My Whys and Whats of Bookstravaganza 2013

WHY am I taking on Bookstravaganza this year?  My sister has already asked me that, but I think she meant it facetiously — she knows me too well, let’s say.  Well I have a confession to make… my reading has taken a serious decline over the past year.  After getting back to Canada, I have actually read very little in terms of recreational reading…  My summer was entirely dry where reading was concerned.   I was warned this would happen, the mental toll of university and burnout and all that, but NOW I want to get back into it.  Especially since as a creative writer, I completely depend on reading as a way to stimulate my own ideas.  So hopefully, after Bookstravaganza, I will still keep up the pace! 

My goal with my reading right now is just to expand!  Expand, expand, expand!  I used to stick inside a very well established drama-reading-zone ONLY, but as I develop as a writer, I find that I am looking for unlimited stories: the good, the bad, and the heavenly.  I can’t bear to restrict myself any longer.   For as Thomas King has said: “the truth about stories is, that’s all we are.”

Now as a current English and History student my reading will be limited — no way will I be able to keep up with most of the others, but I think I’ve let the competitive spirit within me accept that… I will have to reread Austen, and some Richardson, Fielding and Dickens for my exams, but I am looking forward to finishing off the month with BANG on the beaches of Mexico (thank you Mum & Dad!).    I’ve been a speed reader since elementary school, and so this month I hope to challenge myself by slowing down a bit and trying out some new reading tactics, because I’m terribly bored of my old ones. 

So WHAT is on the list this year?

  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen : Assigned for class, but to be perfectly honest I never got around to reading past the first chapter. 
  • The Commitment by Dan Savage: I just saw Dan Savage in Edmonton a little more than a month ago, and instantly bought his book.  I am really excited for some lighter writing — it will be good company in the hectic Christmas season!  I am hoping I can manage to pass it on to someone in my family, and spread the Gospel according to Savage.
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: The last time I was somewhere tropical I read 100 Years of Solitude by Marquez and absolutely loved taking it all in with the sound of waves crashing in the background.  Now I won’t be in Colombia (although I dream of getting there someday), but this is still a book I’ve been saving for a more appropriate reading atmosphere.
  •  Open Pit by Marguerite Pigeon: Last year I won an award for non-fiction writing of six books from a local publisher.  This one is a political thriller about human rights activists in El Salvador.  I haven’t read a political thriller in awhile and so I’m excited to see what this book is all about.
  • The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz: A friend of mine absolutely loved The Four Agreements and I have been highly encouraged to take on one of his books.   It’s titled: “a practical guide to self-mastery” and I think at this time of impending graduation, getting in touch with some self-mastery skills might come in handy.  I am not new at all to the genre of new age enlightenment books  (as a huge fan of Eckhart Tolle), so I am looking forward to reading this, bit by bit, throughout December.
  • London Was Ours: Diaries and Memories of the London Blitz by Amy Helen Bell: As a history major, I always enjoy a good historical book.  This was a gift from my Aunt, after our visit in London last year to the Blitz museum. 

And if I devour all these in December, here are the books of my second string lineup (mostly on my e-reader):

  • Death in Spring by Mercè Rodoreda: I would love to have the confidence to tackle this one right after Love in the Time of Cholera, but to play it safe I am going to put this one on reserve.  A first heard of this last year from the strangest but most delightful guy a friend and I met in Paris.  He swore it was the best thing he has ever read.  And he’s a tremendous fan of Terrence Malick, soo I think it’s safe to say he has good taste. 
  • The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler: Hey, now I’ve finally read all of Austen (congrats to me!) I think maybe a lot lighter reading about an Austen book club could be fun.   Also the movie is one of my guilty pleasures, so haha I kind of know what I am in for.
  • The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham: This has been on my list for awhile.  I have a feeling I will really empathize with this selfish character.  I am also really fascinated by colonial fiction, so it’s a win-win.

Bonus Book!

  • Moneceros by Suzette Mayr: a dark book about high school by a local author I just bought today!  Maybe I can end this race at an even ten!
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