Thursday, October 10, 2019

Planet Plans


I have a strong sense of how I want to wrap up my reading year. There are a lot of half-read books on the old TBR. I'm hoping to clear the decks. I'm making plans. Drafting a list to follow. Usually, when the year is past and I sheepishly duck back in to read these plans, the inevitable question I ask myself is: What planet were you on when you made this list?  Well, Planet Plans, of course! I can fairly hear the B-52s singing as I hum and arrange my stack:

1. Finish Middlemarch (I'm about 20% in. Dorothea is still on her honeymoon. Readers are starting to meet other citizens of Middlemarch, including the new doctor, Lydgate.

2. Finish the audiobook of Varina by Charles Frazier. I haven't listened to this book since June, and I fear that I've lost the thread. Must do better. Have I mentioned that it's performed by Molly Parker? I MUST do better. Molly freakin' Parker, for crying out loud.

3. Finish In America by Susan Sontag. The Polish actress and her entourage are finally, finally in America. The story has properly started. Time for me to get back on the stagecoach.

4. Finish Bettyville by George Hodgman. This memoir of a man who goes back to a small town in Missouri to take care of his ageing mother hits a little close to home, so although it's not very long and beautifully written, I can't read too much at one time. It breaks my heart. Plus, I wanted to know more about other pieces George Hodgman has written, so I googled him, and...no. Just more and more heartbreak. But I will finish Bettyville. For George and for me and for Betty, his mother, and Judy, my mother and for all the thousands of sons and daughters who set up and maintain that final, shaky outpost. Finished

5. Finish Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. After a couple of fitful starts on audiobook and an Everyman's edition with insect print, I visited my library. Gleaming from the very top shelf was The Annotated Frankenstein! It's gorgeous. Sexy. Great shelf appeal. The footnotes overrun the 1818 text (mostly commenting on the changes made for the 1831 version) but it feels so right, that balance of history and horror and literature and geekishness and nerdiness and yes! October!

6. Finish Sontag, Susan Sontag's biography by Benjamin Moser. I'm 35% in.  Finished

7. Read Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn. It's about Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. I gave it as a gift to a friend a couple of years ago. My reasons were twofold: I thought that he would enjoy it, and I planned to borrow it from him after a decent interval. Two years seems decent, even decorous, somewhat formal and old-fashioned.

8. Read Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. This will be my first outing with Gladwell. I reserved his latest book at the library. I'm second on the waitlist. Finished

Overall: It's a good plan(et), a pretty good list. It'll be interesting to check back in 2020 and see what really happened.

4 comments:

Sam Sattler said...

Wow, lots of one-word titles in your partially read list. I love coincidences like that one.

Bettyville sounds interesting. I've been my dad's caretaker for my 97-year-old father for the past nine years and I think it might be helpful to see how someone else muddled through the experience. I just got him back out of the hospital today after another three-day stay and I'm exhausted. I keep joking with him that he's going have to start taking better care of me since I'm 71 years old myself. (I really have to stop doing that because I think I'm starting to worry him a little.)

Unruly Reader said...

I love a good plan! And these days, I love changing course when the plan no longer suits because it was developed on another planet. (I adore that concept.)

That Bonnie & Clyde book sounds awfully compelling...

Bybee said...

Sam,
I'm convinced that you'll feel Bettyville right down to your bones.

Unruly,
I want to throw all the other books aside and jump to Bonnie and Clyde. Unfortunately, the others are library books, so I must go in order. Doing the readathon should help.

Jeane said...

You should look for the edition of Frankenstein illustrated by Bernie Wrightson. It is amazing!