Tuesday, July 1

Summer Reading Challenge

I've decided to make this the summer of finishing all of the books I'm still in the middle of. My poor nightstand is straining under the weight of not one but two stacks of books I'm either about to read or need to finish reading. Enough! I need to wrap those unfinished books up.

Typically, I start these books on a planes then get distracted by a movie on the way home and never seem to find the time to finish them. Why not just bring one of the unfinished books on the plane? Well if I start out with a half finished book, what will I read on the way home? I don't want to carry two books around so I just keep starting them on work trips. I know, I know, it's silly but it's the spot I find myself in. Sometimes I avoid the books altogether and depend upon the kindness of Vanity Fair instead (the big glossy, gossipy one, not the book).

By the way, these unfinished reads are not books I dislike. In fact, they are all books I've enjoyed very much. That's why they wait on my nightstand. I have every intention of finishing them.

My little summer reading project began on Sunday night when I finished Love in the Time of Cholera. Man what a lovely read. It was another one I read half of on the way to NYC several months ago. I'm so glad I finished it. The last 30 pages or so are so satisfying.

The project continued last night when I finished The Glass Castle. I really liked that one too. What a bizarre family. Those poor kids!!! It helped knowing from the beginning that the author turned out ok. Still, I found myself sighing heavily, rolling my eyes and even muttering the occasional "asshole!" when the parents were being especially clueless, irresponsible and neglectful.

I told Mom about The Glass Castle and she asked "How can you stand to read all of those terrible books?" She's still troubled by the foot binding I mentioned from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It's a legitimate question, how do I stand all of these sad stories? Well, I read Eat Pray Love not so long ago. That was a rather optimistic adventure. Tonight's book to finish is Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth and it's incredibly uplifting. Of course, there are those that linger and upset me. For instance, I still worry about poor little Maryanne Mulvaney from We Were the Mulvaneys. I swore I'd never read another damn Oprah book after that one. Of course I've caved since then. I hate to admit it but Oprah was right about that book. It really was excellent. And what about those kids dragged into the Congo from the Poisonwood Bible? Now that I think about it, I read about a lot of terrible parents. I suppose it's because I have really great parents. Maybe that's how I stand it. I really do read some depressing stuff. Let's not forget about Year of Wonders. But that was awesome! I'm sorry but who can resist a story that spins around the plague? Not I! Hmm, what else has been a downer? Oh, The Other Boleyn Girl was a good time but also terribly depressing in terms of how women were treated then and throughout history (and talk about terrible parents!). There's also The Worst Hard Time but technically I've not wrapped that one up either (I know! Shandon, can you believe it? It was yet another victim of a flight.). Maybe I'll finish that one over the weekend. It's about the dust bowl during the Great Depression (and no, for those not in the know, it's not about a college football game). Man we think we've got it tough these days? We've got nothing on those poor folks! The worst that seems to be happening to us is that we've overindulged and now reality is setting in. Aww, poor us.

But I digress...

I've also agreed to read The Grapes of Wrath before a discussion in September. I've never read it but I'm pretty clear that it fits in nicely with the themes of my other recent reads. Maybe I need to throw in a little Nancy Drew between these books to lighten the load. I also have to finish Pillars of the Earth. The only book that I plan to be in the middle of for a while is Julie and Julia. I'm savoring that one. It's such fun and so easy to enjoy in tiny little bites. It will be in the nightstand for a while and it's not depressing!

Once all of these are read I plan to read the following:
Of course these are only a few of the hundreds I want to read. I've got to start somewhere though, right?

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