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Update on Reading Deliberately

I’m keeping my fingers cross while waiting for my new gadget, the Amazon Kindle 3G + Wifi. I was thinking how the new electronic reader will change my reading habit. For sure I won’t read any less than I do now. I’m thinking I can add more non-fiction to my reading list as I usually don’t buy them. I will have to make a list of ebooks so I do not acquire duplicates in print. That boils down to owning hard copies of my favorite novels. Meanwhile I’m still participating in Reading Deliberately, hosted by The Bluestocking Society. Here’s an update:

1. Jane AustenCompleted. Finished Emma and Persuasion.
2. Charles Dickens
Completed. Finished A Tale of Two Cities.
3. Ian McEwanCompleted (and also left me very appalled). Finished The Comfort of Strangers and The Cement Garden.
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.
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. NonfictionCompleted. Finished The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham by Selina Hastings. 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. Finished 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.

Here is an updated acquisition list based on your reviews and/or contacts:
The Palisades Tom Schabarum
Unaccustomed Earth Jhumpa Lahiri
Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel
Cloud Atlas David Mitchell
Love Toni Morrison
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand Helen Simonson
In the Woods Tana French
The Betrayal Helen Dunmore
Room Emma Donoghue

I also did a quick scour at the library. I noticed that a lot of the new books aren’t available yet. The catalog would say “one/two copy in consideration for XXX branch.” Budget problem?

21 Responses

  1. Wow–what an ambitious reading plan and you are doing so well! I’ve been looking over my own reading and need to work on things a bit. I loved The Little Stranger–isn’t Sarah Waters wonderful? I really like Tana French and hope you will enjoy her, too. She should offer a change of pace to the classics you’re reading (in a good way of course). And I am very curious about the comment you make in reference to Ian McEwan–must go back through your posts! Have fun with your new Kindle!

    • I’m glad you liked The Little Stranger. The reviews are split in the middle but I just loved the creepy atmosphere she had set up in the first half of the book. Have you read Fingersmith? There’re so many twists and turns! I’m checking out Tana French’s books as well as the “The Girl Who…” Trilogy because, like you say, I need a change of pace for the classics and literary fiction I’m reading.

  2. I could just hug you over this Kindle thing. You are doing well on reading deliberately! These are all titles I really should read too, someday. I loved Unaccustomed Earth, and have Pettigrew loaded on my iPod!

    • I still have to read Tolkien, which is a huge challenge for me, as I’m not a fan of sci fi. Maybe I can read it on my new Kindle. 🙂 Pettigrew is a great story and I can’t wait to get to it. I got a new copy of Unaccustomed Earth for $5.99 at Borders! I’m also looking into The Girl Who Had a red Tattoo. I’m looking forward to reading off my Kindle in Hawaii.

  3. I’ve been saying I’d probably read more nonfiction if I had an ereader! I’m curious to see if that really holds true in your experience, once your shiny new Kindle appears. 🙂

    • I know I’ll have to keep check of what I have in e-form and what in hard copies! For vacation, I can download lighter books to read and that saves the trouble of storing them.

  4. I know what you mean about Ian McEwan — some of the books feature such shattering moments of violence, utterly unexpected violence, and it’s hard to move past that.

    Your ereader plan sounds fabulous. The publishing industry should not be nervous about the whole ebook thing, not if everyone’s like you, and using it to load up on an entirely new category of book — I think, when I’m feeling hopeful, that ereaders will simply expand the amount of book buying that’s going on, rather than replace it.

    • After those two books I have to defer Ian McEwan for a while. I didn’t get the latest novel, Solar, because I don’t know if it will turn out to be creepy like those two.

      I’ve had reservation of e-readers, struggling about how I pay for something which I don’t actually own. I mean the hard copies. Amazon reported that sales of e-books have outstripped those of hard copies.

  5. I love your reading plans – deliberately and ereader! I love Lahiri, so I’m looking forward to your thoughts on Unaccustomed Earth – such a good read! And like you, I figured that if I were to get a Kindle I would use it to buy books that I typically wouldn’t really buy (books that I would read, but just don’t want to own a hard copy of) – love that you are going to use it to expand your reading of nonfiction! I’m hopefully getting the new kindle for my bday this coming month – yay!

    • I think the plan makes sense. E-books are about $4.99 each, a fair price for something that I would pay for a *used* copy anyway. It’s a convenient way to read something that I don’t need to own hard copies, like chick lit, summer reads, and other non-literature fiction.

  6. Great post! I recently acquired a Kindle, and I am finding that fiction and non-reference style non-fiction is going to be the way to go for me. I am loving all the 18th and 19th century stuff that’s available for free — I am already beginning to work through some classic novels.

    My first purchases of Kindle books: Generation A by Coupland, Noble House by Clavell, Eating the Dinosaur by Klosterman, a book about Breakfast at Tiffany’s that I heard about on NPR this morning, and two biographies (Pulitzer and Cornelius Vanderbilt) that recently caught my eye this week. That should keep me busy for the month.

    • Oops, I guess tags don’t work on book titles. Will have to use all Caps next time.

    • I was sold when I found out that all novels published before 1923 are available to download for free. I can read classics at my leisure and liberty. I just read Noble House by James Clavell this summer—loving it so much. I love novels that are set in Hong Kong, my hometown. There are multiple plots that will tie up at the end. It’s a thrill ride!

  7. You are faring far better at this than I. I have much to do to complete my goals by the end of the year. I love the acquisition list at the end. I need to do something similar. I can’t wait to read your reviews of WOLF HALL and IN THE WOODS.

    • Lots of books to read and review, and Tolkien is the single most invincible item in this challenge! I need to get my act together. Wolf Hall is very complicated for me, and I need to read it in a more consistent manner. Maybe I should bring it to hawaii with me? 🙂

  8. You are really doing great with this challenge. So many books that I want to read and I should make time for them!

    • The “really old classic” category makes me dig Voltaire, which I’ve never read. The non-fiction category really pushes me to explore more of that genre.

  9. @Matthew

    I read SHOGUN years ago, and I read TAI-PAN a few months back. Loved them both. I am a fan of 19th C British settings, and I also enjoy Hong Kong.

    My brother read NOBLE HOUSE, and it’s one of his favorite books. He’s been after me to read it, so it’s one of the first ones I will be tackling on my Kindle. Good times, indeed.

    • I’m planning to read Taipan, which precedes Noble House in time. Now that I’ve got a Kindle I can upload Clavell to read during travel. Noble House was a huge book that holding it made me very tired!

  10. I love both those Ian McEwan books. They are both disturbing and beautiful at the same time.

    I also loved The Little Stranger. Have you read Rebecca? If not, it has a similar feel to it.

    I read in a later post of yours that you’re not into thrillers much, but you’re loving the Millennium series. I really think you’ll love all of Tana French’s books. I strongly suggest moving those up on the list. She’s a great writer and her books prove that crime and mystery fiction can be literary too.

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