Sunday, October 2, 2011

For the Record: September 2011

I didn't do a "For the Record" post for August, since I was posting so much on my Art of the Novella Challenge books, but I actually did read 3 books last month in addition to the 27 novellas I completed.  I'm including those books here so that they are on the record somewhere.

30 books read in August:
- 27 classic novellas (all-around wonderful experience)
- The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald (audio)
- Turn of Mind, Alice LaPlante
- The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1, Justo Gonzalez (finally finished!)

I certainly experienced some challenge-burnout, but still loved the experience.  The time frame and focus seemed just about right to me (something I'll keep in mind for my future reading goals).  With school beginning again, my reading time has been diminished, though we are slowly getting into a routine.  It also marks the time of year when I start thinking about what books I want to get through before we are on to a new year; see below for those thoughts.

5 Books Read in September: (104 books year-to-date)
2 for Book Club:
  - The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (3.5)
  - The Sea Captain's Wife by Beth Powning (review coming soon, 3.5)
1 Read-Aloud for my kiddos:
  - Dolphin Treasure by Wayne Grover (small but I'm still counting it! 3)
2 Just Because:
  - Newes From the Dead by Mary Hooper (YA--4)
  - The [Illustrated] Elements of Style by Strunk & White (NF--4.5)

1 DNF:
Yeats is Dead! A Mystery by 15 Irish Writers.  I originally picked it up because I liked the idea of getting to know 15 different Irish authors.  By the time I was 75-100 pages in, struggling with a dislike for the murder mystery premise, I was finding that there wasn't as much of a difference in writing styles as I'd hoped for.  I don't think that this is because the writers' styles weren't different, just that this book wasn't the best platform for discovering them.

2 Current Reads:
  - Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (Banned books week, Back to the Classics Challenge)
  - O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (reread for my Willa Cather Challenge)

On My Nightstand:
  - The Giver, (to finish up my Back to the Classics Challenge,) and maybe some other JF
  - Some Short Stories by Flannery O'Connnor (I have 11 of 31 stories still unread)
  - Anna Karenina, because Wallace is having a read-along and I can't resist

Before the End of the Year:
Short stories, junior fiction, and Anna Karenina (not to mention the 2 books I'currently reading and the 3 ARCs I should tackle) should keep me more than busy for October, but in the interest of organizing my brain, I want to think beyond that.  First off, I'm not planning on accepting any more ARCs for the rest of this year at least...they've started to become a mental burden, which is something I want to avoid.  Second, my main goal is to get my personal goals and challenges wrapped up and thereby earn the right to think about next year's goals!

Pulitzer challenge:
  - one more book, probably Middlesex or A Visit From the Goon Squad
Top 5 of 2010 challenge:
  - Joy in the Morning, Betty Smith (author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
  - Prodigal Summer, Barbara Kingsolver (author of The Lacuna)
Newbery Challenge:
  - 5 more books total, probably the 2 pictured above plus The Westing Game, Shiloh, and Mrs. Frisby
Willa Cather Chronologically:
  - I wanted to finish 5 this year, but I don't think that will happen.  After O Pioneers! I'm aiming to also reread Song of the Lark, which would put me at 4 for the year.  Good enough.  My Antonia = bonus
Books on my Shelf:
  - Many of the above books also count for this, but I'm hoping to get to an additional 3 books or so...don't know what titles yet.

All of the above challenges, (except for my Top 5 challenge, which I don't think I'll be repeating) are perpetual and will continue into next year.

Are you beginning to reflect on 2011's reading yet?  Looking forward to making new goals in 2012?  There have been some things that have worked well for me this year, and others that I already know I want to change.  There is still a good amount of reading time left this year, but since I have so much fun planning and organizing, I figured I may as well get thinking!


  1. All I know for sure is that I still have a lot of reading to do to catch up on my challenges. Hopefully I'll have some reading time over Thanksgiving so I can catch up...Hopefully ;)

  2. Oooh I can't wait to hear what you think of Jacob, How I Loved. (?) I've had that on my bookshelf FOREVER and am almost about giving up on it.

  3. So you have a Pulitzer Challenge? I was actually thinking about doing that for the new year. I got the idea reading Kate Chopin and then Geraldine Brooks in the last 2 months. Or maybe I got it from you and didn't realize it. :)

  4. My reading slowed in September too, if only we could eternally be on summer hols and read as much as we wanted to!

    Hope you enjoy Anna Karenina, I really loved it.

  5. I like you current reads. Lolita was one of my original book club's reads many years ago. I, being a former(?) chess addict, also loved Nabokov's "The Defense" - about an obsessed chess genius. I also learned this year the proper way to pronounce "na-BO-kov" (I used to say - like almost everybody - "NA-bo-kov").

    The Willa Catner book was Indianapolis first selection in the One City, One Book program several years ago.

  6. Peppermint Ph.D, I know what you mean, I feel like I'm always hoping next month will allow a little more time! November and December speed by so quickly that I'm not real sure that my hopes are realistic. :/

    Christina, it was one of those books that really affected me when I was young, and then I proceeded to forget about it. :) I'm really curious to see what a re-read (after so long) will change.

    Heidi, I've had pretty good luck with the I thought it might be a good project for me. I'm doing it in a very laid back way, though, a few a year or so. It should keep me busy for awhile!

    Sam, wouldn't that be just the thing? It's rare that I have a month where I feel I've actually done a good amount of reading (although August was one). I read AK in high school and enjoyed it, so I'm excited to give it another go. I don't remember much.

    Jay, Humbert is currently killing my desire to read. Nabokov's writing is top notch, but spending all this time with H.H. is not thrilling me. I'll have to check out his other works. :)

    I've become more aware of how I say Russian names in the last few years (after a friend informed me that Americans almost always emphasize the wrong syllable). I now run all Russian names by him first for pronunciation clarification. :)


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