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Update on Reading Deliberately

The Monday Musings question yesterday on war reminds me that I have never reviewed A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I am planning to squeeze it in so it will satisfy Category 2 of the Reading Deliberately plan. Oliver Twist is still on.

1. Jane AustenCompleted. Read Emma and Persuasion. Completed with honor!
2. Charles Dickens—Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith inspires Oliver Twist. The blog desperately needs a review of A Tale of Two Cities, my favorite Dickens.
3. Ian McEwanCompleted (and also left me very appalled). Read The Comfort of Strangers and The Cement Garden. Done with him for now.
4. John SteinbeckCompleted. Read East of Eden, which is my #1 favorite book so far this year, Cannery Row, and Of Mice and Men. Bought Grapes of Wrath.
5. J.R.R. Tolkien—this remains the most interminable goal.
6. British Mystery or ComedyCompleted. Adopted Jenny’s advice and read  Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers. P.G. Wodehouse is lined up for comedy.
7. Russian author-–this one is a regular ritual of mine. I’ll either re-read The Master and Margarita or tackle In the First Circle. The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them looks like fun.
8. Old Classics—Dickens, Faulkner, Joyce, Lawrence, etc.
9. Nonfiction—follow Tom and CB James’ advice, will read An Alchemy of Mind by Diane Ackerman and City of Quartz by Mike Davis, a history and geography of Los Angeles.
10. PoetryCompleted. another challenge because I’m totally not conversant in poetry. Pablo Neruda would suit me well. Walt Whitman? I have been reading 100 Essential American Poems edited by Leslie M. Pockell.
11. Pulitzer Winners—One book stands out and catches my attention: March by Geraldine Brooks.
12. Published in 2010Completed. Read One Amazing Thing and recently finished The Little Stranger by my new girlfriend favorite author Sarah waters.

23 Responses

  1. WOW – I am incredibly impressed with your accomplishments so far this year.

    I absolutely LOVE A Tale of Two Cities and only learn to appreciate it more each year that I teach it. I look forward to reading your insightful review.

    • I was talking with my friend about my favorite Dickens, and suddenly realize that I have never written about the novel! I first read it in high school, can’t remember exactly when—10th grade or 11th? But I remember I was instantly drawn to the pace of the book. I read it all over the weekend before we even began discussion in class.

  2. I have to say, I’m glad “East of Eden” has been your favorite book of the year so far. I’ve found it’s the most divisive of Steinbeck’s works, though it ranks as one of my all-time favorites. Then again, “Of Mice and Men” often outreaches it so I’m a little torn, I suppose…

    • Divisive in the sense that one doesn’t know which direction the novel is spinning? I said that because that was how I felt while I was reading it. In the back of my mind exists a consistent backdrop of the biblical Eden, and that he’s trying reproduce that story of Eden in a modern sense. Of Mice and Men is just so quick to the point, no commentary, no reflective asides—so raw and quick.

  3. Impressive Matt. I can’t wait to see what you can pull off next!

    • Keeping the sentiment of this reading plan I’ll be reading a book by a Russian author. I have also been pondering about old classics, which sounds a bit vague. What does it mean by old? Like Iliad kind of old?

  4. OK I am impressed. Such control! Such deliberateness! I am like a hyperactive 3 year old, dashing from book to book without direction.

    • Ha! I picked this reading plan at the first place becasue the items all seem very compatible to my goals, except for J.R.R. Tolkien! The poetry goal seemed very difficult at first but now I’m having fun reading the 100 American Poems.

  5. That’s great Matt! I’ll look forward to your review of A Tale of Two Cities – that’s actually my least favorite Dickens (although I haven’t read that many). I’m sure your insight will make a difference!

  6. For a McEwan that isn’t macabre or creepy try On Chesil Beach. It is an amazing book. One of my all time favorites in fact even though I do NOT consider McEwan one of my favorite authors.

  7. That’s amazing! My reading deliberately plans go out the window as soon as I get interested in something shiny and new. 😛

  8. Hi Matt, Tolkien’s middle earth’s series are amongst my favourite books ever. never thought I would read such genre but because of the movie hype a couple of years back, I got hooked! Give it a go!! 🙂

  9. Just a note to say you absolutely must read the Tolkien books! I read them about 20 years ago, although the term “read” doesn’t really describe it well. Tolkien’s hand reached out and pulled me into the book and I never wanted to come out. At the end of the first I found a huge relief in knowing there were two more. By the end of the second I was upset that there was only one more and when I closed the cover on the last one I was so sad to leave middle earth that I re-read a few pages of the first one just to remind myself they were still there and I could read them again any time. I loved the movies by they really don’t compare. The books are beyond wonderful! I envy anyone who still has them to read for the first time.

    • Thank you for the wonderful suggestion and comment. I have never been a huge fan of scientific fiction; and the stills from the motion picture have turned me off reading Tolkien. Your words and the feelings that the series of books have exuded from you have more than convinced me to pick them up. Now I’m looking forward to reading them. 🙂

  10. I recently picked up a used copy of The Master and the Margarita when I was at my library’s booksale because of how much you recommend it!

  11. Yikes! My partner and I were browsing in a bookstore this afternoon and he admitted to me he had a hard time finishing An Alchemy of Mind by Diane Ackerman. I love Ed. I love this book. It seems like Ed should Love this Book. Love is so confusing… Anyway I started yelling something like “…I’ve recommended this book to the entire world (A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook)…You’ve gotta Love It!” Okay…I promise not to make a scene here. Meanwhile I am rereading An Alchemy of Mind (for an explanation)…I Love this book…
    Tom

    • Hahaha…like I have told everyone on earth to read The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. It’s contemporary Russian fiction. Check it out Tom! 🙂

  12. […] Matthew on Update on Reading Deliber…Matthew on [265] East of Eden – Joh…G. Schultz on [265] East of Eden – […]

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