July Read-a-Thon Update: Day 2

This time, you get even day posts!

Page count so far:

  • 61 pages from Detection by Gaslight: 14 Victorian Detective Stories by Douglas Greene [Ed.]. Selections were: Catherine Pirkis, “The Ghost of Fountain Lane”; Baroness Orczy, “The York Mystery”; L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace, “Mr. Bovey’s Unexpected Will”; E. and H. Heron, “The Story of Baelbrow”. Notes: Some of these pieces were so good! I do adore Baroness Orzcy, though I’ve only read her Scarlet Pimpernel stuff; this was quite different, but still good. The Heron selection, however, was absolute drivel.

I’ve got a couple errands, and some writing to get done, but I’ll be reading some 25 more pages from On Looking [Horowitz], and then starting in on the pile of Holmes books and stories I’ve got coming up!

Running page count: 61

June Read-a-thon Update: End!

And now it’s over. But there’s another beginning on July 10th and running to August 1st; I might do that one as well, because this has been loads of fun!

Final page counts for the event (at 12.00a, July 1st):

  • 40 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: no update.
  • 90 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: finished.
  • 108 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: finished.
  • 173 pages of Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell. Notes: finished.
  • 8 pages of Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Notes: no update.
  • 9 pages of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Notes: no update.
  • 66 pages of Requiem for a Paper Bag by Davy Rothbart [Ed.]. Notes: some of the stories are mildly entertaining, but overall, I don’t think this book was worth much more than the penny (plus shipping) I paid for it.
  • 43 pages of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe. Notes: no update.
  • 19 pages of The Memoirs of Vidocq, Principal Agent of the French Police Until 1827 by Eugène François Vidocq [Trans. by H. T. Riley]. Notes: no update.
  • 61 pages of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Notes: bit amazed I’ve never read this before, honestly. It’s loads of fun, and I can’t wait to finish it (which task shall be complete, hopefully, by class-time on Thursday).

Running page count: 617

June Read-a-thon Update: Day 15

Almost done! I’ll do a last post tomorrow to report on final numbers. Meanwhile…

Page count to this point:

  • 40 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: still going on this one. The stories after the first 2-3 are much easier to connect to. Also, I seem to like it better now that it’s pretentious fiction, and not pretentious non-fiction.
  • 90 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: finished.
  • 108 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: finished.
  • 173 pages of Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell. Notes: finished.
  • 8 pages of Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Notes: no update.
  • 9 pages of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Notes: no update.
  • 44 pages of Requiem for a Paper Bag by Davy Rothbart [Ed.]. Notes: no update.
  • 43 pages of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe. Notes: may finish this after classes end.
  • 19 pages of The Memoirs of Vidocq, Principal Agent of the French Police Until 1827 by Eugène François Vidocq [Trans. by H. T. Riley]. Notes: I’ll probably finish this after classes end. It was kind of entertaining.
  • 41 pages of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Notes: bit amazed I’ve never read this before, honestly. It’s loads of fun, and I can’t wait to finish it (which task shall be complete, hopefully, by class-time on Thursday).

Running page count: 575

June Read-a-thon Update: Day 13

Classes are great so far, but there’s so much reading associated with them! I’m gonna start including that here.

What I’ve read:

  • 24 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: I thought this was creative non-fiction, but it’s actually fiction. And the pieces after the first two don’t feel as pretentious to me, so I’ve been back to reading this one again. There have been a few chunks of what I think is excellent writing, or what my poetry teacher called “moments of pleasure”, and I’ve been quoting them on my tumblr, as well as on Twitter (length permitting, of course).
  • 90 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: finished.
  • 108 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: finished.
  • 173 pages of Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell. Notes: finished.
  • 8 pages of Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Notes: no update.
  • 9 pages of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Notes: I have actually been reading this one for about 8 years. I’ll periodically pick it up, read a few chapters, and then put it back down for months. It’s definitely the book that’s been on my currently reading list the longest. While some of the language is lovely, the plot drags, and there are whole chapters that are asides: 3 pages on whale skeletons, followed by 4 on whale fossils, 13 pages about “cetology” (the study of whales and dolphins), 9 pages examining various cultures use of white to show sanctity, 10 pages—comprising 3 consecutive chapters—comparing the head shapes and sizes of two kinds of whales, and so on. It’s a bit tough to get through, honestly.
  • 44 pages of Requiem for a Paper Bag by Davy Rothbart [Ed.]. Notes: I had the same problem with this as with Lutz’s book—the first couple of pieces seemed too pretentious for me, and a whole bunch of GoodReads readers and the reviewers from my local public library all agree. This one gets a shockingly low overall rating from tons of folks. This one actually is creative non-fiction: a collection of short pieces, it includes writing by “celebrities and civilians” telling the story of various found objects, brought together by the editor of Found Magazine. It’s been pretty hit or miss so far, but I have to read it for school, so I am.
  • 43 pages of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe. Notes: this one is also for school, but I enjoyed it considerably more.
  • 19 pages of The Memoirs of Vidocq, Principal Agent of the French Police Until 1827 by Eugène François Vidocq [Trans. by H. T. Riley]. Notes: also for school. It seems rather more fanciful than an account of actual events, but is very entertaining, if meandering and long-winded.

