Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Reading Challenge, an update

Inspired by Darla D, who is participating in several book challenges this year, I decided to create my own: read 10 books from my own collection which I've either started and not finished, have been sitting there waiting to be read, or frankly would probably continue to sit waiting to be read in favor of loaners from friends and the library. As I'm not a fast reader - generally, a book a month, give or take - I figured 10 sounded about right.

Since the year is about 2/3 over, this seemed like a good time to check in on my progress. (Incidentally, I am including audiobooks, since Darla does and since I am experiencing the story verbatim.) Here are the books I've cleared so far:

1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time - Mark Haddon. Was really interesting to see the world through the eyes of an austistic kid. Also made me hope I never have a child who is severly autistic. The main character hated touch so much that his version of a "hug" was simply touching fingertips. I'm a big hugger. I thrive on touch in the worst way. The idea of a loved one, much less a child that grew in me, recoiling from the most basic expression of love would kill me. Very good read; just broke my heart. I did love that the chapters were numbered in prime numbers. Wicked awesome!

2. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card. I'd been meaning to read this for years. I'd begun it a few times, but never made it past chapter 4. (I have a couple of milestones: page 30 or chapter 4 always seem to be the make or break point in relation to my interest.) It's one of Honey's favorites and I figured reading it would give me further insight into who he is. I think that would've been the case had I finished reading it in the first year or two of our relationship when I originally tried. Having read it (or rather listened to it) a dozen years into our relationship I knew immediately why he connected with this book because whatever insight it would've given me, life has already revealed. Nonetheless, it was good to finally become acquainted with his friend.

3. I Am America and So Can You - Stephen Colbert. Ahhh, candy!

4. Number One Ladies Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith. Eh. I wanted to like it. I liked the main character well enough, but the story was too disjointed for me. I'm hoping I'll get more out of the movie. Sometimes a filmmaker can see more in text than I did, or bring more life to a story than the original text. I'm not blaspheming; it's just true.

5. Wigfield: The Can Do Town That Just Might Not - Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello. Read this on our vacation over Memorial Day week. Half of it on the runway during the hours upon hours long delayed flight. Fun fluff. Not as hysterical as I'd been hoping for, but it kept me entertained.

Currently reading: A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson. ... wow. I read Bryson's Mother Tongue a few years back and, though it was nice, it was not what I had hoped it would be. I felt it was English linguistics made too pedestrian. However, as this book is physical science made pedestrian, I appreciate Mother Tongue more. Bryson has made the daunting accessible.

Tried reading: Little Women - Louisa May Alcott. Again, for probably the 3rd or 4th time in my life. I think I made it further than the previous attempts; maybe chapter 5 or 6. However, I just am not that interested in these sisters. Their lives are just not that compelling to me. Jo is kind of interesting, but I couldn't give a crap about the rest of the sisters. And frankly even Jo doesn't seduce me enough to warrant avidly consuming every word. Marmee's story would probably interest me most, but she seems kind of ancillary so far. ... eh. I'll probably finish it at some point. This is one of those books that I know I should read because of its importance in literary history, and because I can't be a good feminist without loving this book like my own sister, yadda, yadda, yadda ... but, ugh. It's just not happening for me. Not now, anyway. (Not in my life to this point, come to that.)

There you have it: my half-way point review. Other books in my collection I'm thinking about knocking out after Bryson's: The Gnostic Gospels and Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, both by Elaine Pagels; Paula by Isabelle Allende; Catch 22 by Joseph Heller that Honey got me for Christmas years back; oh! Born to Buy by Juliet Schor, which I read about half of one year and then got distracted by my thesis. I loved her Overspent American. Maybe one of Neal Stephenson's books from Honey's shelf. We'll see. I'll post here when I've completed my quest


Sonnjea B said...

A good list. I've been debating about the Number One Ladies Detective Agency, but may hold off based on your review. Thanks!

Virginia Gal said...

I agree about the Number One Ladies Detective Agency - it was a major disappointment for me!

Also, I think you will really LOVE Catch-22, it was one of the few books assigned to me for English class Senior year, that I loved.

JoeinVegas said...

Summer reading - it's supposed to be light and enjoyable, continuation of vacation or something.

mommanator said...

I think I wrote a comment yesterday and also think it didn't post for soem reason, so here goes again:
I think reading with books on tape is reading- if I didnt have them I wouldn't read anything besides the bible! I simply don't have time right now.
I love em on road trips up & down I95-does kill the time for this !@#$ travel!