Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On Books

Usually at this time of year, I'll do a post about my goals for the year.  However, we haven't done a goal making session yet, so I thought I would post about my reading plans for the year instead.

I've gotten pretty involved with Goodreads, which allows me to keep track of what I'm reading and see what my friends are reading.  Last year, I challenged myself to read 28 books in 2011.  I found out that this was a bit low, and I had to update my goal a couple of times.  I ended up reading 35 books.  That may sound like a lot, but I know people who've read 70 books in a year!  I'm a pretty fast reader, and I cannot even fathom attempting that number.  This year, I've decided to set my goal for 30 books.  That's a few less than last year, but I'm going to be pretty busy, so I don't think I will read as many books.

I have an extensive "To Read" list that does not seem to get any shorter.  For one thing, I keep reading other books that I haven't put on the list!  This year, I thought it might be fun to give myself the challenge of reading a different type of book for each month.  The "rules" of engagement are:  1) I only have to read one of that type of book in the month, 2) and it should be off my "To Read" list, unless there aren't any, and then I can pick any book of the genre and 3) no re-reads!

I made a list of 14 genres and drew 12 out of a hat.  Here they are, in order:

1. science fiction
2. biography
3. book written in the past year
4. scientific non-fiction
5. historical fiction
6. humor
7. political/satire
8. classic
9. thriller
10. fantasy
11. young adult
12. travel

For January, I started by reading The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells.  I was surprised by how short it was, and also by the fact that I liked the movie better.  It was basically a statement on class and the de-evolution of the human race, with little character development.  I've also started I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson, which, it turns out, is more horror than sci-fi.  I'm enjoying it anyway, so far (it's about vampires).  If I have time, I might try to read Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  I saw the man speak in person, I should have read more than one of his books.

So that's my reading goal for 2012.  I'll try to update you once in a while on how my little reading plan is going.  For those of you who haven't gotten bored yet, I'll leave you with my best and worst reads of 2011:

Best Reads of 2011:

A beautifully written book with a lot of nuance. I really liked the character development and thought that the book was a lot better for that than the movie.
A Prayer for Owen Meany
There were parts of this book where I wasn't sure I would really like it, but the end really "made" the book for me. Even though I knew what was going to happen (both because of the foreshadowing and because I'm horrible about reading ahead), I found myself holding my breath on the train as I read the last few pages. That does not happen often for me.

Worst Read of 2011:

A Star Called Henry
I couldn't even finish this, so it won "worst read of 2011" hands down. Very repetitive and boring. In fact, Ethan and I still joke about the writing style. "They were hungry. They were always hungry. They never ate. Their stomachs were rumbling and in their never eating, they were hungry. Hungriness pervaded their lives." (Not a direct quote, but you get my drift).


Erica said...

if I read a really long book (>1000 pages) can I count it as 2 or 3 books? I was trying for your goal of 24 last year but then I'd spend a few weeks on a long book - can I count those as 2? Please?!?

Anonymous said...

Teddy Roosevelt claimed to read a lot of books. I cannot remember exactly, but it was over one per day - something like 20 per week. Alas, historians are now disputing some of his personal accomplishments that we learned about in HS history. Most say that he was mainly an excellent self promoter - the first modern politician in this regard. -D

Lynn said...

I just finished the Night Circus and it would be a good read for your fantasy book.

I need to mix up my reading a bit too. My books were mostly boring last year.

L said...

Erica, considering the fact that a couple of my "read" books included a graphic novel (a.k.a. comic book) and I book I didn't finish, I would say 1000 page books definitely count for 2 or 3!

Dad, I don't actually know that much about Teddy Roosevelt. For some reason, that's a gap in my US history. From what you said, it sounds like much of it is not true anyway.

Lynn, I will check out Night Circus. Thanks for the rec!

Anonymous said...

Well-- if you are at all interested read The Imperial Cruise. Not a bio, but talks about Roosevelt's career and how his presidency led to WWII (and Vietnam?). A quick, easy read. -D

Carlw4514 said...

Teddy Roosevelt is hijacking the thread! While reading the book "The River of Doubt" [which I recommend, quite good] something occurred to me. Before the river journey TR is coming back from some hunting trip and wows everybody with his extremely energetic arrival, unphased with what would have worn me out. We had just read about how he was a sickly child and always had to deal with that. It hits me: this is one of TR's tricks, he somehow summons up a big show indicating how "bully" the whole thing was to hide the fact that it would have tired the s*** out of him just like anyone else. Then he goes off on this ill-advised trip down the river and nearly dies.

Nonetheless I am a fan of TR.