22 December 2006
What do you want to read, if you're facing at least a little vacation time? Have you gotten, or are you hoping to get, a special book for the holidays?
20 December 2006
So I've read 18 out of these "Great Books," which I consider to be pretty good. I'm not sure, though, that we need to make room for WAR AND PEACE and MOBY DICK in high schools. Plato's REPUBLIC, on the other hand, would have been good, and I can think of several books I was made to read -- DELIVERANCE, HOUSE ON MANGO STREET and THE SHIPPING NEWS, for instance -- that could have been replaced by works of more merit. But don't take my word for it; after all Britney Spears has me beat on the Greeks.
1. The Works of Shakespeare -- I've read most, but not all.
2. The Declaration of Independence
3. Twain, Mark, Huckleberry Finn
4. The poems of Emily Dickinson -- Selections
5. The poems of Robert Frost -- Selections
7. Fitzgerald, Scott F., The Great Gatsby
8. Orwell, George, 1984
9. Homer, Odyssey and Iliad -- I complained a lot about having to read THE ODYSSEY in ninth grade, but I think it's worth it.
10. Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities -- I read GREAT EXPECTATIONS on my own, though. We did read A CHRISTMAS CAROL in middle school -- gotta love those amendment exempt private schools [although I celebrate Christmas, so at the time it didn't bother me].
11. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales -- I think we might have skipped some of the minor ones.
12. Salinger, J.D., Catcher in the Rye
13. The Bible -- Selections, although by then I had already been exposed to it in church, so I thought reading the Bible in school was silly. I'm sure my ninth grade English teacher made a very good argument as to why the Bible is so crucial to Western Literature, but I probably just rolled my eyes and wrote in my journal, "Yeah, whatever." Sorry.
14. Thoreau, Henry David, Walden
15. Sophocles, Oedipus
16. Steinbeck, John, the Grapes of Wrath
17. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays and poems -- Selections, but not until college did I read him in any depth.
18. Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice -- And oh, how the boys complained...
19. Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass
20. The novels of William Faulkner -- Now here's a place I always thought was an Actual Hole in my education. When I took American lit in high school, we had a semester of it, but because the semesters were not equal in length, people who took the class in the spring read one more book than we in the fall did. That book was AS I LAY DYING. I feel like I've made up my Faulkner deficit from reading that book, plus ABSALOM, ABSALOM!, GO DOWN, MOSES and THE SOUND AND THE FURY, but none of that happened before I got to college.
21. Melville, Herman, Moby Dick -- Not in school. Not, I think, really necessary for people to read in school.
22. Milton, John, Paradise Lost -- Just selections.
23. Vergil, Aeneid
24. Plato, The Republic
25. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto -- Some excerpts.
26. Machiavelli, Niccolo, the Prince -- Excerpts.
27. Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America -- Excerpts, although I do own it. Points for trying?
28. Dostoevski, Feodor, Crime and Punishment
29. Aristotle, Politics
30. Tolstoy, Leo, War and Peace -- But no one made me, I spent most of the second semester of my freshman year reading this.
19 December 2006
18 December 2006
Thirteen's hard. Secret:#103. Heidi Julavits, THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT
I like hobbits, poetry.
Wonder what that means.
Kidnapped, or did she#104. Michael Lewis, TRAIL FEVER
Fake escape from Boston 'burbs?
Add witch metaphors.
'96: Gore's liked,#105. Kate Muir, LEFT BANK
Dubya's drowned out, Nader's fresh.
Attack ads still run.
He cheats. She's a bitch.
Kid runs away. Pretty Paris can't
keep him from nanny.
13 December 2006
Have you read a very large book you enjoyed? Share, please. (One of my favorite books, ANNA KARENINA, is a chunkster -- and I swear I'm not being pretentious, I've read it three times and recommend it to pretty much everyone I know.)
12 December 2006
Statistics for my 101 books read so far this year:
72 were for pleasure
29 were for reviews (a personal best!)
42 were nonfiction, 58 fiction, 1 by Hunter S. Thompson (a genre all his own?)
Of reviews only, 10 were nonfiction, 18 were fiction
41 of those were in the first six months of the year (school used to take a huge toll on my reading time... yet I still miss it)
36 were library books -- I can't believe I remember this, but I have a pretty good memory for book covers, which I guess helps. Seems pretty low until you take out the 28 review books, which means almost half the books I picked up this year for pleasure were library-owned. Let's hear it for your local library! Hoo rah!
18 I purchased during 2006 (bad! bad! And those aren't even the only books I bought this year.)
1 I bought and then returned
16 books read in November, the highest month (cold weather + traveling over Thanksgiving break)
4 books read each in February and March, the lowest months (not counting December)
8.41 average books per month
0.2765 average books per day
And on the nightstand I have
4 books to review
3 From-the-Stacks challenge books (which I want to finish before January 1st, even though I know the challenge goes on longer)
So in theory if I only read those books, I will top out this year at 113 -- not my best performance but not my worst either. Frankly, if I crack 100 books I'm pleased. I know it's a lofty goal, but for me right now (being childless and not in school) it's doable.
Of course there's the matter of me having seen more movies than books read this year -- but that's another post.
11 December 2006
08 December 2006
In other news, next week there is a book sale at work, and I am already prepared to swear off the sale and then in a moment of weakness grab at least 5 books. Maybe I can get some Christmas shopping done while I yield to temptation? I have a stack of eight books to donate to the sale, so if I'm savvy I can come out ahead. (It benefits the Friends of the Emmaus Public Library, so I know at least my failure is another person's aid.)