Tuesday, November 1, 2011

For the Record: October 2011

You know what the end of October means, right? Yep, the end of the year is nigh: I'd better prepare myself to see those BEST OF 2011 posts pop up, since they seem to happen much sooner than I'd think. I enjoyed my reading this month, even though I read some books I did not enjoy, mostly because some incredible books more than made up for it...something that is shaping my opinion on how I approach reading. I've been so goal-oriented this year that I'd almost forgotten how much fun it can be to read on a whim. I need to do much more whim-reading! Anyhow, here's the rundown:

8 Books Read in October: (112 books year-to-date) (titles link to my review)
3 for Challenges:
  - Lolita (Back to the Classics Challenge--3) (or read the review @ As the Crowe Flies and Reads...she states my opinion much more eloquently!)
  - The Giver (Newbery Challenge--4)
  - O Pioneers! (Willa Cather Chronologically Challenge--5)
1 Read-Aloud for my kiddos:
  - The House at Pooh Corner (4)
1 ARC:
  - The Ballad of Tom Dooley (for LibraryThing, I wasn't familiar with the legend or the song, and so found the story to be rather unengaging.  --2.5)
3 Just Because:
  - Lord of the Flies (because my son was reading it for school, and I couldn't remember if I'd ever actually read it.  I knew the story already, and that didn't bother me, but I had a really hard time with the moralistic heavy-handedness of the whole thing.  I'm guessing that I just don't appreciate allegories or fables much--they seem to rely too much on symbolism, sacrificing character development and complexity.  Blah.  I don't want to talk about it any more...won't be devoting a whole post to it, that's for sure! --2)
  - A Long Long Way (simply one of the most amazing books I've ever read.  5++)
  - Bright's Passage (because I love Josh Ritter's music, but I don't think his talent translates to literature quite so well...hoping to review this one soon.  --3)

2 Current Reads:
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (read-along with Wallace @ Unputdownables.  This is a reread for me, and I'm absolutely loving the Pevear&Volokhonsky translation!  I may read ahead.)
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (for my Newbery Challenge)

On My Nightstand:
  - Some Short Stories by Flannery O'Connnor (I read a couple more in October, but still have 9 of 31 stories left to read)
  - More junior fiction for my Newbery Challenge
  - Indiespensable from Powells (I haven't read the last few shipments--need to catch up!)

Before the End of the Year:
I've decided to dump my personal Top 5 of 2010 challenge.  The challenge was to read another book by the authors of my 2010 favorites, and I had 2 left--I'm just not interested in them right now so they are returning to the regular old TBR shelf.

I do want to read one more Pulitzer, one more Willa Cather, and a couple more Newbery books before the end of the year, and finish Flannery O'Connor's stories!

I'm also trying to figure out how best to make next year's reading feel a little more whim-tastic.  I've been feeling guilty about books coming into my house and not being read (I don't really like owning a bunch of unread books because I tend to get out of the mood for them after a while and then feel that space and money was wasted) but at the same time, most of these books made it onto my shelf without me having bought them, so my guilt is somewhat misplaced.  Anyhow, I need to reassess the balance here.  I feel like all I do is try to keep my TBR shelf down and look at my wishlist longingly.  Something.has.to.change.


  1. I'm so glad I'm not the only "Lord of the Flies" hater out there. I dislike that book with a passion and am not quite sure why people go crazy over it.

  2. Reading on a whim is something I think a lot of us bloggers need to do more of. I've been accepting fewer review requests because I don't like reading to a schedule.

  3. Bettina, from what I can tell, guys seem to like it for the story, and I can see how it would be a good one to use for teaching, since the symbolism is more apparent, but I didn't find anything to love. So much for "there's a reason it's a classic"!

    Sam, I've started turning down review requests too. I read because I enjoy it, so once the enjoyment factor starts fading, then something needs to change! I don't want reading to turn into work.

  4. My challenge is the Well-Educated Mind books. Our group only reads 50 pages a week, so you'd think that would be OK. But, I find it really depends on the book. I just need to read lots of fluff when I'm slogging through a brain-warping tome.

    Here, here to more fun reading!

  5. Great lists! I'm in a ridiculous slump and itching to read again. Must find the magic book to bring me out of this!

  6. nice list! and i'm looking forward to your return from STJ and hearing all about it, too!

  7. I hated Lord of the Flies - I mean the plot line is brilliant so how is it that it is soooooooooo boring to read.

    Dont agree about Lolita though ;)


I'd love to hear what you have to say, leave a comment!