November Reading Challenge Update

Well, here we are in another month already so it’s time for another Reading Challenge Update.

I came out of retirement in the month of October to help the bookstore with some major events and conferences. That is my excuse for lapsing badly on the reading challenge. For the Goodreads challenge I am now at 35/52 of the way to my goal, 8 books behind schedule. I see success slipping away….

I only completed one book since the last update, Blindness by Jose Saramago. I read it for a book club meeting that ended up being cancelled for lack of interest. I WANT TO DISCUSS THIS BOOK WITH SOMEONE! Here is the review I posted on Goodreads:

I had trouble getting into this book, but rated it 5 stars because it is haunting and I think it will stay with me for a long time. A city is besieged by a “white plague” that suddenly and indiscriminately leaves people blind. The book follows a group of the first people blinded as they are quarantined by the government in a former insane asylum. Perhaps the best full-out exposure of humans and humanity I have ever read.

The writing style is unique in that all the dialog is written together, with no attribution to the speaker and very little punctuation. Still it feels like true conversation. At first I wondered if I would have stuck with the book if I didn’t know Saramago was a Nobel Laureate. By the end, I have no doubt that he deserves the recognition and I hope to read some of his other works.

I can’t get this book out of my head, which is part of the reason I haven’t jumped into something else. Usually, my favorite books are character driven; I love to learn about and empathize with well drawn fictional people. The book is certainly character driven, but in a very unique way. The characters aren’t named, per se, they are referred throughout as the first man who was blind, the doctor, the girl with dark glasses, etc. You don’t really learn about them as complete people and their whole life, but you learn about them intimately in the way they are in this bizarre situation. There wouldn’t have to be a sequel, but there is, and I am going to read it one of these days. Not easy to get into, but also impossible to forget.

Blindness is almost/maybe scifi, but not really. So for the One Of Everything Challenge I will use it for my general fiction book.

I had planned to pick up a poetry book that had been hanging around the house for two years now. It is called Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan. Dang if I can’t find it now. It had been recommended at a conference I attended with the bookstore and I bought it thinking I needed more poetry books hanging around the house. Perhaps at some point I decided I needed less books in general hanging around the house. Double dang. Still I’ve completed 5 of 10 tasks. At this rate I should be able to go around at least twice.

Speaking of too many books hanging around the house…

Last week for Halloween we had a record number of trick-or-treaters come by. I thought I had stocked plenty of candy and refrained from eating too much in advance, but alas I ran out by about 8:15 and resorted to emptying the coin dish of quarters (to mixed reviews from the trick-or-treaters). I lamented my candy shortage with a tweet and the husband (who was off at a neighbor’s) texted me that I should give out books. I replied that I was going to give out beer glasses. He came home.

Update to this update:

I love it how I often find something right after admitting defeat.


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