Another Year of 100 Books: Week two

2018 is all set up to be another year of 100 Books.

I have my whole list set up and I’m posting it on Sunday.

It’s actually 85 books.  85 Normal Sized books.
Plus Infinite Jest  which will be counted as ten books.  And that’s reasonable because it has 1,079 pages and there are some long sections which appear to be lacking punctuation and paragraph breaks.  So, volume of pages plus wear and tear equals consideration as multiple volumes.   My blog.   My rules.

I made a fatal error in my first  Year of 100 books when I included  Richard Rhodes book The Making of the Atomic Bomb  and gave it “single volume” status.  That book was just shy of 900 pages.  It was a magnificent book.
But, as I was trying to read two books a week with six kids so close to me I could touch them  18 hours a day…. it took me almost a month to finish The Atomic Bomb, and I never really caught up after that.

So, I’m giving special status to Extra Ginormous books this time.  Every book containing more that 650 pages will be considered as two.
More than 1000 pages PLUS long sections of text which are virtually impossible to interpret means the book is worth four or more.   That means Five.  Because of math.
And in this particular case, it actually means Ten.
I’m only tweaking that one rule.  Otherwise:

I will stick to the 2018 calendar year.
I will read or listen to every book on the list in its entirety.
I will list every book on this blog with start and finish date as I start and finish reading.
I will comment on every book I read here on this blog, by means of accountability.

So, 85 titles, plus Infinite Jest standing for ten books, leaves five unknowns.  Five free spots to fill between now and December 31.

It’s now January 13, and I should have three books under my belt by this date in order to begin the year in a good position.  And these are the three:

I have just completed Lincoln in the Bardo  by George Saunders.  I think everybody else read this last summer or something.  I wish somebody had told me!
This book is going down as one of my top ten books for life.  I loved it so much because it’s funny and heartbreaking, historic and insanely imaginative.  I love the use of so very many voices, multi facets of life and death and suffering and joy.  I love the tender, sympathetic picture of Abraham Lincoln.  I love the way that he combined the perspectives of untold numbers of people, real and unreal, and managed to maintain a perfect narrative flow all the way through.   I love the suggestion of the enormous requirements of input from both the living and the dead in order to bring an end to slavery in our country, to end the war.   Loved this book.

I also read Tuck Everlasting  with the ten year old who is almost eleven.  It was as rich and delightful as ever.  I think this is the fourth time I’ve read it.  It never disappoints.    People bearing undeserved hardship with courage and selflessness.   So satisfying!

And I’m including audiobooks, which is how I just experienced Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness.    She is always nourishing to my soul.  I am always encouraged by her. She has been a trustworthy partner in the excavation of my stratified misconceptions about my own strengths and weaknesses, and for that I am grateful and will be, certainly, returning for another Brene book in a couple of months.  She has show me the  possibilities that are before me if I can get a better handle on what vulnerability,  forgiveness and courage look like in real life.

Three super satisfying books!   All begun and completed between January 1 and January 12, 2018.

Next up is Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.    I’m two chapters in, and it’s rich, intense and exhausting.  I will be looking for something quiet and pastoral like Wendell Barry when I’m done with Cormac.

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