Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Salon: Summer's Trickling Away

I can't believe it's already the middle of August. July seemed like a very long month to me, but August is just flying by. Soon it will be time to put away the shorts and take out the sweatshirts and jeans; soon I'll be wearing socks again. But not quite yet.

My reading so far this month has been a little bit all over the place- and I'm loving it. I've gotten totally sucked into the Art of the Novella challenge hosted by Frances at Nonsuch Book; I started off with just one, and I've quickly upped my goal to six novellas. I read Stempenyu: A Jewish Romance, by Sholem Aleichem, my third, and I have three more on deck. Today I'm reading The Illusion of Return, by Samir el-Youssef, about a Palestinian refugee. If I had $300 and nothing better to do with it, I'd just order the whole set already. They're so collectable and covetable, and what I love best about the series is that it's like a survey course in world literature in miniature. You can sample so many different writers from different eras and cultures, although the series is weighted to European and American literature. Anyway I'm really enjoying this challenge as you can probably tell.

Meanwhile I've fallen behind on the Complete Booker challenge; my goal for the year was the Booker Dozen- one winner per month- but I've stalled on V.S. Naipaul and need to catch up. Maybe I should switch to another book and come back to him another time. Generally when I have a DNF it ends up being a NF (Never Finished) but rules are meant to be broken, right?

As far as the Europa Challenge, I'm still on track there, though I have been a little distracted by the Art of the Novella. I'm reading- and really enjoying- The Companion, by Lorcan Roche, about an Irish man working in New York as a caretaker for a disabled man. I think I'm stalled on this because I like it so much I don't want it to end!

Finally, I'll make time today to read a chapter of Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms, by Carmela Ciuraru. If you're in the Boston area, mark your calendars for Thursday, August 25 at 7:00 p.m.: I'll be at Porter Square Books with Carmela, doing a Q&A with her about her book. I can't wait! This book is fascinating; it's all about writers from different times and places who chose to use pseudonyms and why, a phenomenon that persists today.

That's it for me! What are you reading today? Any other plans? Have a great Sunday!
More Sunday Salon here.

14 comments:

fatbooks.org said...

I'm not doing the art of the novella challenge (since experience shows that my signing up for a challenge=me failing at a challenge) but reading all the posts about these novellas has me wanting to explore some on my own. i love the look of the melville house novellas too; they'd look gorgeous lined up on a shelf. but maybe i'll start by downloading "benito cereno"...

i can't believe how quickly this summer is going, either. hope you have a great august!

Laura said...

Naipaul *shudder* no wonder you're stuck! I'd say switch to something else -- and I look forward to seeing what you choose!

Amy said...

Like Laura said, no wonder you're stuck! I'd recommend tossing him and moving on ;) Also, I agree - where has August gone???

Sandy Nawrot said...

Yeah, I'd say to move on to, except that I'm the worst person to give that advice. I have a very hard time dropping a book, no matter how hard it is to slog through it.

BTW, my hubby and I will be in Boston in early September for a few days. Maybe we can gather a few bloggies and get together!

unfinishedperson.com said...

As someone who has had 10 DNFs this year, I say drop him and move on. I read one work years ago by Naipaul that I liked, about him traveling through the South called A Turn In The South, but since I've learned more about his recent comments about women writers, I'm less inclined to try anything by him.

As for what I'm reading today, I'm reading Say It With Bullets by Richard Powell - in between visiting with sister-in-laws with my wife.

Bellezza said...

I'm so mad at myself for not carving out more time for Frances' Novella Challenge. I plan on reading one, Mathilda by Mary Shelley, but I would love to have read more. Alas, school calls, the children are waiting, and the room must be prepared. Best to you in your challenges! Also, I just received a copy of Wherever You Go, and I'm looking forward to reading at as I saw you read it to. I think. I'll get back to you on it when I'm done; hope I'm not wrong in thinking you've read it as well.

Zibilee said...

I know what you mean about how a book that you are taking a break from quickly becomes a DNF. This has happened to me on several occasions, most recently with Sex and the River Styx by Hoagland. There is just something about that book that makes me so melancholy and depressed that I don't ever want to pick it up again, though I know I am going to have to at some point. It sounds like your reading right now is really eclectic, which is wonderful! I love it when that happens. I am working on a book called Wildflower Hill right now, and after that it's going to be a dense tome about language that I am sort of dreading :(

bermudaonion said...

I hate to see summer coming to an end.

Frances said...

Thanks for the plug and all that Art of the Novella love! It has been a blast so far. Curious to see how far we will all get. As the summer slips away...

Kathleen said...

Just stopping by to say hi and Happy Sunday. Sounds like you have been very busy reading and there are many great blog posts in your future.

Alexia561 said...

You're right, the summer has just flown by! Glad you're enjoying the novella challenge, as it looks like a good one. I'm over-challenged, so trying to resist signing up for any more. ;)

Hope your Sunday was awesome!

Amy said...

You're participating in some great challenges. The Art of the Novella challenge really intrigues me. You described it so well...like a survey course in world lit in miniature! It is a terrific way to get a taste of many different authors.

I read - tried to read!-one of Naipaul's books a few years ago but I found it difficult o get through and didn't care for his writing. After the remarks he made earlier this year I'm definitely not a fan!

The Companion by Lorcan Roche sounds wonderful! I'm going to look into it. It always bothers me when a book I really am enjoying is almost finished!

I hope you had a nice Sunday!

booklineandsinker said...

stop it! i don't want to think about summer coming to an end--i'm not ready and have too much stuff to plan before school starts. :) my reading and blogging have been a bit lackluster, too. i guess it's too much time in the pool and on the beach for me. i shall try harder this week. have a great week!

stacybuckeye said...

I'm afraid to look and see where I stand on challenges. Summer is going by too fast!