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

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Book Finished: Letters to a Young Poet

I finished my first book as part of the June Read-a-thon: Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke! It was a bit of a struggle, and I don’t especially like the translation I had (by M.D. Herter Norton), but there were some moments of joy from lovely language that I’ve quoted on my Tumblr—you can read those here.

It fulfilled a prompt off the Treesofreverie Prompts & Challenges list: “Read a book you’ve had lying around unfinished”.

Now, I’m working on Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell for the prompt “Read a book you’ve been meaning to read”.

June Read-a-thon Update: Day 3

As I mentioned on Monday, I’m doing the Treesofreverie June Read-a-thon, and one thing has become clear: I don’t have as much free time as I thought I did!

Between editing stories and essays for others, doing my own writing, cooking, cleaning, problem-solving household issues, and every other unforeseen instance, I’ve had barely a moment to read. Here’s a run-down of what I’ve managed:

  • 4 pages of Partial List of People to Bleach by Gary Lutz. Notes: I’m remembering why I put this one down, for sure. The reading is really dense with metaphor, but mostly my problem is that it just seems really pretentious to me. Totally inaccessible. This one may move into my “Abandoned” folder on GoodReads—we’ll see.
  • 42 pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke [trans. M.D. Herter Norton]. Notes: I’m also remembering why I put this one down, and it’s totally the translator’s fault. This edition is from 1934, and the language is different from today’s, to say the least. Again, this one feels really pretentious to me. I’m gonna tough it out—I only have 48 pages to go, and I think I can make it happen today.
  • 8 pages of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. Notes: I got interrupted by a phone call. I want to finish this one today, too.

Wow, okay; that looks way better when I write it all up! 54 pages in two days isn’t the best I’ve ever done, but considering all my other commitments, I’ve done worse. Hopefully, by Day 5 I’ll have knocked two or three books off the list.