- Meredith, Martin — The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence (736 pages)
- Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o — Wizard of the Crow (766 pages)
- Coetzee, J.M. — Life & Times of Michael K (182 pages)
- Saint-Exupery, Antoine de — The Little Prince (101 pages)
- Brunner, John — Stand on Zanzibar (661 pages)
- Dahl, Roald — Fantastic Mr Fox (79 pages)
- Walker, Barbara — TEENY-TINY and the Witch-Woman (29 pages)
- Shakespeare, William — A Midsummer Night's Dream (23 pages)
Page count: 2577.
This is the first book I've completed since the beginning of June. If we don't count the two short children's books I breezed through, it's my first book in over two months. And I hesitate even to call it a book, short as it is.* After such a long interval, you expected something more substantial, no?
Alas, pleasure reading has been a luxury I could not afford these past two months. Instead of reading, my commutes were spent silently (and occasionally not so silently) going over all the music for my two most recent gigs; and commutes are where I do the bulk of my pleasure reading.
Not that this is really pleasure reading either. Homework is more like it. I was going to finish the novel I've been reading first. I'm 400 pages into the 600-plus, and it feels twice that because of the font-size, leading, and general density of ink on the page. However, an opportunity arose this week, so I've deferred my pleasure reading once again. I happen not to be the only performer where I freelance, and that colleague is playing Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream this week. I will be playing Bottom in Benjamin Britten's adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the not-too-distant future, and I always research the source material for a role. Seeing my colleague's performance accelerated my role preparation timetable a bit, since I'd much prefer to read the play before seeing it.
I have to admit that, despite being a big fan of the Bard, I had not previously read A Midsummer Night's Dream. I'd seen it on stage at least twice, including one really intriguing staging influenced heavily by jazz and New Orleans Mardi Gras, but I've had difficulty following even so simple a story on stage because I hadn't read it. I now feel better prepared to enjoy the production tomorrow night, and, as for my production, I can focus on learning notes.
I'm not going to say anything about the actual play because I have nothing really to add. Good play, but I don't rate it amongst my favorite Shakespeare. (That distinction probably goes to either Lear or Hamlet.) I've said numerous times previously that these posts aren't necessarily meant to be book reviews, just a way for me to track my annual reading progress, so rather than add to the tons of information out there, where nothing I say would contribute anything uniquely relevant, I've posted about the circumstances rather than the content.
* In fact, no, it's not a book. Yes, you can find A Midsummer Night's Dream published as a standalone volume (in a larger font, etc., and bigger page count), but I read from my copy of Shakespeare's collected works. Nonetheless, it's a distinct entity, so I'll treat it as a distinct book.