all the books i never finished in may

For some unknown reason I have only finished one book this month. I know I still have four days to go, but I doubt I will finish another one.

The main reason is that I have had a difficult time picking the right book. All required a lot of philosophical thinking or guessing and my brain couldn’t cope.  the Book of Disquiet which is supposed to be one of the best books ever, went back to the shelf after a couple of weeks where I really tried. Same with the Flood. I didn’t even make it halfway through the prologue. And then there was Loving, which I had high hopes for, but thanks to the entire book is written in bloody dialogue, I couldn’t.

Then there are the books I started, but haven’t given up on yet. Portrait of a Lady has been my nemesis this month. It never ends! According to Kindle, both part I and II is over 600 pages long. Only 200 more pages to go. And because I’m a stubborn bitch, I rather struggle with that one, instead of giving the Twins a good, long, deserved reading. I have high hopes for that one. Why do I even bother to attempt to read the Second World War? I know I started because that’s what I’m currently teaching the kids, but soon school’s out. Will I continue? Only time will tell. I finished the Red Room on Friday, so naturally I had to find a new book to read. I landed on Tender is the Night because the world is again crazy about Fitzgerald. After reading about the Sisterhood, it went straight to the top of the books to read next list, mainly because I need something light as my head is full of Victorian ladies, war and about 200 papers to grade in the next weeks. Hopefully my reading mind is in a better mood before I turn to To the Lighthouse when the summer holiday begins.

But at least May was a good month for buying more books. About 20 books found a new safe home, and I also downloaded a lot of free books to my Kindle for the next time I decide on something crazy as reading classics.

And then the big question is, as always, what to read next? (Yes, all these books are unread. Also: find 5 things which aren’t made of paper)

2012: how did it go?

This time last year I cracked my head trying to find some reading goals and now, a year later, they should all be completed. Or not?

  • Read 50 or more books. Success! I rounded 50 some time in November and am currently at 64 books. I have a long list of books you should read, see below.
  • Complete Line’s 1001 books 2012 challenge.  A lot of heavy books on that list! Another great success! Read all 11 (12 if you count that I had already read Beloved previously). Many were great, but some like the Hunchback of Notre Dame I loathed.
  • Read something by Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf and start on the books about Sherlock Holmes. Another yes! Read Pride and Prejudice and really enjoyed it, Mrs Dalloway was difficult and read the first two Sherlock before I got tired of him. 
  • Read at least 5 non-fiction books. Two and a half. The biographies (Wild and We Bought a Zoo) were good reads, but then I really struggle with a history of the Crusaders. Will try again next year.
  • Read more Nobel Prize winners and continue on the 1001 books lists (read 6% until now). Life long goals. Up to 9% on all the four 1001 books lists. I also read John Steinbeck and John Galsworthy so that means two new Nobel Prize winners.
  • Continue working my way around the globe in books. 27 countries so far. 37 now (if I counted correctly) so 10 new countries.
  • Own no more than 500 unread books, the number of unread books is currently 428. Which also means buying less books. Hahahahaha. Current number of unread books is 566. Which means that I have books to read for the next 10 years, still I buy new ones. 

Almost there, at least. Better luck next year.

My goals for next year are as following:

  • Read more than 50 books
  • Complete Line’s 1001 books 2013 challenge
  • Read at least 5 non-fiction books
  • Read something by Henry James, Selma Lagerlöf, Thomas Hardy, Knut Hamsun, Henry Green, Sigrid Undset and Nancy Mitford
  • Continue working my way around the globe in books (37 so far)
  • Lifelong goals: cross off as many 1001 books you must read before you die (9%) and Nobel Prize winners
  • Own more than 1000 books (no more holding back! current number is 939 (I spent a lot of money I got for Christmas on books, there are about 30 coming my way right now)

And finally: Books I read in 2012 which you should read

  • The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
  • You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik (2011)
  • We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen (2006)
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (1838)
  • A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1887)
  • The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (2008-2010) 
  • Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (1932)
  • Annabel by Kathleen Winter (2010)
  • the Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
  • Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant (1885)
  • Woman at Point Zero by Nawal el Saadawi (1975)
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
  • the Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (1868)
  • Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: a Wicked Bestiary by David Sedaris (2010)
  • Wife of Gods by Kwei Quartey (2009)
  • Big Sur by Jack Kerouac (1962)
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)
  • the Country Girls trilogy by Edna O’Brien (1960-1962)
  • the Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed (2011)
  • the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)
  • the Latin America trilogy by Louis de Bernières (1990-1992)
  • the Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis (1987)
  • the Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (1984)
  • the Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (1906-1921)
  • the Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah (2007)
  • the Crow Road by Iain Banks (1992)
  • the Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling (2012)
  • Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver (2012)
  • the Last of the Vostyachs by Diego Marani (2002)
  • the Monk by M.G Lewis (1796)

Woha! I hope 2013 will be as exciting when it comes to book reading and book buying as 2012 was. Happy new year everyone! 

reading goals 2013

Another year’s coming up. Unless the world goes under, of course. I’m still working on the current goals, but I have already come up with the ones for next year. And I’m keeping it simple.

  • Read more than 50 books
  • Complete Line’s 1001 books 2013 challenge
  • Read at least 5 non-fiction books
  • Read something by Henry James, Selma Lagerlöf, Thomas Hardy, Knut Hamsun, Henry Green, Sigrid Undset and Nancy Mitford
  • Continue working my way around the globe in books (37 so far)
  • Lifelong goals: cross off as many 1001 books you must read before you die (10%!) and Nobel Prize winners
  • Own more than 1000 books (no more holding back! current number is 895)

 Should be doable. Am I right? 

book travelogue #1.

