13. Habit of Being. Okay, so I did read quite a bit of O'Connor's fiction this year, and I loved what I read of this collection of letters enough that I turned in my library copy and purchased my own. I'll finish it eventually.

And now, for Booking Through Thursday:

Do you get on a roll when you read, so that one book leads to the next, which leads to the next, and so on and so on?

I don’t so much mean something like reading a series from beginning to end, but, say, a string of books that all take place in Paris. Or that have anthropologists as the main character. Or were written in the same year. Something like that… Something that strings them together in your head, and yet, otherwise could be different genres, different authors…

I think reading organically like that is the best way to read. It's certainly something to aspire to, and something I enjoy tremendously when it happens, but the truth is that I allow myself to be too distracted by others' enthusiasm for what they're just read or by selecting books for this or that challenge or by library due dates (although I'm doing much better in that department). Too much outside interference, but I continue to seek it out instead of letting the books themselves guide me and I don't see that changing as long as book blogging continues.


  1. I had to laugh about the new fiction and non-fiction that you just "had to buy" and then let languish. I've done that way too often--and performed some intricate mental gymnastics to rationalize such a purchase (such as the Chabon book) to my husband. Great list!

  2. Intricate mental gymnastics--that's it! It's the only sport I do well, but I ought to get a gold in the book purchases department.

  3. I tend to go on author/genre/topic jags, but other than that I read whatever appeals to me at the moment---even if that means putting down a book in the middle and switching to something else for a while!

  4. My list was actually much longer, but mine were the ones I made lists of (I am very good at making lists and then ignoring them). I also want to read Suite Francaise, I begged a reader's copy of the Chabon and then never read it! And I've wanted to read Buddenbrooks for a long time (but hesitant due to the size!)

  5. I was wondering what happened to Tristram Shandy. He was on my list of books to read this year. At least you started reading it. I didn't even take it off the shelf!

  6. Well, Tristram Shandy is the real masterpiece, not Sentimental Journey, but SJ is a good warm-up to TS -- and it's really, really short.

  7. I, too, have to list the "books I had to buy and then let languish" by categories.

    This is the year that I will get through Les Miserables, The Brothers Karamazov, and Bleak House. I can just feel it.

  8. I really love it when I look back at my reading journals and see when I was reading organically.

    Gonna try to clear my plate and not have any holdovers for next year. Do you hear that, Letty Fox? I will finish you before December 31!

  9. I like the emphasis on the older books.
    So many people nowadays are only reading the latest thing.
    That's an impressive list of ESSENTIAL, relevant books of the past.
    And already representative of a formidable challenge for 2008, along with the pile of books you will add to it, right?
    I know the feeling.
    So many books.
    So little time.


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