Reading List for 2012: Doorstoppers

I still have a ton of book reviews to write and post! .-.

In an attempt to improve my stamina when it comes to reading long novels, I’ve decided to focus on reading one doorstopper every month. That doesn’t mean I won’t be reading other books but sufficed to say, these twelve are my focus. To make this project more interesting I will also try to write journal-like commentary every 100 pages or so. I was inspired by what Angus of Book Rhapsody is doing when he reads large tomes. It’ll be interesting to note the difference in writing reactions as they happen versus my usual modus, which is to procrastinateruminate on a book after it is finished and encapsulating my thoughts in 500 or so words. The list is mostly set since I own most of these, but they are not listed in chronological order.

1. Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel (653 pages) – Diary entries: 1st, 2nd, 3rd
2. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie (647 pages) – Diary entries: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
3. The Pillars of Earth, Ken Follett (976 pages – Not purchased yet)
4. The Tree of Smoke, Denis Johnson (613 pages)
5. The Tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu (1182 pages)
6. The War at the End of the World, Mario Vargas Llosa (750 pages)
7. The Mandarins, Simone de Beauvoir (736 pages)
8. Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes (1072 pages)
9. Life Mask, Emma Donoghue (650 pages)
10. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky (974 pages)
11. Drood by Dan Simmons (771 pages)
12. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (613 pages – haven’t purchased yet)

I’ll be typing up my thoughts on Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall either tonight or tomorrow.

Getting back on the saddle

After a couple of months of post-new employment convalescence I figured I should stop puttering around Tumblr and actually write something for a change. I have a horrific backlog of books to write about, at which I’ll be chipping away like and artist carving a statue with a spoon. Right now I’m reading Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh and having all sorts of ~feelings~ about it.

One of the reasons I want to get back to blogging, however, is my desire to take stock of what I’ve been reading the past year in an attempt to make sense of my tastes and how it must’ve changed since I started blogging. I’ll also be attempting a little project in 2012, despite my obvious inability to keep up with my reading challenges. *coughAtoZChallengecough*

And speaking of things that have been occupying my time, I’d like to promote the Philippine Go Association‘s 1st GBC Open Tournament on December 10:

A little off-topic, perhaps, but I’ll be reading The Master of Go by Yasunari Kawabata in an attempt to bring it full circle.

State of the Reading Address

I’m more or less a book behind in my personal resolution to finish one book a week this year. I’ve finished four so far and I can try to chock up that one book to the fact that I’m reading Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. But to be honest, I’m also only 120 pages into that book. I found that I can only bring myself to read chunks of twenty pages or so at a time before having to devote myself into a completely different story. Right now, it’s Andrea Camilleri’s The Shape of Water.

My reading stamina is not the same as it was three or four years ago, sadly. Add the fact that creating reviews for every finished book causes me to pause and evaluate my own feelings about them. Still, I’m determined to read fifty books this year. (Technically I plan to read 52 books, but I’m trying to give myself some leeway. :p) On the bright side, I’ve finally managed to set up my GoodReads account. My list is still horribly incomplete but I plan on working on it little by little. Add me, if you’re so inclined!

In other news, I’ve been coveting the latest iterations of the Nook and the Kindle, all the while trying to justify buying one for my birthday. The prospect is looking more and more attractive, every time I read of blog posts by people who are reading War in Peace without the burden of carrying the doorstopper.

What books are you reading right now?

And for your weekly dose of pretty, check out these wonderful images via The Rumpus: Book art you’ll admire. Or make you contemplate in horror about all the destroyed books. Whichever.

More mysteries than you can shake a stick at

First of all, I want to say hello to the good folks who wandered to this blog via Filipino Book Bloggers. Having a ready-made directory of book blogs by Filipinos warms my small, bibliophilic heart.

When it comes to reading challenges, I think the word I’m looking for is “masochism.” Aside from the A to Z Challenge I’ve already talked about, I’ve also signed up for two mystery-centric challenges. The first one is the Cruisin’ thru the Cozies Reading Challenge over at Socrates’ Book Reviews. Wikipedia characterizes cozies as “a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humourously.” I have long professed a fondness for Dorothy Sayers and I think this is a great opportunity to branch out on the subgenre.

I have chosen the Level 2 of the challenge, so that means I need to finish 7-12 cozies, I’ll be updating this this tentative list as I progress:

Continue reading

Rebuilding my online library

I’ve been recently contemplating another ill-advised project. That is, reconstituting my online book database. I have my old LibraryThing account but it’s been so long since I updated and there’s the limit to the books you can encode.

I’m thinking either Goodreads or Shelfari, but I’m leaning towards Goodreads because the interface is a lot less fussy looking. Other things that are bothering me include whether I should rebuild the booklist from the beginning or start anew. Or if I should limit to the books I own and not the ones I’ve borrowed from people or from the library.

Decisions, decisions.

Reading List for November

Okay, so that’s not the real title. The image is from Better Book Titles, one of the few Tumblr blogs I regularly read. I’m in the middle of reading Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, and it’s becoming one of my favorite non-fiction reads. If you’re interested in either true crime or history, this book as an enjoyable mashup of both.

I am also attempting to write 50,000 words as an unofficial Nanowrimo participant, so I don’t know if that’s going to affect my reading rate. Still, I’ve lined up Liz Williams’ Detective Inspector Chen novels for when I’m finished with DitWC. A quick scan of the first installment, titled Snake Agent, has made excited, this is exactly the kind of fantasy novel I’m drawn to.