Challenges of one sort or another

While I’m on a bookish roll…

Right.  Books don’t roll.  Unless it’s a scroll.  Well, one of the round types of scroll anyway.  Without ties to stop the rolling action……..
Where was I going with this again…?

Oh, a bookish roll.   Further to yesterday’s blog post about another lovely reading list, which I am going to subscribe to making my way through, I have a mini-bleat that needs voicing.  You may remember that one of the quoted sections mentioned five books with which to rekindle your love of reading; these ones in fact:

Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Slave; Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey; F.Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Erich Maria Remarque, Spark of Life; and Calder Willingham, End as a Man. 

So I thought I would hit our library and see if I could get one out to give it a go.
Okay.  The Professor is completely correct,

I have enjoyed my teaching more than I can say. But one thing has troubled me greatly.  At universities in both America and New Zealand, universities such as Wisconsin State, Maryland, Cornell, Canterbury and Otago, I have noticed a trend: fewer and fewer students read great works of literature.

This is true even of my brightest students.  It was true at Cornell, a university so elite that everyone was a bright student.  Ask students what novelist they like the best and you get a blank, or some reference to the author of airport trash.

He goes on, but you get the point.  We’re not reading ‘great works’ anymore, student or professor alike.  Well, you know what… it’d help if the public library actually held a copy of some of these books.   Of those five books listed only The Great Gatsby was in the catalogue.  And I think there was only one darned copy of that!!  Or I could get the graphic novel version.
Seriously?  I don’t want to read the graphic novel version of it.  I’m an adult*.  I don’t want pictures with my story.  I want the words to paint the picture in my imagination.

I can see that getting “educated” in a bookish sort of way is going to be something of a challenge.  The local library didn’t have a copy of any of the first dozen non-fiction books listed either.  I can see myself having to join the local university library (once I’ve searched the catalogue to make sure they have them) just to get access to them.  Dumbing us down, who’s dumbing us down?  Oh, we are.

So, bleat is now over.  I did pick up three books off the list and I will decide which of them to tackle (it’s a bad habit but I get more books than I read, then decide which one to actually read based on how I’m currently feeling).  Anyone feel like expressing an opinion?

  • The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  • The Blind Watchmaker – Richard Dawkins
  • The Golden Age – Gore Vidal

Now, on to the original intended content of this blog post.

It is only a month and a half until the end of 2012 and I am chuffed to say that I have almost hit all of my reading targets for 2012.  You may remember my post back in December last year when I laid it all out for this year.  Briefly it was:

  • The Ravelry 52 in 52 challenge.
  • The Off The Shelf 2012 challenge (Trying level – 15 books)
  • My Booklitzer challenge (10 – 15 books)

I have managed to hit the bottom target of the Booklitzer challenge, I’m two away from the OtS challenge (with one currently underway) and I’m sitting at 47/52 on the 52 in 52 challenge.  With seven whole weeks left to 2012 I am pretty confident of hitting all of the targets I have set for this year.  Wahoo !!

In celebration of this impending miracle I am going to add another link to my already crowded top bar – Book Challenges.  All of my bookish lists will be found under this, including my annual completed reading lists.  When I get some quiet time I will link these through to any reviews I may have written.  So if you want to see what books I’ve managed this year’s reading goals with, click here.

And it is almost time to be considering next year’s goals.  Hmmm.  Lots of new options, same amount of limited time.  How about you?  Did you have reading goals for this year? And do you think you’ll be meeting them or exceeding them?

* I know plenty of adults enjoy graphic novels, but I did my stint with comics as a kid and that’s pretty much my quota for this lifetime, thanks.   But I firmly believe in each to his own.  If it’s your thing, go for it.  No slur or nastiness intended on my part.

2 thoughts on “Challenges of one sort or another

  1. Read ‘The Secret History’!! It’s one of those “My children have been eating dry weet-bix and wearing the same clothes for 3 days because I can not put this book down” kind of books. Seriously. READ IT.

    (I don’t like pictures with my novels either)


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