Saturday, January 12, 2008
If I Only...
Last year at this time, I posted my 2007 New Year’s resolution, which was to finish 42 books by year’s end. How did I do? I think the proper term is “failure.” I only managed to finish 28. Halfway through the year I realized I was behind schedule and planned a huge push to meet my goal. A few months later, when I realized I still wasn’t going to finish the fabled 42, I said “screw it” and stopped worrying about it.
On the one hand, this isn’t too disappointing. One of the reasons for the exercise was to read more than I normally do, which I accomplished. The other reason was to have something to write about in this online journal. However I stalled after writing about book #8, a collection of Brecht’s plays, even though there are things I wanted to say about each book. I will eventually post about each of the books; if not a full essay, then at least a paragraph.
Why didn’t I manage to finish 42 books? I’m too easily distracted by other media, of which I have plenty. Those who have been to my apartment know I have piles of dvds, cds, comics, magazines, and a dvr that’s always filled with movies and tv shows to watch. I’m also lucky enough to live in a city of perpetual distraction, a land where there’s always a band playing, an art gallery opening, or a walk to be taken. Like a child at school who’s always up from his desk, it takes effort for me to sit and concentrate and I’m not big with the self-discipline. Once I do manage to sit and read for more than a few minutes, I’m hooked and I don’t want anything else. It’s just getting over that small roadbump that’s the trouble. It’s the same with my meditation.
The 28 Books I Finished Last Year:
1. Bottomfeeder by B. Fingerman
2. Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
3. What If Our World Is Their Heaven? Edited by Gwen Lee and Doris Elaine Sauter
4. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
5. Not God but God by Reza Aslan
6. The Baron In The Trees by Italo Calvino
7. A Void by George Perec
8. Brecht: Collected Plays Vol. 2
9. The Nurture Assumption by Judith Rich Harris
10. Endless Things by John Crowley
11. Hatchet Jobs by Dale Peck
12. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Froer
13. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
14. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
15. Untold Stories by Alan Bennett
16. Mischevious Art of Jim Flora
17. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
18. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
19. Heroes & Villains by Angela Carter
20. Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles
21. Diary by Chuck Palahniuk
22. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
23. Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years by Michael Palin
24. How to Read by Harold Bloom
25. As She Climbed Across the Table by Jonathan Lethem
26. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
27. American Pastoral by Philip Roth
28. I Am Legend and other Stories by Richard Matheson
Favorite Non-fiction: The Nuture Assumption (runner up: Untold Stories)
Favorite Fiction: Endless Things (runner up: Life of Pi)
Biggest Surprise: how much I liked Franny and Zooey
Biggest Disappointment: how much I was bored by Michael Palin’s diaries
So what’s my New Year’s resolution for 2008?
To read 43 books. By God, I’m going to keep trying this until I accomplish it.
Hope everyone has a good year.