Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Well, this is embarrassing.

After organizing (sort of) my Kindle books and lining up things for 2012 (I've added several more things to that "To Be Read in 2012" folder since my last post), I cast my eyes toward my paper-and-ink books. I have a lot of unread books that I've purchased or acquired through Bookmooch, and I want to read them all. That's not embarrassing. The embarrassment stems from discovering that I have a rather large stack of books that I've some cases, my bookmark is at the half-way point...but not finished. One or two such books is understandable, but I have eight.

I didn't stop reading any of these intentionally. I just stopped. Probably my mood changed, or I was side-tracked with other activities, and when I got back to reading, I wanted to read something else, and...well, I'm sure it's happened to everyone.

The problem is that these books have lain dormant so long I must go back to the beginning and start again. Considering that most of these are formidable in either length or scope (with only one exception), it's daunting. In fact, I refuse to commit to finishing all of these in 2012. That just isn't going to happen (remember, I have to start over). So I'm going to share the titles and ask for suggestions--which ones should I finish?

Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom--This one causes me weeping and gnashing of teeth, because I read to page 436 of 538. Why did I stop? Is it worth starting over (and I must--it's been too long to pick up the thread of the story)?

Habits of the Mind by James Sire--Another book of a type that I like to read, but I didn't get through this one. I appreciate a Christian perspective on intellectual pursuits, though, and that's why I started this. (I've read The Universe Next Door and How to Read Slowly by the same author.)

Sophie's Choice by William Styron--I think you really have to be in the right mood for this story, but feel free to recommend it and convince me that I should give it another try. (I read to page 124 of over 600 pages.)

A History of Education in Antiquity
by H.I. Marrou--This reads like a textbook, but it contains some extremely valuable information that cannot be found anywhere else. (David Hicks, for example, most likely got his information about Isocrates from this book.) Is this the year I should make myself finish? With this one, I could possibly forgo the "starting over" requirement and continue from where I am (page 122 of 465 pages of extremely fine, dense text).

Life of Pi by Yann Martel--This is the shortest book I started and abandoned, and maybe in this case, that means it wasn't for me? But maybe I should try again? It would be the easiest book on my list to finish, as it is a normal-length novel of some 300 pages or so.

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb--I've long wanted to read something by Wally Lamb. Everyone who has read him seems to find his work compelling. I made it to page 100 of this 800+ page book. Should I try again?

Edith Wharton
by Hermione Lee--I really didn't get that far into this 750+ page biography, but I bought it because I really wanted to read it. Edith Wharton is one my "new" favorite authors, and I've always enjoyed author biographies.

From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun--This is probably the most embarrassing of all the books I didn't finish, as I am a huge fan of Jacques Barzun. Did you know he's still alive at age 104? If you are as impressed as I am, you should listen to this interesting discussion with him. I will finish this book sometime...and perhaps I could forgo starting over with this one, too. Is this a book for 2012?

I'm thinking of committing to finishing just two from this list. I might potentially read more, but I am being realistic. I'm going to pick two to focus on. Help me out--which ones? At the moment, I don't have strong feelings about any of them.


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