Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reading in 2011

This is an ongoing list that I try to edit at least once a week.  I should try to date what I 've read, when I have read it.  I should also be working to keep some sort of reading journal.  I need to read like a writer and write like a reader.  This is something I told those fifth graders.  How Ralph Fletcher o me. It is raining today (Oct. 2, 2011) and I am writing, reading, and watching Mr. Z (my middle school aged son) and the old man watch the games.  They are watching, snoozing on the island coach pillows bed n the middle of the floor while I have the coach. Our cat, our adorable Miss Meow Meow is walking back and forth, trudging, on the wicker sofa, now stripped of its cushions, as they are serving to pillow, to snuggle the men.   I have to pee.  I am lazy.  I have clothes rotting with mildew at my house.  I have a borderline rapid landlord right now who I am ignoring.  I have not looked at my email in nearly a week now.  I am falling down into a silly tangent, a spiral of boringness.  Back to my list.  The world is peaceful.  Here is a singular, beautiful idea, and it is a notion that allows me to survive in this world:  
There is always something else to read.  

Here's what I've read, online books, Internet blogs, magazines, newspapers, etc. aside.  Well, this is what I can remember.  Usually, I have read twice as much.  I need to get offline and get back into the literary world, as I feel like I am wasting my life.  But maybe this is a good thing.  Perhaps reading what I want to read is better than reading at books, forcing myself through classics like I did in my twenties.  Life is way too short to read dull fucking Willa Cather, and Sarah fucking Orne Jewett for fuck sake's.   I do need to go to the library to see what I actually checked out this year.  I just have a horrible memory in this way, I truly cannot remember what I've read.  I need to become a less passive reader, as it is really all *slippping* a way..

Jennifer Weiner books of 2011:
(I cannot help myself; I recognize that she is the epitome of silly chick lit.  And--yes, yes!--I also       realize that women are not marshmallow peeps!)
Fly Away Home
Goodnight Nobody
The Came You
The Guy Not Taken (1/3 of the book, had to put it down.. Was she serious with this shit?  Wow. )

Jennifer Egan books, all of them:
The Invisible Circus
The Keep (Oct. 2011)
Emerald City
A Visit from the Goon Squad (Spring, 2011)
Look at Me (Sept. 2011)

The Two Fucking Amazing Books by Elissa Schappell:
Use Me (Oct. 2011)
Blueprints for Better Girls (Oct. 2011)

Maybe the best book I've read thus far:
Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann (Spring 2011)

Alice Hoffman, whatever she wrote this year...
The Red Garden (Spring 2011)

And here are the rest:

  • Sarah's Key, Tatianna (?) Idiotfuck (So fucking lame.) (Summer)
  • Bossypants, Tina Fey (Tina, You're funny almost all the time, but when you're not, yuck!) (Summer)
  • Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout (Spring, 2011)
  • Tiger, Tiger, Margaux Fragoso (Summer 2011)
  • Gossip of the Starlings, Nina De Gramont
  • Family History, Dani Shapiro (Winter, maybe February?)
  • Freedom, Franzen (Jan. 2011)
  • Her Last Death, Suasan
  • Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks
  • Falling in Love with Natassia, Anna Monardo
  • The Help, Katheryn Stockett (July 2011)
  • Down and Out in Murder Mile, Tony O'Neill (Winter 2011, January, February or March))
  • A Life Gone... , Wayne from the Internet (memoir-y book by rehab surviver...)
  • The Bitch Posse, Martha O'Connor (10/11)
  • The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins (10/11)
  • Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins(10/11)
  • Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins (Plan to read tomorrow!) I actually have not read this yet (10/11)
  • The Sisters Brothers, Patrick DeWitt (Fall 2011) (almost all read)
  • Swim Back to Me, Ann Packer (October, 2011)
  • Josie and Jack, Kelly Braffet (October, 2011)

(Oct. 8, 2011: 32 total)

