i made a decision at the beginning of the year.
i had read probably ten books so far, and was looking over my booklist, when i noticed that of all the books i’d read so far, only one of them had been a reread. that’s kind of cool, i thought. and then i had an interesting idea. what if all the books i read this year were ones i’d never read before?
i liked it, but then i realized i would have to reread the hunger games before the movie came out to refresh my memory, because how else was i going to accurately compare the movie as derived from the book?
turns out i didn’t have time to do that, and i actually remembered the book pretty well anyway, since i basically reread it to write this post.
it also meant, and i didn’t realize this until about last week, that whenever i manage to get my hands on insurgent (which would’ve been the day it came out except i have an inexplicable dislike of hardcovers, and refuse to buy them under just about any circumstances. shauna niequist’s bittersweet is about the only exception, and i don’t even have an explanation for why), i won’t be rereading divergent. but jessica put a link on her blog to a recap by veronica roth, so it looks like that problem is solved, too. whew!
i also decided that this year, i was going to read books that broadened my perspective, which meant, much like last summer, more books i was trying on whims, more nonfiction, more memoirs, and more not-the-same-stuff-i-always-read.
some of you might remember the two pictures on instagram that came toward the end of each semester this past year, prominently displaying stacks of books, with a precise count of how many in the caption. i have been in too many libraries for too many research projects this year, i’ve decided.
& sometimes, when i am in these libraries, i have delusions about what i’ll do when i’m done researching whatever projects i’m in the middle of at the time.
for instance, i was in the library about a month ago snatching up every book i could on france in world war ii and the massacre at oradour-sur-glane four days after d-day when i saw a book entitled ten years’ exile by madame de staël. it’s the memoir of a frenchwoman who was the bane of napoleon’s existence (or probably just one of them, as i imagine napoleon had similar feelings for the british, for example, as he did for this woman).
the book is overdue at the university library, so on friday, i finally sat down to start it, get it over with, and turn it back in. it was absolutely inconceivable to me that i turn it in without reading it first. if i get a book from somewhere, i have to read it. it might take me a while, but i will read it.
so i started madame de staël’s memoir, and then i decided, as interesting as this woman is, as interesting as napoleon is, and as interesting as france and this time period and a myriad of other characteristics of the memoir i was reading are, i didn’t want to read it.
in fact, the only thing i decided i wanted to read, fresh off what felt like a thousand different research projects on a thousand different things, was fiction. good fiction, obviously, but fiction. my favorite fiction, too: colleen coble, jenny b. jones, denise hunter, and whatever else i could find that was delectably fictitious – but not anything i’d previously read before, because let’s face it, i have to stick to at least one carefully thought out decision i’ve made this year, right?
so i put it down and watched tv instead.
the next day i sat and thought about reading madame de staël again, but i still didn’t want to. and that was the point at which i finally was like, “life is too short to read a book you don’t want to read, however broadening it might be, so there,” and picked up colleen coble’s new book, which i’d bought at barnes and noble a month or so ago as a tantalizing promise that once classes were out i would indeed have a life again, and as a motivator for finishing well.
and sunday i forewent thinking about madame de staël altogether and went straight for jenny b. jones’s there you’ll find me, which i preordered last august, if you will believe it, in anticipation of its october release; received it the day before it released; didn’t have time to read it during the semester, and then just never read because i knew i was going to love it and wanted to save it for after i read other books that i had borrowed, because i had to actually give those up at some point in my life.
so there you’ll find me has languished on a shelf for months, but i finally read it sunday and it was like another breath of fresh air. fictitious fresh air, but whatever.
& i think i have finally scratched madame de staël’s memoir off my list of books to read. life is too short to read something you don’t want to when you have a stack of books waiting that you do want to read.
with that said, i’m looking for recommendations – and they don’t have to be fiction; i’ll read anything, besides madame de staël or books published by university presses – to keep me occupied in the hours i’m not working or filling out job applications. if you’ve read anything good lately, let me know!
also: my sweet friend erin is dropping a load of awesome stuff on a lucky winner, so if you like free advertisement, target, starbucks, & accessories for home and hair, you best head on over. i threw in a custom blog design, too! best of all, there’s no madame de staël to be found.