Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Reading and Bookish Plans.

I am incredibly fond of organization when it comes to certain things. While I may leave my dirty laundry two feet away from the hamper, I am incredibly organized when it comes to things like school, writing, and blogging. Matt thinks it is hysterical that I make list after list, but my method works for me. I keep small notebooks filled with "to-do" lists all neatly written and checked off. That was how I managed to take 20 credits a semester in college and survive.

It was also how I managed working two jobs for three months.

Anyway, all of my lists, post-its, calendars, and planners keep me on track. I go insane without them from having too many options. That is why my book list has worked for so long and why I am still chugging along almost two full years into the project.

However, all my methods of organization are sometimes too much for me to keep up with, so I am making some goals of bookish things that need to get done over the course of this summer. I don't know what the fall will bring (a job? I hope?), so I am going to use August 31 as my cut-off date. Here are the things I am hoping to accomplish:


At the moment of writing this, I am currently in the middle of books 93 and 94 off my list. I would love to hit book 120 by the end of the summer. Considering that would mean reading 25ish books in two month where I have only read 40 in six months seems like a tall order, but it is a perfectly doable goal if I stop slacking. :) I have plenty of free time now and I should be taking advantage of it! So, in more detail...
  • Read 25 books from the Book list by August 31.
  • 5 books must be from Adam's TBR Challenge (since I have only read ONE title. I STINK at challenges btw).
  • 1 or 2 titles must be a Shakespeare play. I have neglected the bard.
  • Make further progress in my Bible Reading Project (this has also been neglected recently due to my busy schedule)

Vacation Reading:

The only exception to the above guidelines are for the vacation I am taking on July 10 to the 17th. Since this is my first vacation since our honeymoon, I am going to take a long some "fun" reads for sitting poolside (and a classic or two). I am taking The Year of the Flood and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, as well as The Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (I have refused to watch the mini-series until I read the book).

Book Organization:

I shared with you my book database not too long ago, and I mentioned that I was struggling with it. I lost the most updated version of the file last year with a slew of computer problems, and I have been slowly trying to bring it up to date. The biggest issue with that is that most of my massive collection is boxed up, so hauling out boxes and checking them in is a pia. I kind of "gave up" back in April with the intensity of school, so this is a big project that needs to be fixed. More specifically, this is what I want to accomplish by August 31:
  • Update book database by relogging in EVERY title I own
  • Cull duplicates and books I no longer want. Either donate or ship to bloggers who want them
  • Re-organize bookshelves in the living room. I have three-two big bookcases and one narrow case. Currently the narrow bookcase is home to some hardcover collections and newer YA titles. One big bookcase is full of classics, as well as two and a half shelves on the other. And, with recent acquisitions, some of the shelves are being double-stacked...that needs to be fixed.

Blog Issues:

For the most part, I am happy with how things were running. I know I need to get back into the groove, so I am working on that. There is really only one thing that I think I need, and that is a single list of all the reviews I have written since starting my blog. I'm not sure how to organize it given my reviewing style, but I really think I need to get this done at some point. This one is a massive undertaking, but I want to make progress on it so I can launch it at the end of August....but it may take longer.

I'm perfectly okay with the fact that I may come off as crazy to all of you, but it works for me. :) I need organization and structure, and I will do what I must to achieve that.

But I do have something I need your help with...

I have been in a bit of a reading slump in regards to getting into books off my list. I have picked up a few things in last two weeks where I have read a couple pages, set it down, and moved on. And while I do have a few things I know I want to get to (Daisy Miller and To Kill a Mockingbird), I am at a loss as to what to read next. So yes, I am looking for recommendations. Here is a link to my Book List, which has my 250 on it, as well as my Books Finished list. Please recommend something for me, even if YOU haven't read it, and I will try to get to it!



  1. from your list i would recommend the color purple or passage to india. But if you want a fun read to get you back into it go for starcrossed by josephine angelini- it has great greek mythology intertextuality and is just all round great.

    Good luck for your summer plans, it inspires me to make my own plans for winter here in south africa

  2. I can't recommend I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, or The Handmaid's Tale enough. Ok, so I didn't go very far down on your list... But they are seriously amazing! To Kill a Mockingbird is also about the best thing ever...

  3. Books to read: Things Fall Apart (I'm about to reread it myself), Peter Pan (my favorite all time book of sixth grade), Middlemarch (an all summer read, but I loved it last summer), Doll's House (it's short and wonderful), Dubliners (short stories), The Scarlett Pimpernel (a light summery read, I think), Cry the Beloved Country (so beautiful), something by Steinbeck (for the classics Circuit!), Treasure Island (such a fun kids book), Jules Vern (because it's lighter and fun, seems like a summer read), Our Town and The Glass Menagerie (because plays are quick reads but these are fun).

