This week has been a long one. It was my last week of the seminar about teaching writing I’ve been taking for the last ten weeks, and I’m really excited about just being done with it. I’ve also just worked a lot this week, and between work, school, reading, and trying to get some writing done, I am exhausted. So glad I have the next week off of school. Those are the best weeks (even though they go by way too quickly).
This week, I ended up finishing two books. I had honestly been hoping to get more reading done, but I am pretty happy with what I accomplished. And that’s primarily because the first book I finished this week was War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy. That’s right, I read War & Peace. I was kind of hoping that I would magically, automatically, feel well-read, but it only made me feel like there is so much more out there I want to read. Don’t get me wrong, it is probably the biggest reading accomplishment of my life thus far; 1,400 pages of dense, 19th-century Russian literature, half of which is pretty much just war history. But now I just really want to read history and philosophy and the other huge classics I’ve been putting off because their size – like Moby Dick and Les Miserables. Okay, I’ll stop talking (writing) now. If you’re interested in a more in-depth review, you can check out the post I did all about War & Peace here.
Since I thought it would be too much to dive into an intense book right after War & Peace, I picked up a relatively obscure children’s classic: The 13 Clocks by James Thurber. Not only had I read and liked Thurber’s writing – his autobiography, My Life and Hard Times, was assigned reading in high school – this book was highly acclaimed by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. So I kind of had to read it. And I ended up really enjoying it! It was a fun story in a style that reminded me a lot of The Phantom Tollbooth – one of my other favorite children’s books – but was also very clearly a major influence on Gaiman’s writing, which was really cool to see. I will have a full review up on Monday if you’re interested.
I also started A Good Month for Murder by Del Quentin Wilber, which is a nonfiction book about the homicide squad in Washington D. C. who had a very busy month – twelve homicides, including a very public murder of a high school honor student killed in her own bed – in February of 2013. It’s actually really interesting, but it’s something I need to read in small chunks, because it’s like sitting through a true crime TV marathon. It’s intense. And, since there are so many murders, I like taking my time with it so they don’t all blend together.
Finally I have been reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara for most of this week. I’ve actually been reading (or trying to read) this book for a while, but I had a hard time getting into it. But then I saw that Whitney from Brown Books & Green Tea was reading it (check out her review of A Little Life here), and her Goodreads/Twitter reading updates definitely made me curious, so I picked it back up. And it finally hooked me. So, for the past couple of days, I have been completely immersed in this book. Even when I’m not reading it, I’m thinking about it. As I write this, I am about 60% done with the book, and it’s already made me cry three times. It is absolutely devastating, but so, so good. I’m hoping to finish it in the next couple of days. Because I need to know what happens.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
P.S. Since I have so many large books on my TBR, I have decided to participate in the Tome Topple Readathon – sponsored by Sam at Thoughts on Tomes – next month! I will do a full post closer to the start of the readathon, but I thought I would ask: what big book do you think I should read? I’m thinking about tackling the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series – A Clash of Kings – or finally jumping into The Mistborn Trilogy or the Kingkiller Chronicles. But if I’m not feeling fantasy, I also have a few classics – Moby Dick and Les Miserables, to name a few – and various other books, such as Under the Dome by Stephen King, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Suzanna Clark, and The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Have you read any of these? Or do you have any recommendations for a book I should add to my list? And – more importantly – will you be participating in this readathon?