Next Year’s Project/Progress Report

PART I

I need help! Suggestions, input, recommendations, anything. You see, each year I try to have a personal reading “Project” where I focus on a particular author or genre or subject. Like 2008’s “Project: Shakespeare” or this year’s “Project: Civil War.”. I have a few ideas for next year but nothing definite yet. Some things I’ve kicked around:

1) Project:Kerouac (or would that more appropriately be called “ProJack Kerouac?”) I almost did this a few years ago, but wasn’t organized. On the down side, I’ve already read a lot of his books (not that I wouldn’t enjoy reading some again). On the upside, I would really, really enjoy it, as I love his writing.

2) Project:Scotland (or Project:Sir Walter Scott) where I focus on Scottish authors or books set in Scotland, or even Scottish History. I really enjoyed the Sir Walter Scott books I’ve read this year, but on the downside, they were very tough going for me. Worth the effort, but I worry that I will lack the perseverance to slog through some of his work. On the upside, I’ve become really interested in Scotland of late and am eager to learn more…

3) Project: History of England – here I would make it a point to read several books on English History, which is a relatively weak spot for me (often pointed out when I’m watching Jeopardy! on tv, or participating in Buzztime trivia at the local bars). Downside: reading non-fiction is not as entertaining as reading fiction. Would I stick to it? Upside: I’d really like to fill in this embarrassing gap in my knowledge of history and this might “force” me to do it.

4) Project: Epic Poetry. Now this would be really ambitious. Read or re-read The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, and maybe throw in Dante’s Divine Comedy, Milton’s Paradise Lost, the Song of Roland, the Epic of Gilgamesh (I’m not sure all of those would qualify, but how cool would it be to be able to say I’ve read all of those?) downside: how HARD would it be to read all of them?!?

Help me out with some recommendations please. 🙂

PART II

I need to get cracking if I’m going to complete my “required reading” for this month. I have two books to read for book club commitments. The first is Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night, form which we are having a meeting next Thursday, 11/18. At this point I am still hopeful that I can attend (I’ll read the book whether I do or not, though) as I have some software training related to a systems upgrade at work. The training is currently scheduled for 11/15-11/18, so I would have to miss part of the final day’s session and I’m not sure how that would fly at the office, or even if I should ask to be excused from it. I guess I’ll kind of play it by ear and see how things look next week. I would really hate to miss a meeting, though.

The second is for my personal book club’s meeting on 11/23. For that we’re reading P.T. Deuterman’s Darkside, which is 407 e-pages long. My fellow book club members assure me it’s a quick read, though, so hopefully I can knock it out out late next week and weekend.

Completing those two would give me four books for the month (my “par score”) and I would feel pretty good about my November reading accomplishments. What’s missing is my 11th Civil War book, though. My goal of finishing one Civil War-related book per month in 2010 may be in jeopardy. The book I’ve chosen has been ordered from Borders, but I may not receive it for another couple weeks. Hopefully I’ll get it in time to read over the long thanksgiving holiday weekend. Well, I guess I’m working that Friday (sometimes it doesn’t pay to be a banker), but I’ve been toying with the idea of taking Monday the 29th off. That would give me “plenty of time” to read my Civil War book. We’ll see…

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6 Comments

  1. Falaise said,

    November 9, 2010 at 10:09 am

    As a Brit, I think numbers 2 and 3 would obviously be worthwhile but would go for number 4 if there’s only time for one. Of the one’s you’ve listed, I would say only Paradise Lost was “hard”, especially if you get good translations of the others.

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  2. stentorpub said,

    November 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks for the input, Falaise. All would be worthy projects. It may come down to me picking one that I think I will see through to completion… Stay tuned. 🙂

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  3. November 13, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I think Epic poetry is by far the coolest, and I would love to join you in accomplishing it… but I’m as scared about finding the time and effor to complete it as you are.

    I would have a harder time with Scott, I think. Though I liked Ivanhoe, my reading speed was markedly decreased.

    As an aside, I have 13 rather large works on English History that I would love to plow through… but after reading a couple of works of non-fiction this year, I think it would be very difficult to even get started on these. I loved reading about Pompeii, but there are so many things on the list before the complete history of england.

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  4. stentorpub said,

    November 15, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Thanks for weighing in, EI. I still don’t know what I’ll do for next year. I experienced the same reading speed decrease as you with Sir Walter Scott, but I loved the books. I just couldn’t imagine a pace of one a month. (maybe one very other month though…)

    I googled “best epic poems” yesterday and found a few lists. The epic poetry option is admittedly the most alluring…

    -Jay

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  5. Ann Marie said,

    November 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Can I resubmit my recommendation for earlier in the year – Project Beer? Come on, you read books having to do with beer or alcohol (i.e., the Great Gatsby,) and round it out with an attempt to try as many new beers as possible. Maybe add a requirement of attending the Broad Ripple Brewfest? Who is the Greek god of beer? You could add some mythology to the mix. I’ll even join you in that one. I can guarantee you will have no problems finishing that project on time!

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  6. stentorpub said,

    November 15, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Ann Marie, YOU …. are a troublemaker! 🙂

    Actually, I will probably be working on that project whether it’s “official” or not…

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