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Reading Projects 2017-08-11T15:42:35+00:00

Reading on a Theme

Clusters? Lists? Series? So many projects…

Mazo de la Roche’s Jalna series sat on my grandmother’s bookshelves for years, the first volume the most worn. As a girl, I would take them off the shelf and replace them in their proper order, but whenever I began to read them, I got lost in the descriptive passages about the family’s journey overseas.

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4 / 16 Jalna books read

Recent Bookchat

About the pages that I’ve been turning

Fresh bookishness!

UNDER CONSTRUCTION AUGUST 11, 2017  PLEASE COME AGAIN WHEN I'VE GOT THE PLACE TIDIED UP! So many books to talk about! Including what's currently in my notebook and what I'm

Margaret Millar’s The Fiend (1964; 2016)

From the outset, The Fiend has a creepy element which readers hadn't yet experienced in the fiction Margaret Millar had published theretofore. "She was about nine. Having watched

Mavis Gallant’s “Sunday Afternoon”

As in "The Other Paris" and "The Cost of Living", a nineteen-year-old woman's dreams of romance in the city are feathering away in "Sunday Afternoon". Robert Capa

August 2017, In My Bookbag

In which I discuss the skinny volumes which accompany me on my travels, while the heavier volumes (like John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany and Callum Roberts'

List of My Reading Projects, Past and Present. Whether reading lists or prizelists, recommendations or series: the smallest detail can spark a project.

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Until recently, I’ve been much better at beginning series than finishing them. Earlier this year I finished Jane Smiley’s series. Now, I’m reading Louise Erdrich.

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Having company while reading is sometimes lovely. Whether it’s reading in a group or with a single bookfriend.

About Challenges

Ten at a time

My Stacks Are Messy and I have Big Ideas

When I was a girl, I had a complete set of Noddy books. I knew that a series could be complete. But at that stage, it was mostly about frustrated desire. Repeated visits to the library did not result in the proper Narnia book being on the shelf. Regular searching at the department store never yielded a Ladybird book in the same series. The Golden Books were numbered but not sequentially (or, not seemingly). My Paddington Bear box set looked to be complete, but the series spilled over onto the shelf alongside.

As an adult, with a wider world just keystrokes away, it seems possible to complete one’s plans now.  Beloved titles can be identified and gathered, missing volumes can be sourced. But just as one’s plans might seem more achievable, there are so many more lists and temptations. It’s possible that I am not a completist simply because I am not very good at completion. But it’s also possible that I have decided that a different aim is more desirable. That I have decided to be a Reader-in-Progress instead.

“Here is the great difference between reading and writing. Reading is a vocation, a skill at which, with practice, you are bound to become more expert. What you accumulate as a writer is mostly uncertainties and anxieties.”

Susan Sontag

“Thoreau went to the woods because he wished to live deliberately in order to give a true account in his next excursion. I go to libraries because they are the ocean.”

Susan Howe
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