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So the final part of my grand master plan to get reading again is to sign up for Rob’s 100 Shots of Short challenge. Really straightforward – just read 100 short stories as and when possible.
I have always enjoyed short stories; I know that they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I think they can be very rewarding, and I go back to some of my genre favourites in particular quite often. One thing I’ve never really got to grips with is the best way to read a collection – read one story and put the book down, or plunge in as if it was a novel. I’ve done both over the years and really can’t decide…..
But I’m sure, however I decide to do it, that 2 stories a week over a year is a manageable target, don’t you think?
So Carl has announced his Sci-Fi Experience for 2009, which will run from January 1 until February 28. I had already decided to sign up for the 42 Challenge and I think the two will sit very nicely together.
No lists but reviews of any sci-fi stuff I happen to read or watch, linked appropriately. I don’t really need much encouragement to read in this genre; as well as my own stash I have the Book God’s extensive collection built up over many years which I can dip into, and there are already some intriguing possibilities beginning to emerge.
One thing I would like to do as part of these two challenges is read more sci-fi written by women; I’m thinking of Octavia Butler, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Kate Wilhelm, Sherri S Tepper to name a few – any other suggestions in this area gratefully received.
And as for TV and movies, well the Dr Who Christmas special will be worth watching again and pondering on, and we’ll just have to see what other delights come across screens big and small between now and next December……..
So I thought another way to kick-start my reading habit after the current lull was to sign up for some new and interesting challenges, and this one (which I found via Eva at The Striped Armchair) really appealed.
My six books are:
- Duncan Grant: A Biography by Frances Spalding
- The Underpainter by Jane Urquhart
- Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Painter and Poet by Jan Marsh
- Aubrey Beardsley: A Biography by Matthew Sturgis
- William and Lucy: The Other Rossettis by Angela Thirlwell
- The Holland Park Circle: Artists and Victorian Society by Caroline Dakers
I’m really looking forward to this one; I’ve had some of these books kicking around for a while, just looking for the right moment to be picked up.
- to read the following books left over from RIP III challenge:
- Duma Key by Stephen King [failed]
- Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury [completed - hurrah!!]
- Come Closer by Sara Gran [failed]
- Midwinter of the Spirit by Phil Rickman [failed]
- to finish Jigs and Reels by Joanne Harris which I started reading way back when? [failed]
- to finish The Mandlebaum Gate which I abandoned earlier this year, and kick-start my Muriel Spark readathon once again [failed]
- to read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman as soon as I get my sticky paws on it [failed]
- to find enough books in addition to these, and make the time to read them, so that I hit my 52 books in 52 weeks goal [not anywhere likely to succeed - may get to 40 if I try really, really hard]
Oh well, better to have tried and failed……..
So the first of the Christmas present reads has already been completed, and what good fun it was. I used to read Posy Simmonds’s cartoons in the women’s pages of The Guardian when I was a student, and I have several of her collections, as well as a number of her excellent children’s books, but this was a new one on me.
Literary Life is a collection of strips and other cartoons, again from The Guardian, with a focus on the literary world. There are very recognisable author types, the struggling independent bookshop and (my favourite) Ask Doctor Derek, where a number of common author ailments are dealt with (critical mauling being a good example). The book rounds off with a couple of really good Christmas stories – Murder at Matabele Mansions and a new version of Cinderella.
I love Posy Simmonds and this is a good addition to my collection; it had me giggling all through Boxing Day!
You’re Watership Down!*
by Richard Adams
Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you’re
actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their
assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they
build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You’d
be recognized as such if you weren’t always talking about talking rabbits.
* Thanks to Lizzy’s Literary Life for pointing me in the direction of this quiz, which resulted in me being identified with a book I could never finish (despite two attempts) although I quite liked the movie and have a soft spot for Art Garfunkel. Perhaps I should have gone with the armadillo…….
If I can put it like that. I haven’t posted for a bit (although looking at my stats it hasn’t been quite as long as I thought) for the simple reason that I haven’t actually been reading – and not just not reading very much but not reading at all. This is awful, and can mainly be put down to two things:
- an incapacitated Book God (back injury plus bronchitis) which has meant all the chores falling to me (the poor thing has really been in the wars so I shouldn’t complain!)
- what feels like a horrendous workload (especially so close to Christmas)
- all the Christmas preparations themselves
And all of this has made me think – what can I do to get myself back in the reading habit again? First thoughts are that I should try and carve out some dedicated reading time for myself and not rely too much on my daily commute, which is going to change significantly later in 2009 anyway, but I’m sure there is more that I can do…..
Suggestions welcome from anyone who has been through this themselves!
It’s a strange thing when the loss of someone that you have never met has an effect on you, but I was really very sad to read in the blogosphere earlier this week that Dewey had passed away, and moved to read many of the posts on other blogs which talked so eloquently about the impact she had on so many lives.
In terms of posting, I was an intermittent Weekly Geek but I checked without fail every weekend to see what suggestions Dewey had for us all, and they were always intriguing even when I didn’t feel able to participate. And it’s clear from the many comments that she contributed so much to building a book blog community.
My thoughts are with Dewey’s family at this sad time.