Inspired by Nina Sankovitch’s literary memoir Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading, I took it upon myself over the last week to read a book a day for seven days, just to get a taste of what it’s like.
In a magical fairy land where my husband is a money farmer and soda does not make you chubby, I would have read seven books in seven days. In the real world, I read six books in six days, and then the seventh book a day and a half later. It was, in fact, finished in one day, like the other six, just not on a consecutive day.
I’m not sure where the trouble came, but on the seventh day I hit a wall. Maybe it was all the Christmas music that got in my head, maybe it’s that my brain got book-logged from all the many, many books I’ve been reading lately, but the seventh day came and I just couldn’t do it.
The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise, by Julia Stuart, is a book I’ve wanted to read for quite some time. I almost bought it when Boarders was going out of business, and I’ve kicked myself for skipping over it ever since because I couldn’t find it elsewhere. When I stumbled upon it at Target recently I immediately became super excited!…And then I couldn’t read it. Normally I have the same relationship with books that Augustus Gloop has with the chocolate river, but suddenly I was Augustus Gloop with a bag of carrots. I just couldn’t do it. And then a few days later my carrots unexpectedly turned into carrot cake, and I have been happily reading ever since.
The moral of the story? Some people, like Nina Sankovitch, can read a book a day, and it enhances their life exponentially. And then some people, like me, can read probably five books a week. In fact, my first five days of reading were a complete delight. I was happier, I took more pride in my household chores, I was kinder, and I remain absolutely convinced that my dinners tasted better on those nights. But I need a reading weekend, a few days break where I read little or nothing. In her book, Nina even mentioned that in her year of book-a-day reading she let a lot of things go, and her four sons and husband picked up a lot of slack they otherwise would not have tended to. I think it’s awesome that that worked for her, but I don’t have four sons. (In fact, the idea of four sons is possibly the most intimidating thought I’ve had in awhile. Eeek.) And I don’t feel like I can just let things go to read. For starters, I live in a loft, and things get icky in an apartment on just one room really quickly. Also, I started to feel detached from the world this week, and that defeats the purpose and magic of reading.
So this is my verdict: try it for a week if you think you might like it, but don’t commit to a book-a-day without a trial run. I don’t feel like I can commit to even five books a week for next year, not because I don’t think I can do it, but because I have absolutely no clue what 2012 holds for me job, school, and career wise. (Marissa, my book challenge buddy from this year, and I are going to be doing a book challenge again in 2012, however. This year we’re doubling our ambitions and shooting for 104 books, or two books a week.) But I do think I’m going to aim for five books a week as a short term goal, at least until my birthday on January 12. This will help me get a running start on my 2012 reading, and help clear off my shelves for all the books I’m hoping to get between Christmas and my birthday. (I’m going to be 25. That seems incomprehensible. Wasn’t it just last week that my mom told me I was too young to date a guy who was 20?)
While I’m here, I might as well mention that my day five book, Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins, being the second book of The Hunger Games trilogy, was magnificent. (I’ll post tomorrow about days 6 and 7-8-9. Those were fantastic books, and I want to spend a little more time on each review.)
We pick up with Katniss Everdeen, now a Hunger Games champion, as she gets ready to embark upon her Victory Tour with fellow champion and supposed lover, Peeta. But victory did not solve her problems: the unprecedented allowance of two Hunger Games victors has undermined The Capital and planted thoughts of rebellion in the minds of many districts. The Capital is breathing down her neck, and unless she can figure out how to fix it, the lives of her family and friends, including the town she is torn between, Peeta and her long time hunting partner and best friend Gail, are in jeopardy.
Then, suddenly, The Capital plays an ace card no one could have anticipated, and Katniss and Peeta find themselves back in the arena, and this time there can be only one winner.
Almost everyone (and by that I mean all of six or seven people)told me that the second book wasn’t as good as the first, but you just had to find out the ending anyway. Perhaps I’m losing my English major edge, because I still loved the second book! I’m actually really frustrated that my husband made me promise not to buy the third book because Christmas is coming up. I totally get that it’s not cool for me to rush in and buy all the books on my Christmas list, but I am dying over here! I have to know what happens! I’ve been having dreams about it, for pities sake! I can’t wait ten more days! Sigh. I haven’t been this bad off since I started reading Harry Potter in college and decided to read the sixth book instead of study for a big history test.(I miraculously scrapped by with a B. I still don’t know how I pulled that off. I’m not good with dates.)
Anyway. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa Husband-Clause, and in the mean time, I’m amusing myself with my five books for this week: a Kate Morton mystery, another Madeleine L’Engle classic, a few memoirs, and an undecided fiction book, of which I have several lined up, it just depends on my mood when I get there.