Wednesday, December 12, 2007

First Lines and Best Made Plans

It is finals time and I'm going to try not to tax my poor little brain any more than I need to by doing a couple of memes that I found over at Imani's.

The first is the "first lines of the month meme." As I've only been around since May, you'll be spared twelve of these.

May - There is probably no one reading this besides me, but the whole point of starting this blog is for me to interact through writing, and I am writing.

June - I've begun Bleak House, actually I'm about half-way through, as the first book of my Summer Reading Challenge.

July - Nothing like a little vacation. The Ragazzo and I spent the last 10 days in Ireland.

August - Welcome to the third of my four poems on this, the first official day of the Summer Poetry Challenge.

September - I've finished Anatoli Rybakov's Children of the Arbat - a novel about life in Russia during the reign of Stalin.

October - Ex Libris has proposed a Russian lit challenge in '08 and I'm going to be there.

November - Okay, Sheila, I've finally seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and, believe it or not, I actually liked it.

December - I can't remember if I saw Peau d'ane (Donkey's Skin) when I was a child, but I don't think so.

The second is the 13 Books I should Have Read meme. All I can say is... only thirteen?

1. Natasha's Dance by Orlando Figges - I have placed this book on the tippy-top of my TBR pile more than once. I have started it in earnest. Twice. No avail. What is with that? I love Russian cultural history, or at least I think I do.

2. Ulysses Joyce's version- I have to read this book. But it scares me. I need brain space for it. And I need a guide who has read it. It's not going to happen this year, face it. Or next either.

3. Fraternity by John Galsworthy - because I promised to for the Outmoded Authors Challenge, but frankly I've found it a little boring, so I'm not holding my breath.

4. Steven Pinker's new book The Stuff of Thought. This one I will get to eventually, just not this year.

5. Metaphors We Live By by Lakoff and Johnson - a philosophical, linguistic, cognitive psych-ish book about metaphor. It's such a little book, why haven't I finished it?

6. The Nice and the Good - it's by Iris Murdoch who I like. You'd think I could have read this one by now but I can never seem to get past the opening scene. I don't know what it is. Maybe I just don't want to finish it because there will hardly be any novels left by her which I haven't read.

7. & 8. Daniel Deronda - I have the best of intentions regarding this one and also Dicken's Our Mutual Friend but they're so big. They're a commitment. I've started Our Mutual Friend and have never made it past the first chapter. I just keep reading the back cover of the Eliot and thinking, I'll get to this one, just not now.

9. Hopscotch - Cortazar- It'll never happen. It sounded like a good gimmick but it's not going to happen.

10. Snow - so maybe it's one-word titles that have me beat - Hopscotch, Snow, Fraternity... Actually, this book just creeped me out, so it has made its way to the very top of the built-in shelf in the livingroom away from the piles by my bed which it occupied for a while. I know it's supposed to be really good. This is just what happened with In Cold Blood and eventually I stared down my fear and read the damn thing.

11. Darkmans - Barker - I would have read this one but you couldn't get it in the U.S. The publishers were probably waiting to see if it won the Booker since you know us dumb Americans, we only buy books that have them there awards on the covers.

12. The Chess Machine - I think I just bought this one because it has a really cool cover and now I'm afraid it won't live up to it. I just haven't been in the mood for 18th Century Austria-Hungary, what can I say. All those cups of chocolate, beauty marks, wigs, and extended stockinged legs. I'll get around to it.

13. The Symbolic Species - I was about 80 pages in and when I finally get around to finishing this book on the origin of language and how it parallels the development of the brain in our species. Now I'm probably going to have to go back to the beginning. School got in the way and then when I'm on vacation, I'm on vacation. I actually want to read about something not brain-related.

Those are my pitiful excuses for this year. Thanks for indulging me now why don't you take a turn?


Sheila O'Malley said...

//And I need a guide who has read it.//

Uhm, hello?

Ted said...

S - Thanks, Bud, you're on.

Ted said...


Sheila O'Malley said...

Whenever you're ready!

And don't forget: Ulysses is FUNNY. It's not HEAVY. It's a ridiculous comedy, full of tricks and puzzles ... each section with its own internal language rules ... once you get into the groove, it's a blast. Not easy - but certainly not a heavy ponderous thing.

I'll clear my calendar in 2012.

Danielle said...

I started Daniel Deronda, Snow and The Chess Machine---I guess they will all spill over into next year. I also got Darkmans from ILL but they only gave three weeks and no renewal for it, so it wentback unread. Oh well, there's always next year.

Ted said...

D - I prefer to look at those books I should have read in '07 as those books I can look forward to reading in '08, '09....