A Blogoversary, and Reading Plans for the Month and Year

Bibliophilopolis turns five years old tomorrow, January 2nd.

Thanks to all readers and followers/ subscribers and to everyone who has commented over the years. It’s been an enriching experience for me, and I’ll try to stumble through and complete a sixth year… 🙂

January Reading: The Month Ahead

I’ve resolved to cut back on some of my book club involvement in 2015; I just had too many reading commitments last year, many of which resulted in re-reads, which I’ve also resolved to cut down on this year. That said, I have a few existing commitments that I’ll need to honor in January.

I’ll be reading my first graphic novel (if I don’t count all those Classics Illustrated comics I read when I was growing up, that is), the acclaimed “Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. This is for a book club I’ve been attending that meets at the Rathskeller Restaurant/Bar in downtown Indianapolis. It’s the club’s first graphic novel as well.

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For the Vonnegut Library book club, we’re reading Nelson Algren’s “The Man With the Golden Arm.” (pictured below – of course I picked a picture of an edition that has a spade on the cover – Deal Me In, baby! 🙂 )

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And for my Great Books Foundation discussion group, we’re reading Willa Cather‘s excellent novella, “Tom Outland’s Story.” This is technically a re-read for me, as the novella is also encapsulated in her novel, “The Professor’s House,” which I read a couple years ago.

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Then, just yesterday, I learned that NPR’s “Morning Edition” program has a book club(!) and they’re now reading Hector Tobar’s “Deep Down Dark” – the story of those 33 Chilean miners who were trapped for so many days a few years back. It sounded so interesting I bought an e-copy (before midnight last night, so I won’t be violating the TBR Double Dog Dare!). The reading is in conjunction with the author’s appearance on their program on 1/20/2015. More info may be found at: http://www.npr.org/2014/12/11/369409338/join-the-morning-edition-book-club-were-reading-deep-down-dark

I’ll admit part of my interest in this book is due to my fondness for the ending (or beginning?) of the Murakami story, “New York Mining Disaster 1941.”

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That’s four books already, so my January is pretty much spoken for. Oh, I am also about four hundred pages into George R.R. Martin’s “Feast for Crows” which I can hopefully continue to read in the background during the month and finish by month end.

There are also five Saturday’s in January, and Saturday mornings are when I draw my weekly card to determine which story I read for my Deal Me In Short Story Reading Challenge. I have a great line-up of stories to read – in random order – this year. View it here and feel free to suggest a story for my four wild cards. 🙂

2015 Reading: The Year Ahead

The “unofficial” focus of my blog in 2015 is going to be on reading more local authors. There is no shortage of material here both contemporary and classic. One thing I plan to do in the first quarter is read Lew Wallace’s classic “Ben-Hur” which has been on my shelf forever. Of course I’ve seen the movie, but never read the book, even though I lived in the same town as a Lew Wallace Museum for four years of my life(!). There are also books by Booth Tarkington (in addition to The Magnificent Ambersons) that I’d like to explore. James Whitcomb Riley is another classic Indiana author I’ve targeted. Then there’s always Kurt Vonnegut, but I’ve read everything by him already. Seriously.

(below: I own an 1887 copy of this same edition of Ben-Hur – (I think) the oldest book in my personal library)

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For contemporaries, there’s the great Indy Writes Books anthology, the short stories in which I’ve assigned to my Deal Me In project, but there is other material besides fiction in that volume. I also want to read some of the local authors in the Midwestern Gothic literary magazine.

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I also may revisit my old “Project: Shakespeare” from 2008, which I ended the year without finishing, with roughly 12 more plays to read. That’s one a month. Hmmm….

In general, I also want to read a little more non-fiction this year than I did last year, when I managed only about 25% non fiction reading. I’d prefer something closer to a 60-40 split, or at least 65-35. We’ll see how I do on that one…

But enough about me, What are YOUR reading plans for January and for 2015?

(did you see that Jeopardy! had a contestant this year named “Ben-Hur?” He was pretty good too, winning a game or two I think. Judging by the scores below, this was not one of them)

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22 Comments

  1. tracybham said,

    January 1, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Congratulations on the blogoversary. Five years is an accomplishment.

    I plan to read (my son’s copy of) Watchmen sometime this year, so I will be interested in what you think of it.

    Still working on my list for the Short Story Reading Challenge, since this is all new to me.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      January 1, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      Thank you, Tracy. I had some ‘concerns’ about reading a graphic novel, but everyone says this one is great.

      Like

  2. Candiss said,

    January 1, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Congratulations on your blogoversary, and best reading wishes for the coming year!

    Like

    • Jay said,

      January 1, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks in both, Candiss. Hope you have a great new year in 2015 – reading and overall.

