“This was supposed to be… the Summer of George!”

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(No, no, no! George Eliot a.k.a. Maryann Evans)

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Yes, I’m a fan of the TV show Seinfeld and can rarely channel surf past one of my favorite episodes. One was when George Costanza has the “good fortune” of seeing his fiancée succumb to the “toxic glue” on their wedding invitation envelopes (see, George cut some corners and ordered the cheap stuff) thus absolving him(!) of the obligation of having to get married. Afterward, feeling like a free man again, he proclaims that this will be “The Summer of George” – where he does nothing but loaf around half-dressed in his unclean apartment, watch TV, and eat cheese straight from a huge block. Hmm… come to think of it (except for the cheese part) some of the summers of my mis-spent youth are pretty close to that mark!

Anyway, I learned that two of my preferred book clubs/discussion groups were reading George Eliot’s Middlemarch and The Mill on the Floss with “due dates” barely a week apart(!) in early September. No problem, I thought, that just means this will have to be my own “Summer of George!” And yes, certainly, one could read both of those classics easily over the course of a summer. Of course, as usual, I’m overly ambitious and failed to factor in all my other reading “obligations” that are currently outstanding. In short, I have six “serious books” that I’m supposed to read by mid-September and a few others I’ve made less official commitments to read. Here’s my list:

1. “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall for a meeting on August 7th. That’s only twelve days from now and I just bought the book today. I just realized that 8/7 is also the night of the first NFL preseason game for “my” Indianapolis Colts. Hmmm… I may have to skip that meeting. (Update: I’ve actually finished this one since I started writing this post a week ago)

2. “The Corrections” by Jonathan Franzen
This is for the August meeting of the Indy Reads Books book club. We meet on the fourth Sunday of the month (8/24); haven’t started or even bought that one.

3. “Vonnegut and Hemingway: Writers at War” by Lawrence Broer.
This is for the August meeting (8/28) of the book club of the Vonnegut Memorial Library here in town. Just bought this one on Thursday.

4. “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki” by Haruki Murakami
A favorite author’s new book that comes out on August 12th, and for which blogger Bellezza is hosting a read-along from 8/12-9/12. Reading this will not be a chore at all, though. 🙂

5 & 6 “Middlemarch” and “The Mill on the Floss” by George Eliot
I’ve yet to start either of them, I’m ashamed to say. I don’t know how I’m going to get them finished.

Others: I entered into a “verbal agreement” to read “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway with a friend. Fortunately, she hasn’t started it yet either so I’m probably going to keep quiet about it until she brings it up! I’m also mostly done with a short story anthology of “weird western” tales (“Dead Man’s Hand“). Then there’s the final two volumes of Ben H. Winters’ “The Last Policeman” trilogy. I attended the “launch party” for the third volume, which just came out, and feel like I want to read the other two and write a Big Blog Post about it…

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So, all-in-all, that’s a superhuman (well, it is if I’M the human) amount of reading for the next eight weeks or so. What are the chances I actually do it all? As my dad would have said, “You’ve got two chances: ‘slim’ and ‘none’” 🙂 Who knows, though, maybe I’ll surprise myself… What about you? Do you often find yourself “biting off more than you can chew,” reading-wise?

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