Inspired by … Book Lists
This December, I read through several amazing lists of “Books read in 2014” and other year-end reviews by movers and shakers in my own little literary community and beyond. I was awe-struck by Nathalie Foy and Vicki Ziegler‘s lists of books-read and favourite reads for 2014. Greg Zimmerman’s singular account of reading Jane Eyre for the first time was one of the most hysterical things to come across my feed. [I wonder if he’ll pick up on what Helen Burns was reading and go through Rasselas next year?!]
Now, the kids are old hat at keeping track of their reading! Just check out the amazing fox and wombat reading logs we designed a few years ago:
These are, in one way or another, still going strong.
But what about me? To be quite honest, I haven’t kept a list of “books read” since I was studying for the comprehensive and special fields exams for my English Ph.D. Immersed as I am in finishing the novel and starting on a new book of poems, my big fat commonplace book is not focused, these days, on reading. If there’s time at all to devote to reading, after all, there’s hardly time to devote to writing about what I’ve read. Still, especially with my new habit of listening to audio books on my morning walks with the dog, my “reading” has been on the rise. I’m already through Barchester Towers, Station Eleven, Half-Blood Blues, and a good chunk of Dante’s Inferno. Don’t get me started on my new devotion to LibriVox!
With this in mind, and with so many good examples, I’ve decided that in “The One-Five,”[as we like to call it, here, I’ll keep a reading log, too.
Luckily, I received some very sweet blank notebooks over the Christmas holidays in which to keep track of my year’s reading.
I think these are still available at some local indigo stores.
So, what I am going to do in there? I’m going to keep it simple. I’ll keep track only of the author, the title, the dates I read the book, and the most important quotation, as I see it, from that book.
Here’s an example
Trollope, Barchester Towers, Jan 1-3, unabridged Audiobook
from Chapter 13, The Rubbish Cart:
“New men are carrying out new measures and are carting away the useless rubbish of past centuries!” What cruel words these had been; and how often are they now used with all the heartless cruelty of a Slope! A man is sufficiently condemned if it can only be shown that either in politics or religion he does not belong to some new school established within the last score of years. He may then regard himself as rubbish and expect to be carted away. A man is nothing now unless he has within him a full appreciation of the new era, an era in which it would seem that neither honesty nor truth is very desirable, but in which success is the only touchstone of merit. We must laugh at everything that is established. Let the joke be ever so bad, ever so untrue to the real principles of joking; nevertheless we must laugh—or else beware the cart. We must talk, think, and live up to the spirit of the times, and write up to it too, if that cacoethes be upon us, or else we are nought. New men and new measures, long credit and few scruples, great success or wonderful ruin, such are now the tastes of Englishmen who know how to live. Alas, alas! Under such circumstances Mr. Harding could not but feel that he was an Englishman who did not know how to live.
Will there be a reading round-up next December on The Lunchbox Season or elsewhere? In all likelihood, not.
I’ll leave the book blogging to the amiable book bloggers whose yearly round-ups give me such undeniable pleasure.
Still, I’m looking forward to it, my little secret [or not-so-secret] account. And, I’ll certainly make sure that the kids see what I’m doing. Maybe we’ll all sit down together once a week and record our reading together.
Thanks for the inspiration, y’all!