Reading Update

29 12 2010

As I mentioned before, I’ve fallen woefully behind in my reading, but I do think a little update to the Goodreads shelf is in order. My plan is to do a little better with this in the next year and actually set aside time to do the things I want and need to do. It’s not uncommon for me to set a billion goals for myself and often my reach exceeds my grasp. Still, as far as my personal reading goes, I am making a lot of use of the library and I do pick up a few books here and there:

Of particular note, I’m not really reading a lot of fiction right now. I finished Boneshaker by Cherie Priest a few weeks ago, as I had been reading it on my Kindle while at the gym, but other than that, I’ve not really touched anything fictional at all. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed Boneshaker and thought it a fun read, but it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. I did think that Cherie Priest came up with a pretty compelling character in Briar Wilkes (who I kept calling Briar Rose in my mind. I just couldn’t get past it and I’ll admit the constant interrupting fault is more my fault than Priest’s, but it is what it is.), but the rest of the cast of characters did very little for me and, in particular, Zeke (Briar’s son) irked me quite a bit. Of course, I’m not looking forward to having my own headstrong teenager either and I hope when the time does come, that at least mine won’t run off into a zombie-infested plague cloud place. It is interesting, however, that you can really lay out Joseph Campbell’s journey of the hero with Priest’s plot and it snaps neatly into place. So, kudos to Priest for telling a really well-formed and well-paced story.

The current Kindle read is still A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3). I’ve started and stopped this one so many times now, it normally takes me a day or two to figure out what’s going on, but I don’t yet feel like I’ve completely lost the whole story. I will get through it. I will! Like most of the Kindle books, I tend to read it at the gym during rest periods or when I’m on an elliptical, so the reading is slow but does keep me fairly entertained. And I like the book and I want to get through it so I can feel that I’m properly enjoying the show when it starts on HBO. Time’s just always a real factor.

Enough of that, though. Right now I’m slugging through Michael Kimmel’s very interesting historical analysis of American masculinity in Manhood in America: A Cultural History. I’m only about 1/3 of the way in because it’s not very light reading and is one of those things I simply haven’t set aside enough time for during the day/early morning. I’m not very good at reading in bed anyway, but my attempts with this one have led to me peacefully snoozing after about 2 pages. Time being set aside for this gets put on the calendar asap. What I have read so far has been utterly fascinating. Kimmel is one of, if not the leading scholar on masculinity studies in America and I’m trying to make my way through his work during the coming year. Best quote so far: “The great whale is both the more powerful man against which masculinity is measured and, simultaneously, the archetypal woman – carnal, sexually insatiable, other. What are we to make, after all, of the fact that Ahab, who had lost his ‘leg’ trying to plunge his ‘six inch blade’ into the whale, in now engaged in a ‘crazed flight to prove his manhood’ Moby Dick is ‘the most extravagant projection of male penis envy’ in American literature” (Kimmel 69). Nothing like a little Freudian analysis of Melville to get the motor running. Good damn stuff.

I also checked out/am checking out Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future by Robert Reich. I’ve had this one on hold from the Nashville Library since it was released and my turn in the queue came up early in December. I feel like a total schlub for not just plowing through it like I should. It’s not a difficult read, but with everything else, I’ve just not found the time and I feel guilty holding it since so many people were waiting on it. That’s just the fate of the hold queue in Nashville, though. As for why, I’m not real interested in delving too deeply into politics here, but I enjoy hearing Robert Reich’s perspective on Marketplace and I’m interested in the economy. I also think he’s a very good writer.

A final couple notes. I scored both the Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset and the 2011 Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition for Christmas. The former is something I’ve been meaning to read for a while and this just seals the deal. The case looks very nice on my desk and is also helping to keep the few books and papers I have there upright. My wife steamed straight through the entire trilogy in about 4 days and wouldn’t stop talking about it, so that encourages me to hop to it.

The latter book is also on my desk and is just a must-have. Beats going to the library to research markets. Now I can do it right from home. Glad I got it for Christmas, too, because I’m far too cheap to buy it on my own.

So, that’s where I am in my personal reading and I’m going to try, again, to make a better practice of reading more, reading more regularly, updating Goodreads more and writing more reviews here.




2 responses

29 12 2010

I may have to read the Hunger Games trilogy… I think all the hubub has turned me off to them so far, but I’ve learned over and over that “popular” doesn’t necessarily mean “crap,” and the people I’ve been seeing rave about it are mostly people whose taste I respect.

Kind of like Harry Potter – I was working in a bookstore when the first came out, and avoided reading it until the third came out, but once I did I was a fan.

I’ll be interested to see what you think of the trilogy, once you get around to it. 🙂

29 12 2010

It’s interesting you mention Harry Potter, because I felt mostly the same way about it, plus I tend to feel that YA fiction and children’s fiction isn’t for us grown-ups. I’ve been proven wrong on that latter point a number of times now, but the thought still kinda lingers.

I also saw this morning that the Kindle surpassed Harry Potter as Amazon’s best-selling product this year. Think about that for a sec. There are more Kindles moving out of Amazon warehouses than copies of Harry Potter. That’s a lot of Kindles.

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