Sunday, January 04, 2009

Memo to self: use time wisely

The Sunday
It seems ridiculous to make reading resolutions this year beyond what I've already said--to drastically curtail book purchases, to spend more time with books than computer screens. My sister went in the hospital last week; when she comes out in a few days, she's said, she doesn't particularly want to continue living in our parents' old home, which she and I own together. My husband and I will have to spend a great deal of time emptying the house and making necessary repairs before it can be sold (in this market? fat chance) or rented. I don't think I'll find many free weekends for, as L. likes to call what I like to do, excessive reading.

But my future self will be disappointed to look back and see that I gave myself no guidance, no aspirations for the months ahead, and blame my failure to use time wisely on this very lack. Read at whim, yes, but also try to:
  • read more mythology. I read Book III of The Metamorphoses of Ovid while in the ER with my sister last Monday. If I read one book a month, I could have it completed by the end of the year.
  • read more nonfiction, including presidential biographies. Once I finish The Three Roosevelts, I'd like to read American Sphinx and American Lion.
  • read more classics. At the top of my list: Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks and Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma. I'd also love to read Herodotus' The Histories and (I say this every year) Joyce's Ulysses.

That's it. Let's see how well I can do.


  1. Herodotus is surprisingly enjoyable! I think you'll like it once you start. I told a friend it was like sitting next to someone you don't know at a dinner party, and he tells you all the gossip about whole bunch of other people you don't know. But it's so interesting that you just keep listening! :-)


  2. Anonymous4:59 PM

    I second Lezlie on Herodotus. I was pleasantly surprised at how readable and enjoyable the book is.

  3. I've been wanting to read Ovid, too, though I'm not sure it will happen anytime soon. I do want to read more NF and more classics, but they are my slowest types of reads! Good luck with your plans and for finding more free time to read! I take it you are back to work tomorrow, too? Sigh.

  4. It's easier and more fun to read Ulysses if you look up the traditional chapter titles and try one or two of the easiest chapters first. Nausicaa is the easiest for most people, especially women. And why not begin with the oft-quoted lyrical ending, Molly saying "yes" and work backwards through that chapter to see what she's acquiescing to?

  5. Yeah, I find it's best to keep the reading resolutions to a minimum. It eliminates the need for guilt later. Good luck with the house. I know how much work that can be.


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