I’m a bit stunned to find myself already facing February. Where did my January disappear to? So many reading ambitions and so few goals achieved. I find myself five books behind my pace to reach my annual goal of ninety-six books (eight books per months). Basically, I finished three books last month. Not that I wasn’t constantly reading something (I’ll discuss my overflowing currently reading dilemma in a bit).
Here’s the three I actually started and finished during January:
Hard Times by Dickens
The first book I started and finished during the first week of the new year was Dickens’ Hard Times. This was the winter reading classic selection for my local library adult book club. We meet on the second Thursday and have lively discussions, including about this shortest and last published work of Charles Dickens.
I listened to the audiobook read by Simon Prebble and managed to complete it with just thirty minutes to spare before arriving at the library for the discussion. We were split as a group whether we liked this book. It is not your typical Dickens and had some portions that were a bit of a slog to muddle through. In hindsight, we all agreed we should have read Little Women in light of the release of yet another movie adaptation over the holiday break. We decided that next winter we will allow ourselves the luxury of reading a classic that might be adapted and released during Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays.
In the Company of Others by Czerneda
I saw a recommendation from Janny Wurts for the Sword & Laser January SF selection so I decided to buy the ebook and get cracking. I enjoyed reading the story, but I was disappointed in the podcast which seemed to waste a lot of time on non-book related updates and only the last ten minutes on the actual book.
Till We Have Faces by Lewis
I’ve gone down a Lewis rabbit hole and there’s no Alice in sight. My uncle read and reviewed this retold myth several months ago and I thought I’d give it a shot.
I probably should have familiarized myself with the original myth before diving in. I enjoyed the audiobook, and tried to lay my confusion aside and just enjoy Lewis’ prose.
Speaking of Lewis, I can now transition to my ever expanding “Currently Reading” shelf, where some books go to wither and die, eventually migrating to my “On Hold” or “Abandoned” shelves as book club deadlines rapidly approach.
Putting aside my Tolkien reading for the moment, I spent most of January with another Inkling re-reading Out of the Silent by C.S. Lewis as part of a Mythgard Academy class (see separate posts for more, much more . . . ). Despite the very late Wednesday night classes, I have gotten so much out of them. It’s been years, decades, since I originally read Lewis’ Space Trilogy that this time it’s almost like reading it for the first time.
The last session is next week so I will finish my fourth book tomorrow. I’m listening to the audiobook and also reading along in my very old and yellowed paperback editions of the short book.
My lunch time ebook reading has consisted of a very interesting non-fiction history selection entitled The British Are Coming covering the opening two years of the American Revolutionary War. The level of detail and cross referenced primary sources can sometimes be overwhelming. I was particularly affected by the detailed description of the Battle of Bunker Hill. I’m currently moments away from the pivot point of American Independence, fast approaching July 1776.
I seem to be incapable of just saying “No” to yet another book club. I received an e-mail last week at work from an organization my firm belongs to called ILTA. This email announced the inaugaral selection for a book discussion to be held via webinar on February 12th. I’ve checked out both the ebook and audiobook and have today read ten percent of Good to Great by Collins.
Which brings me full circle back to my original local library second Thursday book club. I started listening to Beloved last week but the author’s reading style tends to whispering for dramatic effect and is difficult to discern while driving.
Lest I forget, in late January, the Tolkien Society of Kansas City met to continue our discussion of The War of the Ring. Our President was feeling a bit under the weather and asked me if I could lead the discussion. I agreed of course but found myself scrambling to listen to the relevant Mythgard Academy podcasts for the chapters we were reading.
I cross referenced with some interesting bits from the Hammond & Scull Reader’s Companion and felt myself as prepared as I could be given the two day notice. I love facilitating book discussions so I was not nervous but I didn’t expect a full house, including six new people (who also signed up for our newsletter) and three regulars who drove in from Lawrence. There was not an empty seat in the Minsky’s event space that fourth Friday evening.
Despite my lack luster progress in actually completing books read in January, I never lacked for good reading material nor great people to discuss books with. We’ll see if I can get caught up in February, the shortest month of the year.