I’m very susceptible to peer (non)pressure. Or maybe it was a case of FOMO. But, anyway, Dale at Mirror with Clouds is reading through a collection of James’ tales and I was moved to read a few as well. I was going to read Journey to the Center of the Earth for my June Classics Club book, but Verne will have to wait.
I’ve said this before, probably differently, but M. R. James gets undervalued as a writer of weird literature. He gets the designation “teller of traditional English ghost stories,” but maybe I don’t understand either category. Are traditional English ghost stories full of bugs (often very large ones) and strange hairy things that are spawned from an apparently cursed wallpaper print? Sure, James has the nested narrators—someone relating a tale told to him by a friend who read the creepy historical documents—of a Christmas ghost story. Often, at least in the case of these five stories, the terrible thing has happened in the less enlightened 1700s, but make no mistake, James traffics in the uncanny.
Reading Challenge Check-In
Here we are at the halfway mark of 2021. Time for a good check-in!
Actually, my goal was to read 10 books between June 1st and Sept 1st, but I’ve already finished six! They’ve all been on the short side, but I’m still considering changing the goal to 15 books. Only two of the six were from my original TRB. ✅
#Trekathon just started July 1st. I’ve finished one prompt: read a book either set somewhere you’ve never been. A good start.
Next, I’m listening to the event group-read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, though I’ll probably switch over to reading it when my hands get tired of crocheting.
I’m feeling pretty optimistic about this readathon! 😎
Goal: 10 Books by 12/14/21
✅ I’m on track! For the second part of the year, I plan on reading a couple of longer works. I might go for a chapter-a-day strategy after I finish the Dune books.
#ShelfLove / Shelf Maintenance
Goal: Abstain from acquiring books; read at least 21 books from my shelves.
Progress: I’ve acquired 12 titles (including five ARCs and a preorder), 5/21+
❌ I’ve moved on to cataloging my Kindle books on LibraryThing, which is kind of a pain. I’m through titles A–F. I’ve deleted quite a few ebooks that I downloaded for free that, frankly, I’m never going to read. As is, I’m at 453 unread of 862 titles.
Goal: Read 6 books from 6 categories.
✅ Still on-track, more or less. So far I’ve read:
- A body of water (featured in story, on cover, or in title): The Ghost Pirates by William Hope Hodgson
- Written by a woman: Into Bones like Oil by Kaaron Warren
- Ghosts or spirits: A Thin Ghost and Others by M. R. James
Goal: Read Herbert’s 6 Dune books by October.
Progress: I managed to finish God Emperor of Dune, which is generally considered a stumbling block. I’ll admit, though, Heretics of Dune isn’t clicking with me. ✅
Goal: Read at least 30% nonfiction.
Progress: Currently, at 36%. No nonfiction planned in July though. Or August. I’m not worried. I’m sure something will come up. ✅
Goal: Deal Me In each week and Cather Reading Project each month.
Progress: I dropped the Cather Reading Project, mostly because I felt like I wasn’t adding much to the discussions. Still reading my Deal Me In Stories, but haven’t been posting about them. 😬