17 January 2010

2010 Reading Objectives

Last year was a banner year for me as a reader.  Sure, I managed to read over 10,000 printed pages while failing at an entire third of my list of objectives.  Still, with rare exception, I enjoyed every book, short story and graphic novel I sat down with last year.  (Yes, I even managed to enjoy most of Jewel's poems.)  Looking forward to 2010, I ask myself...where do I go from here?  Some early thoughts:
  • I want to clear 10k printed book pages, independent of graphic novel pages, this year.  I don't know why this is something I wish to accomplish; only that I do.
  • It will be bittersweet, but I will at some point read Ian Fleming's Octopussy and The Living Daylights, ending his James Bond series for me after more than a decade of permitting myself one volume annually.
  • Continue with Edgar Rice Burroughs's Barsoom and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series.  I may not stretch them out the way I did with the Fleming's Bond, but I'm also conscious of rushing through them and having none to enjoy later.
  • Finish the year with Alec Guinness's final work, A Positively Final Appearance.  I've enjoyed reading his previous volumes each of the last Decembers.  He can be a tad snobbish, but it comes easy to read such reflective writings at the end of a year.
  • Screenplays.  I've read a few, and I rather enjoy that...medium? style?  Whatever it is, there's something unique about reading them.  I really enjoyed reading Eyes Wide Shut and Bubba Ho-Tep, each of which included the original source material along with the adapted screenplay.
That's it for now.  What about those remaining five objectives from last year?  Well, if you really must know, I suspect I didn't get to them because my interest waned over the course of the year.  I'm sure I'll get to them at some point or another, but for now I am content not to formalize them a second time.

2009 Reading Objectives Report Card

I meant to post this sooner, but then, I've meant to post a lot of things.  Anyway, before I set 2010 reading objectives, I thought it prudent to take stock of how I fared with those of last year.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs's Barsoom series - A friend lent me his old paperback of A Princess of Mars and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Since Pixar is going to be adapting this in a couple of years, it seems prudent to read the source material now.
  • Joe Torre's The Yankee Years - I own and have read his first two books, and so I look forward to reading this one.
  • Books upon which movies I like are based - Sideways by Rex Pickett, Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley and Dream Story by Arthur Schnitzler (Eyes Wide Shut was based on this) are at the top of the list, but there are many, many others.
  • Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise comic series - I own the second volume, I Dream of You, and enjoyed it.  It'll be this year's Bone.
  • The Works of Alan Moore - It seems that if a film adaptation of Watchmen can finally come out, the least I can do is read the original comic.  And then, V for VendettaFrom Hell, the DC Universe Stories of Alan Moore collection and the remainder of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  And if I ever read Lost Girls, you can bet I won't be admitting it in this blog.
  • P.G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves" stories - Introduced to me by B.J. Harrison in his outstanding Classic Tales Podcast series, these are absolutely delightful.  Apparently, there was also a British TV series based on these in the 1990s starring Hugh Laurie, and that's at the top of my Netflix rental queue.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories - Because it seems high time I read a standard like these.
  • Ian Fleming's The Man with the Golden Gun - It will be bittersweet indeed to read the penultimate Fleming-penned Bond book when I get to my annual allowance of this series.
  • More John le Carre novels.  I last read the masterpiece, The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, and am up to The Looking Glass War.
  • Art Spiegelman's Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began - I checked out the first volume from the library last year and was so engrossed by it I read it all in one night.
  • Elie Weisel's Night - because my new aunt lent it to me, thinking I would appreciate it.
  • Peter O'Toole's Loitering with Intent: The Apprentice - I found the first volume for a quarter at Half Price Books and would love to read the second half of this engaging, if dis-organized, autobiography.
  • At least something by David McCullough.  I mean, the guy is pretty much the American historian as far as mass market publications go, anyway.  It seems like my degree won't be final until I've at least read something by the guy.
Of course, some of these are rather vague.  I never intended, for instance, to read the entire Sherlock Holmes canon in 2009, but rather to at least take my first step into that literary world.  So, of the thirteen objectives I set for myself, I fulfilled (at least in the minimum) the first nine.  To be sure, I've got a long way to go with the works of Alan Moore and John le Carre, and I've only read the first two volumes of Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise.  I did, however, manage to come very close to reading 10,000 printed book pages--a milestone I cleared once graphic novel pages are added to the total.  (This is also exclusive of the assorted works of literature I heard performed by B.J. Harrison, unabridged, in his excellent Classic Tales Podcast.)

Eh?  Oh, you remember that I amended the original list by adding two more objectives.  Well, let's have a look.
  • The books I already own. I've got some titles I have literally had for a decade or more and haven't gotten to yet.  It's high time I got to some of these things.
  • Books about the Reagan presidency, especially first-hand accounts.  Granted, I've already read two this year so this seems a bit like cheating.  Even as a self-identified liberal, I can't help but find that era fascinating.  I have recently picked up Ed Morris's and Ollie North's books, and so I won't count Mr. Reagan's or Jim Baker's books toward this goal.
I'm one for two.  I finally read a few things I'd owned for quite some time.  I think the most glaring example was Doris Kearns Goodwin's Wait Till Next Year, which I'd owned for more than a decade.  That makes me 10-for-15, all told.  Of course, I read quite a lot more than is reflected in this discussion.  I didn't set out to read Jewel's collection of poems, or to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Batman by reading Craig Shaw Gardner's novelization of its screenplay.  All in all, despite failing to meet one in three of my reading objectives, I am quite satisfied with my '09 reading.

01 January 2010

iTunes - December 2009

200 songs, 11:03:36 total time for December 2009.  One reason for the music count being down in December is that my wife got me a Blu-ray player for my birthday and our movie-watching time went up.  Another reason is that, in my quest to read 10,000 book pages for the year, I read quite a lot in December (I missed my goal by 161 pages).  Finally, we re-committed ourselves to our Mario Kart Wii addiction in the last two weeks, and frankly it's been way too cold to take a walk with the iPod.

  • iTunes Originals - Jewel (3)
  • iTunes Live from SoHo - EP - Melody Gardot (3)
  • Up (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) - Michael Giacchino (2)
  • Loose Boots - honeyhoney (2)
  • The Fall (Deluxe Edition) - Norah Jones (2)
  • "I Only Want to Be with You" - Shelby Lynne (2)

I played quite a bit of Christmas music, but only once each, including (but not limited to): "Naughtiness of Me" by honeyhoney, "Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth" by Willie Nelson, Sounds of the Season by Randy Travis, A Very Ruckus Christmas by Uncle Ruckus, Country for Christmas - EP by Various Artists, "All Wrapped Up in You" by Clay Walker and "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" by Gretchen Wilson.