Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Back after a long layoff

It's hard to believe that it has been almost one year since I last posted on this blog.  Interesting, too, that the reason I got back to it is that I've signed up for another Bout of Books read-a-thon, and grabbed the link to the blog when I signed up.  My last post, as you can see below, was a post from the Bout of Books read-a-thon last January.  I didn't have much success in that one, and I'm not sure how I'll do with this one, because work starts up again Monday after a two week hiatus.

Nevertheless, I'm going to participate because I want to start the new year of reading strong. Last year--2015--was not a great reading year for me.  I changed jobs, went back to administration after a year of teaching, and moved the family to a new area of the country.  Because so much of the year was unsettled, I found it very difficult to focus on any one book. As a result, I started many books in the summer and fall, but only finished a couple of them.  I hope that 2016 will be a calmer, more settled year.

I decided to start reading among the four books I was given as gifts this Christmas.  I've been entranced, in a weird way, by Thomas Bernhard's Correction, and hope to complete that one in the next couple of days.  I'm also having fun with James Shapiro's A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare:  1599.  Shapiro writes lively, compelling prose that makes reading the book a pleasure. I suspect I'll finish it sometime during the read-a-thon next week.

I'll update my progress in the read-a-thon next week.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Read-a-thon Update: Wednesday

On Wednesday, I started one of the books that I am going to teach this semester:  Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South.  I read it many years ago, right before my oldest son was born.   Quite aside from the role it plays in the make-up of my course, I had forgotten how much I enjoy the novel. 

At this rate, I'm not likely to finish any of the three books I'm working on--I'd come closest with Frank's book--but that's fine with me.  I'm just enjoying the reading.

Here's the numbers breakdown:
Wednesday:  63 pages
Total pages so far:  163
Books finished: none
I'm reading:  Dorothy Dunnett, Niccolo Rising; Joseph Frank, Dostoyevsky:  Years of Ordeal, 1850-1859; Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bout of Books 12 Read-a-thon: Tuesday Update

Another fun day of reading for the Bout of Books 12 read-a-thon, mainly because once again I was able to focus.  I read a bit more in Joseph Frank's Dostoyevsky bio, but Dunnett's book is picking up steam quickly and I'm loving it.

Here's the numbers breakdown:
Tuesday:  44 pages
Total pages so far:  100
Books finished: none
I'm reading:  Dorothy Dunnett, Niccolo Rising; Joseph Frank, Dostoyevsky:  Years of Ordeal, 1850-1859.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bout of Books 12 Read-a-thon: Monday update

I started the Bout of Books 12 Read-a-thon Monday and was pleased with the day.  I read Dorothy Dunnett's Niccolo Rising, and got through 56 pages.  I love Dunnett--I read the first book in the Lymond Chronicles last summer--but it takes time to get the rhythm and sense of her novels.  One does not--or at least most do not--turn pages at a fast pace with a Dunnett book.  To do so would cause one to miss the pleasure of savoring her writing.  I don't say that often about an author, but I feel that way with Dunnett.

Today I switched gears in the morning and was reading in the Dostoyevsky biography.  It, too, is well written, and I am enjoying it as well.

The Read-a-thon has already served the purpose I had hoped it would:  it has forced me to focus once again on reading, something I was inexplicably struggling to do for the last quarter of the year. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Some general Read-A-Thon goals

The start of the Bout of Books 12 Read-a-thon is about 90 minutes away, so I thought I would put down some general goals for the week.

  1. I'd like to read, on average, about 100 pages per day,or 700 pages for the week;
  2. I'd like to finish at least one book during that time, though getting deep into a couple of books would be a good outcome as well.
I've got a list of some books that I plan to read throughout the week, though I'm certain that on Wednesday morning, for example, I'll pull something off the shelf at random and read it for the rest of the day:
  • The second volume of Joseph Frank's biography of Dostoyevsy;
  • Palace Walk, the first novel in Naguib Mahfouz's Cairo Trilogy;
  • John A. Williams' Appalachia:  A History;
  • Peter Carey's novel Parrot and Olivier in America;
  • Niccolo Rising, the first novel in Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolo series.
I'll post updates as the week progresses.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Getting back into it

I've let this blog go for a couple of months, but I'm back. 

To get back in the groove, I've signed up for the "Bout of Books Read-a-thon," which starts on Sunday night at midnight (12:01 am Monday, technically) and ends Sunday night, January 11.  If you're interested, here's the link:

I plan to post updates throughout the week.  I'll also put up a list of some possible books to read by Sunday evening, so check back!