Running page count: 518

June Read-a-thon Update: Day 11

First day of class was lovely, and then this morning I had to do more class shuffling, and now I’m registered for a different class, but it means I get to read Sherlock Holmes for school credit.

I’m living the dream, y’all.

Still coming up: a dinner party tonight, classes tomorrow. Friday, I’m workshopping some of my writing to prepare several submissions to journals and online magazines. This weekend I’m pulling those submissions together and querying an agent for one of my novels. And doing classwork.

Feeling better about how much reading I’m doing, and I have a lot to get through for school, so that’ll up my counts, too.

My reading progress up to this point:

  • 4 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: no update.
  • 90 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: finished.
  • 108 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: finished this one up. Overall, I am glad to have read these poems, but most of them were a bit juvenile for my taste—and this is obviously attributable to the fact that they were written by a 19 year old Tupac. There were some great protest poems, and some great tribute pieces, and a whole bunch of love poems. 8/10
  • 173 pages of Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell. Notes: and finished! Woof! This is a heck of a read, and I loved every minute. I had so many ideas sparked by this reading, and I can’t wait to work on them. 10/10, will read again
  • 8 pages of Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Notes: no update.

Running page count: 383

Book Finished: Faces at the Bottom of the Well

I finished my third book for the June Read-a-thon: Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell.

It fulfilled a prompt and a challenge off the Treesofreverie Prompts & Challenges list: “Read a book you’ve been meaning to read” & “Read a book written by or focusing on POC #weneeddiversebooks”.

Now, I’ll move on to Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman for “Re-read one of your favourite books”.

Book Finished: The Rose That Grew from Concrete

I finished my second book for the June Read-a-thon: The Rose That Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur.

It fulfilled a prompt and a challenge off the Treesofreverie Prompts & Challenges list: “Read a book you’ve heard a lot of good things about” and “Read a poetry book”.

Now, I’m working on Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell for the prompt “Read a book you’ve been meaning to read” & “Read a book written by or focusing on POC #weneeddiversebooks” and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman for “Re-read one of your favourite books”.

June Read-a-thon Update: Day 9

Classes start today, and I’m excited, but also a bit frazzled. I’ve been having trouble getting all of the books for my non-fiction class, and several of them are still in the mail. I hope they come in soon…

Yesterday was the Capitol trip for the New Leadership Oregon 2014 class, and I was invited along, as an alumna. We spent the morning touring the building with Former Governor Barbara Roberts, had lunch with Secretary of State Kate Brown, and the current NLO participants roleplayed testimony in front of legislative committees. When we got back to Portland, there was a mixer and recognition of board members, alums, and the current class. I cried, and it was so inspiring to see people supporting each other there. So much love.

Still coming up: a dinner party tomorrow night. Friday, I’m workshopping some of my writing to prepare several submissions to journals and online magazines.

I think I expected to have more free time that has been the reality. I’m trying not to get down on myself for not reading more, even though I’ve read every day, and made good headway in a couple of books I’ve been meaning to read. I feel a bit discouraged, but I’m hoping I can push through it for the remaining 6-7 days.

My reading progress up to this point:

  • 4 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: no update.
  • 90 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: finished.
  • 70 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: read more poems from this one. There’s some very teenage love poems in here, but there’s also an amazing section that features several poems for racial justice activists like Nelson Mandela and Huey P. Newton.
  • 129 pages of Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell. Notes: I have less than half the book left, and I’m still being inspired to do 3 new projects for every chapter I finish!
  • 8 pages of Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Notes: I figured I’d pick a lighter read to let myself digest some of the heavier stuff, and still get pages done. This one I got 114 pages into a re-read of, and then set it down—probably in favour of school books I had to get through. (So much reading last term…) Anyhow, I should finish it, because I do love it.

