When was the last time I had 7 books going at once??? I think never. It’s an unfortunate situation. Books I’m reading at any given point fall into 1 of 3 categories:
1 . Books I force myself to read because I know they’re “BRAIN FOOD” -usually very dense fiction that are widely regarded as masterpieces, or challenging fact-filled non-fiction.
2 . Books I want to read -just fiction, mostly contemporary or classic lit from my goodreads list
3 . And books I am required to read for my courses in English or Writing.
I usually have no more than 5 going at once, 2 or 3 that are assigned, one challenge and one fun read. I am completely OCD about my reading and once I start a book I have to finish it, no matter how much I dislike it. I do this because I either want to know exactly what I don’t like about it and be able to speak to it, OR I am worried that it might turn around at some point and turn into something I’ll like, and I’ll miss out on it if I quit. Weird, I know.
THE TRAGEDY OF MARIAM, ELIZABETH CARY (1613)
REQUIRED READING- I don’t know what I think of this drama yet. I’m enjoying it more than both Jonson’s The Masque of Blackness and The Masque of Queens, but not quite as much as The Revenger’s Tragedy or Macbeth. I tend to like immediately the work of the lone female author/poet/playwright we cover in classes (examples: Woolf, Behn, Dickinson, O’Connor and now Cary), so this is throwing me off a bit. It ain’t over though, so we shall see.
A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, JAMES JOYCE (1916)
CHALLENGE- Holy Sh*t, I am like 100 pages in and I really LIKE THIS! I’m not going to lie, I AM SHOCKED that I like it. I read his short story “The Dead”, which was ok. But then I attempted to read a few chapters of Ulysses which I am just….I don’t know. Ish. I guessing that I think it’s horrible because I’m too dumb for it. I mean isn’t it supposed to be the greatest thing of all time ever? IDK. Whatever. It seems to be pretty much…the main characters stream of consciousness mixed with the sounds and sights and smells of whatever is going on around him mixed with a bunch of weird sexual stuff mixed with references to other classic literature and geek mythology and….blah blah blah. Rubbish. That’s why I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I’m enjoying A Portrait.
BLUE NIGHTS, JOAN DIDION (2011)
Had “On Keeping A Notebook” as required reading last term in a writing class and fell in love with this ladies style. It’s that kind of wide open organized chaos writing- I really get a sense that this is a sincere outpouring of the authors deepest and darkest thoughts and feelings during a extremely trying time in her life. She asks the most basic of questions, yet knows full well that the answers are too complex to even attempt to suss out…but she tries anyway. 80 pages in, loving it.
JAZZ, TONI MORRISON (1992)
REQUIRED READING- Psssh. How could you not like this? It is so easy for me to get swept up in these characters. The setting too- Morrison puts you IN Harlem circa 1920’s. It makes me wish I knew more about jazz music in general, because I can see how influential it is in her rhetoric. Maybe a non-fic book about NYC in the 20’s is in order. I’ve read the scene with Violet and Baby Philly 3 or 4 times because I just…I’m simultaneously ATTRACTED AND REPULSED!!!!! : ) A lot of people in my class are compelled by this story just because of the hidden identity of the narrator, which I don’t get- the narrator is IDK who, and I don’t really give a f*ck- the writing is amazebeans. Wow, “amazebeans” doesn’t belong in book updates. oh well. 2/3rds through.
THE FALL, ALBERT CAMUS (1956)
CHALLENGE- Ahhh, my dear “Don’t call me Al-BERT Cam-US” Albert Camus. I love you.
But…Not sure about this one yet either. I keep reading the first few pages over and over again, trying to hold on to what’s going on but I’m having a difficult time being captured by it. This is not what I expected because The Stranger is one of my favorites and I really enjoyed The Plague also. I’m going to keep plugging away at it.
A WEEK IN DECEMBER, SEBASTIAN FAULKS (2009)
FUN READ- I heard about this book on NPR forever ago and finally have gotten around to reading it. I’m about p 70, still right in the beginning and I WANT TO MAKE MORE TIME TO READ THIS, but there are just too many other things that have to come before it. It’s good so far. I’m already intrigued with the female taxi driver character, and I love how the characters are woven together. Not prose-y, description heavy writing but that comes across as being unnecessary anyway….seems very polished and well put together. For the billionth time in my life, I wish I could just put the book under my pillow and ABSORB the story while I slept….hmmm, if I could have any super power….
CITY MUSEUMS AND CITY DEVELOPMENT, IAN JONES (who cares?)
REQUIRED READING- yup.