Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

February/March 2012 Did Read/Will Read

1979; Beacon Press, 2003

What kind of print were you buried in this month? What are you looking forward to finishing (or starting) in March?

My posts in February were all inspired by Black History Month, beginning with Baratunde Thurston’s How To Be Black. ( It’s wickedly funny: check it out!)

Did you read anything with Black History Month in mind? I understand the objections to this event — the injustice of suggesting that such a celebration should be limited to a single month — but sometimes events like these can help root new ways of thinking, with new reading habits, new thinking habits!

Other great non-fiction included: Edwidge Danticat’s Create Dangerously (awesome title, isn’t it?), Roland Laird’s and Taneisha Nash Laird’s Still I Rise (a graphic history), Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns (a favourite of my reading month), William Loren Katz’s revealing Black Indians (the 25th-anniversary edition), and Afua Cooper’s The Hanging of Angélique (exposing the “secret” of Canadian slavery).

A novel by the inimitable Octavia E. Butler, and many short stories (including a new MRE author for me, an early heavily politicized collection by Alice Walker, and a tour-de-force of interconnected stories).

And, for younger readers (but not exclusively so!), a gorgeously illustrated work of non-fiction, and two beautiful tales with memorable illustrations.

New Challenges, Read-a-Longs, Events:

Random Reading Facts:

  • First reads for various challenges: the Chunkster Challenge, the Australian Women Writers Challenge, and the Dystopia Challenge
  • I’m trying to read from my own shelves more than I have been in recent reading years; so far, the average length of time this year’s shelf-sitters have been neglected? A little longer than 12 years
  • Wanted to spend all day February 29th reading, but instead I’ve booked it off for the next leap year; a four-year-plan is quick moving for someone working with a 12-year-shelfsitter-average

Looking ahead: 

  • Except for Kristin Lavransdatter (which I’m really enjoying, it’s just soooo heavy), I’ve finished all the odds and ends that have been straggling, so it’s all fresh blood for a new month
  • I’ve reduced my library stack to 20 books (that’s not including family borrowings, but it’s not cheating, either, cuz I could pretend that *all* the kidlit and YA titles on my card are for the girls) but I’d like to tidy that up a little more
  • If I can swing that, I’m tackling the stack of magazines, cuz there’s such good stuff in there and the books have been taking every match in that tournament
  • But dang, I forgot about the Orange Prize longlist announcement (anyone know the exact date yet?), which is always rough on my library card
  • And, ooohhh, I’m so excited about the three trilogies I have planned to read; I’m starting the first one this weekend (what was it again? The Sand Mouse of Chaiwan?)

What about you? How was your month? Did you join any new challenges?

Will you be following TMN TOB? Will you be going to see “The Hunger Games”?

What’s your favourite trilogy? What one have you not read yet, but have been eyeing?

Here’s to being buried in all our favourite kinds of print in March!

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19 comments to February/March 2012 Did Read/Will Read

  • As usual, you have me saying “wow”. The Orange Prize longlist will be announced next Thursday. I still haven’t read the nominees from last year. 🙁 I’m eyeing my library books and trying to figure out which ones I can squeeze in next month.

    Next month I’m definitely reading the latest Jeanette Winterson along with some fairy tales/mythology. I need the escape. Good luck on your plans.

    • I was just eyeing her Art Objects last night (a favourite that I’d like to re-read) and thinking about Tanglewreck, which has come highly, highly recommended; I’m looking forward to your thoughts on her memoir.

  • I can’t can’t CAN’T join any more challenges – I’m already in 63 for the year. http://www.exurbanis.com/archives/4682 But I did make a little progress toward them this past month.

    I’m going to have to leave the Orange Prize listers until next year. I’m just overwhelmed!

    • Heheh. It seems like every time I check out your page, there are new additions, and there’s always another that catches my eye! I’ve never managed even close to that number; it’s the administrative and community side of them that’s too much for me, more so than the reading. But isn’t it fun, when you’re doing so many, to see that a single book fits in multiple challenges: that’s definitely addictive! I can see why you’d have to skip longlist projects though…definitely too much to add in.

  • I enjoyed following your BHM reading. BHM used to be more in my consciousness when I attended an inter-racial church (we’ve since moved too far away to attend). I never thought about incorporating it into my reading. My blog stats indicate the most popular post, by far, is a 2010 review of a short story collection by Langston Hughes. I find that kind of fascinating.

