I FINISHED IT! — and other notes on recent reading

by , under books and reading

What a difference a day can make. I wrote the title of this blog post YESTERDAY around 5pm. It’s now Sunday, getting close to 930pm, and this post will need to be much shorter than I originally planned. But, I’m okay with that. I just want to get it written because I know I can’t do it tomorrow — or at least not at work, as I mentioned in my last couple posts.

Yesterday morning, I FINALLY FINISHED VANITY FAIR!!!!! I’ve been reading (and/or listening) to this one since late November, and at times I wanted to give up, so it feels a bit like I’ve climbed a mountain. I actually enjoyed a lot of it, but there were enough sections where I was dealing with the introduction of additional supporting characters, or lots of extraneous descriptions, or good heavens, the introduction of additional supporting characters WHICH INCLUDED lots of extraneous descriptions — well, I wanted to toss up my hands and yell, “Just get on with it, Thackeray!” He could easly have cut the book by 50 or 100 pages and not lost anything critical — and it would still have been over 500 pages, I think, no matter what kind of edition you had! I’ll sum up my recent stretch toward the end by saying, I think that most of the characters pretty much got the finish they deserved — so I found the conclusion satisfying.

My book group’s selection for March was Dubliners by James Joyce. We’d read the story “The Dead” for our December meeting, but then the weather was terrible and several people didn’t get there (myself included). I listened to the whole collection on audio a year or two ago, and enjoyed it. This time I was reading my print copy, and I guess didn’t get started early enough, because I still had a few stories to go (not including “The Dead,” which is the last and longest one in the book, but I did just re-read that one in December) by the time we met last Tuesday. I haven’t decided 100%, but I’m leaning toward putting it aside now rather than finishing it — because it’s a re-read, and doesn’t count toward any of my challenges, and also because I’m itching for other stuff.

Next month’s selection — oh right, I already mentioned that because I just bought it at Hastings, Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. I think I’ll read ONE more book from my collection before I start that one, something not too long. I am looking forward to the Silko book, in part, because it will count toward my POC Reading Challenge. I read a couple of books toward that challenge in quick succession in early February, but now haven’t read another in a while, so the Silko will help me get back on track for that one.

Oh yes — other recent reading. Another novel I read in late February / early March was Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee. I was drawn in from the very first page, even though the main character was initially NOT too sympathetic. But Coetzee got him away from the university and out to the country with his grown daughter, and put him through the ringer, and the character became more sympathetic — perhaps not wholly redeemed, but at least partway there.

(The boys are screaming. Why are the boys screaming? I guess it’s just as well I’m not in bed yet, I couldn’t try to sleep with that racket. Jeff is up there, it’s quieter now. Where was I?)

So yesterday before we went to Grandma’s for supper, I grabbed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time from the shelf, figuring this would be a quick read before I get to the Silko book. I’ve had it for a couple years, and it’s one of those that everyone else seems to have read, so I just picked it up and put it in my purse. After dinner, when everyone else was watching basketball (I think it was, with teams wrapping up their conference tournaments before tonight’s big SELECTION SHOW, and the invites to THE BIG DANCE), and my nose stuffed and feeling achy, I went down to one of the bedrooms, laid down, and started reading this book.

I finished the novel early this afternoon. Yes, I read the whole damn thing in less than 24 hours. So, so, so very good. And just a page-turner!!! It doesn’t happen often enough, where I have a book that I literally don’t want to put down AND I actually have a fairly free pocket of time where I CAN read. (It helped that I’m sort of sick, and so had a better excuse to lounge around with my book.) As I was finishing my housecleaning later in the afternoon, I had a realization: When I’ve spent a block of time reading a good book, I never think later on, “I wish I’d spent more time doing ABC or XYZ instead of reading,” or, “Instead of reading so much this weekend, I should have gotten ABC task done or worked on XYZ project.” Like one reason I didn’t write this blog earlier today, as I’d originally planned, was because I was reading The Curious Incident, and it was GLORIOUS to not have to stop, and WONDERFUL to make such quick progress in it and say to Jeff, “I’m going to finish this book today.”

I also cleaned the kitchen this afternoon, and paid the next couple bills, and this evening I filed the state income taxes (with less than a 45-minute time investment, thank you very much — I love that Kansas makes filing online SO EASY, I’ve done it at least four years in a row now). I cleaned the bathrooms yesterday and started a new audiobook while I worked. Oh, and I talked to my friend Marie in Maine this morning, first time in WEEKS, so that was great. 🙂 And this weekend was one hour “shorter” than usual since we’ve just started Daylight Saving Time. Damn, I did pretty good! On that note, I must close and get ready for bed. Just after 10pm, not too terrible. 😉

© All the parts of my life 2008-2015.

  1. Marie

    Just get on with it, Thackeray!


    I'm amazed by your productivity! You are a superwoman! 🙂 I've been much too lazy lately, but I do have more projects in store for the future! Back to work. . .


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