Revising my reading, October edition

Last week I found myself not reading, and whenever I find myself not reading that means other demands are taking up more of my time than is ideal, and I need to revise my reading goals in turn.  I know I’ve written before about the insanity that is breast cancer awareness month when you work for a cancer hospital, so I won’t reiterate all of that – but suffice it to say between work duties, a couple of weekends that will be spent out of town, and the normal every day things of life, like picking up the dry cleaning and finding the perfect sausage and perogie recipe, well, my reading needs readjusting.

First of all, I had to stop reading The Terror, by Dan Simmons – partly because I had to return it to the library but mainly because it scared me to death. Oh. My. God.  The Arctic – scary. Men stranded – scary. Scurvy – scary. Unknown noises outside the ship? FREAKING SCARY. Now, I am not one to usually shy away from scary novels, especially since I am trying to complete the RIP challenge, but for whatever reason this whole combination of elements I find just a bit too much – I’ve had trouble sleeping. I am sure I will revisit soon – it’s a GOOD book, people – but it’s not right for right now.  I also realized I need some lighter fare to end my evenings with if I’m going to continue down this horror-laden path for the RIP challenge. So yesterday afternoon I went to the library checked out the following: Coronado, by Dennis LeHane; Nightmares and Dreamscapes, Stephen holla-holla King, Summer of Night by the aforementioned Dan Simmons, the latest two Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, and a Paula Deen cookbook from which I will cook absolutely nothing but will nonetheless salivate over (oh, the pounds of butter, the cups of sugar, the lard, the egg yolks and the hamburger – the biscuits, the sweet tea – food fit for morning hunts and dressy cocktail parties – oh, Paula Deen, you shouldn’t have!)

So this is my plan – to read a few short stories from each collection and complete Summer of Night by October 31st – LeHane and King are both comfort reads for me and I know I will complete some of their stories in a way I simply can’t commit to, say, Mary Shelley right now.  The Evanovich books will take the scary edge off my evening reading and since I am doing weight watchers at work (loong story about being a leader and setting a good example and blah blah blah) Paula Deen can remind me that some people do eat food like overnight french toast with pecan crumble topping.   So, there’s that, all of which brings me to…

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. I have been slogging my way through this book for quite some time now and am just barely halfway done. I hate to admit this but I’m really struggling with this book! On the one hand, I love the idea of the author as pilgrim in her own backyard (I just saw the movie “Into the Wild” and once I read the book I imagine all sorts of great comparisons could be made between it and Pilgrim) but for the most part I find myself bored – bored to distraction. Recently instead of reading it chapter by chapter I really began slowing down with it, choosing instead to read it section by section, and it helps some, but for the most part I just don’t find myself able to engage with the text at all.  Unlike some books, though, I find myself determined to move forward, to plow through the book, in the hopes that I may eventually land on the passage that transforms the text for me. Can anyone help enlighten me? What is it about this book that makes people swoon so much?  It’s funny how some books can be abandoned, and others, not – I had no trouble returning the Simmons to the library, but put away the Dillard? No way.

I am also reading Lolita for my writing group but since I won’t be able to make the actual event I will post about it here upon completion.

 I hope this revision of my reading goals puts me back in a good reading rhythm – I’ll let y’all know.

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5 Responses to Revising my reading, October edition

  1. LK says:

    Oh, I got the King book for 50 cents — let me know if you find anything good in it.

  2. Emily Barton says:

    I’ve got The Terror on my list. Sounds like I should wait until I’m sleeping a little better (haven’t been sleeping too well lately) before I get a copy of it. At my old company, we did Weight Watchers at work, and I thought it was great. Instant meetings and help around the water cooler every single day. I miss it. Meanwhile, I can’t help you at all with Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, as I found it hard to get through when I read it. In fact, I can’t even remember if I finished it. That was years ago, though, and I’ve always meant to revisit it.

  3. Dorothy W. says:

    I’ll be curious to see what you think of the Dillard when you get to the end — whether it was worth while to stick with or not. I think your plan of slowing down some makes sense. She strikes me as best read in small chunks.

  4. Courtney says:

    LK – will do – I’m currently on the LeHane…
    Emily – you have so much going on in your life right now I can’t imagine sleep coming easily at all – definitely wait on The Terror. We can read it together in January, maybe. At work we are trying to improve the health of both our employees and our patients (Detroit as you can imagine caters to a lot of poor, underserved people) – I’m becoming extraodinarly interested in the best possible health for all people, and am trying to be an example 🙂
    Dorothy – I’ve decided to put the Dillard aside and am going to read it side by side with Into the Wild..I have an idea for an essay with reading both of them at once. We shall see!

  5. Stefanie says:

    You’re scaring me about The Terror. I own a copy and want to read it. Thought it was historical fiction until my husband told me otherwise. As a horror wimp I’ve been afraid to crack open the cover. Maybe if I read it only during the day while wrapped in a blanket with my trusty stuffed Pooh Bear I will be ok?

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