This year, for Margaret Atwood Reading Month #MARM, we’re playing BINGO. (If you’re printing your playing card, don’t forget to select “Shrink to Fit” in your printer’s options, so your card will fill a single sheet of paper.)

In recent weeks, looking ahead to November was like having a Book Token to “spend”; I kept changing my mind, especially as the month drew nearer, throughout October, selecting different reading options from day to day. Especially when I was thinking about the novels, because it seemed like every time I thought about it, I was in a different reading mood, wanting to spend time with different characters and different styles.

Now that November’s here, I’ve committed to rereading Cat’s Eye. This was one of my earliest possibilities for this year’s MARM, and when I located my pencil-scribbled notes from a 2001 reread, I settled. Already I’m interested to see that I didn’t note anything about the first few chapters, which seem to me, now, to contain all sorts of clues about the story which is about to unfold.

I’m so puzzled: why didn’t I see how cool the idea of “time as having a shape, something you could see, like a series of liquid transparencies, one laid on top of another” was, on the first page.

Why didn’t I note this observation about Elaine and Cordelia riding the streetcar at thirteen years old: “We think we are friends.” I was rereading in 2001, so I knew where this story was going and how it was told, but these bits didn’t stand out. At least, not enough to make a note of them.

When I’ve finished rereading Cat’s Eye, I’ll have filled my top LH corner BINGO square; I could aim for that top row (but it’s the most time-consuming of the lot), or the outer border (okay, maybe that’s the most challenging, now that I think about it), or an X (which would allow me to avoid the two some-creativity-required squares).

That X is looking good, because I’m also planning to read Dancing Girls, which would fill the top RH corner BINGO square. But I also want to read Graeme Gibson’s The Bedside Book of Beasts, and I’ve requested copies of the Catbird graphic novels and some older poetry books that are new-to-me. And I’ve delayed my “Handmaid’s Tale” viewing, thinking that November would be the perfect time to play catch-up (I posted about the first episode last year, and it’s spoilery, so take care).

I seem to be aiming for random squares all over the grid: if there was a confetti option, I’d be set. Also in the stack pictured below, you’ll see that I’m thinking of reading Payback. When this series of five lectures was first broadcast on CBC’s Ideas, I listened to some and missed some. Back then, you had to listen to the radio in the evenings, whereas podcasts are more convenient. (You can listen to them here. If someone who lives outside Canada, could let me know if these are available internationally, I will include that information here. Thanks, Kaggsy, for confirming that they’re available to listen to in England!)

A single story that I am keen to reread is “Bluebeard’s Egg”. It’s one that I remember reading when I was first stepping into the world of short stories, and trying to meet them on their own terms, and I thought it was e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Since then, having read through Alice Munro, Mavis Gallant and Edna O’Brien, I wonder if I will be so impressed.

I’m also planning to reread some of the essays in Moving Targets; I remember thinking, when I first read it, that she was writing about a lot of things I didn’t recognize, so I wonder how many of them will be familiar to me now. I’ve not revisited Conversations in more than ten years, but I remember really enjoying those interviews, so I’ll be pleased to take another look.

That’s what I’m thinking about, for this year’s MARM. Check out Naomi’s plans too! And, how about you?

Margaret Atwood Reading Month is hosted here and by Naomi at Consumed by Ink and inspired by decades of reading Margaret Atwood’s words. From Sunday November 1st to Monday November 30th, we’ll be reading Margaret Atwood, and we invite you to join in! (And, don’t forget, the 18th is Margaret Atwood’s 81st birthday. We’ll be celebrating with books, quotes, and cake!)

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