12 Books, 12 Months: Month 4 Round Up

I’m running late on this month’s round up. I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m getting ready to teach my first class, and between that and shredding and baking bread, I don’t have much mental (or physical, for that matter) energy left. Today I’m as tired as I’ve ever been, but I have a tomato keeping me on task, so no more excuses!

I’m starting to wonder if a certain amount of disappointment is inherent in the nature of To Read lists.  If you’ve been meaning to read something forever, there’s obviously something preventing you from getting to it, right? Take, for example, Amber, who vowed to take on Infinite Jest. 1104 pages are a serious commitment, which is why I’ve been putting it off for the better part of a decade. While Amber enjoyed that the book “manages to say a lot of interesting things about the human experience – particularly with regard to entertainment and addiction”, she closes by acknowledging a fear I have about the book:  “I have to be honest: I think some of the applause for this book is really in part self-congratulatory applause, for those who managed to get through it.” I’ll be interested to see the feedback this review receives, especially amongst the DFW aficionados participating in the 12 Books challenge.

Meghan was also underwhelmed by both of her reads this month: The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories and The Book of Lost Things [review].  She enjoyed the “sultry and innocent” “winding and fun to unravel” writing in the former, but found herself boring easily and struggling to finish the stories [review].  The high point of the latter was the epilogue, which she describes as “a really great short essay” attached to “not such a great full novel.”

So if it takes a challenge like 12 Books to get us to read books from our lists, are they really worth reading? Anj read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle hoping to learn a few new things about food and farming, but came away with the impression – from both the book and the audiobook – of good content being toned down [review].  Jenny was hoping for some interesting pop science from Flotsametrics and the Floating World, but wound up with autobiography and hard science, neither of which left her with “a good grasp or ability to guess why a certain type of object goes to which beach” [review].  Heidi read Midwives because a coworker gave it to her and because she’s interested in “the alternative birth community,” but found it a little too carefully written and in need of a good edit. [review]

Now that we’re a few months in, a few of us have realized that we don’t actually own (or perhaps want to read) books on our original lists.  I happily scrapped one of my books in favor of At Home: A Short History of Private Life, which I loved from start to finish.  It’s packed with fun and interesting facts, as are most of his books, except with the added bonus of many of these facts relating to your everyday life.  Seriously, I highly recommend it [review].  Grace read two books: Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman, which was on her list, and Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave, which replaced a volume she couldn’t find.  Dangerous Woman was surprisingly effective in the graphic format, while also being “informative, entertaining, and nearly impossible to put down” [review].  While a few of the personal essays in Bad Girls fell flat, a few were “the kind of bad [she could] sink [her] teeth into–not really salacious, and not hurting anybody, but just…naughty”[review].

On the other hand, Mary experienced no such disappointment with The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution, which depicted the events of the Boston Tea Party in a whole new light.  The book does an excellent job of exploring “where history comes from, who writes history, and what things are included, and what are left out”, which seems like a thought-provoking in these turbulent times [review].  Angel read Nuestra historia aun se esta escribiendo, La historia de tres generales cubano-chinos en la Revolucion Cubana, which tells the story of three Cuban generals of Chinese descent.  I know very little about Cuban history – an artifact of our continued embargo of both trade and culture – so I was interested to learn about Castro’s implementation of anti-racism legislation, which in part resulted in these generals seeing “themselves as Cubans first who just so happen to have Chinese descent”  [review].

Jill picked up The Ginger Tree because the cover seemed to promise a certain “saga-ness”, a “Calgon take me away type experience” in the form of a sweeping novel set in turn of the century Japan.  Aspects of the novel – particularly the main character’s persistent sense (or perhaps state) of being simultaneously foreign and at home – resonated with Jill,while others – including the narrative devices of diaries and letters – were frustrating, as it made it seem like the main character was constantly reacting to events, rather than acting [review].  Rebekah read Room, which was more constrained in geography but not in the imagination of the narrator, a young boy named Jack who has lived his entire life in captivity with his mother.  Room has gotten a lot of press, which Rebekah notes in her review, but her reflections on Ma’s parenting and on the way Jack’s narration conveys his sense of un/reality made me even more curious to read the book.

