A page turner

A Reading Log interim report: While I typically finish four or five books per month, on my way to my goal of 50 for 2010, it’s June 22 and my reading total this month stands at zero. Gulp.

It’s not that I’m not reading. I’m midway through eight books, on four of them 50 pages or less from the end. I went to lunch today with 26 pages to go on a novel (Clifford D. Simak’s “Why Call Them Back From Heaven?”) and came back with 13 pages left. My progress is such that I can wrap up four, or even five, books by June 30. Can’t I?

The fact remains that I haven’t finished a book since May 31, which makes me slightly nervous. Will I meet my goal, or will my next Reading Log be illustrated by photo of a blank floor?

This is what passes for a nail-biter on The David Allen Blog. Well, I do what I can.

* Update: After dinner out with friends on Tuesday I had time to finish the Simak novel. OK, there’ll be at least one book in my photo next month. Whew.

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  • Ramona

    [Mother/Teacher lecture mode on]

    David, perhaps you’re spreading yourself too thin. Eight books at once? Try cutting back on a few.

    Reading is meant to be a pleasure, not a challenge. At least once one is no longer reading for school credit. You’re lucky that this reading isn’t for course credit since I doubt you could ace any comprehension exams.

    I sense no pleasure in your post, only stress. Goals are great to have, but not when the intrinsic pleasure of reaching them is reduced by the amount of unnecessary stress caused by getting there.

    Cut back and focus! We’ll understand.

    [Mother/Teacher lecture mode off]

    [I might be overdoing it. On the other hand, those eight books are mostly things I'm dipping into, such as a book of newspaper columns and three books of short stories. I'm reading at a leisurely pace and won't finish some of them until fall. So that might be sensible, no? -- DA, son/blogger mode on]

  • Ramona

    OK, David. I’ll recant part of the lecture seeing as how some of the list includes “dipping into” books. I read while I’m having lunch and I’m usually into “gotta finish this chapter” or “where’s the next logical stopping point” sort of reading.

    Recently finished “South of Broad” by Pat Conroy and have “Echoes” by Maeve Binchey waiting in the wings for when I have finished the J. D Robb novel I’m currently wrapped up in. The first two authors call for intense attention. The J. D. Robb — can’t tell you the title ’cause it’s in the car and I’m lazy — and other crime procedurals that I favor are just for fun, such as the Sue Grafton “____ is for _______” series.

    Whatever — and however — you read, remember it’s about pleasure, not record setting. (Oops. I forgot to turn lecture mode off!)

  • http://www.hughcmcbride.com hugh.c.mcbride

    David:

    As difficult as the reading predicament you currently find yourself in may be, I hope you at the very least can appreciate the challenge of this reading revelation to those of us (OK, those of *me*) who are attempting to read at “half-Allen” rate.

    So, if you’re halfway through eight books, does that mean I should be halfway through four books? A quarter of the way through eight books? An eighth of the way through 16 books?

    To paraphrase a great American: When I began reading this blog, I was told there would be no math.

    [At the "half-Allen" rate, you're fine as long as you've finished half a book. Er, something like that. -- DA]

  • Ronald Scott

    Go to 4 Color Fantasies and pick up some comics that look good…that can count towards your total!!

  • Doug Evans

    Having missed commenting on this month’s May wrap-up — a deficit that I feel guilty about, especially because I was asking in an earlier comment when the wrap-up was going to appear — I’m glad to be able to comment here in this “Interim Report” and kind of make up for it.

    The question I would have asked had I been on the ball: Is the Philip K. Dick (and also Clifford D. Simak) reading a Bradbury-type goal for you, where you’re planning to read everything they wrote, or just a fun I-like-science-fiction-and-these-guys-are-good type thing? You seem to be reading Dick in chronological order, which is what prompted my curiosity.

    One thing I’ve noticed about those two authors (and I haven’t read much by either, but still): all their characters sound the same, and as I type I realize that sounds like a criticism, but that’s not how I mean it. Dick’s characters all are able to verbally analyze whatever craziness is happening to them, in a very calm, rational way, discussing all the possibilities that might account for whatever surreal moment they’re in. Simak’s characters all talk folksy, which is fun and kind of surreal in its own right to come across in a science fiction setting.

    But the same comment could probably be made about Bradbury’s books, and Asimov’s, and Heinlein’s, and on and on… All their respective characters talk like each other and presumably like the author. Maybe that’s part of the reason that science fiction has yet to really cross over into academic literary acceptance?

    Also! Before this turns into a thesis… I wanted to echo an earlier commenter’s comment that Hugh’s comments alone are almost worth the price of admission into this blog (not to slight the blog creator in the slightest). And I would say that even if I weren’t a friend of Hugh’s!

    [Yes, I wondered where you were in the Reading Log discussion. Good to have you here at least. I've read enough Bradbury to say that all his characters talk alike, which is a drawback, although his work has other pleasures. The Simak is a one-off. I have an entire shelf of PKD original paperbacks, collected over the last 30 years (finding them in used bookstores was so rare that I would automatically buy them), even though I've only read a couple, years ago. You're correct, now I'm planning to work my way through them in order. But slowly. -- DA]