Running page count: 301

June Read-a-thon Update: Day 7

I had a long day yesterday, and could barely find a moment. It was my last day in the Oregon Student Association, and he had a transition meeting, and then an alumni event in the evening—lovely to see some folks I haven’t got to see in a while, but definitely time-consuming.

Still coming up: a full day of meeting and events in Salem and Portland on Monday, classes starting on Tuesday, a dinner party on Wednesday, and coffee with my mom on Thursday.

Here’s my reading tally for the event so far:

  • 4 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: no update.
  • 90 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: finished.
  • 8 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: no update.
  • 102 pages of Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell. Notes: still loving this one! It’s a fresh way of looking at theory and racial justice in the US, and it’s inspiring so many future projects.

Didn’t finish Faces, but that’s alright. I feel a little sad at how little time to read I’m actually finding, but it’s good reading.

Running page count: 204

June Read-a-thon Update: Day 5

There’s been a lot of unexpected work the last couple of days, and I have even more to do, but I’m getting the reading in every spare moment I can. I’ve always been a commute reader—I have an hour long commute to campus, which is lots of time—and it looks like I’ll be doing some of that the next few days. I have a board meeting tomorrow (yes, on a Saturday), and then a lunch meeting Monday in Salem, and then classes start on Tuesday, so I’ll be travelling around a bit the next few days.

Here’s my reading tally for the event so far:

  • 4 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: this one’s in time-out. I can’t quite bring myself to finish it…
  • 90 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: all finished! The rest of the letters had some great language, though the translation still bothers me. The second half of the book was a sort of run-down of Rilke’s life before the letters, and where he was and what projects he was working on when each letter was written, and that was in much more plain language, and far more interesting to me. I hate writing prescriptivism, and Rilke does plenty of that. 6/10, might read a different translation
  • 8 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: this one got laid down. I can’t read books of poetry all in one go. I have to read a few, set the book down, digest what I’ve read, and come back later.
  • 56 pages of Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell. Notes: loving this one! I’ve been meaning to read this since a friend recommended it to me a year and a half ago, and I’m so glad I’m finally doing it. While the subject matter is a bit heavy, it’s accessible, and it makes you think. I’ve also been inspired to write a short story, and an essay response—later, after the read-a-thon, when I’ll have more time.

Not too shabby—I tripled my word count in two days! I’m hoping to finish off Faces today, and that’ll boost me quite a bit if I can manage it. If not, I’ll polish it off tomorrow, and pick another book to start in on.

Running page count: 158

Book Finished: Letters to a Young Poet

I finished my first book as part of the June Read-a-thon: Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke! It was a bit of a struggle, and I don’t especially like the translation I had (by M.D. Herter Norton), but there were some moments of joy from lovely language that I’ve quoted on my Tumblr—you can read those here.

It fulfilled a prompt off the Treesofreverie Prompts & Challenges list: “Read a book you’ve had lying around unfinished”.

Now, I’m working on Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell for the prompt “Read a book you’ve been meaning to read”.

June Read-a-thon Update: Day 3

As I mentioned on Monday, I’m doing the Treesofreverie June Read-a-thon, and one thing has become clear: I don’t have as much free time as I thought I did!

Between editing stories and essays for others, doing my own writing, cooking, cleaning, problem-solving household issues, and every other unforeseen instance, I’ve had barely a moment to read. Here’s a run-down of what I’ve managed:

  • 4 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: I’m remembering why I put this one down, for sure. The reading is really dense with metaphor, but mostly my problem is that it just seems really pretentious to me. Totally inaccessible. This one may move into my “Abandoned” folder on GoodReads—we’ll see.
  • 42 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: I’m also remembering why I put this one down, and it’s totally the translator’s fault. This edition is from 1934, and the language is different from today’s, to say the least. Again, this one feels really pretentious to me. I’m gonna tough it out—I only have 48 pages to go, and I think I can make it happen today.
  • 8 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: I got interrupted by a phone call. I want to finish this one today, too.

Wow, okay; that looks way better when I write it all up! 54 pages in two days isn’t the best I’ve ever done, but considering all my other commitments, I’ve done worse. Hopefully, by Day 5 I’ll have knocked two or three books off the list.