#goals: February 2016 TBR

I don’t have high aspirations for February as far as book count goes. This week I started an online class with Grubstreet which is going to be taking up some of my reading time. I’m not complaining – I’m SUPER excited and happy to be taking a writing class again. I find them really fun/productive/stressful in a good way.

But hopefully I can get some non-class reading done, too. Here’s what I’m hoping to finish in February.

That is about it, give or take some comics. My other goal: to write metric tons of words. And survive until spring.

January TBR (Subject to Change)

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  • Work, Thich Nhat Hanh
  • A Man Without a Country, Kurt Vonnegut
  • You, Caroline Kepnes
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender
  • American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang
  • Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, Bonnie Jo Campbell
  • Killing and Dying, Adrian Tomine
  • Saga, Volume 2, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

I don’t often make ‘to-be-read’ posts because I find them too aspirational. I usually don’t follow through. But, this time I totally am going to! (She said, her eyes widening nervously.)

First, happy 2016! I love a blank slate, don’t you? This morning I set a goal for the Goodreads reading challenge, even though I said I wasn’t going to. Well, here me out: I set my goal to be 40 books, because I sort of like looking at the progress bar, but I didn’t actually want to ‘challenge’ myself to any number. 40 books is not a challenge to me at my current pace of reading, so I’m sure I won’t even think about the challenge for the rest of the year. So it’s sort of like I’m not participating. Even though I’m totally participating. What can I say…old habits die hard.

Sometimes, when it comes to personal projects, I can be a bit of a flake. But in 2016 I plan to practice practical productivity and radical self-compassion in equal measure, so it’s all good.

But there’s a reason I want to read these books in January: most of them are borrowed, and I need to read them so that I can get going with my real challenge this year, which is to read my own books so I can clear out my shelves, as I previously discussed.

I guess signing up for the #READMYOWNDAMNBOOKS challenge sent me into a impulsive library spree. I have a library problem. Four of these books are library books: Work; You; Mothers, Tell Your Daughters; and Killing and Dying. Two more I borrowed from my boyfriend: A Man Without a Country and Saga: Volume 2. Because if I spend enough time with you and you have books I will sometimes be all, “…Can I take this?” — fair warning. (Note: I welcome and love when people do the same to me! PLEASE! TAKE A BOOK! I HAVE TOO MANY!)

My compulsive borrowing and library visiting is why my shelf is so jam-packed with unread books, so I’m going to gobble those up and then read the two books off my shelves, which I’ve owned for some time and never got around to: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, and American Born Chinese.

Three of these books are graphic novels/comics: Killing and Dying, American Born Chinese, and Saga: Volume 2. I am really excited because I have been dipping my toes in and out of graphic novels/comics for years but now I want to COMMIT. Getting with the program, as it were. My problem is mainly I don’t like comics where a lot of things happen, like explosions, gun fights, apocalypse…well, I sort of like apocalypses. I really liked the first volume of Saga, which is a comic in which things sometimes happen, but with bad-ass lady characters, so I feel like I am progressing.

What are you reading this month? Please let me know here or add me on Goodreads.

Non-School Books I Want to Read This Semester

I’m an English major, so I always end up reading quite a few novels over the course of a semester. Next up is my final semester, so I decided to fill my last credits with classes I haven’t had the chance to take while I was doing my major requirements. I’m taking an art history class, a human rights class, a history class, and two creative writing classes. I just looked over my reading list, and it’s much smaller than usual, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to read more novels as entertainment this year. Usually I’m lucky if I have time to read more than 2 just-for-fun books over the semester, but this semester will be different (I’ll see to it.) I made a list of 10 books available at the library that I want to read before I graduate:

1. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Both The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex are two of my favorite books, and I’ve been meaning to check this out since it was released a couple of years ago. Hopefully I’ll enjoy this one as much as his others!

2. Beloved by Toni Morrison
This one is pretty obvious. It’s a classic, and I’ve never read any Morrison, which is a shame.

3. Ripley Under Ground, Patricia Highsmith
I read The Talented Mr. Ripley during the fall of 2011, and because I’m terrible at reading series (what in the heck is the plural of ‘series’? serieses?), I still haven’t read the rest of the Ripley books. I find Highsmith as a writer fascinating  and I’m intrigued by Ripley’s weird sexual hang-ups–who doesn’t love a homicidal latent homosexual?

4. The Stand, Stephen King
I’ve been interested in reading this since I read On Writing, where it’s mentioned. All I know about it is that it’s a really long book about the end of the world by Stephen King, which is probably enough to know that it might be an entertaining read.

5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
I haven’t seen the movie version of this, but I’d like to, and because I have an obsessive read-it-first mentality, this one is going on the list. Plus, it seems like an okay place to start with Capote, although I do want to read In Cold Blood soon, too.

6. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
I’ve already seen the movie version of this. Damn it.

7. I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe
I vaguely recall hearing controversy about characterization in this book, so I’m interested to see how I react to it. Also, it’s a college-y book, so I should read it before I graduate.

8. The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith
If you know me, you need no explanation for this one. I adore Zadie Smith. I think she’s a genius, but so far I’ve only read On Beauty and White Teeth. I of course want to read her latest, NW, but since it’s a new release it’s harder to come by at the library, and it’s harder to find it used (which is how I buy most of my books), so I figure I’ll read an older one first.

9. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
I swear, Persepolis is one of those books I’ve taken out over and over again from the library since I was a freshman only to return it because I’ve had no time to read it. I was actually introduced to the title in my freshman English class, because we did a unit on graphic novels, but I was never able to read it. I did read, like, half of Maus, though.

10. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Another classic. I read a lot of Lawrence when I took a class on modernist literature, but I haven’t gotten to this one yet. It has a history of being banned for indecency, which is a big draw for me, but then again, Lawrence was kind of a misogynist jack-off so we’ll see about this one.

And that’s it! I hope I can get to them all, but if I can only read a few of them, I’ll be happy. A lot of these are books that have been on my to-read list since I was in high school. Finally getting around to reading them all would make me feel maybe a little bit more ready to graduate.

I’ll probably go to the library as soon as I’m back on campus this weekend, so which of these do you think I should check out first?

Shelvez, and To Be Read: January

I spent New Year’s Eve “organizing” my book collection. Right now there’s no real way to organize it, though. There’s too many and not enough space. I’m sure a lot of book nerds can relate. I really need to get a kindle.

I had the idea that I was going to go through all my books and choose some to give away, but I think I’ll hang on to them all for the time being. I haven’t actually read all of them and I’d like to before I start giving them away. So, okay, mine isn’t the most organized book shelf in the world, but I now have my personal library cataloged and accounted for. (285 is the final count, by the way!)

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[Before, After. Not pictured: a whole ‘nother pile I couldn’t fit anywhere.]

Anyway, enough pictures. They’re going to put me on an episode of hoarders if I keep this up. The real reason for this post is to share what books I plan on reading in January.

To Be Read: January

1. Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart
2. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
3. The Golden Age of Promiscuity, Brad Gooch
4. Remaking Love: The Feminization of Sex, Barbara Ehrenreich

I’d like to read these before the 20th, when I move back to school, and then hopefully read a couple more before the end of the month, too. I’d like to review all of them, but we’ll see if they move me enough either way for that.

I hope you all have good books to read this month! Let me know what you’re reading, I’m curious.

Catherine