Saturday Inquiry

Was reading another blog where the writer was listing his “top books of the last decade”, mentioning one that he had read several times. What I’d like to know is:

What books have you read more than once? AND (part 2) What is the most number of times you have read a particular book? (Of course, WHY have you read these books more than once could be part of your answer…)

Trying to think of my answers…

Probably the book I’ve read the largest number of times is “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” (maybe 5 or 6 times) Somehow, reading this book leaves me with the feeling that “I can really do something with my life” (And – before you ask –  no, I haven’t yet!) and it is full of little nuggets of wisdom. It makes one feel that success in life or any endeavor is not that difficult to achieve with the proper approach and mindset.

Other books I’ve read more than once:
“On the Road” – Jack Kerouac
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” – Oscar Wilde
“The Way of All Flesh” – Samuel Butler (a great, “unknown” classic if you asked me)
“Return of the Native” – Thomas Hardy (and who can forget the Hallmark Movie adaptation featuring Catherine Zeta-Jones as Eustachia Vye… Ah, totally bewitching…)

If I can think of others, I’ll add them later.

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A 1943 Textbook

Stopped by my Mom’s this afternoon and was telling her about my Sir Walter Scott reading, and she went to her library and returned with her 1943 high school textbook “Prose and Poetry of England”. It had little blurb on SWS and mentioned that Waverly was the first of 29 historical novels written after he turned 43. Apparently, this writing “spree” was to help pay off debts from the failure of a publishing firm he was “entangled with”

Interesting stuff. Even more interesting was the quality of literature high schoolers in rural West Virginia were reading as part of their required curriculum…

Trip to Bookmama’s

Stopped by Bookmama’s bookstore on the way home from work today. It’s a cozy little bookstore in Irvington – across the street from Lazy Daze Coffee House (one of Indy’s best) on Johnson Avenue.

Anyway, had looked them up on-line earlier to see if they had a copy of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (they did), and now book 1 of PCW is in my hands. I have to finish “Waverly” and my January book club book before starting it though, and I plan to make some big strides in that direction this weekend.

I looked for a copy of Rex Stout’s “Some Buried Caesar” but – although they had a couple Stout books, it was not among them. They did say they were supposed to get some in soon, though.

Bookmama’s also hosts meetings of a “Jane Austen Book Club” (didn’t they make a movie with that title?) regarding which I’m told they finished reading all of Jane’s books long ago and moved on to read the Brontes and are now on Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the d’Ubervilles” (did I spell that right?). I believe their meeting for this is Wednesday, 1/27/10. I should try to make that, even though it is the day before my book club’s monthly meeting.

They also have a discussion on 1/19 of the Rex Stout book. (those are going on all over town since that is Indy’s “One City, One Book” selection)

Enough blogging! Time to knock out a few more chapters of Waverly… which reminds me- I did look for Sir Walter Scott books at Bookmama’s too, but the only one they had was a quaint, diminutive paperback copy of Ivanhoe which – as I told the lady working there – “everyone has a copy” of…

Reading Progress(?)

Haven’t had a lot of time to do any hardcore reading this week, but I look forward to a quiet Saturday & Sunday morning, where I can make good progress.

I’m up to chapter 28 in “Waverly”; our hero has been stripped of his commission in the British army, but is pleasantly distracted by the Scottish lass, Flora, who may or may not accept him, it seems…

I’m also about 25% into the book “The Smartest Guys in the Room”, which is my book club’s January book. I’m still finding it interesting and entertaining, and my business and accounting background probably helps make it a good read for me. I am concerned some of the others in my book club may not be enjoying it, but part of our club’s stated goal is to read outside our normal genres, so I guess that’s okay.

I also read that Indianapolis (hey, my ‘reality city’ also ends in ‘polis’…) will have a discussion at the southport library on January 25th of the One City, One Book selection “Some Buried Caesar” by Rex Stout. If I can get through these other two books in time, I’d like to read that one as well and then see who (or how many) shows up for the discussion. Maybe by then my new blog here will have gained a head of steam.

Still looking for suggestions for my Project: Civil War (hereafter “PCW”) reading list. Need to pick up a copy of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” as well. If I read that by the end of the month, and the Rex Stout book, and the other two I’m currently involved in, that would make 4 books in January – a bit ahead of my normal pace but, after reading some other blogger’s posts on-line, that doesn’t seem like so much after all.

More later…

IPhone App for WordPress

Downloaded the WordPress App for my iPhone the other day. It’s great to have the flexibility/mobility to jot a few notes down in draft format and be able to complete the thought later on at a real keyboard.

Why Bibliophilopolis?

What the heck is Bibliophilopolis?!

I often joke with people by observing, “Well, in MY dictatorship…” suggesting examples of how living under my (benevolent, of course!) dictatorship would be preferable to our current civilization. I can imagine that one of the great cities of my dictatorship would be called Bibliophilopolis – a city of book lovers. I’m picturing the city of “Christminster” in Thomas Hardy’s novel “Jude the Obscure”* or, probably more appropriate, his youthful and naive vision of what that city must be like. My Bibliophilopolis would attract citizens of like-minded appreciation for books and reading, and it would be a ‘magical destination’ for many (now I’m thinking of “The Emerald City” in Baum’s “Wizard of Oz.”)

Think of Bibliophilopolis what you will, readers and writers will always be welcome here, and the sentries guarding the gates admit virtually everyone…

*where is the icon for ‘underline’ in my dashboard?? Maybe I’ll find one by my next post.

Why a blog?

Well, why would anyone create a blog about books and reading? Yes, I am in a book club (my second one – the first one petered out about 1999) and we’re reading our 40th book this month, BUT one book a month is not enough for me. So… I figured I’d maintain a log here of what I was reading and thinking about reading. My book club has a web site http://www.ircbookclub.wetpaint.com if you’d like to check it out.

It’s 2010 and the book I’m reading now (actually started in 2009) is Waverly by Sir Walter Scott (of Ivanhoe fame). I’m on chapter 25 and it is pretty slow going for me. I’m a relatively slow reader anyway, but this is a 2-minutes per page (at least) book for me. Lots of notes and ‘obscure’ references that slow things down even further, but I am learning a lot of new words and something about Scotland, and its history.

What else is on tap for this month? Well, my book club is reading “The Smartest Guys in the Room” (about the collapse of Enron a few years back) which is “due” by January 28th when we meet. Also, I hope to read Indianapolis’s “One City, One Book” book, Some Buried Caesar” by Rex Stout. There are several discussion meetings around town at various MCPL locations in mid-January and I’d kind of like to read it and attend one of those to see what it’s all about.

2010’s “Project”

In recent years I’ve tried to have a year-long reading project (the most memorable one being Project: Shakespeare in 2008 (still working on that one, btw). After much deliberation, I’ve pretty much decided 2010 will be Project: Civil War, with the goal being to read one Civil War-related book per month for a total of 12.

I’ve had several suggested books already (and would welcome more…), but the only two I’ve “locked in” so far are Gone With the Wind and, to start things off: Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It was, after all, “the book that started the Civil War.” I figured icould read that in January while I tried to think of the rest. And, I want most of the rest to be non-fiction too. History, biographies, etc. I want to be an “expert” by the end of the year…

More Later…

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