October Reading – The Month Ahead

I’ve been a bit of a reading slacker this year compared to the last three years. I’ll probably even end up a few books short of my unofficial “par score” of fifty books in 2013. Part of this is because my blog’s focus seems to keep slanting more toward short stories, which, honestly, was not my original intent. As a fairly busy person, though, it’s a logical practical decision to read more shorter works. We’ll see if the trend continues into 2014, when I hope to take my annual short story reading project “public” and make it a reading challenge that hopefully other bloggers or readers will participate in. Anyway, back to October 🙂


I am going to revisit Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” as it is the October reading selection of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library’s  book club. What’s more, I’m supposed to lead the discussion, so I’d better be prepared. It’s an awesome book, though. I could probably just ask one question and let everyone talk for the next hour, but I’ll try to add a little more value than that.


I’m also currently reading a great non-fiction book called “Osman’s Dream.” It’s by Caroline Finkel and is a history of the Ottoman Empire (Osman being the first Sultan of that mysterious – to me, anyway – entity). I’ve learned a lot so far in just the first eighty pages, but look forward to becoming a little more conversant with that corner of world history, which I’ve hitherto neglected.

Bookmama’s bookstore is having a discussion of Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth” next week. I’ve read it before, but may revisit in time to drop by and attend. As a kid, I always loved the movie version with James Mason and Pat Boone(!)

(below: James Mason leads his intrepid group of explorers deeper into Carlsbad Caverns… oops, er, I mean The Centre of the Earth!)


I also plan to read Jack London’s novella, “Before Adam.” Recommended by an old college/H.S. classmate of mine, I tried a few pages a couple of weeks ago and the premise is fascinating…


Since it’s October, I’m sure I’ll also squeeze in some ghost or horror stories (I bought a new anthology recently!) and hopefully blog about a few for the R.I.P. Challenge, to which I’ve already contributed a couple posts.

Let’s see, what else… I’ll continue reading stories for my “Project: Deal Me In” annual short story challenge, and there are a couple other books that I’ve read a few pages into but haven’t really officially “started” yet, those being Ruth Ozeki’s “A Tale for the Time Being” (which I got far enough into to appreciate that that title doesn’t quite mean what you would think… & It’s also a finalist for the coveted Mann-Booker prize!).


Also there’s James Alexander Thom’s “St. Patrick’s Batallion,” which is much shorter than his other books that I’ve read, so I should be able to knock it out in a few days, right? 🙂


That’s it for my plans, but what about YOU? What are you planning to read this month?


  1. Dale said,

    October 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I’m in the middle of The Picture of Dorian Gray and I plan on reading The Hounds of the Baskerville (those are my October scary stories). The number of books I’ve read this year is woefully short of my goal – but I feel like War and Peace,Gone With the Wind, and Moby Dick are valid excuses. And reading short Steinbeck novels helped me catch up a little.


    • Jay said,

      October 3, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Dale, in my “book” you’ve earned an exemption this year for tackling those weighty tomes!

      The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favorites. I wish Wilde had written more novels.


  2. Paula Cappa said,

    October 4, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I like your thoughts on short story reading challenge. I read two or three shorts a week and then I usually have a novel I’m reading as well which takes me a very long time to finish. I’ll look forward to your post about shorties!


    • Jay said,

      October 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      Thanks, Paula. I’ve got a bunch of notes together on my “public” short story “Deal Me In” reading challenge. Hopefully I can get a few other readers to play along in 2014. Dale at Mirror With Clouds (linked in my blogroll) has participated diligently this year, putting me to shame as he blogs about every story he reads, whereas I’m only posting about 2/3 of mine. 🙂



  3. Dee said,

    October 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Currently reading The Orientalist (non-fiction) by Tom Reiss …. the search for the real author of Ali and Nino … a 1930’s love story between a Muslim and Jew in Baku, Azerbaijan … Just finiished The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov …. I am thrilled to have found these books ….Also read this month: The Remains of the Day and The Sheltering Sky and Kawabata’s House of the Sleeping Beauties …. Wow! a really good month – but then I was on “vacation” visiting grand children so I had more time than usual.


    • Jay said,

      October 9, 2013 at 7:00 am

      Hi Dee,
      Your reading pace is putting me to shame! 🙂 Those non-fiction books sound very interesting too. I’m getting bogged down in my history of the Ottoman Emoire book, but look forward to getting some more non-fiction in soon.


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