January 9, 2011
A quick look back at how I fared, book-wise, in 2010 before I lose my breath again in the rapid onslaught of 2011. Did I read what I said I was going to read in 2010? Also, what’s in store for this year?
|Thing I Said||How’d I Do?|
|I want to read as much of Nabokov’s works, in order, as possible||Not bad. I read King, Queen, Knave, The Defense and The Eye. I acquired several more of his works and they are currently waiting patiently on my bookshelf. The Nabokov section is looking handsome.|
|I want to read The Plague by Camus.||Yep. I did.|
|Plato. It’s time for me to break into classical philosophy.||Good headway here; read Five Dialogues and a couple of other standalone works. Listened to some lectures on the topic. Still vastly undereducated, though.|
|I’m going to read a couple of plays by Aristophenes||Actually, no I’m not. Didn’t read any Aristophenes in 2010. But I have some. Does that count?|
|This is the year I’m finally going to read The Inferno and War and Peace (comma, dammit).||No and sort of. I’m about 1/3 through War and Peace. It took me much of the year to realize that I needed the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation. Much better. I still haven’t found a translation of The Inferno that puts me at ease.|
I read 40 books in 2010, still a slightly down number, though one more than 2009. 2008′s 75 books still hangs above me, but I don’t anticipate that kind of downtime or insomnia again any time soon.
I’m starting to put a dent in Shakespeare’s histories, getting both parts of Henry IV under my belt. I read a couple of full-on tomes, which should really count as three or four books each: Lonesome Dove (Larry McMurty; over 900 pages), The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet (David Mitchell), Last Night in Twisted River (John Irving), The Lonely Polygamist (Brady Udall), and Mating (Norman Rush).
There were a few real awful experiences. Adam and Eve by Sena Jeter Naslund stands out in its own league in that regard. Tom McCarthy’s much-regaled C confused the hell out of me.
In no particular order, I enjoyed these:
What about it? I’ve set definitive reading goals for the past four years, starting with quantity (50) in 2007 and moving more toward specific authors and genres. I am at the point where I feel like I don’t need any shaping or prodding. I have a pile of books waiting for me, and I am waiting for them. I am going to do something extreme and not set any reading goals for 2011.