October 8, 2011: I am reading Catching Fire and The Sisters Brothers this weekend, but I am not sure that I will finish both.  I have to have the latter read by the end of next week... Bt I am so much more compelled to read the first, as that series is even more amazing than ppl say it is.  I am blown away that those adorable, little fifth graders were reading it!  No wonder they were whipping through all their work to get to the other said... The side of freedom, when you can read what you want!  At this point it looks as though I am reading 2.7 books a month.  My goal is four books a month.  I think my time spent online, reading blogs, short stories and the like dips into my time a great deal. Of course, if I am reading, then, this should be great, it means I am still reading, right?  Bu tI like the idea of reading full novels. And I generally read literary fiction, um, Jennifer Weiner aside (though Amazon begs to differ from me on this... I dunno, depends on how liberal I am feeling about judging literature...) O get to me goal, I need o get up to forty books by the end of this month.  This means I need to read thirteen books in the next three weeks and two days; this is twenty-three days.  Almost one book per two days.  I want to enjoy what I am reading, and I want to read less passively.  Fuck, I think I might be getting  migraine.  i wonder if it is light, chocolate, yelling at Mike, being irritated with Mr. Z my adorable, but spoiled little dude.  Fuck if I know. Maybe it is the television? 
  • I am in the middle of my old undergrad professor's book about teaching writing, the one that focusses on digression and even discusses The Catcher in the Rye (Note: the old man and Mr. Z are planning on reading the latter together)

What I Abandoned:
The Gary Paulsen, Alaska Book (Whatever it was fucking called, Winterdance or some shit...)

Black and White, Dani Shapiro (I hate her writing voice and feel that if I met her, she'd own Talbots clothing and treat me like I was poor white trash.  She irritates me.  Whatever.)

What I Started and Think I May Return To:
Crazy Town: Money, Marriage, Meth
The Leftovers, Tom Perotta
Twilight of the Superheroes, D. Eisenberg
The Collected Short Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through...
Gone with the Wind
Tender is the Night

Miss Peregrine's Home for...

I also read countless short stories that are the free samples from acclaimed literary magazines, like Tin House.  Sometimes I read not so acclaimed lit mags, some of which are online only, like that silly noir shit that I do not even like, it just interests me for some reason.  This time seems wasted, as it is only a way to deaden my senses; it is not a way to actively figure the world out in any way.

Here is what is in "the pile":
Wonderstruck, Brian Selznick
The Sisters Brothers, Patrick DeWitt
That Was Then, This is Now, S.E Hinton
The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton
The Room, Emma Donahue  Abandoned.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender  Abandoned, boring...
Peyton Place and A Return to Peyton Place, Grace Metalious (check spelling)

What I am looking forward to...

  • The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugines
  • The New Alice Hoffman novel
  • The new book of short stories (9/11) by Melanie Rae Thon--On second though, she is almost too lyrical for my current taste.

I feel like I read constantly, as in: all. the. time.  It is weird then, that I seem to be averaging less than three books monthly.  Part of this is that I watch way, way too much television.  Also, I read many , many short stories that are soon forgotten.  I need to start tracking these, too. Perhaps I should just list them by author, as I often read several by the same author and then get stuffed with tht author.  My list would look like: SHORT STORIES BY AUTHOR: Eagan, Schappell, Boggs,m whoever, yep, her him, etc. I dunno.  How do I account for the articles, too? For example, I am trying to find everything that Elissa Scappell has written, and some of her stuff is true; it is an essay or article.  This would not count.  I should track it all, right?  Again, dunno.

Here we go.  Here are the short stories found online:
  • Boggs chick who teaches English at the fancy (?) private school
  • Find the many, many others, like the story written by the amateur about h e TA who disappears
  • The Alaskan writer, Melinda Moustakis (found in the Alaskan Quarterly and in Storyglossia)
Also, I should try to include an entry on each piece that has affected me.  For example, for the Egan novel, the Goon book, I should include the letter/email I never sent to my stepfather.  Maybe I should include the letter Mom sent me after ignoring me for weeks about how she identified with the shame memories.  However, the shame memories, what she said, that could have been from just reading the reviews.  My mother is too stupid to really read anything unless it is for her book group, filled with teachers who are the anti intellectual, or a western or some fucking thing.  I read so many more books before the Internet.  But I will say this:  I read a lot of stupid books back then, too.   Now that I get my stupid fix from the Internet, maybe the quality of book I read is better?  I dunno.  Really, who am I kidding?  I read amazing stuff in college, Bahktin, Rabelais (well, I pretended to read Rabelais, whatever. I read lit fiction now, but nothing that is too challenging.  I should challenge myself more, read more Virginia Woolf or read at least one thing by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  I have never, ever read a fucking thing by him.  What does that even say about me?

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