Tuesday, January 04, 2011

In the Company of Books: Dusty Progress

I stared at the stack.  

Nadine Gordimer's A World of Strangers, R. F. Delderfield's Theirs Was the Kingdom, George Meredith's The Amazing Marriage, Barry Unsworth's Sacred Hunger, Yiyun Li's Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, and Helen Vendler's Emily Dickinson:  Selected Poems and Comentaries.

Only six books. 

But you know it simply gets ridiculous.  Why do I need to read six books at once? 

This weekend I decided to change my ways.  I was convinced I could schedule two big books this week, balancing Barry Unsworth's Booker-winner novel, Sacred Hunger, with the pop saga, Theirs Was the Kingdom.  I would finish the 798-page Delderfield by, say, today?  And then continue with Unsworth's 630-page historical epic and finish it by Saturday?  


Uh huh.  Just like the time I read Don Quixote in a weekend for my Renaissance literature class.  I got through 500 of 1,000 pages.   


Don Quixote is a splendid book, and maybe I should reread it this year.  But brevity is the soul of wit when you're a full-time student and part-time worker.  Yes, I hid books in an empty garbage bag on my janitor cart and studied in a congenial professor's office--he was much interested in my dusty progress--after I'd swept the floors and cleaned the blackboards.

Well, back to now.  I read the Delderfield most of yesterday but didn't have the stamina to continue today.   I had to breathe, read part of a classic.  So I picked up Middlemarch, a novel I love.

This afternoon I had to go shopping, so I read Nadine Gordimer on the bus.

So that's four books I'm reading this week--yes, I've started Unsworth's book--and Middlemarch isn't even on my list.

Perhaps this is why bloggers participate in challenges?  So they'll have a plan?

A schedule is a nice idea, but I'm not in school now. It IS fun to look at my list.  I hope I'll get through some of these this month.
P.S.  My husband panicked when he saw the copy of Yiyun Li's short stories.  I borrowed it from the library.

I'll hide any books I buy for the next two months.


Interpolations said...

Holy smokes, I bow before your 500 of 1,000. That's amazing. Do read it again, Quixote, that is - it's deliciously and wickedly amazing. Cervantes goes po-mo roughly one million years before the continental cabal uttered the name Derrida!

Lisa@ButteryBooks said...

This is so funny! I not only have a nightstand/desk stacked with half read books, but I also have two MP3 players with books that are half-listened too.

Frisbee said...

Kevin, Cervantes and Moby Dick are on my "list" this year. Let's hope I read one or the other.

Lisa, I love your book group and blog page. How charming to have appropriate food with books. I'll be visiting you regularly now.

And thank goodness you, too, have this predilection for stacks of books.

Buried In Print said...

I dunno...I like reading six books at once. ::lol:: Yiyun Li's stories are in my stack just now too...quite looking forward to them.