Saturday, May 31, 2014

Half-done; or, a mini-break half book reading list

I am getting a two-week mini-summer break this year. I start summer school on June 9th. I have a little bit of work to do before then, but for the most part I am footloose and fancy free for once. Normally, I cram as much travel as I can into these little breaks, but this year I am taking a couple of trips to New York that are sucking the money out of me, so I need to do some staycations. The good thing is that I will have some time to read.

I used to real a lot. All the time. All. Of. The. Time. Then came school and a degree in literature, and well, I actually read less than ever. Then Grad school, and I didn't read anything that wasn't assigned. And now, as a writing instructor I pretty much read only what I needed to to teach my classes. However, this year, I found myself in situations where I would have time to read a little. The trouble is that for the most part I would be at other people's house, or travelling when I would pick up a book and read it for a while, then I'd have to leave. This resulted in several half-done reading sessions. I have a handful of books to finish. So, my first foray in the "Reading Challenge" is to finish my half-started books.

1.  The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (currently pg 274 of 509)
I started reading this on May 19th. I was at a friend's house whose husband has the worst taste in television programs. I often find myself reading a lot at her house because I can only take so much terrible tv. In the past, I have usually just grabbed for one of the Harry Potter books and read it until it was time to go and then just put it back. Because I had read them all (more than twice) it didn't bother me if I left it unfinished. But, this time I saw a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo and started that instead.

I had only gotten about 30 pages in, when it was time to head into the Bay Area for a professional development workshop. I grabbed the book, completely sure that I would not read another word. Well, it was my lucky day as I ended up on a lovely little campus called Valambrosia Retreat and there were no TVs or computers in the rooms. The only entertainment available to me was to play with a handful of tame bunnies who wandered the campus, or read. I left that retreat about half finished with my book.

2. The Fault in our Stars by John Green (currently 177 of 313). **FINISHED**
I started this book on April 12th. I was on vacation in New York with some friends. My friend had bought The Fault in Our Stars at the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan. I had no intention of reading anything on that trip. My primary purpose was to watch Derek Jeter play in his farewell season. Much to my dismay he didn't play. In any of the three games I had purchased tickets to. I had flown thousands of miles and spent 100's of dollars for nothing. As each game ended and Jeter still hadn't played I was being incredibly brave. Then the final game was rained out. I needed a release and I picked the the incredibly sad and tragic John Green novel. I only read half, but the story of teens battling terminal cancer gave me the emotional outlet I needed and allowed me to put my relatively minor disappointment into perspective.

3. Beautiful Chaos by Gary Russell (currently 79 of 242 okay not quite half) **Finished**
April 30. This is a Doctor Who book. I bought it for my niece, but it seems a little old for her. I was reading it to make sure it was appropriate for her, and I got a halfway and realized that I was finishing it for myself. I don't think my niece will read it, at least not for a year or two. But. I started it, so I will finish it.

4. Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare (currently Act II) **Finish-ed**
April 22. Another one begun for my niece. She and I started reading this play together. We made it through one act before we were both distracted by other things. So, this one will be the hardest finish as I am literally reading this aloud with an 11 year old. But, we'll give it a shot!

5.  The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje (currently pg.117 of 265).
March 18. I was on a field trip to Ashland, Oregon chaperoning a high school drama trip with my best friend when I go sick. I was not able to leave my room for two days. So, I bought this book. Again, I got through about half before I went home. Once there I got even sicker (maybe the sickest ever) and I didn't pick the book up again.

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