Bout of Books 11: Base Camp

Bout of Books 11Bout of Books 11 Read-a-Thon has begun!  I’m going to keep this post sticky for the week of the event so that I have a convenient place to track my progress.  I’ll update this post at the end of each day with both daily and cumulative reading reports.

As with BoB 10, I’m not going to track hours/minutes spent reading but will track pages read and books completed.  This feels more constructive and less like making a fun event into work.


 Books to Read:

  1. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami – I am about 50 pages into this.  I don’t know if I want to finish it during the event or if I want to savor it longer.  I may read a chapter a day and then  finish after the read-a-thon.
  2. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
  3. The Lover by Maurgerite Duras
  4. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  5. An Imaginary Life by David Malouf
  6. From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus
  7. Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
  8. As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams: Recollections of a Lady in Eleventh-Century Japan by “Lady Sarashina”

 

Cumulative Progress:

Total pages read:  187
Total books finished: 1 (The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros)
Books in Progress:  Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, The Lover

 

Daily Updates:

Monday:

Number of pages read today: 132  (all of THoMS + 22 pages in CTTaHYoP)
Books finished today:  The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Books in progress at end of day:  Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (on page 80)
Challenges:  none

Tuesday:

Number of pages read today: 55  (a slow day)
Books finished today:  none
Books in progress at end of day:  The Lover
Challenges:  none

Wednesday:

Number of pages read today:
Books finished today:
Books in progress at end of day:
Challenges:

Thursday:

Number of pages read today:
Books finished today:  
Books in progress at end of day:
Challenges:

Friday:

Number of pages read today:
Books finished today:
Books in progress at end of  day:
Challenges:

Saturday:

Number of pages read today:
Books finished today:  
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Challenges:

Sunday:

Number of pages read today:
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20 Books of Summer: Sticky Post

20 Books of Summer

This is a sticky checklist of my titles for the 20 Books of Summer, hosted by 746 Books.  (more info in my sign-up post)


 

  1. A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes20 Books of Summer revised 2 sm
  2. An Imaginary Life by David Malouf
  3. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
  4. As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams: Recollections of a Woman in Eleventh-Century Japan by “Lady Sarashina”
  5. Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates
  6. Budapest by Chico Buarque (review soon)
  7. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
  8. From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus
  9. Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
  10. The Testament of Mary  by Colm Tóibín
  11. Popular Hits of the Showa Era by Ryū Murakami
  12. The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino
  13. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  14. The Lover by Marguerite Duras
  15. The Martian by Andy Weir
  16. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  17. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
  18. The Third Man by Graham Greene
  19. Weight by Jeanette Winterson
  20. Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong

Read:  10/20

Bout of Books 11: Goals

Bout of Books 11

Note:  I won’t be tracking my progress in this post.  I have set up a sticky post as a base camp to track myself during this challenge.

Bout of Books 11 Read-a-Thon begins Monday, August 18, and runs through Sunday the 24th. This will be my third time participating in Bout of Books, and I’ve got a lovely stack of books I can’t wait to dive into.

Here are my goals for the week:

Time to Be Devoted to Reading, aka Get Off the Internet and Don’t Read Laying Down or Else ZZZZZ:

I hope to get some reading in each day of the event.  This week is blessedly free of out-of-the-ordinary appointments and engagements, so unless something unexpected pops up I should be able to manage this without too much fuss.  On one or two days I’d like to devote most of the afternoon or evening to reading, depending on how things play out.

General Goals for Read-a-Thon Week, Largely Ceremonial Yet Still Somehow Satisfying to Type:

  • I want to check out the optional daily challenges and games and play along with those that pique my interest.
  • I want to post about my progress each day and link it to the official check-in posts.  Last time, I liked having one sticky “base camp” post that I updated daily and linked up.  It was neater and more efficient and seemed to work well, so I’ll be doing that again this time around.
  • I will try to remember to check the event’s Twitter stream and will visit other participants’ blogs for a bit each day.

Books in my Bout of Books Reading Pile, Which Will Most Certainly Not All Get Finished But Which Are Still On the Stack All the Same, Bless Their Pulpy Little Hearts:

  1. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami – I am about 1/4 of the way through this.  I don’t know if I want to finish it during the event or if I want to savor it longer.  I may read a chapter a day and then  finish after the read-a-thon.
  2. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson 
  3. The Lover by Maurgerite Duras 
  4. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  5. An Imaginary Life by David Malouf
  6. From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus
  7. Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
  8. As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams: Recollections of a Lady in Eleventh-Century Japan by “Lady Sarashina”

I hope everyone taking part in the event has a great time and that you read many wonderful books!