Mark was an overachiever and read three books this month – he’s more than half done with his list!  First, he felt that Reading and Writing the Electronic Book could serve as a “gateway to the assorted literature(s) of studies on ebooks,” but it has fallen out of date since being published in 2010 and is fraught with serious omissions and typos [review].   Second, Seven Nights , a “slim volume of essays based on seven lectures Borges gave in Buenos Aires between June and August 1977,” was interesting and provided contextual and historical information on a variety of topics [review].  Finally, he read Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening , which “rejects the religion of Buddhism…in favor of the actions of Buddhism.  It also remains agnostic on the more metaphysical aspects, such as karma and rebirth.”  He liked that the “four ennobling truths – anguish, its origins, its cessation, and the path” – are interpreted as challenges to act, rather than tenets of belief, which I found intriguing [review].

Another great month, you guys!  In four months, we’ve collectively read 71 works from our lists – as well as a fair number of other things.  Based on the reviews that have been posted since I started working on this last week, I’m already looking forward to next month’s round up.

12 Books #3: At Home

At Home: A Short History of Private Life wasn’t on my list, but since I was too wrapped up in it to read anything else this month, I’m going to count it towards my 12 books.  It’s my challenge.  I can do what I want.  Besides, it turns out that I don’t own The Accidental Tourist, so I was down one from my list anyway.

Let me get this out of the way: I love Bill Bryson.  Love him.  I’ve read In A Sunburned Country enough times that I can tell Bryson’s anecdotes as if they were my own.  I don’t feel as passionately about everything he’s written, but I am predisposed to enjoy his work.

That said: At Home is excellent.  After taking on science and history in his last big fat work of non-fiction, in this book Bryson restricts his focus to the four walls of his home – and the curious and complicated ways that the things we encounter in our domestic spheres came to be there.  With every chapter – each focused on a different room, feature, or appliance – I learned something new and more often than not found myself laughing out loud.  Among other things, I learned that:

  • Someone thought it was a good idea to burn lime for lighting, hence the term limelight – except that it is incredibly hot and dangerous.
  • Science isn’t really sure why whales produce spermaceti, the oil for which they were hunted – to devastating effect – right up to the 20th century.
  • A lot of really ridiculous British homes were built for no good reason, and many of them didn’t survive the agricultural and sociopolitical challenges of the 19th-20th centuries.
  • Thomas Jefferson wasn’t a fan of stairs, but he did have a set of double doors rigged up so that if you opened one, the other opened automatically.  It wasn’t until sometime in the 20th century that preservationists figured out how he did it.
  • Thomas Jefferson may not have invented French fries, but he is almost certainly responsible for them being described as such.

See what I mean?  The whole book is packed full of anecdotes and factoids, the sorts of things that will come in handy when you’re walking through a museum and happen across a photo of a man wearing bizarre sunglasses to protect his eyes against the Argand lamp, a predecessor of the kerosene lamp.  It’s fascinating, fun stuff, and I highly recommend it to anyone with more than a passing interest in domesticity, history, or anything tangentially related to either.

12 Books, 12 Months: Month 3 Round Up

I have a confession to make: I didn’t read anything from my list in November. In fact, I spent most of the month trying to get through an issue of Vanity Fair. One of these days I’ll tell you how I feel about Vanity Fair, but now is not the time. Now is the time to tell you what everyone else read.

Angel knocked two books off his list: The Planets and The Forever War.  While he felt that The Planets wasn’t Sobel’s best, he did enjoy a “journey through time from the ancients’ view of the planets and stars to today’s astronomers using the latest and best telescopes” [review].  The Forever War was a reread – enjoyable science fiction with great social commentary and surprising relevancy given the current war on terror. [review]

Eva read The Crofter and the Laird and wrote the shortest review ever, which I will quote here in its entirety: “It was good.  You should read it.”

J Harker also knocked off two books: Assassin’s Quest and Machine of Death.  The former had flying dragons on the cover, but managed to avoid “cookie cutter” fantasy plots and so was a fitting and enjoyable final volume in the Farseer Trilogy [review].  The latter, a collection of short stories compiled by several webcomic authors, was great in concept – giving struggling artists a chance to publish – but not so much in execution.  His review goes so far as to say: “Out of the thirty stories, there were at least seven I couldn’t finish and another five I wish I hadn’t.”

Jill read Diving into the Wreck, a “space opera” about “a woman who explores abandoned and wrecked space ships”.  My favorite part of Jill’s review might be the “(Cue ominous music)” – I also enjoy how she separates the story – which she enjoyed – from the problematic technical aspects of the book.

