Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Read This Fall

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is ten books that are on my autumn to-read list.

In addition to the books for my classes, I want to read the following in the next three months:

  • Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory by Gregory Nokes
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Kindred by Octavia Butler
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • Undersong by Audre Lorde
  • Another America: The Politics of Race and Blame by Kofi Buenor Hadjor (currently on pg 109 of 219)
  • The Guardians: An Elegy by Sarah Manguso (at my partner’s recommendation)
  • Shadow and Act by Ralph Ellison
  • And We Are Not Saved by Derrick Bell
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss

It’s a bit heavy on recreational reading that is closely related to my major, but that’s because my major is awesome.

June Read-a-thon Update: Day 11

First day of class was lovely, and then this morning I had to do more class shuffling, and now I’m registered for a different class, but it means I get to read Sherlock Holmes for school credit.

I’m living the dream, y’all.

Still coming up: a dinner party tonight, classes tomorrow. Friday, I’m workshopping some of my writing to prepare several submissions to journals and online magazines. This weekend I’m pulling those submissions together and querying an agent for one of my novels. And doing classwork.

Feeling better about how much reading I’m doing, and I have a lot to get through for school, so that’ll up my counts, too.

My reading progress up to this point:

  • 4 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: no update.
  • 90 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: finished.
  • 108 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: finished this one up. Overall, I am glad to have read these poems, but most of them were a bit juvenile for my taste—and this is obviously attributable to the fact that they were written by a 19 year old Tupac. There were some great protest poems, and some great tribute pieces, and a whole bunch of love poems. 8/10
  • 173 pages of Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell. Notes: and finished! Woof! This is a heck of a read, and I loved every minute. I had so many ideas sparked by this reading, and I can’t wait to work on them. 10/10, will read again
  • 8 pages of Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Notes: no update.

Running page count: 383

Book Finished: Faces at the Bottom of the Well

I finished my third book for the June Read-a-thon: Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell.

It fulfilled a prompt and a challenge off the Treesofreverie Prompts & Challenges list: “Read a book you’ve been meaning to read” & “Read a book written by or focusing on POC #weneeddiversebooks”.

Now, I’ll move on to Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman for “Re-read one of your favourite books”.

June Read-a-thon Update: Day 9

Classes start today, and I’m excited, but also a bit frazzled. I’ve been having trouble getting all of the books for my non-fiction class, and several of them are still in the mail. I hope they come in soon…

Yesterday was the Capitol trip for the New Leadership Oregon 2014 class, and I was invited along, as an alumna. We spent the morning touring the building with Former Governor Barbara Roberts, had lunch with Secretary of State Kate Brown, and the current NLO participants roleplayed testimony in front of legislative committees. When we got back to Portland, there was a mixer and recognition of board members, alums, and the current class. I cried, and it was so inspiring to see people supporting each other there. So much love.

Still coming up: a dinner party tomorrow night. Friday, I’m workshopping some of my writing to prepare several submissions to journals and online magazines.

I think I expected to have more free time that has been the reality. I’m trying not to get down on myself for not reading more, even though I’ve read every day, and made good headway in a couple of books I’ve been meaning to read. I feel a bit discouraged, but I’m hoping I can push through it for the remaining 6-7 days.

My reading progress up to this point:

  • 4 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: no update.
  • 90 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: finished.
  • 70 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: read more poems from this one. There’s some very teenage love poems in here, but there’s also an amazing section that features several poems for racial justice activists like Nelson Mandela and Huey P. Newton.
  • 129 pages of Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell. Notes: I have less than half the book left, and I’m still being inspired to do 3 new projects for every chapter I finish!
  • 8 pages of Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Notes: I figured I’d pick a lighter read to let myself digest some of the heavier stuff, and still get pages done. This one I got 114 pages into a re-read of, and then set it down—probably in favour of school books I had to get through. (So much reading last term…) Anyhow, I should finish it, because I do love it.

Running page count: 301

June Read-a-thon Update: Day 7

I had a long day yesterday, and could barely find a moment. It was my last day in the Oregon Student Association, and he had a transition meeting, and then an alumni event in the evening—lovely to see some folks I haven’t got to see in a while, but definitely time-consuming.

Still coming up: a full day of meeting and events in Salem and Portland on Monday, classes starting on Tuesday, a dinner party on Wednesday, and coffee with my mom on Thursday.

Here’s my reading tally for the event so far:

  • 4 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: no update.
  • 90 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: finished.
  • 8 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: no update.
  • 102 pages of Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell. Notes: still loving this one! It’s a fresh way of looking at theory and racial justice in the US, and it’s inspiring so many future projects.

Didn’t finish Faces, but that’s alright. I feel a little sad at how little time to read I’m actually finding, but it’s good reading.

Running page count: 204

June Read-a-thon Update: Day 5

There’s been a lot of unexpected work the last couple of days, and I have even more to do, but I’m getting the reading in every spare moment I can. I’ve always been a commute reader—I have an hour long commute to campus, which is lots of time—and it looks like I’ll be doing some of that the next few days. I have a board meeting tomorrow (yes, on a Saturday), and then a lunch meeting Monday in Salem, and then classes start on Tuesday, so I’ll be travelling around a bit the next few days.

Here’s my reading tally for the event so far:

  • 4 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: this one’s in time-out. I can’t quite bring myself to finish it…
  • 90 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: all finished! The rest of the letters had some great language, though the translation still bothers me. The second half of the book was a sort of run-down of Rilke’s life before the letters, and where he was and what projects he was working on when each letter was written, and that was in much more plain language, and far more interesting to me. I hate writing prescriptivism, and Rilke does plenty of that. 6/10, might read a different translation
  • 8 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: this one got laid down. I can’t read books of poetry all in one go. I have to read a few, set the book down, digest what I’ve read, and come back later.
  • 56 pages of Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell. Notes: loving this one! I’ve been meaning to read this since a friend recommended it to me a year and a half ago, and I’m so glad I’m finally doing it. While the subject matter is a bit heavy, it’s accessible, and it makes you think. I’ve also been inspired to write a short story, and an essay response—later, after the read-a-thon, when I’ll have more time.

Not too shabby—I tripled my word count in two days! I’m hoping to finish off Faces today, and that’ll boost me quite a bit if I can manage it. If not, I’ll polish it off tomorrow, and pick another book to start in on.

Running page count: 158