Monday, June 13, 2011

Speaking of Books...

How are your reading challenges going? I’m plugging along on my “Off the Shelf” challenge, now having read nine of the 15 I’d committed to (see complete list of books read here) and we’re only about halfway through the year. I’d feel better about that if I could just stop myself from buying more books! At the rate I’m going, I’ll have refilled my “to read” shelf with 15 (possibly more!) new books. Oh, well. I guess if I keep reading significant numbers of books I’ve stockpiled, they won’t actually take over my house, and eventually I’ll clear out the piles. (A girl can dream.)

Anyway, despite the problem of the magically refilling to-read shelf, I’m happy with my progress. A couple of highlights:

I bought Treasure in a Cornfield: The Discovery and Excavation of the Steamboat Arabia after I visited the Arabia museum in Missouri (see my account of that visit here). Written by one of the excavators, it’s surprisingly readable and gave a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of the excavation. And believe me, there were challenges.

Some of the Arabia's cargo
Traveling With Pomegranates, by Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor, delighted me from start to finish. I fall somewhere in between them in age and stage of life, and can identify with both. They alternate telling the story of two trips they took together to Greece (and one to France). I fell in love with Greece when I visited a few years ago, and deeply identified with something Sue wrote: “…I was a little shocked at how displaced I felt inside. So much of my sense of self had been altered in Greece, far more than I realized. Old understandings of myself as a woman, a mother, a writer, and a person in search of the spiritual were unraveled by my experiences over there, by the places themselves.”

The other challenge I signed up for was the Vintage Mystery Challenge, and I could have completed that one in about two weeks…but I have chosen to spread it out over the year. The vintage mystery (think Agatha Christie) is one of my favorite genres, and I’ve already read three of the 4-6 I signed on for. Since I last checked in here, I’ve read The Norths Meet Murder (Frances and Richard Lockridge) and 13 Clues for Miss Marple. The Norths are new to me, and this book was the first in a series. I didn’t like this as well as the first Campion book I talked about, but the characters were interesting enough that I have the second book on reserve at the library. 13 Clues is a collection of short stories featuring Christie’s fluffy old lady sleuth Miss Marple. Even though I’d read it before years ago, I didn’t remember the stories and chose it when I needed a comfort read.

Now that school is out, I’m making summer reading plans. Since we spruced up the lanai. I plan to plop myself down in the chaise with a good book every chance I get. I just watched Ken Burns’ documentary on Mark Twain, and I think I’ll pick up MT’s autobiography. (I may put it down again just as quickly, but I want to give it a shot!) I’ve also got “Off the Shelf” books Sullivan’s Island (Dorothea Benton Frank) and The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins) lined up.

What are your summer reading plans? Do you have a theme like some bloggers I know?

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6 comments:

Laure Ferlita said...

Goodness, girl, you wear me out just reading the list—quite impressive!

I really enjoyed the Secret Life of Bees so I'll have to check out Traveling with Pomegranates.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Laure--Definitely check out Pomegranates, because there's a lot of information about how she wrote The Secret Life of Bees in it! I think you'll enjoy the behind the scenes peek.

Teresa said...

Wow... I'm impressed. You're on a roll! I'll admit to reading one novella that was not worth mentioning, and aside from my regular reading of art instruction books I'll have to say that the garden has won out over the books!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Different strokes for different folks, Teresa! As long as you're doing what you love!

Danielle said...

I've heard good things about the MT bio--maybe you won't be able to put it down once you start reading. I'm not doing as well with the list of books I made out for myself at the beginning of the year--one read and two underway--out of twelve books. Otherwise I am trying to not be too tempted by challenges. July is going to be for finishing books on my current reads pile (and hopefully not starting too many new ones). I read that Miss Marple collection of stories last year and really enjoyed it. As for those new books--they can be for next year's challenge! :)

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Danielle--I'm an easily distracted reader, so I'm pretty happy that I've made it this far on my challenges. I try not to get too serious about reading, since I mainly do it mostly for pleasure!