So, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that, in trying to motivate myself to close the book gap I had hoped to close in the summer time, I challenged myself to read 5 books before the end of the Labor Day weekend. I chose the five books, posted about it on the ‘gram to hold myself accountable and then tried to consume as many words and pages as possible while still living my life. And I did live to tell the tale, which I’ll share here.
Is the suspense killing you yet? Maybe? Ok, enough playing around. My start date was Aug. 23, so:
- 10 days
- 667 pages
- 2 complete books and partials on 2 additional books
I gotta tell you, I was looking to complete 5 whole books. However, I think that that amount of reading in the time frame that I had is an honorable finish. Let’s talk about the books.
This book was chosen by Girls Night In book club, and had an extra edge of urgency due to the date of the book club meeting. It was a page turner in that the sentence structure and language was simple and concise, which was good for this exercise. I’m not really sure how I feel about the book as a whole. Given that, I don’t know that I would recommend it to anyone at this point. One thing is for sure, it has me thinking, about people in general and their inner monologues and feelings — and how they rarely add up with anyone else’s inner voice. It’s so perplexing, I may read it again in the future to see if I have a fresh perspective. For now, I’ll just write it off as 290-ish pages to the page completion for this challenge.
Wow. I’m really glad this book had an Afterword to help me gain some perspective from the author’s mouth. For a short book, only 170 pages or so, it’s incredibly complex. Multiple character’s points of view and back story are told, as is stated in the Afterword, so that each is a whole person, not just his or her actions or circumstances, which I think was definitely achieved. I did come away from it feeling sorry for Percola, which is something Toni Morrison says is something she worked against. Specifically: “One problem was centering: the weight of the novel’s inquiry on so delicate and vulnerable a character could smash her and lead readers into the comfort of pitying her, rather than into an interrogation of themselves for the smashing.”
This revelation from the author had me thinking quite a bit, searching my feelings for the character. Did I simply pity her? I don’t think that’s the case, I felt sympathy for the character that only comes from feeling powerless to change the circumstances that put her there. Whether I am, in fact, powerless, is something I need to think about and continue to re-evaluate in my own life, and, I hope other readers of this book feel similarly in that regard. I definitely recommend this one and will be handing it off to my college roomie this month. (Hey T!)
Here’s where I start to stumble. This book is not one you power through to meet a goal, it’s a sipper, something you take in bit by bit savoring each individual contribution and pulling from it the useful content. I started this with the intention of powering through and stopped, transitioning it to my personal development morning read book. I take in a story or two in the morning while gearing up for my workout. It’s been highlighted and dog eared and I look forward to milking it of its writerly tips as I continue. For now, it is 84 pages to my goal.
Here’s my other issue with the books I chose, there was too much personal development and not enough narrative. In going away for Labor Day weekend (check out my instagram to see me hanging out in Watkins Glen, N.Y.) I knew I needed a fiction to sink my teeth into. (What goes better with wine tasting in the Finger Lakes better than a novel set in Sweden about hockey? Very little, I’m here to tell you. It felt perfectly awesome reading this on the deck in the crisp, early morning air.) I’ll probably complete this book before the weekend, should my workload and eyelids allow it. It’s an amazing page turner in rich story and there is the incessant waiting for some phantom other shoe to drop. For the purposes of this post, it contributes 123 pages to my total.
So there you have it, I had 10 days of work, vacation and general life things and completed two books and some change. There was certainly more time, spent wasted watching television that could have been channeled toward this goal, but I’m an imperfect human and still pretty darn happy with my results. That said, I’ll have to find other ways to catch up to meet that reading total. (I don’t suppose hoping for a harsh winter where I don’t want to do anything other than be in my apartment snuggled for a good book is a good gamble to make, right?)