In February, John Wiswell hosted National Novel Reading Month, an opportunity to read one of those classics that haunt TBR lists everywhere. (Click on over to see what other participants have been reading.)
Reading challenges. I’m so terrible at them. I blame majoring in English Lit in college. I had to spend a few years reading in a very structured manner. I will perhaps spend the rest of my life reading with as little organization as possible. Yet, I continue to participate in reading challenges because I do like the directions they point me in.
I started NaNoReMo with Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. I put it aside after 30 pages, but not because I didn’t like it or thought it was wanting in any respect. Capote’s telling of events is languid. The tone of the book is an interesting combination of a Southern writer and small-town 1950s Kansas. It’s the 1950s that were kind of a problem for me. I’m doing so much research into the 1890s-1920s that my brain can’t quite handle another historical time period. I had thought that the book would be a nice reprieve from 1910 Omaha, but that wasn’t the case.
My biggest mistake was not switching books earlier. I started on The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins on February 18th. It’s a goodly sized book. I’m a slow, magpie reader. I got about a third of the way through it. I’m liking it. The change of narrators is especially entertaining when the point of view overlaps. I can see where a novel like The Specimen is a bit of homage to Collins, but this 150 year old novel does it so much better. The writing doesn’t feel dated to me, but I have been steeped in Sherlock Holmes and the Omaha World-Herald ca. 1900. I may not be entirely objective.
The NaNoReMo verdict?
Actually finishing one of these classics in February: Failure.
Introducing myself to two great books: Win.
A Winter’s Respite – Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict
When I set my goal for Winter’s Respite, I debated 400 or 500 pages. I should have gone low. Oh, well. I finished The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov, read chunks of Behind the Scenes with Mediums and Carter Beats the Devil, and read a few short stories. All in all, ~373 pages. Probably more than I would have considering the week I had. With the end of winter leagues, New Year Fest, and the beginning spring league, I’ve been pretty busy with website duties. New Year Fest was rained out, but I was still up way too early (for me) on Saturday and Sunday. Lack of sleep led to me doing less mentally intense things, like playing EQ2 & Vanguard and watching a disc of Homeland. Work-wise, I wrote a few faux news articles for my husband’s project and did some research for my next project.
Starting February 1st, John Wiswell is hosting National Novel Reading Month. Last year, #NaNoReMo snuck up on me and I was left envying the hashtaggery and great discussion of classics. The rules are simple:
- Find a classic novel you’ve never read, preferably one you’ve been meaning to read for a long time.
- “Classic” is up to your definition. If you feel Beloved is a Modern Classic, you read it.
- Between February 1st and 28th, read the book.
- Join in on Twitter, blogs and Facebook to discuss your journey through the classic. You’re even welcome to come back discuss the books in comments threads on this post.
My pick is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Is it a novel? Is it a classic? Have I ever been known to actually follow the rules? Regardless, I’ve had In Cold Blood on my shelf for a while. As far as I can remember, I’ve never read any Capote either and I probably should though this book may be an outlier in his canon. My back-up is The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. It would be *the* choice, but I’m a bit mired in the 19th century with a few other projects and I figure I need some contrast.