    I have a gift card still burning a hole in my pocket and have decided to wait for the Orange longlist announcement to see if there’s anything I *might* want to buy 🙂

    • That Langston Hughes collection was on my original reading list for this month, but as it was, the only thing I read of his were the many quotes in Isabel Wilkerson’s work (very enticing, securing his position on my TBR list for sure). It’s funny how location can influence your reading choices; we recently moved to a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood, and I added more than 300 books to my reading list in the first month! I’ll be interested to see which Orange-nominees claim your gift card (and bravo for hanging onto it for sooo long ;)).

  • I based my reading on the Multicultural Month theme I did for my blog. I had a list of about 10 books that I could possibly read for this theme. Unfortunately I made it to only two of them (Catching Jordan << yes football and high school are two very distinct cultures and The Help << so amazing) I have two that I will finish in March (school gets in the way of so many things :(. I enjoyed following your posts, and found some interesting reads to pick up.

    • Thanks, Starr: I thought I’d already subscribed to your blog, but must have missed it, so I’ve done so now! It’s funny — whenever I give myself a pool of books from which to choose, I never end up reading as many as I think I will; I seem more likely to read them when I commit to particular books but, then, the risk is that I’m not always in the same reading mood as a month moves along.

  • I followed your BHM posts though I did not leave comments. I’m quite impressed with your coverage during February. Haha, the Leap year things is hilarious and such a good way of not putting too much pressure on oneself to move titles of the shelf. Isn’t it amazing how some books can linger on our TBR? My Feb was very hectic. I hope to get more reading done in March. Enjoy your reading.

    • Thanks, Kinna. I hope you have more bookish time in March, too. And it’s nice to know you were reading along even if you were keeping quiet! And you’re not alone, as the comments for February were less than half what they usually are, even though, paradoxically, the little readership numbers kept climbing with green + signs. (I haven’t properly unravelled the mystery of metrics, as you can likely tell!) It’s curious what makes the difference in trends like that, I think.

      It was whimsy to sit down to figure out how long two of the books had been on my shelves, un-read, when I was reading for Orange January, but then I figured it out for all of them and was truly shocked. I know I’ll continue to be tempted by the new-and-shiny books, but I really do want to try to keep some kind of balance in check; surely 12 years, as an *average* for being a shelf-sitter, is a little whacked. Heheh.

  • I like your looking ahead list. Would be looking ahead to them. Cheers!

  • I just finished Best American Essays 2011, which Edwidge Danticate edited. I really loved it, so I was looking for recommendations for some of her books to see if I like her as much as a writer as I did as an editor. I’m off to check out your review of Create Dangerously, which does have a really great title!

    • And I, in turn, must track down a copy of the essay collection, too. I think you’d enjoy Create Dangerously; it would be interesting to see how the kinds of essays that she chose to include as an editor fit with what you learn in it about what she believes makes for a good “story” and what motivates us to record “truths”.

  • I am so glad you will be joining my event, Irish Short Stories Week Year Two, from March 12 to March 22. I will also be reading short stories for Kinna’s event. I have set my self the challenge of reading online in English a short story from a writer in every country in Africa-the bulk to read is not going to be the challenge-it will be finding the stories.

  • On a side note, I see you are participating in the Australian Women Challenge-I will be devoting a day during Irish Short Story Week to Irish-Australian women like Barbara Boynton and Henry Handel (yes a woman)

    • That’s a superb plan, Mel, aiming for a single story from each African country. At least having chosen stories, you can use the time that you would have spent reading longer works to actually *find* the stories, which I agree will be quite the challenge indeed!

      I don’t know about Barbara Boynton, so I’ll look forward to that bit, and will also look forward to chat about HHR, as I quite loved her coming-of-age novel, The Getting of Wisdom, though I haven’t read any of her longer works (yet, anyway). I’ve only read one book towards the AWWC so far this year (I signed up for only 3) — one by Elizabeth Jolley — but I’m eyeing several others.

  • Your reading is always so amazing to me. We have similar grand plans each month, but you actually follow through on yours! 🙂 I like to think about it and then usually do something entirely different. As for my fave trilogy–I actually love (even though she is sort of a fluffy author) Penny Vincenzi’s Lytton Family trilogy about a British publishing family. Big chunky books to lose yourself in.

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