Sunday, June 08, 2008

Reading Dangerously

I've not given up on my project of reading twelve challenging books this year, but I have found it to be....well....challenging. I've really been forced to admit the staggering depths of my intellectual laziness, but have also realised how much reading is a pleasurable pastime for me. It's my version of vegging out in front of the tv and this endeavour is the equivalent of limiting oneself to PBS and high-brow documentaries on cable.

In addition to Moby Dick, I've read two more books: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Faust. That puts me dreadfully, behind schedule, but the project will continue. If it takes more than a year, than it takes more than a year. I will read all of those books within two years. That's definitely a better time line and it puts me exactly on course.

I've also had to rethink my plan to limit myself to the twelve books. (I can hear Laurie saying 'I told you so.') I'm never going to be the sort of person who can have two books going at a time, so I'm going to take the summer off from reading dangerously. In the autumn, I will implement my new plan - to read one dangerous book a month. If I finish the book early, then I can read trash for the rest of the month. (I don't know what will happen if it takes more than a month to finish a book. I'll give myself a demerit or write 'I will not be so intellectually lazy' two hundred times.)

Back to the books. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was okay, but it's one of those things where knowing the ending sort of ruins the book. It's a slim volume, with not much 'there there', if you know what I mean. The writing is engaging enough, but there's no impact at the end. Unfortunately, I can't really say much more about it.

Even more unfortunately, I have even less to say about Faust except that I hated it. It took me longer to read than Moby Dick and I found it more difficult to understand and assimilate. I don't like verse and I had a nagging feeling that if something rhymed in English, after translation from German, the meaning had more than likely changed.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I can hear a Laura Lippman novel calling my name.


At 8 June 2008 at 08:43, Blogger Babaloo said...

Well done you on finishing these two! I have read neither of them. And, to be honest, I have read none of the books on your Dangerous List. Hm. Maybe I ought to start a project like this, too?
What's your next book to read?

At 8 June 2008 at 08:44, Blogger Babaloo said...

... after Laura Lippman, that is? (Who I have never read either. Worth looking into?)

At 8 June 2008 at 09:52, Blogger -Ann said...

Laura Lippman is well worth reading. The library in Macroom definitely has Every Secret Thing, which is a stand-alone book. I don't know how anal you are about series, if you need to start at the beginning. It's difficult to find the early Tess Monaghan books over here. I found one in the used bookstore in Macroom. The rest I got through bookmooch.

I haven't quite decided what the next dangerous reading book will be- probably Uncle Tom's Cabin. The next general book, well I'm working on another Laura Lippman - Butcher's Hill. I've also got Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle waiting for me and I've saved the Dexter books (by Jeff Lindsey) for the airplane rides I will be taking in July. I really do love reading. :)

At 8 June 2008 at 12:30, Blogger laurie said...

i think you're extremely methodical, and i could never do it the way you do. one dangerous book a month? but these books take me more than a month to finish.

remember, Ulysses took me seven months.

i just finished a truly awful book (i was assigned a book review), and now I am about to plunge into something fun....

as reading should be.


At 8 June 2008 at 13:17, Blogger -Ann said...

Well, you know, it takes as long as it takes. I don't have anything at the Ulysses level, so I don't think anything would take 7 months. Plus, I have the carrot of getting to read trash for the rest of the month. Sort of behooves me to buckle down and read.

At 8 June 2008 at 17:06, Blogger Kaycie said...

I have a terrible time finishing a book I don't like. If I force myself, it seems to take forever. If I like a book, though, regardless of how difficult it is, I tend to read it straight through fairly quickly.

Of course, I'm like that with everything; if I like it or I'm good at it, I get right to it. If not . . . well, there are lots of things I dislike left undone.

I should probably work on that, huh?

Good for you, reading through those books, especially since you didn't like them so much. Enjoy your Laura Lippman!

At 9 June 2008 at 15:10, Blogger Noelle said...

I have a shelf full of stuff that I need to re-read because I never quite did it the first time. Also, I have a copy of "What the Dead Know" that I keep meaning to finish. The question is: can I be a complete person having never read Moby Dick?

At 12 June 2008 at 01:24, Anonymous Amy P said...

Funny you mention Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - I just read that Stevenson wrote it in a two day frenzy after the story came to him in a dream.

It came up in an article on whether writers write novels in bursts of inspiration or if it's more of a long haul, daily kind of process. The writer being interviewed in the article said it might have been written in two days but Stevenson had all of that stuff in his head for a long time before he put pen to paper. Regardless, I never finished that book. Kudos to you for making it through that and the others!!


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