March Reading – The Month Ahead

Here it is, already March 4th, and I need to come up with a game plan for what reading I might get done this month. We’ll start with my required reading…


While Mortals Sleep – Kurt Vonnegut

This is the selection of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Book Club for March. I look forward to reading it. Well, I’ve actually already started, having read the first of the sixteen previously unpublished short stories in this book, just released in January of 2011. My only fear is that they were unpublished for a reason, but that fear is tempered by my rationalization that Vonnegut’s “rejects” are likely better than almost everyone else’s polished final product. We’ll see.


Unstuck in Time – Greg Sumner

This one is kind of “required” as it is part of my main 2012 reading project of “one author biography per month.” THus far, I’ve finished Hawthorne and, almost, Kerouac, and since I just went to a talk and book signing by this author on Friday, it’s a natural pick for the next one.


The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements – Sam Kean

Wow, what a long title! This one’s for fun, and I’m already about one-third of the way through it. Very readable for non-fiction and particularly for science-related non fiction. I’m learning a lot. I won’t spoil the “Disappearing Spoon” reference in the title in case you want to read the book yourself, just trust me that it’s a funny story…


Lost Moon – Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger

On loan from a co-worker (for a few months now), I need to get around to reading this one so I can return it (Ben Franklin would be ashamed of me!). Everyone knows the story of Apollo 13 (especially if you’ve seen the great film dramatization with Tom Hanks), but I’d like to read Lovell’s own thoughts on it as well.


Henry V – William Shakespeare

Trying to read one Shakespeare play a month this year (A Midsummer Night’s Dream and MacBeth? Already done). In 2008 I attempted a reading project which involved reading ALL of his plays (yes, overly ambitious of me) and made it about 2/3 of the way through. Unlike the prior two, this is one I didn’t get to during that project. I will break out my trusty Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare to help me find the way…

Short Stories (and something by James Alexander Thom)

My one story per week project rolls on (see my reading selections). I also would like to read something else by author James Alexander Thom, (pictured below & a favorite author of my Mom’s) who I had the pleasure of meeting in person last week. Perhaps his From Sea to Shining Sea would be the logical choice since I just read his other Lewis and Clark Expedition book (Sign Talker) last month.

Well I guess that’s about it (& isn’t that enough?!) – but what about you? What are your reading plans for March?


  1. Jillian ♣ said,

    March 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I’d really like to read Henry V. 🙂


    • Jay said,

      March 5, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      Hi Jillian,
      I’ll let you know what I think. I’m probably a bit ahead of the curve in overall Shakespeare literacy, but woefully behind when it comes to all the ‘historic’ plays. 🙂


  2. Melody said,

    March 5, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Looks like heavy reading compared to the books that I’ve been plowing through! I accidentally walked into a bookstore last week so now I have another few books that I want to read before they get lost in the mix. I do have a couple of book club books to read this month (Never Let Me Go and Cutting for Stone).

    The Disappearing Spoon looks interesting–my husband is a major math/science guy…maybe I’ll add it to the huge list of books I think he should read. 😉


    • Jay said,

      March 5, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      Hi Melody,

      I enjoyed reading Cutting for Stone last year. It’s a bit long and I didn’t finish it in time to participate in the library discussion group I was reading it for, though. It is also rather “sweeping” in scope. (I think that word is over used but not in the case of this book.)

      If your husband does math/science for a living, this book may be too “popular science-ey” for him. I read another hundred pages or so yesterday and am still finding it quite entertaining.



  3. Dale said,

    March 6, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I’m in the middle of reading “11/22/63”, my first full length Stephen King novel. It’s very enjoyable. I’ve heard it’s not like a lot of his other novels. Since it’s the first one I’ve read, I can’t compare it to anything. I’ve got “March” by Geralding Brooks on my list for the near future and also, “Kim” by Rudyard Kipling. I also got the last Amazon copy of “We Make a Life By What We Give” (Amazon was ordering some more, though). I’m looking forward to reading it. I’m continuing to read short stories, also. Most of the ones I’ll be reading in the next few weeks will be Jack London and Rudyard Kipling stories.


    • Jay said,

      March 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Dale,

      I know of a lot of people who are reading or have read the 11/22/63 book. I like King, but I’m not that interested in the whole Kennedy Assassination event for some reason – probably a result of “overexposure” to news/speculation about it over the years. Knowing a little about your reading preferences, I’d recommend “Hearts in Atlantis” by Stephen King as one of his you’d likely enjoy.

      I’m glad you are blazing a path for me through Kipling. I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve read of him so far.

      I’ll be interested to hear what you think of “We Make a Life by What We Give.” The author is one of the smartest people I’ve ever known personally. Reading the book reinforced that opinion for me. 🙂

      I recently downloaded London’s complete works to my Nook/iPad. He is rapidly becomeing a new favorite of mine too. I read “In a Far Country” last month after reading your post about it. Talk about Cabin Fever! 🙂



      • Dale said,

        March 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm

        Hey Jay! I understand the Kennedy “saturation”, but I had never thought of Stephen King using it for a novel, so I guess that’s what made me decide to read this one. It has definitely been worth it. He’s a great storyteller!


