Is it just me or do you like to look back over old posts (or maybe old notes or reading journals or whatever you use to keep track of your bookishness) to see what you've been doing or reading over the course of the previous few months? I was trying to find something or other in my archives and I stopped here and there looking at book lists and library book piles and old reading notes, happy that many books had been read and enjoyed, and maybe not quite so happy that others were set aside and more than a few returned to the library unread. Then it dawned on me that we have just passed the official halfway mark of the year with Summer Solstice occurring last Saturday. Do I dare revisit my reading plans that I so optimistically came up with last January?
Okay, why not. This is a good time to reorganize, re-prioritize, and maybe get my reading back on track (or be happy with the new direction my reading has taken me and not worry about where I would have been had I stuck with my original plans). As much as I enjoy making plans, it's okay to let whim guide me, too.
I have gotten back to my notebooks. My 'decomposition' notebook anyway. As a matter of fact it has worked out so well that over the weekend I had to buy a new one as my old one is nearly full. I mostly use it for writing down quotes or keeping track of details of the books I am reading. I find it extremely helpful when I am writing my posts to have close by. Unfortunately I have not done so well with my Nancy Pearl Book Lust Journal. I fizzled out at the end of March! Actually I fizzled out even earlier than that as two months worth of pages simply have title, author and date finished and not a single thought about what I read. (I guess that is what my blog posts are for). Maybe I'll go back and fill in the missing books (seeing as I have read less this year than last by end of June there would be fewer books to catch up on).
There is still plenty of time to keep filling in my Vintage Mystery Bingo card. I've finished and written about two books, and am in the middle of a third (I've read a book with a color in the title and one set in the entertainment world). I only need six books to complete the challenge and there is still a whole half of a year left to go. I think I can do that.
Of course I have managed to forget all about the Back to the Classics Challenge I had so enthusiastically contemplated partaking in. I've only read three classics and two of those were novellas. The idea is to read six classics in several different categories. I can count Honoré de Balzac’s Père Goriot in either the translation or 19th century categories and I am reading WWI literature this year, too. So maybe this challenge might be salvageable after all. Four more classics in the next six months? I would hope so in any case, but then you never know.
I wanted to read more WWI literature since this year marks the centenary anniversary of the beginning of the war. If I keep up with Caroline's Literature and War Read Along that will easily take me through the rest of the year and I am likely to add a book or two of my own as well. So, while the books I read may be different than those I set out to tackle this year, I am pleased with my reading so far.
I have been happily making my way through the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I am up to On the Banks of Plum Creek and think I will read it over the long Fourth of July weekend that is coming up. My set has nine books and I think if I continue to read one every month or so it won't be a problem to finish by the end of the year (unless I decide to gulp down the rest in one go). I wouldn't mind doing a little extracurricular reading, too, and have collected a book or two for later.
I am working on my subscription books (NYRB Classics and Melville House Art of the Novella), though only very slowly. I've done a disgraceful job with my Soho Crime books. But I think I'll save that topic for another day and another post.
Which leaves me with two more 'reading tasks' I set myself. I really want to get back to my Nebraska authors/Western Literature reading, which I started out fairly well with. To that end I am reading Nebraska-author Karen Shoemaker's The Meaning of Names, which is excellent. It is set in small town Nebraska in 1918 and is about German immigrants facing extreme prejudice during WWI. I have a feeling it might end up being heartbreaking, but it is beautifully written. It was published by a small press, Red Hen Press, and if their other titles are as exceptional as this one, I will have to investigate their backlist further. Not to be cryptic, but I think the book will also have local significance, so more about this one later, too.
And then there is 'The List'. Yes, that list of books that I come up with every year and then promptly ignore. True to character, here we are halfway through the year and not a single book crossed off the list. Every year I say this year will be different. Seeing as a number of the books are on the hefty side, I don't think it is likely I will get them all read at this point. But it would be nice to be able to cross a few off, so now I am trying to decide which one to pick up. I am leaning towards Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry since I am swinging towards Western Lit reads once again. But I am still contemplating which book I would most like to read right now and which one most appeals to me. I've heard many good things about it and more than one person has said it is unputdownable and not to be put off by the size of the book (so tell me you've read it and I should really read it, too . . . ). Or maybe I'll write all the titles on little pieces of paper, put them in a jar and pick one--that will leave it entirely up to chance.
As for where I am going? I will be happy to continue on with these plans. Other than my Dutch Literature reading, I don't think I will start anything else new, since I am thoroughly enjoying my books at the moment (no matter how slowly I seem to be reading).
What about you? Where has your reading been taking you? Are you happy with it or will you look for a new path?