Happy Monday, and if you’re in the path of Hurricane Sandy, here’s wishing you safety, warmth, and power. I have an unexpected day off today, which is nice – but it also means sitting by the window watching our one tree blow around and worrying (a little bit) about the increasing water level in the canal behind our house.
But on this Monday, here’s what I’m reading: The Nobodies Album, by Carolyn Parkhurst, a book I’ve been meaning to read for a couple years since it came out. It’s about a writer who rewrites the ends to all of her novels, and somehow that all gets caught up in the fact that her son has been arrested for murdering his girlfriend. It sounds like a strange book and I’m looking forward to it. Parkhurst wrote Dogs of Babel, a book that was also strange and so disturbing I’ve never forgotten it.
I’m also reading Andrew McCarthy’s The Longest Way Home, which is subtitled “One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down”. It all seems a bit pre-determined to me, in that he’s a travel writer taking one long trip so he can freak out about getting married. And yet I’m intrigued by the concept — I like the idea of an actor turning travel writer, and I like the introspective nature of the book (travel as exploring the self rather than just seeing stuff).
What I’ve finished recently: This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain; and a very cool science fiction anthology called Diverse Energies, where the stories are written by and about people of different ethnicities (including Paolo Bacigalupi and Ursula LeGuin).
It’s the end of October, and that means I have two months to complete the Challenges I signed up for in January. I’ve been thinking about these challenges lately — obviously, no one’s counting, except for me. And maybe no one actually cares if they complete a challenge or not. But for me, it’s both a strength and a compulsion that when I set myself a task, I finish it.
So here’s what I have left:
On the TBR Challenge, I have two books to read, once I finish The Nobodies Album:
- Ghostwritten by David Mitchell
- Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
On the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Challenge, I have:
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (which I tried and didn’t finish)
The Classics Challenge: I easily read more than 7 classics. However, I failed completely to post reviews based on the November’s Autumn monthly question. I guess I prefer a challenge to be about what I read rather than how I review something.
The New Authors Challenge: I easily read more than 15 new-to-me authors. I didn’t have to try with this one.
The Classics Club Challenge: I’m supposed to read 10 from this list each year, but I only recently signed up, so I don’t think that counts. I’ve read 6, but if I complete the books in the above challenges I’ll have read two more.
For the non-bloggers out there, I realize you probably think this idea of “assigned reading” is silly – we’re not in school after all. But I will say that the TBR Challenge and the Extraordinary Gentlemen Challenge pushed me this year to read books I wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s so easy to reach for something new and bestselling. And of the books on those two lists, almost every one is a book I’m really glad I read.
So there you are. I think if I’m going to finish Daniel Deronda before the end of the year I should start soon.