I have bought nine books until now while travelling. The first book was already bought at the Gardermoen airport – it has recently changed from one chain to another and I had problems finding a book to buy and that was not because of too many to choose from, but because most of the books I either a had or didn’t want to read. I eventually landed on the Country Girls by Edna O’Brien and read a couple of pages while waiting for the plane to Reykjavik.

I loved every second of my days in Reykjavik and the first book store I went into was the Eymundsson on Austurstræti 18. They had a great selection of English books and I had a problem deciding which one to take with me home. I landed on Suttree Cormac McCarthy and because the weather was so beautiful and the store had a nice outdoor café, I spent some time reading there. I’m almost done with the book, but it’s hard to find time to read when you’re surrounded by people all the time.

Fast forward to San Francisco where I have spent almost a week now. I’m in awe with this city! One day while walking around Mission, I spotted this small sign saying Forest Books, and I went inside. They had a great selection of used books, and I liked how they had sorted the authors by name and country. I picked up Segu by Maryse Condé, the Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway and a first edition of Rushing to Paradise by J.G Ballard. Further down the street we came upon the Community Thrift Store where the paperbacks were 1.90 each! And of course, then I felt really bad about spending 40 on 3 books minutes before. The selection was also great here, but really unorganised. I ended up with 4 books; the Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, the Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, the Bone People by Keri Hulme and the Autobiography of my Mother by Jamaica Kincaid.

I’m having a blast and am excited for our road trip to start tomorrow! Just really concerned about my suitcase already being too heavy so I have to be careful about not buying too many books. And hopefully I’ll get more time to read so I at least can finish the books I have started.

school’s out!

And the long summer holiday is ahead. It will be spent in aeroplanes, trains, buses, cars, boats and hotels in Iceland, USA and Canada. Not sure how much time will be spent reading. I’m taking one book, the Secret History by Donna Tartt which is the next one in Line’s 1001 challenge, and my Kindle with me and will try not to fill up my suitcase with books. But I definitely buy books as souvenirs so I will come home with quite a few I’m guessing.

I’m currently reading Anna Karenina which is to be written about tomorrow in Line’s 1001 challenge. I’m also reading a long (909 pages) and very confusing book from a Faroese author, but haven’t opened in weeks, and a short book from an El Salvadorian author but it’s written in direct speech and it’s really annoying to read. But both books are from such exotic places that I can’t give them up. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if my booklog seems quiet, it is because I’m somewhere on the road. I have made a travelogue, an ache for distant places, so hopefully I can turn it into something interesting.

Happy summer everyone!

reading goals 2012

  • Read 50 or more books.
  • Complete Line’s 1001 books 2012 challenge.  A lot of heavy books on that list!
  • Read something by Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf and start on the books about Sherlock Holmes. 
  • Read at least 5 non-fiction books.
  • Read more Nobel Prize winners and continue on the 1001 books lists (read 6% until now). Life long goals.
  • Continue working my way around the globe in books. 27 countries so far.
  • Own no more than 500 unread books, the number of unread books is currently 428. Which also means buying less books.

reading goals 2011: how did it go?

My main goal was to read at least 50 books, something which I did some time this summer, I have readjusted this goal to 75 books and still have 4 to go.

The others were:

  • Read non-fiction, a genre I have ignored as I love fiction, but there is so much to learn from non-fiction books. Non-fiction books I own are King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, Empires and Barbarians by P. Heather and A Carpet Ride to Khiva by C.A Alexander.
  • I have read some non-fiction, but none I mentioned. What I have read is How I Found Livingstone, Out of Africa, the Lost City of Z and my favourite book this year Atlas of Remote Islands: 50 islands I have not visited and never will. 
  • Read those classics. Many of them have been gathering dust on my bookshelf for years.
  • Some classics has been read, but not as many as planned. I have been stuck in the Karamazov Brothers since October and hopefully I will finish it before the year ends. Kindle and Project Gutenberg have made it easier for me to read the classics. I have really enjoyed some of them, especially Jane Eyre and Frankenstein, while not so much Buddenbrooks.
  • Read contemporary young adult fiction. I need to be able to recommend some books for my students to read. So far, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is the only book on my list.
  • I read Stargirl, City of the Beasts, the Emerald Atlas and reread Harry Potter. I tried to push the City of the Beasts and the other books in the series on some of my students but they found the language too difficult. The kids I teach this year is so obviously smarter so I have to try again.
  • Cross off some more books on the 1001 books you should read before you die list. Only 5% complete. The shame! Also work on my life-time goal; read something by every Nobel Prize laureate. 
  • I’m up to 6%! My main problem is that I do not just stick to one list, I use three various lists, but that’s okay. I have also read some more Nobel Prize laureates; Ernest Hemingway (finally), Nadine Gordimer (possibly the worst book of the year), (along with) Thomas Mann.
  • Continue my journey around the world in literature. This year I covered 17 countries.
  • 27 countries so far, so 10 new countries this year. I’m satisfied with how diverse my reading is when it comes to various countries. 
  • Read indigenous authors, and especially from the Arctic.
  • Not achieved. But at least I bought some books.
  • Read the books I own instead of buying new ones. Almost half the books I own are unread, circa 200. 
  • The number of unread books is now over 400, so no. But I only read books I buy. 

I’m satisfied with almost reaching all my goals. I will make new ones for next year, but they will not be very different from these ones.  

To celebrate that I have bought an apartment and survived the first year of teaching (unless I fail at the finish line this week), I have ordered myself 30 new books. Which is crazy when you look at the list of unread books I have. But I always stumble upon a book or five that I really want to read and buying books online is so easy. I’m quite pleased that I bought books from every continent except Australia.

I have no idea which books I will read this summer, but I have two glorious months of reading ahead of me. Just need to get done with the move and school first.