30 days to 30...

Status update! Guys, I'm not going to lie, it's looking incredibly grim and I only have 30 days to go before my 30th birthday. And you know what? I think I might be actually coming to terms with my impending failure. (Could I be growing up??) I'm two-thirds of the way through (I'm counting the fact that I'm through 90% of the 5-book tome that is the Dark Is Rising sequence) and I'll probably get through at least two or three more before 6/1, but in the eleven months since my last birthday, I've read over 250 books in total. Okay, fine, that includes kids books but I work in kids books, so I keep track! If I break that number down, over half are books for adults (young adults count!)/non picture or chapter books.

In an effort to make sure I'm giving each book that I put on the 30-to-30 list a fair go (aka an opportunity for me to actually enjoy it), I'm not actively forcing myself to read a book when I don't feel like it, which means I've been letting other reading (work and pleasure) get in the way of knuckling down. In addition, now that we're in the home stretch, I don't exactly want to rush most of the titles I have left, as they deserve time and thoughtful attention. (Though I might add, that if I had to choose 10 or so books from this list that I thought were truly essential to it, I've read all but one or two of those already.) My rules might have to bend and allow some titles to slip in after the deadline. Several people have told me that it still totally counts to finish up this reading list while I'm 30, though we all know that's cheater's logic. I was never one for extensions but better late than hate everything still to go because I forced a quick read.

Next time I do this kind of list (35 to 35?), I'll give myself a bit more time and wiggle room with the exact books... maybe have half of the list be specific titles but also reserve some slots for types of books with titles in mind so I could say something like "a Dostoyevsky novel," "A pre-1700 title," "a biography" (if I opt to include non-fiction), etc., but who knows if that list would do any better. (Presumably with five years in which to do all 35, I'm betting I have a decent chance... and it's not like I'm evidently going to let up on myself, even in the face of stress and imminent failure.)  In the meantime, I'll note that I am not letting myself substitute titles any longer (I only actually swapped two!), as I figure I'll just add substitution contenders to the list, even if some of those are books I feel should have belonged on this, ultimately, what with my whole "read before your 30s" mindset. 

In any case, here's my update...

1. The Iliad - Homer
2. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 
3. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
4. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
5. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
6. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas 
7. Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
8. The Sound and the Fury swapped for A Light in August by William Faulkner
9. The End of the Affair - Graham Greene 
10. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
11. The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
12. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
13. The Wings of the Dove - Henry James 
14. On the Road - Jack Kerouac (reading aloud now!)
15. A Wrinkle in Time - Madeline L'Engle 
16. The Balkan Trilogy - Olivia Manning replaced by The Dark Is Rising Sequence - Susan Cooper (should be done tomorrow!)
17. West With the Night - Beryl Markham
18. 100 Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
19. The Road - Cormac McCarthy
20. The Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller 
21. The Women of Brewster Place - Gloria Naylor
22. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
23. The Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pynchon
24. Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
25. White Teeth - Zadie Smith
26. Maus - Art Spiegelman 
27. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
28. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
29. Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut 
30. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

1 comment:

Pabkins said...

I never even thought about doing something like that! "Things to read before I'm 30." But hey I missed that boat a year ago. That means you'll be hitting 30 at BEA then? At least Ender's Game was on the list! How did you decide which books made the list in the first place? I can only picture myself reading a handful of those. I'm a big fantasy/scifi and also YA/Kids books reader as well.