As usual, my reading personality is split this year. By the end of June, I’d read 52 books this year, 25 fiction and 27 nonfiction.
Of the fiction, nearly half (12) were works in translation with French and Spanish accounting for three each. Of the nonfiction books, 10 were history (if you include recent events, such as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars) and eight were biographies or memoirs. The local library provided nearly a third of the books (16) and publishers or publicists provided 15, which accounted for most of the 19 book reviews I’ve written of books read this year.
I would have to say Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones and Philippe Claudel’s Brodeck are probably my two favorites so far. The significance, if any of the fact both are works in translation and deal with World War II is something I will leave for others.
As I’ve previously noted, though, it has not been a good year for book challenges. I’ve already dropped two of the five I planned for the year. In a third, I need to read three books this month to reach my goal, which is highly unlikely. In the one I created, I’ve only read one book but did move one I’ve been trying to read on my Blackberry onto my Nook after it arrived so I’m hoping to make more progress on it.
Of course, if what a guy’s complaining about on a three-day weekend is that although he’s read about two books a week they haven’t been ones that work for reading challenges, he doesn’t really have anything to whine about.
Books are the opposite of television. They are slow, engaging, inspiring, intellect-arousing, and creativity-spurring.
David Shenk, Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut