08 September 2014

Reading This Fall

In a couple of weeks, The Broke and the Bookish will be doing their seasonal "Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List."  I will totally be participating in that and will come up with a list of ten books that I really want to finish this fall.  However, I am writing a post today about three books that I am making it a personal mission to finish this fall.  Two of the three are books I have owned and wanted to read for AGES and the third is more recent on my radar, but it equally pressing in importance to me.

I have great nostalgia for a few nights during the fall of my junior year of college when I holed up in my room and just read.  I read hundreds of pages in the evening and nighttime.  I finished a few wonderful books in that period.  I don't know if it was the weather or that the stars aligned, but I really want to pull off something like that again.  I'm not saying I'll knock these three out in a few nights of reading, but I want to spend some long nights reading and avoiding the world.

Swann's Way by Marcel Proust  This was the first book that came to mind.  A couple of weeks ago, I determined that I was going to read this book this fall if I took me three months to do it.  I don't know what it is about this book, but I have wanted to read it for years.  I can probably blame it on that scene from the first season of Gilmore Girls when Max loaned Lorelai his copy.  I've always thought that him giving her a book to read was really sexy, probably because I find reading or other intellectual pursuits to be really attractive in a man.  I don't know a whole lot about the novel or maybe there isn't a whole lot to know.  I know that you go on these long, meandering trips down French garden paths and that there isn't a tremendous amount of plot.  Either way, I am determined to read this.  Fall seems like a good time to be reflective, which is what a lot of this book is about (from what I gather).  I love the design of the cover--yes, I judge books by their covers--and I think it has perfect fall coloring.  I would love, love, love to be able to get through this one on my own, but I have a guide just in case (though the guide covers the entirety of In Search of Lost Time).

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville  I don't know when finishing this book became my own personal white whale, but it has.  I have to finish.  I've picked it up a number of times over the past couple of years and have been reading it on and off since this summer.  I'm finally aboard the Pequod!  I have met Starbuck.  And that's about it.  I really like how Melville uses a bunch of really short chapters.  That has made it possible for me to read while visiting at the hospital or just when I have snippets of time.  I would love to be able to sink in for a few hours and just go.  I wrote on wanting to be anywhere but here the other day at The Broke and the Bookish and this book has really helped with that desire.  Melville does a really good job of bringing you right in the middle of things by describing everything and everyone so vividly.  I laugh while reading this one and can fully picture what is going on and that has been really great lately.  Still, it doesn't help a whole lot to do those things if you never actually finish reading the novel.  I am going to finish this novel this fall so that I can wear my shirt!  Finally!

Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe  It's only been in the past year or two that I have really heard about this book, much less wanted to read it.  Like Moby-Dick, I've been reading it on and off for the past month or so.  I really like how minutely Wolfe describes his characters and his setting.  I feel fully submerged in the characters' hopes and desires and feelings.  I picked this one up recently because the main character goes on this huge journey to find what he is looking for.  I feel like I have been at a real crossroads in my life the past couple of months and haven't quite figured out where I want to go or what I want to do.  OK...maybe I do know what I want, I just haven't had the opportunity to connect all of the dots to get there.  Anyway...big path to self-discovery and self-fulfillment--I've been there; I am there; I want to read about another character going there.  While I haven't exactly wanted to slay this book, I have really been wanting to finish, so I added it to the list.

It dawned on me last night that my big problem with reading all of these years has been my attention span.  Somehow, gradually, it shortened so that when I see something flashy--the TV, my cell phone, another book--I immediately start thinking about it instead of the book at hand, then I switch to that other book (and getting an iPhone a couple of years ago really hasn't helped because the whole of the internet is within my reach at all times).  So I am going to start working on this.  I am taking today, minus a few devoirs, to just read one of these novels.  I haven't decided yet which one, but I plan to do nothing but read for the vast majority of the day (with a forecasted high of 91, I think it's too warm to read Proust today).  I don't think that this will immediately cure me of a short attention span--it's only one day--but I think it will be a great way to relax and get further into a book that I have been meaning to read for quite some time.


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