Lanea read London Fields – a dense and brilliant book set at the turn of the millennium, in “a future of excess, environmental decay, international disputes, and general unpleasantness.”  The story involves a woman who knows she will be murdered, an author who takes up her story, and a couple of murder suspects – not particularly likable characters, but Amis makes the reader enjoy them anyway. [review]

Mark read Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services.  He first read Kulthau’s work in 2004 when in library school, and his observations held true upon reading the complete volume.  Kulthau presents a process model for information seeking that is based in Constructivist, Personal construct, and Integrated theories and perspectives, and so challenges the predominant paradigms in our field. [review]

Meghan read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running during NaNoWriMo, which she found particularly appropriate.  She wrote: “Murakami connects running in and training for marathons with his writing and with aging in a way that is peaceful and reassuring.” [review]

Rebekah read The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, recognizing from the beginning that she would have a hard time separating this memoir of Mormon singleness from her own experience.  However she wrote that “the editor in me begged to push her (over and over again) for more personal authenticity than glibness.”  In summary, “It’s got a bit of an Eat, Pray, Love end-vibe (minus the Love), but again, it ends up being a funny, if overall minor work.” [review]

Sara actually read FOUR books this month and summarized them all in one review.  I don’t think I can do her post justice in a short paragraph – in addition to reading (or trying to read) four books in a series about history, time travel, and WWII England, she also read a short story by the same author that provided context and foundation for the series – and the Jerome K Jerome novel that inspired it.  If you only click through to one other post from this summary, I’d recommend Sara’s, as it’s thoughtful, comprehensive, and enjoyable.

The Girl Works read The Heretic’s Apprentice, the latest in her comprehensive read of The Cadfael Chronicles.  She writes that one of the things she loves most about the series is the “funny, old, unexpected, chewable words…They make reading aloud fun, and pausing to silently mouth unfamiliar syllables almost as enjoyable.” [review]

So there you have it, another month’s worth of books.  I apologize if I missed your review, or slotted it into the wrong month.  I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one swapping out books based on availability or interest.  And I look forward to your reviews!

12 Books, 12 Months: Month 2 Round Up

October was heavy on non-fiction for the 12 Books crew.  We had fewer readers reporting in this month, but a few of those who did post their reviews posted more than one.  On an administrative note, I’ve decided that if you don’t post a review for two months running, you won’t be included in subsequent roundups UNLESS you let me know that you’ve posted.  You can do this by commenting on a 12 Books post here, dropping me an email, or linking back to a 12 Books post from your blog.

The funny:
My favorite part of Jill‘s review of When You are Engulfed in Flames was her observation that David Sedaris is “suffering from ‘successful comedian syndrome’ where there are lots of observations about hotels and airplanes.”  As is often the case with Sedaris, when he’s good, he’s really really good, and when he’s bad, he’s still funny.  Leah had a good giggle at Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing Of The Dog…), though she found its archness a bit trying [review].  Sara will also be reading Three Men in a Boat, so I’ll look forward to seeing if her experience mirrors Leah’s.

The poetic:
Lanea read Possession, a dense and multi-faceted romance that explores “Breton and Scandinavian mythology, poetry, feminist theory, embroidery and knitting, the nature of love, the nature of poetry, [and] the nature of translation and retellings of myths”.  It’s a dense and enthralling work of fiction, and while it could have used a tighter edit, Lanea mostly loved it [review].  A more accessibly layered work might be The Various, which Anj also loved [review].

Mark‘s two reads were poetic in form and content: Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse, which he described as both ancient and postmodern [review], and More than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor, “an excellent introduction to how our language and thought processes work” [review].  My read for this month –  The Points of My Compass: Letters from the East, the West, the North, the South – wasn’t so much poetic as it was exquisitely eloquent, opening with an invocation of the world that White, in middle age, loves “as passionately as though I were young” [review].  Glorious.

Mike fell in love with Junot Díaz by way of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, whose lush and vivid prose rendered Santo Domingo so convincingly that he “could almost smell sizzling meat mixed with bus exhaust” [review].   Mike also read Cherry, which he enjoyed with some reservations, some of which resulted from Karr’s habit of interrupting herself [review].

