Working Through My Reading List

I’ve been working through my reading list, diving head first into as many books as I can at a time, and as much as I would love to review each one, I just don’t have the time to sit and let a book simmer in my mind before picking up the next one.

I would love to say I’m not struggling with this, but that would be a lie. I think everyone struggles with their reading list because when you’re putting it together, you aren’t entirely sure what you’re getting yourself into. You haven’t read all the books on the list, you may have heard of them, but you’ve never sat down and read looked through each one, or even browsed more than a few pages. But you put them on your list because someone recommended them, or because their description sounded like it applied to your thesis. I don’t think this is the wrong method, but it does open you up to some troublesome scenarios.

Take T.C. Boyle’s World’s End for example. Honestly, this book is too long and too unfocused for my tastes. I am more than 100 pages in and I just want to stop. I can’t because I have to finish it for my exam, but I really, really want to stop reading this book.

Then again, you also open yourself up to books you had no idea you’d be blown away by, like If on A Winter’s Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino, who is quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors. This book is meta, written partially in the second person (“you”) point of view, and completely blows your mind. It’s a bunch of beginnings to stories that you, or rather the “you” character, begins reading only to be taken on a wild journey to find the endings. It’s incredible–an insane task that only Calvino could have pulled off.

At the moment, however, I am actively reading Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, which is not at all what I was expecting. I’m only about 30 pages in, so I can’t really judge the book yet, but I did not expect it to be about the lives of two Indian men who fall from a plane in the opening lines of the book, mixed with digressions, dreams and other unique forms of storytelling. I am excited to keep reading this book, and I think that’s a pretty good sign.

Also taking a back seat is Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. This one, I’ll get around to finishing eventually, but I am just not a fan of Austen’s style of writing. Wordy and hyper-focused, I feel like I can read 3 pages, zone out, and not absorb a thing. Her prose just kicks me out of the book rather than pull me in it. Her dialogue, however, is fantastic, and that is, after all, what she is known for, so I definitely can appreciate that.

So that’s where I am at with books right now. I pulled a big stack of them out of the library and they are due back pretty soon. I don’t want to keep them out too long since I know they are on other people’s lists, and having a deadline to finish definitely helps me push forward.

Two months till exam time! Only….20+ more books to go….

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Filed under Grad School, Reading List

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