      • Jay said,

        March 19, 2012 at 7:05 am

        Hi Dale,
        You might also like King’s The Eyes of the Dragon. Not like most of his other works but a great story.


  4. Megan said,

    March 7, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Let me ask you this. You read so many books as part of book clubs or reading challenges. You say that you’re reading The Disappearing Spoon “for fun.” Do you ever feel like the books you read for challenges and book club are a burden and that you want to read more for fun? Do you miss having more spontaneity in your reading selections?

    I’m not sure I could do what you do and have such a prescribed set of books. I’m sure it would help me read things that challenged me more and be exposed to things I wouldn’t otherwise know about, but at the same time, I’d worry that it would feel like homework (and judging from last night’s dream about being back in college and suddenly realizing that I’d forgotten to go to about 3 semesters’ worth of classes, I’m not interested in homework). Do you ever feel that way?


    • Jay said,

      March 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Megan!

      I do feel that way sometimes, BUT – probably only 1/4 to 1/3 of the books are for clubs, etc. My author biography-reading project is not an on-line challenge, but one I am doing for myself, so those could be considered “fun” reads too – I’m reading them because I want to, not to keep up with a challenge someone else came up with. The only burden I feel is for the in-person book club books, which – by their nature – have a hard deadline, which doesn’t always neatly fit into my plans.

      I always think I have room for a couple books a month that are ‘wild card’ selections that get in my queue for random reasons. (Like that James Alexander Thom book last month, my Mom happened to recommend it, and based upon how much it affected her I thought I’d read it too). Also, when I look back at my prior month’s posts about “the month ahead” – there are many of my planned reads that I don’t get to that month, and some that I STILL haven’t gotten to or finished.

      I do try to keep about a four book a month pace, and I do like to have a general plan at the beginning of the month, but I don’t feel too bound or restricted by it. How’s that for a long-winded response?

      P.S. I had a dream last night that Jeopardy! finally called me to be on the show, and it was taped here in town at a bar (!) and there were about 10 contestants, no buzzers (we raised our hands if we knew the answer) and I was on the end and never got called on as “the first” to raise my hand since I was at the end(!!) How’s that for wacky?:


      • Megan said,

        March 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm

        Oh no! That really would be a nightmare, wouldn’t it? 🙂

        I have a friend who passed the recent online test and was asked to do an in-person audition, except that she lives in North Carolina and the audition is in Texas. I’m thinking she must have not filled in any location on the form or something. How frustrating, though, to get the invitation and not be able to take the audition!


      • Jay said,

        March 19, 2012 at 7:04 am

        Hi Megan,

        I noticed they’re doing another round of online auditions soon. My nephew and brother will both be trying out. I’ve decided that I’m not going to do it again after my time in the contestant pool is over. It’s frustrating waiting on a call that may never come (and having to answer all my friends, “have you heard from Jeopardy yet?” questions…)

        I have seen one woman from my group on the show (she did well, winning two days, even though I don’t remember her making a big impression on me at the in-person auditions). Some of the people they bring on the show are pretty “stiff” and seemingly “personality challenged.” Makes me feel like “a real loser” that they presumably saw more in those people an they did in me… 🙂



  5. Dave Young said,

    March 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Last year I learned that the barista, Cat Caldwell, at my local coffee shop, was also directing Shakespeare for the Eclectic Pond Theatre Company. They are producing 3-4 shows each year in the former Irvington Masonic Lodge. I have seen “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Nights Dream” this past year. Next year they will be producing “Julius Caesar” and. “Much Ado About Nothing”. Their plays are well-acted with a lot of physicality – to keep the kids interested. Some of the players also have full-time acting jobs at the Children’s Museum. They have a website, but do very little publicity. Audience size is under 30 and the ticket is $12. I am a poor judge of talent, but I was amazes that they could find enough struggling actors to pull this off. You might want to check them out.


    • Jay said,

      March 19, 2012 at 7:09 am

      Hi Dave,
      Thanks for passing that along. I know they sometimes have performances of different types at the old Lodge there in Irvington. (I used to live just a couple blocks from there) I’ve bookmarked their website and will try to keep my eyes open. I still stop in the Lazy Daze coffee shop there next door to the lodge every now and then and will pay closer attention to all the “playbills” and flyers they have on their windows.


  6. Megan said,

    March 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I just had to let you know that my boyfriend just got his invite to an in-person audition in May! Also, I don’t know if you noticed that Ken Jennings is having a contest to help name is new book. I submitted a title and it’s one of his finalists! It’s just a Jeopardy kind of day in my house!


    • Jay said,

      March 27, 2012 at 7:42 am

      hi Megan,
      That’s great news! Wish your boyfriend good luck for me! I hadn’t heard about Ken Jennings’ contest either. I follow him on Twitter, but not religiously so I probably missed it. Did you read his book that came out shortly after his run on Jeopardy!?


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