The thought-provoking:
Amber
read Sex at Dawn, which challenged her assumptions about sex and intimate relationships.  She had a hard time reconciling her experience of marriage and intimacy with the evolutionary history of those things – and found no easy answers from the authors [review].  Sara wondered if the title of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ got in the way of the intended experience of the text.  That said, she felt that Pullman “managed to put some realistic human angles into the story of the gospels yet keep some of the original fairy tale aspects, too.” [review]

Angel struggled through Ensayo sobre la ceguera due to the subject matter and the pace of Saramago’s writing.  The novel presented society at its worst, affirming very negative views of humanity [review].  On a more positive note, Out of Yarn enjoyed The Art of War, though she doesn’t seem to have bought into the cult that surrounds this text.  She summarized one of the main tenets, stating that one should “appraise each {action) in terms of what is right or honorable, the larger climate in which one is operating, the immediate local environment, capabilities of self and ”doctrine” [review].  In contrast to both of these, Anj also read The World Without Us, a thought experiment about what might (will?) happen after the end of the human race, which she found fascinating and challenging [review].

The uncategorized:
Heidi read Lord of the Flies, which she somehow missed in her many years of public education.  Her review is short and to the point: “The stick is sharpened at both ends.” Grace was disappointed by Our Bodies, Ourselves and the Work of Writing, which was more about Our Bodies, Ourselves as a text than as a historical source.[review]

12 Books #2: The Points of My Compass

Brass Sundial Compass 3For most of us, the name E.B. White conjures up one of two things: the charming animal stories of our childhood – Charlotte’s Web, Trumpet of the Swan, or Stuart Little – or The Elements of Style, the authoritative manual written by White’s mentor and revised by White in the 1950s.  It wasn’t until I read The Points of My Compass that I discovered the E.B. White that made both of those previous associations possible – the New Yorker columnist, the thoughtful essayist, the man of farm and city.

The essays which comprise this volume are from a period when White styled himself as a foreign correspondent – who didn’t leave home.  In the spirit of fashionable bylines from Paris or Beijing, his letters came from all points of the compass – that is, a compass aligned with his apartment in New York.  Most essays are appended with a postscript written at the time they were compiled into this volume – commentary on his own commentary, or an update on the direction of world events during a tumultuous, exciting, and often bewildering period of American history.  In the introduction to the volume, White compares revisiting these essays to an afternoon spent in the attic with an box of old love letters:

“The world that I’m in love with has not resisted my advances with anything like the firmness it is capable of, and I love it as passionately as though I were young, and so it’s no wonder I have been heavily involved, no wonder an occasional passage in [the letters that make up this book] makes me wince.”

And with that, I was hooked.  The letters range in topic from the characteristics of New York pigeons to the nature of the newly-formed United Nations to the fate of the railroads in the state of Maine.  Each is quiet, thoughtful, and absolutely anchored to the real world, a rare trait in political essays.  I was shocked by the currency of his observations – change a few facts, and many of the essays could’ve been published in the New Yorker in the last year.  Like this:

“The farm as a source of individual need and a supplier of personal wants has almost vanished from the scene.  In its place is a sort of dirt-factory operation, and the land is not so much cultivated as it is mined for gold.  Curiously enough, among the new farmers who are still doing things in an old-fashioned or backhanded way are fellows like me, not truly countrymen at all but merely dudes who have the time or the money, or both, for such bygone frivolities as raising some of the stuff they eat and drink.”

Not so different from this, which makes me sad.  But that’s the way with these essays – they are at turns sobering and heartwarming, pastoral and urban, equally likely to provoke a smile or a frown.  They’re wonderful.  I can’t recommend this book enough.

Photo by Lost Bob Photos

12 Books, 12 Months: Month 1 Round Up

As convener of this challenge, it’s my privilege to make the rounds of your reviews, reading about things that I wouldn’t have otherwise, well, read about.  In some cases, this means that your reviews are directly contributing to the growth of my To Read list, as with The Girl Works and her brief but evocative review of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.  On the flip side, many of us are using 12 Books to challenge ourselves to read things we’ve been meaning to read but have thus far avoided.  In Eric‘s case, this means an in-depth read of the United States Code, Title 17 §101-3 [review pt 1, 2, 3].  I envy his dedication and interest in the subject, and I expect to learn a great deal about what and who precisely are covered by copyright – something I’m unlikely to do on my own.

Fiction:

Lanea read A Mercy: A Novel after listening to the audiobook (read by Toni Morrison herself), and greatly preferred the former to the latter.  On the page, Morrison’s meticulously researched exploration of the multi-racial slave system and the many associated issues made for a compelling read [review]. Eva enjoyed the way the author of Little Bee conveyed the sense of the main character’s foreignness without making her speech difficult to read.  The author does a similarly wonderful job with the big issues encountered in the story, allowing the reader to interpret without feeling manipulated [review].

