July 2 is the exact middle of the year. That is, for any nonleap year. But since 2012 has an extra day, there’s a little adjustment needed that includes an advance by a number of hours, but hey, it still falls on the same day.
But that is not the point. I just merely want to check on my reading progress for this year. When 2012 started, I set my reading goal to 52 books just because there are 52 weeks in a year. I am a slow reader, so I think one book a week is manageable.
Goodreads has this tool that tracks how many books so far have you read, and how many books ahead or behind you are. I think this tool is pretty convenient especially if you are one of those people who are dedicated to finishing the reading goals that they set for the year. I know some bookish friends are annoyed at this gadget because they are always told that they are behind. It kind of adds some pressure to read more and sacrifice the quality of reading in the process.
But if you are ahead, and way ahead, it will give you a smug pleasure and will make you read more. In my case, I am ten books ahead. Woohoo! Make that eleven, or even twelve, since I am about to finish two more books in a couple of days. But if you take a second look, that only makes 35 books read since January. I guess that’s not too shabby. At least I have set a goal that I know I can realize.
So if I am 10 books ahead, that means I can still finish my goal even if I stop reading for two months and then resume with the same pace, right? But of course, I won’t have that reading hiatus. I’m too dependent on reading now to stave out the boredom.
Let’s now do a quick check of the titles I’ve read so far.
And let’s now see which of these books are in competition for My Best Books of 2012 (in the order that I finished them).
- Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson – Graceful, quiet narrative. We read Robinson not because of the plot but because of the wonderful way she writes. One has to read slowly when reading a Robinson novel. Reading this in a hurry is plain daft. Don’t even think about it.
- Fatelessness by Imre Kertesz – This is like Holden Caulfield in the concentration camps minus the angst and whining, for there is no room for that when life is at its toughest. The matter-of-fact storytelling is so unnerving. I can’t forget how my tears rolled down the side of my face when our narrator smelled food.
- Number9Dream by David Mitchell – A wild rollercoaster ride, which is usually the case with David Mitchell. It made me hunt for that John Lennon song, and it stuck inside my head weeks after finishing the novel, along with this question: was it all a dream?
- The Piano Teacher by Elfried Jelinek – Does one seriously call this a smut? I beg to disagree! I know that this is not loved by a lot of people, but I like this because of the sheer intensity that I felt while I was reading that climactic point. I was like a crazy guy with a book in front of his face and feeling his heart hammering through his chest.
- Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion – I was totally blown away by this. Good thing that I was emotionally stable when I decided to read this because it made me feel so dead for three days that I didn’t want to work or even talk to anyone. It’s that strong. Next time, I need to check out the effects of the books that I’m reading.
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel – An enjoyable read. I really like this one despite the doubts about its originality. I really don’t care about that because nothing is purely original nowadays. And how could I forget the last time that we saw Richard, that tiger who just jumped off the boat and ran towards the jungle?
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – This is a well-loved book, but I like it because I didn’t find any dull moment. It didn’t feel like reading a classic, so one has to give credit for that. Although there are some qualms about the actions of Jane Eyre, I still feel that this is a wonderful book.
- Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem – This is a revelation. It’s my first Lethem novel and I have to admit that I underestimated him. I didn’t realize until I was done with the first chapter that he is a good one. It made me want to try other Lethem novels.
Note that these books are the ones that I have rated with five-stars. I hope to read more five-star books to make the yearend competition more exciting!