Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reading Now

If you look at my right sidebar, you will see that three books are tagged as "Currently Reading" in my LibraryThing catalog, but I am really only reading one book right now. I have set February 28 as my deadline for finishing (finally!) War and Peace. I am currently just past page 800, which means that I have just over 400 pages left to go. I will meet this deadline!

The past two days and tomorrow at work students are taking TAKS practice tests, and my duty in the mornings is relief hall monitor--I have to relieve the hall monitors who make sure only one student goes into the bathroom at a time. In the afternoon, my duty is to monitor testers who did not finish the test in the morning. Both duties lend themselves to getting a bit of reading done, and I have taken advantage of the opportunity. I will meet this deadline!

Another factor: Valerie is going out of town next Wednesday and won't return until Sunday, so I will be able to concentrate on reading for the last four days of the month. She is such a distraction when she is here. ;-)

I will meet the deadline! And then I will immediately begin Towelhead, the current book club selection. I read the first few pages after I bought the book, and I think it will be a fast read. I hope so, since I am leaving myself just two week to get that read. After that, I have decided that I am going to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I am in the mood for a mystery.

And about that other "currently reading" book, The Warrior Queens, I will work it in here and there and will eventually finish it.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Hemingway is finshed

My boredom with For Whom the Bell Tolls didn't last long. I read for a long time yesterday and finished this morning. I'm still not sure if I "liked" the book, but I do feel like I read something important, something very good. The last 50-100 pages were surprisingly very intense too. I definitely think this is a much better book than Garden of Eden, which I read last summer and didn't like very much. Reading For Whom the Bell Tolls made me want to read A Farewell to Arms or read (actually I have listened to it on tape) The Sun Also Rises, so that I could make some kind of comparison.

Classics are supposed to be works that remain relevant, and this book is no exceptions. Passages like this one speak to today's world as much as it speaks about the Spanish Civil War: "To kill them teaches nothing...You cannot exterminate them because from their seed comes more with greater hatred. Prison is nothing. Prison only makes hatred." -- This statement explains why I am not the least bit surprised that so many ex-cons end up back in jail or that someone released from a place like Guantanamo would return to fight against America.

I don't generally read biographies, but I think I might like to read about Hemingway, especially his attitude toward war. I feel like this book shows that he was rather cynical about war. Of course, he was part of the "lost generation" so his disillusionment shouldn't come as a surprise to me. Still, I might like to read some of his letters or a good biography.

Okay, that's enough for tonight. I'm going to watch some TV now. Later.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Hemingway excitement wanes

Last month, when we chose For Whom the Bell Tolls for our next book club read, I was very excited because I like classics and this was one that I had never read but always meant to. Plus, despite occasional classic options, our book club hadn't selected one in its year and a half of existence. Most of the members who were present at the meeting seemed genuinely excited about reading a classic.

For the first 50-100 pages of the novel, I was still excited to read this book. I was drawn into the story and anxious to see what would happen next. Now, however, I have become bored with the story. Hopefully, it's just a short slump--I'm only on page 137--I'm going to spend some concentrated time reading today, and I plan to not watch very much TV this week. The book is almost 500 pages and with my slow reading, I will need all week to finish unless the pace picks back up and stays on a fast-moving course.

In other reading news, I still need to read the last half of War & Peace and can't wait to find time to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and 2666, which are both chunky books. I'm going to start one of them as soon as I finish Hemingway, regardless of what the next book club selections is.

Now, though, I am going to read for at least an hour, until time to head out to a Super Bowl party.