This week, I read and started quite a few books. Right now, I officially have three books going, but at some point in the week, I had five. I read Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth early in the week. I started listening the Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell audiobook, but decided to stop because of technical difficulties. I’m going to continue that in text book form. I decided to listen to the Outlander audiobook. I really like it. I’m on disc 9 out of 28. I probably would have gotten even further by now if I hadn’t started reading the Twilight series on thursday. Fluffy, entertaining books; I finished New Moon on Friday and Eclipse yesterday. The spoilery review for the sequels is going up tomorrow. By the way, I still have not made progress to Gilead. I am falling behind on my challenge readings even though I read two of them this week. I still have more to do.
The New York Times has an article called “Volumes to go Before you Die” by William Grimes on Prof. Peter Boxall’s 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. It’s interesting to note that Boxall intended for the list to be controversial, and when I first the saw the list, I was puzzled by the inclusion of several books for some authors and only a couple for others. Many bookworms do react rather argumentatively by the exclusion of their favourites and inclusion of some others. Obviously, book lists and being considered well read are subjective. It is just a suggestions list after all; nothing is definitive.
I have no intention of reading every book on the list. It is true that I am part of a reading challenge that encourages it, and I have been tracking what I have read on the list for more than a year now. It’s just that even with my proclivity for long, classic, and literary books, I have certain prejudices too. There are some authors I’m a bit adverse to reading again or reading so much of. I do like crossing off the books I have read, but I usually pick the books based on other recommendations so it’s a wonderful bonus if it’s on the list. Though Grimes’s experiment of picking three books to see how they would affect him was interesting. I would like to try it because there are at least a few books and authors in the list I have never heard of and seem to be very underrated. This game does sound amusing though:
In his novel “Changing Places,” David Lodge — not on the list — introduces a game called Humiliation. Players earn points by admitting to a famous work that they have not read. The greater the work, the higher the point score. An obnoxious American academic, competing with a group of colleagues, finally gets the hang of the game and plays his trump card: “Hamlet.” He wins the game but is then denied tenure.
If only I have enough bookish friends to play such a ridiculous and subjective game. Well, I have not read Ulysses, Moby Dick, a lot of Dickens, Sense and Sensibility, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the Aeneid, and Aesop’s Fables. Though as someone who does not work in book-related fields and was never an English or Lit. major, I have no one to impress or anyone to make me feel embarassed except myself.
Have a lovely last week of May.