Progress Report

Here it is over halfway though October already, and I am pretty much on pace to get all my “required reading” done. I’ve finished Mockingjay and the collection of H.G. Wells short stories. I’ve got about ten short stories to go in Welcome to the Monkey House (Kurt Vonnegut). And am now also about 25% into Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain.

The latter book is proving to be slow going for me. “It’s not my fault,” though, as I was literally 50+ pages into the book before any real action occurred. Frazier is wonderful (as he also was in the book, Thirteen Moons, which my book club read a couple years ago) at prose that is descriptive of the natural world, and I am enjoying this side of the book. The flow of book, however, is rather confounding to the reader. We keep switching back and forth between the main characters, Inman and Ada, but within their stories are several flashbacks and sometimes flashbacks within flashbacks. It’s difficult to keep the “target” in view sometimes, but I have managed to stay with it thus far – albeit at the cost of very slow reading (this is a two minutes per page book for me so far; I hate slogging through at that pace). Anyway, enough whining. I’m hoping to finish it and the Vonnegut short story collection by the end of this coming weekend, which will leave me time to focus the rest of the month on a “new discovery.”

Next up for me (and I confess I read about thirty pages into it this past weekend when I got frustrated with my progress toward Cold Mountain) is Thomas Hardy’s Two on a Tower. Somehow, knowledge of this book’s existence had escaped me until recently – and I count myself a Thomas Hardy fan – when I learned of it via Chris’s great blog, ProSe (Chris is another of that too rare species: the male book blogger).  His review of Two on a Tower can be found here.  I was able to download it for free to my Nook and it hasn’t disappointed in the early going. Hardy’s Return of the Native and Jude the Obscure are both among my favorite classics, with Tess of the d’Urbervilles earning honorable mention” as well. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of Two on a Tower.