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Mar. 7th, 2005

The last couple of nights I haven't gotten to sleep until about quarter to 5. Friday night was intentional; last night was not. During one of my prolonged fits of wakefulness last night, I decided to read through a few friends' friends' posts. I saw a reference in bbbsg's journal to the 50bookchallenge community. I looked it over and decided to join. This evening, I unjoined, since I simply cannot handle the sheer number of posts in a community.

However, I like the purpose behind that community. They have a stated goal of reading at least 50 books during the year. I would very much like to meet that goal, although it seems unlikely I will unless I move to England soon or find a lot more free time on my hands that I don't spend on non-reading activities.

Here's what I've read so far in 2005:
  1. Profiles in Courage
  2. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  3. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
  4. Life, the Universe and Everything
  5. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
  6. Mostly Harmless
  7. American Gods
  8. A Grief Observed
In the next month I will be reading Flannery O'Connor's Everything That Rises Must Converge, which is technically a collection of stories but I will count it as a book for the purposes of this tally. Likewise, if I get around to reading the other stories in my book of Victorian Tales that I was reading in early January, I'll include that. I've got lots of titles to choose from for other reading and might start Cryptonomicon, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the second Harry Potter book, or Many Waters.

Anyway, I'm really going to make an effort to read the 50 books, something I've never come close to accomplishing before. I'm just not going to avail myself of the community. Y'all might have to play proxy: that is, I might need to be prodded or encouraged sometimes, and recommendations on titles are always welcome.

Now, enough writing -- it's time to read!


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 7th, 2005 11:38 am (UTC)
Book of the Week Club
For a slow reader to commit to reading a book each week, plus catching up on those you haven't read up to this point, by the end of the year is overwhelming. Don't you think, though, that quality is more important than quantity? With a goal like this, you aren't about to pick up a copy of "The Tale of Gengi" (our copy runs nearly 1,200 pages) or Wolfram's "A New Kind of Science" (most people read just the first three chapters of this heavyweight).
Mar. 7th, 2005 11:46 am (UTC)
Re: Book of the Week Club
Without a recommendation, I was unlikely to have picked these up anyway. Besides, I am finding that I am reading faster. I finished The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and American Gods in fairly short order, and they are not short volumes.

I won't be choosing my reading material based solely on its length. Most of the things I am interested in are in the 200-400 page range. Cryptonomicon, which I'll be starting in the next month or two, is over 900 pages.
Mar. 7th, 2005 12:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Book of the Week Club
"Cryptonomicon" sounds like something from Lovecraft or his followers.

Hawking's "The Universe in a Nutshell" is only a bit over 200 pages but not to be dismissed lightly. A lighter treatment, Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything", at over 500 pages, is a lighter read.

But you'll never run out of good books that are free:


(Or .com or .org, I can't look it up right now.) There are over 15,000 books there just from Project Gutenberg plus a dozen other book collections from a variety of sources.

And there are books not intended simply to be read. Julia Cameron has produced a series of creativity workbooks which, if you do at least some of the projects, will take you years to finish: "The Artist's Way", "The Right to Write", "God is No Laughing Matter", "The Sound of Paper" and a whole lot more. They are fun for group study.

I commend your project and hope you do as well as you desire.
Mar. 7th, 2005 12:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Book of the Week Club
Cryptonomicon is by Neal Stephenson, author of Snow Crash and Quicksilver, amongst others. I think you might like it, based on the genre and description. Here is a link to Amazon's description. If you want, I can send this book your way when I am done reading it.
Mar. 7th, 2005 01:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Book of the Week Club
Okay, I saw no reference to Lovecraft. The title sounds like the book of evil that Lovecraft invented, though.

By the way, I checked and it is pgcc.net.

Yes, do send it. I'll have to work it in somehow.
Mar. 7th, 2005 01:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Book of the Week Club
Okay. It may be a while before I'm done, 'cause I don't think I'm going to attempt the whole thing straight through but rather break it into chunks.

As for pgcc.net: while I find the project admirable, I could never read books online. It's useful to have them available online for a number of reasons, but the eyestrain would kill me and I would miss out on the tactile experience of having a book in my hands, flipping back-and-forth through the pages, marking the margins or text if I so choose, carrying it around wherever I go, reading it on the the porcelain throne, and so on. ;)
Mar. 7th, 2005 01:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Book of the Week Club
Download. Print.
Mar. 7th, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Book of the Week Club
Even if I owned a printer, it's cheaper to buy the book. Paper and ink are expensive! Due to the cost of ink cartridges, it's cheaper to go to a Kinko's and spend 10¢ a page.

Besides, the feel is not the same -- the tactile experience is an important component of reading to me.
Mar. 7th, 2005 07:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Book of the Week Club
Kinko's isn't the only place to have things printed and I wouldn't pay over two cents a page. But then I'm perfectly happy reading books on my handheld as long as the battery holds up.
Mar. 7th, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Book of the Week Club
I have no idea how much Kinko's or any other place charges. That wasn't the point. The point is that if you bought a brand-new cartridge and sent enough print jobs to the printer to completely exhaust the new cartridge, you would find that you paid more per page, because of the cost of the cartridge, than if you were to go someplace to have it printed.
Mar. 8th, 2005 09:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Book of the Week Club
Or, now that laser printers are dropping in price, you could print it for much less on a laser printer. Which, I know, is once more beside the point.

Somebody is printing things cheaply using some variation on Print-On-Demand technology. You start with a text file of some kind (downloaded, CD-ROM or DVD), send it into the POD process, and out pops a book. We aren't too far from that process becoming cheap. As far as I can tell, a 300 page book in 5.5x8.5 inch format should print and bind for under $5, after which the people doing the work take a big slice for their part of the job.

That could cost a lot of dead trees.
Mar. 8th, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Book of the Week Club
In response, I say check out my latest post.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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