Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Reading update

I'm obviously back to my nefarious bad-blogger ways.* I think about blogging, but do I actually type words in the provided box so that said words then show up on my blog? No way. Props to myself, though, for not blogging about the changes at work since I would hate to find myself dooced. At least the changes are now complete, and it's just the adjusting to them still ahead.

Soooo, June was a particularly wonderful month for reading. I stuck to my summer reading plans until late in the month, when I snuck in Muriel Spark's Memento Mori instead of moving on to any of the books I'd mentally assigned to July or August. I completed Jean Stafford's The Mountain Lion, Scarlett Thomas' The End of Mr. Y, Justin Cronin's The Passage, Dorothy Canfield Fisher's The Home-maker, Doris Lessing's The Sweetest Dream, and Wallace Stegner's bildungsroman The Big Rock Candy Mountain.

My favorite of the bunch was the Lessing, which explains why I now have Martha Quest and Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta on my desk at the library. I intend to have a Lessing-intense fall--if I can hold out that long. I read The Passage in a weekend right after we returned from a family vacation to New York, and it was a most enjoyable way to decompress. There were only a couple scenes where I wanted to mentally check out for pop corn and not come back until they were over, and I didn't appreciate how jerked around I felt near the end, but I'll be reading the next in the series whenever it may be published.

And since we're now (more than) half-way though the year, I should provide you with a reading update based on the plans from the first of the year. Only 16 of the books I've read so far have been from the library, so I'm doing well in the read-from-my-own-shelves department. And Ulysses is back in progress after a six-week hiatus. I've two chapters remaining, "Ithaca" and "Penelope," both of which I'm most eager to read, but I need to coordinate my  schedule with W.'s, so we finish at the same time. Have I mentioned that everyone else dropped out? (I wasn't a bit surprised.)

I mentioned starting a new Reading Habits of Fictional Characters project back in January, and it's there that I've been an abject failure. Oh, I've dutifully dogearred pages when characters mention the books they've read, but I have not kept track of this reading on the blog, let alone started a wiki page so that others could join in. I blame it on Buddy and Seymour Glass: I read Salinger's "Hapworth 16, 1924" as a tribute back in February, and the reading list included in the story was so extensive that I've not yet recovered from copying it all out on notecards.**

Perhaps I shall in the months to come.

And if there is a downside to having completed 51 books Jan.-June, other than that many bloggers have read twice that much or more, it is that I will now feel like a failure if I don't manage to reach 100 books for the year. I hadn't intended to pay any attention to numbers,*** and now I'm sure to worry about them constantly. The quality of the books I've been reading has been too high for such distracting silliness; maybe I ought to deliberately trip myself up by taking a month off from reading. It might make an interesting experiment to see how I'd use my time if I couldn't read.

*have I ever left them?
**which I have since misplaced
***except for short stories, where I'm clearly lagging behind my great expectations


  1. Wasn't Memento Mori fun? Hope you get to read all 4 of Lessing's Martha Quest books (the last one actually makes her launch into sci-fi understandable)...I think you've done wonderfully with your reading. I'll be lucky to have 51 books under my belt by December...

  2. Sheesh, let yourself off the hook, friend! You read lots, and we readers love reading about what you read. Numbers are silly, and easy to inflate if you read graphic novels, as I do, so try not to fret. I just started Neal Stephenson's Confusion, so I can guarantee my number of books read isn't going to be high, though the shelf space I clear will be significant! What did you think of The Home-Maker?

  3. I am glad to hear you liked The Sweetest Dream so much. I have it lying around here somewhere, not sure why I was saving it for later. I haven't read the Martha Quest books yet either, and so many Lessing fans rank them at the top.

    I might have a few reading habit of fictional characters to add to your list, but not many. I kept track for a while, but then got lazy. :(

  4. Counting books and making lists drives me crazy. I like your usual less-organized style!

  5. Re: Memento Mori-- Very fun. I wasn't pleased with the physical qualities of the library copy I had to read (we fought a bit), but an awfully good Spark.

    Re: Martha Quest-- I've heard others mention it's her best, so I'm expecting wondrous things from the series.

    Re: Home-maker-- I know there have been many who count it as their favorite Persephone. I wouldn't go that far, but once the perfectionist mother was able to get outside the home and stop screwing up her children, I liked it a lot.


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