Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blame Nick Hornby for this post...

I once told someone that my dream job would be to read all day long, every day.  The person replied with, "Then become a book editor."  Uh, no...not that kind of reader.  Book editors have to read what comes across their desk, and probably don't get to really spend a lot of time on any one book.  I want to read what I want to read, not whatever happens across my desk.  

Reading is my favorite activity.  I love it.  I want to marry reading.  I can't explain why I love it so much.  I can't explain why I'm rereading To Kill a Mockingbird for what is probably the 10th (or maybe even 20th) time.  I just love words.  I love letters. I love that they mix up to form all these different feelings, and sounds, and images, and ideas, and, and, much more!  I am a reader. 
This post is all Nick Hornby's fault, so if you don't like it, blame him, although I have to admit my introduction to him was through film, not books.  Have you seen About a Boy, Fever Pitch, or High Fidelity?  Those are all Nick Hornby.  But, he was a writer first, and a slim book of essays, written by him, are the inspiration for this post.  I am a sucker for books about books.  I don't mean literary criticism or anything like that...I mean books where a writer talks about the books they are currently reading, and especially if they sometimes include snarky comments about said books.  Hornby has just such a book:  The Polysyllabic Spree.  The book is a collection of essays written about the books he has bought each month (one essay per month), which ones he has read or not read, and comments on them.  I love it! This is my kind of book!

After reading the first few essays in Hornby's book, I looked around my apartment and noticed the piles of books everywhere, and the bags of books next to my bed...we have a lot of books.  And, these aren't even all of our books.  We left boxes and boxes of books at my mom's house when we moved cross-country...and that was after selling at least half of our books before the move.  I could be quite content to live in a very small room, with just a bathroom attached, a hotplate or microwave, and small fridge, a pile of blankets and pillows, and lots and lots of books.  I'm not sure how much my son would enjoy that arrangement, however...

I've always thought about cataloging what I read as I go along, but until now have never actually done more than think about it.  Reading Hornby's book of essays has pushed me over the edge...where I will land, I'm not entirely sure.  I am in book heaven right now, however, and perfectly happy to stay right there.  After looking around, I started to catalog the books on my current reading list.  37 books that I consider to be current reading.  Some are for business (books on motivating students - I'm a private tutor), some are on personal betterification (yes, I just made up that word because I am very tired but not ready to go to bed), some are for both pleasure and school (lots of poetry), and some are purely for pleasurable indulgence.  Some I've read several times before, and some I'll probably never read again.  A few, I probably won't even finish (shhhh! Don't tell anyone!).  

If you can handle it, here is my list...I hope to read all of these by December 1st.  Originally I thought I'd like to read them all by November 1st - just over a month away.  That seemed a bit much, even for someone that enjoys reading as much as I, December 1st is the goal!  

A little key:
F - fiction, NF - nonfiction, P - poetry
AS - Already started (before making the list)
S - Started the day I made the list
Line through the title - Finished!

R - Rereading

The books: (the groupings are for ease of reading the list...they are not grouped in any categories or anything else intentionally, although the poetry seemed to land all together)
Ian McEwan - black dogs (F, S) Abandoned on October 18...just droned on and on...sigh...
Nick Hornby - The Polysyllabic Spree (NF, S)Finished October 2; Juliet, Naked (F) Finished November 27; A Long Way Down (F)
Suzanne Collins - Catching Fire (F, AS) Finished October 1st
Magnus Mills - Explorers of the New Century (F); All Quiet on the Orient Express (F)
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird (F, R) Finished October 12th

Richard Lavoie - The Motivation Breakthrough (NF, AS)
Jill Somlinski - The Next Thing On My List (F, AS, R) Finished October 5
Debra Bell - The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens (NF)
Kari Chapin - The Handmade Marketplace (NF, AS)
Alice Schroeder - The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (NF, AS)

Peg Tyre - The Trouble with Boys (NF, AS)
Donald Sturrock - Storyteller (NF, AS - biography of Roald Dahl)
Jo-Ann Mapson - The Owl and Moon Cafe (F, R) Finished October 13 or 14th (forgot to log it)
Suze Orman - Suze Orman's Action Plan (NF, AS, R)
Madeline L'Engle - A House Like a Lotus (F, R)

Paul Arden - It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be (NF, AS, R) Finished November 29
Ted Hughes - Letters of Ted Hughes (NF, AS); River (P) Finished November 9
Randall Jarrell - A Sad Heart at the Supermarket (P); The Woman at the Washington Zoo (P)
Fred Marchant - Full Moon Boat (P, R)Finished October 6; The Looking House (P)
Kathleen Jamie - Mr. and Mrs. Scotland are Dead (P); Waterlight (P)

Drew Milne - Mars Disarmed (P, S) Abandoned November 11
Pablo Neruda (William O'Daly translations) - The Sea and the Bell (P); The Hands of Day (P)
Seamus Heaney - Human Chain (P, AS) Finished November 13
Jack Kerouac - The Scripture of the Golden Eternity (P, R, AS); Pomes All Size (P)Finished November 3; Heaven and Other Poems (P) Finished October 2; Scattered Poems (P, R, AS); Trip Trap (P) Finished November 24
Sylvia Plath - Ariel (P, R)

Amended to add:
Jeanne Birdsall - The Penderwicks (F)  Finished October 27
Joan Didion - The Year of Magical Thinking (NF, R) Finished October 30
Elizabeth Berg - The Year of Pleasures (F, R) Finished November 19
Abigail Thomas Three Dog Life (NF) Finished November 24
Donald Platt Fresh Peaches, Fireworks, & Guns (P) Finished November 24
Ayn Rand Anthem (F) Finished November 25
William Golding Lord of the Flies (F)
I would love to know what YOU are reading...


  1. On my reading list is an "Awake!" magazine entitled "How to Raise Responsible Children". I don't have children, but I know the information will come in handy somewhere! :-)

  2. I would love it if you posted a homeschool must-read list.

  3. Oh my goodness! Are you actually going to finish reading all those books?! LOL

  4. Thanks for checking out my blog. THe book you are asking about is Origami to Astonish and Amuse. See it here :

    You can find it at you local book store as well. (it's still pretty recent) Happy folding!

  5. I love, love, love reading also :) I just finished The Hunger Games, oh how those have haunted me. I usually have 3 or 4 books going at once, but not as many as you do! I rarely leave a book unfinished, but there have been a few.


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