There’s not much to report on since I only managed to finish one book last October. Great. So am I going to kiss my Goodreads challenge goodbye? It says I’m five books behind schedule, and I’m not making a lot of progress with my current reads, which are both heavyweights. Perhaps I can pick up a handful of skinny books for the remaining months of the year just so I can make it through. Consider that cheating if you like, but really, I don’t think book length is an issue.
I could read a stack of lightweights and exceed my goal of 52 books, but I don’t think I can anyway. The issue is that I’m not that inspired to read a lot lately. There are a lot of things that distract me now. I’ve reverted to my eight-year-old self: playing computer games and watching gymnastics videos. I’ve already discussed my addiction to games lately, so let’s skip that. And yes, I so wanted to be a gymnast when I was a kid. I wanted to be like Vitaly Scherbo, one of the most successful gymnasts in the history of summer Olympic games (six gold medals in one Olympics) and the only gymnast to have a world title in each event. I perfected my cartwheels and hand stands, and I would have mastered a Chinese split had my father not forbidden me from my “training.”
I’ve hung out a lot with my sisters and cousins, who are all living in the province. Planning for my trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand also kept me away from books. Finally, I’ve dealt with a devastating sadness, the kind that makes you cry uncontrollably when you’re simply washing the dishes. But! I’m okay now. There’s nothing to worry about, except the back log of books and short stories to read and to review, podcasts to listen to, work to finish, etc.
- The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving – It’s a nice novel about an eccentric family living in hotels and about their changing relationships through the years. It was enjoyable but it just didn’t stick to me that well. I would have rated this one star higher had I not changed my rating policy, which is to delay the rating until I finish another book. 3 out of 5 stars.
- The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber – On page 413 out of 500. It looks like this will be the book that I will be moderating in January. I know I should have been done with this before I put it up in our book club’s poll, but I like it enough for me to discuss it with my fellow bookish friends. It’s just slowing me down because I’m listening along the audiobook version, and this I highly recommend.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling – On page 221 of 870. I’m crawling through this. I don’t know. I don’t find it as exciting as the earlier books. It could be my least favorite in the series, but that’s too early to tell considering that I’m not even a quarter through it.
- Being Dead by Jim Crace
- The Bone People by Keri Hulme
- The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
- Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
- Missing Person by Patrick Modiano
- All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews – A Folio Prize shortlistee. Even though the award is suspended for next year, I still want to collect the Folio Prize nominees. It’s a shame, really, about the suspension. The Folio Prize, which will probably be renamed after the Folio Society ended its two-year sponsorship, holds a lot of promise. The nomination and judging process is credible. Its two winners are wonderful (Tenth of December and Family Life). But does it really need to give away GBP 40k to the winner? It doesn’t have to be a rich award. Just look at the NBCC Award for Fiction. I think it doesn’t have a cash prize, and yet its list of winners is impressive. TFP just has “to celebrate the best fiction of our time, regardless of form or genre, and to bring it to the attention of as many readers as possible.” (Php 350.00, Read Up Manila, October 22)
- The Last Interview and Other Conversations: David Foster Wallace (Php 200.00, Read Up Manila, October 22)
- A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr – I’ve already read this and I just want to have my own copy. (Php 250.00, Read Up Manila, October 22)