In a completely different direction, Meghan read Out and found herself feeling conflicted between her identification with the main character and her horror at the character’s actions [review]. Mike didn’t experience the same sort of conflict with the monstrous main character – Ignatius J. Reilly –  in A Confederacy of Dunces.  Where many readers perceive Reilly as repulsive, Mike found him hilarious, though he felt that other characters were less well-written [review].

Mike had no such problem with Asterios Polyp, which he found to be among the most subtle and ambitious graphic novels he’s read [review].  I read it last year and had a similar experience of wondering how I was reading and processing the interaction between text and image.  J Harker read The Sandman: Book of Dreams, in which physical characters are sometimes little more than evoked concepts – an intriguing challenge [review]

Anj read Inkdeath, the last volume in a trilogy that she seems to have otherwise enjoyed. Inkdeath, however, plodded on towards an ending that seems to have been determined before the rest of the plot [review]. Jill read Soulless and came away with many of the same impressions – an entertaining and clever read, but with serious tone and plot issues [review]. I had a similar experience with The Winter Queen, which was both plodding and a bit predictable, though I realized after the fact that this may have been the author’s intent [review].  Grace read Norwegian Wood and felt like her experience of the book was shortchanged by the author’s influence on two decades of subsequent fiction.  The aspects of the book that might’ve been ground-breaking in the 80s felt trite 20 years on [review].

To end on a positive note, our final entry on the fiction front is Rebekah‘s read of Under the Dome, which she gave a qualified B-, not great in terms of the King oeuvre, but an entertaining read nonetheless [review].

Non-Fiction:

Amber read The One-Week Job Project: One Man, One Year, 52 Jobs, which didn’t quite live up to her expectations. Instead of an overview of 52 different careers, she found it to be a somewhat pedantic exercise in finding oneself [review].  On the flip side, Shane read Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly and found it refreshingly honest.  Rather than presenting the world of professional chefdom in the soft light favored by the Food Network, Bourdain makes it clear that it’s “a very hard job, with very long hours, surrounded by people talking about their dicks”  [review].

Jenny read A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again – the first of the David Foster Wallace reviews of this challenge.  In summary, reading DFW reminded her “of the depressive English major we all dated in college.”  Jenny ALSO read and was underwhelmed by Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness, a collection of short stories that was more about author Jon Ronson’s family than about terrorists (or psychiatrists!).  The last two stories redeemed an otherwise disappointing read [review].    Leah was put off by many aspects of Songs of Three Islands: A Story of Mental Illness in an Iconic American Family, not the least of which were the author’s exceptionally privileged circumstances.  As a result, she found it hard to engage with the author’s lifestyle or journey to enlightenment [review].

Mark read The Footnote: A Curious History and found it to be both more and less than he expected.  Unless you’re really, really into footnotes, you can probably just read the epilogue [review].  More interesting was The People’s Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century, read by Mary, who works at The Henry Ford.  I love the anecdote she shared about the Fords going “camping”, complete with servants and fine china [review]!  Similarly intriguing was Sara‘s review of  A Short History of Myth – the first in a series of authors from different countries interpreting their cultures’ myths.  Sara said that “the last twelve pages of the book are some of the best twelve pages [she has] ever read,” which is as stunning an endorsement as I can imagine.  I feel like whatever I say here gives short shrift to Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology, which sounds like a fascinating volume with a very self-explanatory title.  Just go over and read Grace‘s review.

In summary, some hits, some misses, and a few new books added to my To Read list.  I’m already looking forward to the next round of reviews, and I’m loving The Points of My Compass, which is surprisingly moving and timely for a book of essays published half a century ago.  Speaking of which, I think it’s time to go read in bed…

12 Books #1: The Winter Queen

Erast Fandorin, a clerk in the Moscow Criminal Investigations Department, suspects there is more to the suicide of a wealthy youth than meets the eye. There has to be, as otherwise the mystery would be solved after 40 pages, and then what the author talk about for the remaining 200 pages? In the course of his investigation, Fandorin encounters sinister parlor games, multi-national charitable organizations, the murky Thames, enchanting women, and a fake mustache. Much is revealed, but mysteries remain.

