Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hatchet and a heads up

now finished:
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
After the Second Sex: Conversations With Simone de Beauvoir by Alice Schwarzer

now reading:
En el tiempo de las mariposas by Julia Alvarez
Some presidential biographies
Lots of feminist history stuff

Just thought I'd drop in and see what's happening around the ol' Literary Supplement since I finished The Whale a couple weeks back. The very next thing I did was read, like, the shortest book ever, but also a tale of man vs. nature, namely, the intermediate-level Hatchet. The reason for reading it was simple: I had owned a copy of it for years and never read it, and someone just bought it from my listings on Half.com, so I had to read it really quick before shipping it off to the buyer. I liked it. I can actually say I learned a few things about surviving in the wild, should I ever need to. I suppose the kids today read it and ask why he didn't call his mom on his cell phone. Sigh.

Reading Hatchet also prompted me to examine how many Newbery Medal-winning books I have read, total. (Hatchet is not actually a medal winner, but was a "Newbery Honor Book," and that insignia on the cover is what inspired me.) I was disappointed that my total was a mere ten. Ten! That's pitiful! Of course, reading all of the Newbery Medal winners is one of my on-again, off-again projects, along with reading all the Pulitzer Prize winners and reading a biography of every U.S. president in order to see where we went wrong (a project started during the Dubya administration, obviously). But I tend to read other things instead of just blazing through one of these projects. I'm thinking it might be time to start a blazing.

I would feel so accomplished! But I always stop myself by saying, "But there's so much else I want to read!" So then I don't get all of those books, read, either. Might as well just read all the Pulitzers and then worry about what's still around. I would make an exception for a few books-about-to-be-released-as-movies-that-will-get-nominated-for-Oscars because those can't be delayed, but other than that, I think I need to blaze through my projects. And then think up new projects!

The only other sticking point is that I have to do a lot of reading in my research for one of my writing jobs right now, but because the subject matter is so interesting to me (feminism) I keep picking up books like Betty Friedan: Her Life and American Womens' Activist Writings, An Anthology, 1637 -2002, both of which are right in front of me now on my desk, and wanting to read them in their entirety instead of just dipping in and out of them for research. And so it goes.

I am really behind on the presidents, though. Pre-Tajikistan, I totally fell apart on that front and now I am just scrambling to finish Old Tippecanoe so I can be all caught up to my Presidential Reads group on Goodreads, a group I randomly found when I was 4/43* of my way through the project and decided to join because they were right up my alley, or I was right up theirs, or something. Only they don't get as distracted from their project as I do.

And don't even get me started on the fact that another Goodreads group I follow is about to plunge into Atlas Shrugged ... and I recently put it out there to the universe that I had started and not finished Atlas Shrugged, and was almost convinced that I need to re-read it...

Read, read, read, read, all I want to do is read! Why do so many other things take my time?

*And I'm actually - surprisingly - not saying that because I don't count Dubya as a president (which, I don't) but rather because there have been only 43 presidential-like peeps in the White House. It really bugs me when people say Obama is the 44th president. It's not like I'm going to read two bios of Grover Cleveland. There have been 44 presidencies, but there have been only 43 presidential-like peeps. Focus, people.


Kim Diaz said...

Julia Alvarez writes in English. Haven't looked at that book in particular but in general - just saying. Did she have a translator for Butterflies?

linda said...

No, she wrote it in English, but I'm actually not reading it in Spanish for any particular reason other than I happened to be in a store browsing in a section of books in Spanish and it was there, and it's something I'd idly meant to read (English, whatever) for years and I picked it up and then I got sucked in 30 pages. Then at that point I thought I might as well finish it. I actually didn't buy it right then, and subsequently read a chapter in English in a Borders. But now I own a used Spanish copy I got for 99 cents. Totally way more info than you needed, I'm sure. :) Normally I do try to read books in the original when I can when I'm thinking about it but I really wasn't thinking about it with this one.