      Like

  3. Dale said,

    January 1, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Congratulations, Jay! Bibliophilopolis has provided me with much to think about and much to read!

    I’m reading Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken” right now. I got it for Christmas. I’ve already seen the movie, but so far the book is still very good.

    Then my goal is to finish Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” and Fitzgerald’s “Tales of the Jazz Age”.

    I also have “The Unpersuadables” requested from the library (a Bibliophilopolis recommendation!) as well as a collection of short stories by B. J. Novak of “The Office” fame. The titles of the stories sounded very funny so we’ll see.

    I just finished reading my first short story for DMI 2015. It was Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron. Absolutely brilliant! I’ll probably post about it tomorrow or Saturday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jenvolk5 said,

      January 1, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      I loved “Unbroken” – I haven’t seen the movie yet but I heard it’s decent to the book. Curious on your take!

      Like

    • Jay said,

      January 1, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      Thanks, Dale.

      Harrison Bergeron is one of my favorites and parts of that story seem o have come true – to a degree.

      My brother’s family saw Unbroken in the theater the other day. They liked it a lot.

      I hope you enjoy The Unpersuadables, and I know you’ll like Invisible Man.

      Happy reading in 2015!

      Like

  4. jenvolk5 said,

    January 1, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I’m chuckling about Midwestern Gothic – no surprises there!!

    Like

  5. Randall said,

    January 1, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Watchmen is AWESOME. And incredibly intriguing and thought-provoking. I hope you enjoy it.

    Sounds like you will be a busy reader this year. But a busy reader is a happy reader! 🙂

    Congratulations on the blogoversary!

    Like

    • Jay said,

      January 1, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      Thanks, Randall. Glad we connected in the book blogosphere last year. Thanks for giving Watchmen your endorsement too. That makes me a little more comfortable about reading it. 🙂

      Like

  6. BookerTalk said,

    January 1, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    That’s a lot of different projects to keep juggling. You were lucky t find that book on the mining disaster just in time. Imagine your frustration if you’d heard pf that Readalong today and had to wait months before you could buy…

    Like

  7. Bellezza said,

    January 1, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    I’m sorry that I didn’t follow through so well with the short story challenge. My blogging kind of fell apart this year, both in purpose and interest. Still, I will carry on and certainly check in with what you’re reading. My biggest regret with Game of Thrones was letting too much time past between the first volume and the second..Lynne I forgot whose side everyone was on! Shall I start over?

    Like

    • Jay said,

      January 1, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      No worries. I was late in reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki too, but I did Finish and enjoy it.

      Happy reading in 2015!

      Like

  8. Bellezza said,

    January 1, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Not Lynne…then I forgot…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Saari said,

    January 2, 2015 at 2:16 am

    I was so excited when I saw Ben-Hur on your list. I read it last year and loved it. The writing is beautiful, as is the story. I am hoping to re-read it again this year. …Maybe during lent.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      January 2, 2015 at 7:58 am

      I’m glad you liked Ben-Hur. I read recently that from 1880 until 1936 (when Gone With the Wind was published) only The Bible and Uncle Tom’s Cabin outsold Ben-Hur. Pretty impressive! Yet you don’t hear about many people reading Ben-Hur today.

      Last year I did read a non-fiction book about Lew Wallace’s role in the Battle of Shiloh and how U.S. Grant allegedly used Wallace as a scapegoat for the mistakes made there. Interesting reading, which also got me interested in Lew Wallace – and Ben-Hur – again.

      Like

  10. Melissa said,

    January 2, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    I’m so excited for your 2015 reads! Watchmen was my very first graphic novel as well. I read it in 2008 and loved it. I’ve been to the Lew Wallace Museum and seen the movie, but I have also never read the book. I’m excited to get a copy of Indy Writes Books as well.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      January 2, 2015 at 7:53 pm

      Glad to hear you loved Watchmen. (It is proving difficult to find a copy so far, though – may have to resort to amazon…). IWB has been great so far. I really like the Ben Winters short story in it. It would make a great Twilight Zone episode. 🙂

      Like

  11. Jason M. said,

    January 2, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Very excited about your reading plans! Some really intriguing stuff on your list. My plan is to go through the Ian Fleming James Bond canon,a chapter (or, where appropriate, a short story) per day. A side goal is to blog about all of the ridiculously racist, sexist, or anti-Semitic material in that canon…but just reading straight through his 15 years’ worth of output would be achievement enough, if I can keep it up, LOL.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      January 2, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      Thanks, Jason. Ian Fleming would be an interesting project. (I guess I “come close” by reading “The Man with the Golden Arm” 🙂 )

      I remember when I was growing up, the ABC Sunday Night Movie would show 007 films several times I year. I got to know several of them almost verbatim.

      Liked by 1 person


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