The Winter Queen was my first selection in the 12 Books, 12 Months challenge, and as Shane suggested last night, I probably wouldn’t have finished it if I hadn’t committed to reading it. A few things contributed to my disinterest:

  • The Winter Queen is the first in a planned sequence of 16 Fandorin books, each exploring a different sub-genre of the detective novel. I don’t generally read mysteries – heck, I don’t generally read much fiction. As a result, I probably missed out on the subtleties of Akunin’s exploration of the genre.
  • I didn’t know anything about the concept of the sequence before I read the book, but I did know that this was one of ten currently published Fandorin novels – which, as with the James Bond movies, made it hard to be too anxious for our hero, since I knew he would return at least nine more times,
  • On a related note, I told Shane that reading The Winter Queen felt like reading an early Bond movie. (I haven’t read any of the Bond novels, so I can’t fairly make that comparison.) Of course there’s a femme fatale. Of course there’s a mysterious plot that requires travel to glamorous locations. Of course the big reveal takes place when the hero is in mortal peril, and of course you’re left wondering if the villain’s end is really what it seems. This makes more sense now that I know that this is the “conspiracy mystery” in the sequence – however this knowledge hasn’t helped me to shake my vaguely campy cloak-and-dagger impressions.
  • For a story rife with murder most foul, I felt like the author relied too much on monologue and not enough on action. The Wikipedia entry mentions that Akunin intended the Fandorin sequence to be a response to the sex-and-gore-laden detective novels of the post-Soviet era, but I feel that he went a little too far in his chaste pursuit. In this respect, it felt a little like a grown up Series of Unfortunate Events – bad things are happening, but often off-screen (or page, as it were).
  • Finally, I’m just not all that familiar with the cultural context in which the novel takes place. I read Anna Karenina at the ripe age of 13, but that was my last venture into 19th century Russia. Were I more versed in this period, I might have enjoyed the novel more. Similarly, I might have enjoyed The Winter Queen more in Akunin’s native Russian. Alas, I read it in translation, and almost completely devoid of context, both of which probably make me some kind of literary rube.

In conclusion, I think this is a perfectly worthwhile detective novel, and fans of the genre or aficionados of Russian literature might enjoy it greatly, especially if said fans are inclined to read the entire series. I, however, am neither a fan of the genre or of Russian literature, and so I will bid both farewell with this review.

12 Books Sign-up Round-up: Bonus Edition!

I’ll be honest – I’m having a hard time with The Winter Queen.  It was the only book I took with me while we were off eating our way through San Francisco, yet I managed to read barely 50 pages while reading all of three fat magazines, knitting two Christmas presents, and hand-writing extensive blog notes about our trip.  So, sigh, I’m glad I have this challenge to keep me honest.

A few lists and sign-ups arrived in my inbox while I was away  A big welcome to: Anj, Jennifer, Out of Yarn, Sara, and Unmitigated Me.  And you can now peruse lists from: Amy, Lanea, Nanette, Rebekah, and Stephanie.

12 Books Sign-up Round-up

The interest in this challenge has proved wildly greater than anything I expected!  So far we have 181 unique titles and 164 unique authors on our reading list.  David Foster Wallace is the most popular author, with 4 titles to be read, and Infinite Jest is the most popular title, with 3 committed readers.  We have 30 odd participants based on responses to my post(s) and to the posts of my respondents.  This challenge seems to have gone all meme-like, though, so if you’ve come from further afield, or if I missed you, please feel free to  leave a comment or email me to get added to the first round-up!

Reviews will be posted all over the place, as was suggested in the original challenge.  At the end of each month, I’ll work my way through the Internet to round them up, and will post highlights and links here.  I’ve added links to participants’ blogs or websites in the sidebar over here ————————————–> so please feel free to pay your co-participants a visit!  You can also click through to view their publicly posted lists here:
Amber, Eric, Grace, Heidi, J Harker, Jackie, Jenny, Jill, Leah, Linda, Mark, Meghan, Mike, Shane (in comments), Stacey, The Girl Works
I’m still looking for lists from: Amy, Dan, Eva, Jenn, Karin, Kasia, Lanea, Mary, Nanette, Rebekah, Stephanie

Happy reading, and I’ll check in with you in about a month!

I know, I know – I’m jumping the gun a little, I’m in the Eastern time zone, and it’s barely even lunchtime here, but I’m leaving in half an hour to drive across the state and then fly across the country, so cut me some slack, will ya?  I’ll return the favor when it’s September 6, 2011, and you’re still posting your final reviews.  🙂

2 days to #12books!

Wow, guys, you’re totally blowing me away with your enthusiasm and also your impressive reading lists!

Shane and I are off to San Francisco for our honeymoon on Wednesday, so look for the sign up round up post towards the end of the week, and for reviews from both of us of our first books when we get home!  For the record, I’ve started with The Winter Queen, while Shane is reading Kitchen Confidential on his new and fancy-pants Kindle.