  4. It's funny - I know a lot of people get off for the summer and then make summer plans (I guess a lot of book bloggers I know are teachers?), but for me, summer comes with a LACK of plans because the kids get home and throw my schedule off wack. I'll be making all sorts of plans right about the time when they go back to school. :D

    Good luck on yours! I think you can make another 25 books, especially if you include some of those shorter plays. :)

  5. Well, there's a lot of books I would recommend, but I think The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy might be a good way to get back into the swing of things. Its a fun and quick read so it's not a big time commitment- it might even be a good vacation read :)

  6. I can guarantee that reading Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf will absolutely knock your slump out of the park. It's short, fabulously well-written and absolutely hilarious. It"s one of my most highly rated reviews.

  7. I admire your organizational skills and I am hoping that I can do some organizing this summer as well. Goodreads is fine, but I really need to use a database program so I can customize my categories a bit more. I have 17 bookcases in the apartment - not sure how we fit 'em all. 10 of them are mine, so that's a lot of books. Hooray for the IKEA Billy!

    I read Jude the Obscure in AP English and though it has been many, many moons since 12th grade, I remember enjoying it. Also, since you are a history fan, I recommend Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. It's a well-written YA set in Paris and there is bit of time travel as well. The cover is gorgeous to boot. I love running my finger across the red "satin" ribbon that runs the around the middle of the book flap. I've never been all that interested in visiting France until I read this book.

    Enjoy your reads! :)

  8. I think you should read Clariss by next month. (Ha! Kidding!!!) That will probably be my year-long read next year. I really, really like the year-longs, by the way. It gives me a chance to really absorb a book.

    Maybe Frankenstein next? I love that book. :-)

    I love your lists! Now I'm inspired to make a by-August to-do. I also have reams of to-do lists all over my house, beside the unfinished laundry. It's the artist/writer's mind, I think. :-)

  9. You are so organized! Although I would think you'd have to be to set out on this list. You read my favorites - GWTW, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. Don't have any recommendations except Dubliners just because it's on my list as well :)

  10. I'm reading David Copperfield right now and loving it! I suggest that one.

  11. I hope you get to and love Oryx and Crake & Year of the Flood. Both are fantastic!

  12. You have no idea how much I wish I was as organized as you. Simply put, I'm a mess. My books are what I like to call "organized chaos" (yeah, I'm a Gilmore Girls fan) but in reality, it's just chaos, not organized.
    Anyway, from your list I reccomend David Copperfield. But there's one book I'm reading now and I was a little surprised to find out it's not on your list: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë. So far I'm absolutely loving it.

  13. I recommend Cather's My Antonia and Ellison's The Invisible Man. By the way, if your taste are anything like mine, you will love Atwood's Oryx and Crake. I think that's my favorite of hers, and I read almost all of them.

  14. Ones I've read and loved that aren't on your books read list:

    Bless Me, Ultima
    any of the Austens you haven't gotten to
    Tom Jones (in the middle of this now: it's SO FUNNY)
    both the Hugos
    Their Eyes Were Watching God
    Remains of the Day
    Portrait of a Lady
    Moby Dick
    The Scarlet Pimpernel (total trash, hehe)
    Rosencratz and Guildenstern are Dead (there's a great film adaptation of the play by Stoppard you should treat yourself to after reading)
    all the Tolkien
    Anna Karenina
    Barchester Towers
    The Aenid
    The Age of Innocence
    The House of Mirth
    The Voyage Out
    Things Fall Apart

    And the ones I really liked:
    The House of Seven Gables
    Turn of the Screw
    Washington Square
    White Fang (granted, I read this when I was maybe 9)
    The Prince
    he Trial and Death of Socrates
    Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
    To the Lighthouse
    Tale of Two Cities

    And the ones I didn't like at all:
    The Poisonwood Bible
    A Separate Peace
    Death in Venice
    the Ayn Rand
    Wide Sargasso Sea
    Red Badge of Courage
    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    I didn't bother with the ones I felt 'neutral' about, since that's hardful helpful for decision making! ;)

  15. Wow, Allie, that sounds ambitious to me, but then again, I'm in a very unambitious mood at the moment! I'm sure you'll have no problem hitting 25 books, considering how many you got read even while working two jobs.

    Looking at your two lists, part of me really wants to recommend Dracula (I love that one--I've read it twice!), but ultimately I'd say save it for the fall. Books I'd actually recommend for the summer:

    The Moonstone (I love Collins!)
    A Midsummer Night's Dream
    The Grapes of Wrath (like Rebecca says, it would double for Classics Circuit!)
    either of the Sophocles
    Huckleberry Finn
    either of the Verne
    A Streetcar Named Desire

    I would also recommend Divine Comedy, but as that's three volumes (I'm assuming you're reading all three by the way you've listed it?), it would probably hurt in the total books read count! Of course, if you do decide to tackle it, you could always balance out with a bunch of plays...