Housekeeping: Have Read/Am Reading
Now for a bit of housekeeping, so I can get back into the swing of things.
I kept a list of books I’d read last year with a vague goal of 50 books in mind. That felt like a modest number, something I would exceed without even trying. I was kind of sorrowful to discover I didn’t even come close. Well, I say didn’t come close — I was at 42. I thought about it some and realized there were a few things that made me fall flat; one was the fact that I reread too much. Bored? Didn’t feel like being challenged? Well, let’s read every Terry Pratchett book in order (again!).
Also, classics. A year that included Ulysses and Crime and Punishment and The Adventures of Augie Marsh was never going to beat any blockbuster totals.
And then there was the whole concentration thing. I did a lot of reading on my iPad and it was far too easy to close the book and open twitter, or glance at emails, or chat with friends, or mindlessly press links on the web.
I’ve started off strong this year, though. No more re-reads allowed. So my list for January:
The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book and The Well of Lost Plots — Jasper Fforde’s cheerfully insane mysteries featuring an entire world ruled by and created by books.
Something More than Night – Ian Tregillis. A noir (kind of) fantasy about fallen angels and overlapping worlds and the sensation of being played from start to finish. Very fun.
The Last Dragonslayer — Jasper Fforde, again, because I’d read the next book in the Thursday Next series and I don’t remember it well, so I couldn’t skip and couldn’t reread but needed a palette cleanser from:
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov. This book was amazing. I got lost in the language, always the sign of something remarkable. But, I couldn’t shake the shivers it gave me, that skin crawling feeling of slime. Humbert Humbert is SO unlikable as a narrator, I don’t understand how anyone can read this book and see tenderness in his feelings towards Lolita, see anything sweet or touching here. But the book itself was clearly a masterpiece.
The Oversight (Oversight Trilogy) — Charlie Fletcher. I’ve wanted to read more fantasy again, I’ve missed it and it was such a part of my reading life as a kid and a teen. This one got added to my to read list from Boing Boing, I think. I like it quite a lot.
In the to read pile:
Wings, Diggers, Truckers — the Terry Pratchett books I’ve not read as they aren’t part of Discworld.
The Silkworm, because I actually found the first JK Rowling mystery readable and entertaining.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Ok, this is a reread for probably the fifth time but I don’t think rereading classics counts against my utterly arbitrary rule. And I actually quite like this classic. It feels dark and full of corners and secrets and I remember reading it my first week abroad, listening to rain drip from my window with its view of a concrete carpark about three feet from the glass, listening to my new roommates discuss my arrival (“She seems normal; I was hoping for someone completely mad!”), listening to the feeling of being completely free for the first time in months.