It’s that time of the semester again — the time when I begin to get a little busier and have less time for reading. Which means I begin to get anxious and to count the weeks until summer (eight weeks of class, with a spring break thrown in there and then finals week). I’m feeling like I haven’t finished a book in forever, a feeling I don’t like at all. Actually, it’s been a little less than two weeks since I finished a book, which, since I’ve got five going now, isn’t too bad, I suppose, but which still feels like a long time.
I wish I didn’t feel this way — what’s so important about finishing a book if I’m happy reading the ones I’ve got? And I am happy reading them. But I still begin to get anxious. This is the only drawback with reading multiple books at once, I’ve found. Since I don’t like to abandon any book for too long, I find myself switching back and forth amongst all my books very frequently, which means I don’t spend much time with each one, which means it takes me forever to finish what I’ve got.
Part of this feeling comes from the fact that I’m in the middle of two really big books, the Johnson bio and Proust. I’m enjoying them both — so why am I anxious to finish them? I’m also reading a book of poems, Marie Howe’s What the Living Do, which I’m liking a lot and will post on later, but I’m wishing I could get to this one more frequently. It’s the one I neglect most often, just because reading poetry takes just enough more effort that when I’m tired I won’t do it. I’m still working on The Best American Essays 2006, determined to finish the thing — and I’m finding some good essays mixed in with the mediocre ones.
And I’m also in the middle of Special Topics in Calamity Physics. I’m not sure what I think about it. At times I find myself a bit bored (which doesn’t help the anxious feeling that I need to finish it); some parts make me wonder if they are really necessary — if they add to the plot or to the ideas. The first-person voice is funny at times, moving at times, irritating at others. More on this book later.
Finally, a meme from Booking Through Thursday:
- How many books would you say you read in an average month? These days, 5 or 6. But this month I finished 3, only one of which I began in February, and one of which I began last November (a Proust volume).
- In a year? Last year it was 56.
- Over the last five years? I have no idea. I didn’t keep records in 2005, but at some point last year I tried to remember and recall only 31. Before that, I have no record at all. But this was the time in which I wrote my dissertation (yes, it took five years, from beginning the proposal to finishing it), and my reading-for-pleasure time was limited. I did a lot of article-reading and academic book-skimming though.
- The last 10? No clue here either. But this covers the time I wrote my dissertation and the time I did my graduate coursework, so I know I read a decent number of books for classes. I didn’t read for fun while taking literature classes because I didn’t have time; once I finished these, I began reading for fun again and haven’t stopped since. But “reading for fun” isn’t so clearly opposed to reading for class — I took an awful lot of novel classes and so it didn’t always feel like work.