Bout of Books 11: Sign Up Post

Bout of Books 11It’s time for another installment of the Bout of Books week-long read-a-thon! Starting Monday, August 18  and running through Sunday, August 24, participants push themselves to get in more reading than they usually would. Here’s the official announcement:

“The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team”

This will be my third time participating in BoB.  I’m really excited for this incarnation of the read-a-thon, as I still have a stack of books to devour for the 20 Books of Summer challenge.  I’m really looking forward to the extra motivation BoB provides, as well as to getting involved in some of the mini-games and checking in with everyone else’s status updates.  I’ll have my Goals post up by the weekend, once I have determined how I want to go about things this time.  

Are you planning to participate in this round of BoB?

The Classics Club: Spin Number Announced

Click to learn about the Classics Club challenge.The lucky number for the Classics Club Spin #7 has been announced:

 

#17!

 

I’ll be reading Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles, which was published in 1943.  I’m really excited for this one, as I find the dynamic between the unusual Bowles and her husband, equally-eccentric yet more well-known author Paul Bowles, most interesting.  I’m also happy to add another title to my stack for #readwomen2014.

 

Per Goodreads:Two Serious Ladies

“Eccentric, adventurous Christina Goering meets the anxious but equally enterprising Mrs. Copperfield at a party.

Two serious ladies who want to live outside of themselves, they go in search of salvation: Mrs. Copperfield visits Panama with her husband, where she finds solace among the women who live and work in its brothels; while Miss Goering becomes involved with various men. At the end the two women meet again, each changed by her experience.” 

Are you taking part in this edition of the Spin?  What book will you be reading?

Deal Me In Challenge: Story #32 – “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant

Deal Me InStory #32 for the Deal Me In Challenge is brought to me by the 9 of Diamonds – “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant.  According to Wikipedia, the story first ran in the French paper Le Gaulois in February 1884 and has since inspired several other authors and playwrights.  It is widely available in the public domain, and I read it at East of the Web.

This is a story I felt like most everyone had read except me.  Once I finished reading it, I was overcome by the nagging suspicion that I had in fact 9 diamondsread it many years before, but it may be simply that the story is so iconic that echoes of it can be found in many other works.

The story is quite simple at heart – a young woman of modest means desires pretty dresses and jewelry yet has no hope of ever having them.  Her husband works hard as a clerk, and they have a home and one servant. So I would not call them poor by an means, but they certainly feel that they are poor in comparison to other families they know.

When the husband brings home an invitation to a fancy soirée, thinking his wife will be thrilled, he is surprised to find that she is instead dejected.  The practicalities of their situation decree that she has nothing suitable to wear to such an affair. Although the husband has been saving money to buy himself a gun, (for leisure, it should be noted…not for necessary hunting) he decides to give the money to his wife so she can buy a dress for the party.  For jewelry, she will borrow something from a more affluent friend, even though it will be a bit humiliating to do so.  She borrows a lovely diamond necklace and is overcome with joy.

The evening in question arrives, and a good time is had by all.  But when the couple returns home, the necklace is nowhere to be found!  After an exhaustive search, it is decreed lost.  The husband borrows money from everyone he knows, and a replacement necklace is purchased and substituted with the lender none the wiser.  The couple spends the next 10 years (!) paying back these debts, moving to a tiny attic apartment, dismissing the servant and living even more simply.  The husband takes in extra work; the wife does all the housework herself and ages rapidly.  Eventually the debts are paid and the couple’s minds are set at ease.

A chance meeting later with the lender of the necklace brings a shock and the characteristic de Maupassant twist ending, which I will not spoil for anyone who has not read the piece.

On the surface, it would seem that this story gives critique to social striving, covetousness and materialism.  But this was a natural and honest sentiment for the woman – wanting to be appropriately dressed for the occasion and not humiliated among others more fortunate.  I don’t feel this is what the author intended to critique at all.  The couple pays their debts, at great personal loss and with much hardship yet without undue complaint.  If they had just been honest with the lender instead of trying to cover up the fact that the necklace was missing, they could have spared themselves so much grief.  I feel like de Maupassant was trying to make the point that trying to cover up a negative occurrence through trickery and deception brings more suffering that it alleviates, even as it may be well-meaning.  In lying in an attempt to avoid the lender’s potential anger or disdain or grief at the loss, they took on a greatly-disproportionate quantity of pain themselves, needlessly.  Two entire lives ruined, all for a meaningless bauble.  Don’t we see such dramas play out, perhaps less dramatically, all around us every day?

 

 

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