Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Goodbye, Summer Reading Challenge

I tried. I didn't fail completely. I read more books, more closely, than I would have otherwise. Thank you, Amanda - it was a great idea!

Next time, I shall challenge myself to a number of books, or a ratio of fiction to nonfiction, or discovering a new poet every month. I should have known myself better than to select specific titles months in advance. It was way too much like following a syllabus. By the time I finished my B.A. in English literature, way back in 1975, I had developed a lifelong allergy to Required Reading - even if the Requiring was self-inflicted!

The list of books also deprived me of this bookish soul's joy in discovering a book and plunging right in.

So, here's my list. I finished the ones in bold type:

Ackerman, Diane. An alchemy of mind.
Armstrong, Karen. A short history of myth.
Armstrong, Karen. The spiral staircase.

Briggs, Julia. Virginia Woolf, an inner life.
Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights.
Byatt, A.S. The biographer's tale
Clarke, Gerald. Capote: a biography.
Jewett, Sarah Orne. The country of the pointed firs.
Klinkenborg, Verlyn. Timothy, or, notes of an abject reptile.
Macmillan, Margaret. Women of the Raj.
Maddox, Brenda. Yeats's ghosts: the secret life ot W.B. Yeats.
Meade, Marion. Bobbed hair and bathbub gin.
Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita.
Prose, Francine. A changed man.
See, Lisa. Snow flower and the secret fan.
Tan, Amy. Saving fish from drowning.

I did start Yeats's Ghosts, but decided to apply Nancy Pearl's rule about reading 50 pages of a book and asking oneself, are you enjoying it? I was not enjoying it at all.

I chose the book because I love Yeats, and because the book promised a deep examination of the role of the subconscious and archetypes in his creative process. It may do so, but I find the book so tedious and plotting that I am bored. That is so rare, especially in a biography! Alas...

I discovered a few more bookish blogs and added them to the sidebar. I'd love discover more! Any suggestions?


Carrie K said...

There's Chick Lit although it's just going to go to forums soon.

Box of Books. Hmm.

I am right there with you on the Required Reading = Complete Lack of Interest. I'm not sure why that is, but it is what it is.

Marji said...

Me too. Made a list of titles, then, with a few exceptions, assiduously avoided reading those titles. It was a great idea though, and I did make it a point to read/listen to many more books than I would have otherwise. i ilke your idea of setting a quantitative goal or goal of type.
You got through a lot of your titles.