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Books, books, books.

by Theo on January 2nd, 2011
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I’m a pretty infrequent reader. I don’t mean to be – I love books! – but college killed my ability to read for fun. Grad school performed CPR on my ability to read for fun and got a pulse, but the moment the course load got difficult or I was between semesters, it was bye-bye, books, hello Desperate Housewives marathon.

Uh. I mean. Did I say Desperate Housewives? I would never watch that. That is–that is my least favorite show to watch. I must’ve meant Battlestar Gallactica.

Anyway, I’ve been trying for a few years to get back to being the voracious bookworm I was before college. And it’s been difficult. But right now, I’ve got a few things helping me: 1) I’m not in school – HUGE boon in reading time; 2) I’m currently reading the Harry Potter books aloud to my little (22-year-old) brother, because we never finished reading them all this way when we were younger; and 3) The first book I picked up this year absolutely enchanted me (Melinda Lo’s Ash – more on that in a later post).

So at this moment, I’m high on good books and full of potential reading time. I’ve also got a whole shelf full of books that I’ve been meaning to read or finish for ages and a new year stretching out in front of me. I’m sure you can see what’s coming here.

This year, I’m going to try to read more books.

Here are the books I’m currently reading (* for rereads):

  • Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman (Short story collection, fantasy)
  • Tex – S.E. Hinton (YA mainstream)
  • Palimpsest – Catherynne M. Valente (Fantasy)
  • Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales – William Bass and Jon Jefferson (Nonfiction)
  • Dream Boy – Jim Grimsley (Literary fiction with a touch of magical realism)*
  • Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone – J.K. Rowling (MG fantasy)*
  • Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man – Norah Vincent (Nonfiction)
  • Machine of Death: A Collection of Short Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die – ed. Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, David Malki I (Short story collection, SF)
  • Black Sun Rising – C.S. Friedman (Fantasy)
  • The Day My Butt Went Psycho: Based on a True Story (MG SF)

Yep, that’s ten books underway. This is the way I tend to read books: either I race through them in under a week with my eyes glued to the page, or I read a chapter or two at a time, set them down, and come back to them days, weeks, or even months later. The latter method seemed like the only way I could possibly read books for fun during college, and I haven’t been able to shake it since. That Butt book? I’ve been trying to get through it since 2005. The fact that I haven’t finished it in almost *six years* is no reflection on the quality of the Butt book – it just means I haven’t had the attention span to read 240 pages about butts in that time. I’m sure the butts themselves are just fine, and I intend to find out this year.

Pictured above: Part of the Currently Reading pile. Those ducky slippers are judging you.

I also intend to read a good number of the books on my haven’t-even-touched-yet shelf, which includes the following:

  • The Demon’s Lexicon – Sarah Rees Brennan (YA fantasy. Will surely be a gateway drug into the rest of the series.)
  • The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins (YA SF. I hear it’s, like, good or something?)
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon (I know nothing about this except that a friend pushed a copy into my hands and said, “Read this.” Okay.)
  • Dinosaur Planet Survivors – Anne McCaffrey (SF. I bought this from the Barnes and Noble used book annex because I couldn’t stop giggling at the title. Maybe that makes me a very simple creature, but come on. DINOSAUR. PLANET. SURVIVORS.)
  • The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy (I know nothing about this novel, either, except that my Dad gave it to me freshman year.)
  • Hidden Talents – David Lubar (MG fantasy. LITTLE HEARTS IN MY EYES.)*
  • True Talents – David Lubar (MG fantasy. SO EXCITED FOR THIS ONE. I’ve been waiting for this sequel since high school.)
  • Beowulf: A New Telling (Uh…hey, Matt, I still have the book I borrowed from your classroom in 2003. I swear I’ll read it one of these days.)
  • The Zombie Survival Guide – Max Brooks (100% nonfiction, as is the next entry, obviously. As a big fan of zombies, I’m ashamed that I haven’t read either of them yet.)
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War – Max Brooks (…so very, very ashamed.)
  • Orbiter – Warren Ellis, Colleen Doran, Dave Stewart (Graphic novel. I adore Colleen Doran’s work.)
  • Five Seasons of Angel: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Vampire – ed. Glenn Yeffeth (Essays. Not sure I’ll ever read more than a few of them.)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling (MG fantasy)*
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- J.K. Rowling (MG fantasy)*
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- J.K. Rowling (MG fantasy)*
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix- J.K. Rowling (MG fantasy)*
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince- J.K. Rowling (MG fantasy)*
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- J.K. Rowling (MG fantasy)*
  • Nathan’s Run – John Gilstrap (A predictable, head-hopping, choppily written thriller. But I’ve loved it since I was twelve, so haters please familiarize themselves with the left-hand evacuation procedure.)*
  • Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett (Fantasy. I have yet to read any Discworld books. GASP, I KNOW.)
  • American Gods – Neil Gaiman (Fantasy. I tried to read this once in high school and didn’t get far. Let’s give it another try now that I’m mature enough to not be traumatized by the word “labia.”)
  • The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman (YA fantasy)
  • Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman (Fantasy. I’ve collected a lot of Neil Gaiman books over the years and haven’t finished them all yet.)
  • The Rising – Brian Keene (Horror. True story: at a writing panel at CONvergence, I once heard Brian Keene talk about spending his writing time at the kitchen table in his Spider-man pajamas. Ever since, this has been my goal in life, except with Iron Man pajamas. Which they don’t make in women’s sizes. FOR SHAME, MARVEL MERCHANDISERS.)
  • The Hospital for Bad Poets: Stories – J.C. Hallman (Short story collection. I won this at my grad school’s annual picnic, with chocolate all over my shirt. I get chocolate all over my shirt every time they host a picnic. It’s amazing they haven’t expelled me for incompetency.)

And that’s twenty-five more books to read. There’s no guarantee I’ll get through all of them, and I’m sure at some point I’ll let the whole pile turn to cobwebs while I pick up and read a handful of shiny new books instead, but I think overall, thirty-five books is a good goal to shoot for in 2011. And at least three times a month, I’ll aim to post reviews or recommendations of books I’ve just read. It will be an experiment. (If you say that with enough gravitas while holding one finger skyward, I’m pretty sure it counts as a scientific announcement. At least if you’re in a Syfy Channel original movie.)

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From → Not-Projects, Reading

  1. 'Lista permalink

    You’ve inspired me, as always. Off to go make the list of what I’m going to read!

  2. Gypsy-Maria permalink

    OH MAN! I have read Dream Boy! Such a sad, surreal story.

    Reading more is an excellent goal. I’m planning to do the same, despite my slightly more limited selection of English language books around here. Good thing I brought some with me!

    … I find myself deeply intrigued by the butt book. o_O

    • Nicole permalink

      I had to read Dream Boy for a class a couple years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever argued so viciously with a book. I kept fighting with its narrator, yelling, “Your protagonist doesn’t use words like that!” “WHY ARE YOU SO POETIC ROAR”, etc. And then I hit the climax of the book, and that lovely, poetic narration suddenly worked. It tore my heart out in the best way and is among my favorite books now.

      I intend to give the butt book a very serious, high-brow review, in which I’ll use the word “butt” as many times as possible.

  3. janalee permalink

    Ooooh, a list of books for me!!
    (seriously laughing at the butt book, BTW- no idea of its content, just loved the cover and the title)

    • Nicole permalink

      The butt book is probably my favorite thing in that pile. Especially stacked as it is right on top of philosophy-heavy high fantasy. (Guess which one of the two of them I’m more likely to finish?)

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