The pitfall of doing a project like this is that it is a little bit confining. It’s hard to be as casual about one’s reading when you have such a concrete goal in mind. If I read 100 pages of a novel and I’m just not feeling it, it’s difficult to set it aside as I’d normally do, because I need that book for the tally and I’ve already invested however long it took me to read those 100 pages.
Well, today that’s exactly what I did. I had begun The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, a book that came highly recommended. I gave it 112 pages. Nothing about the book was engaging me in the slightest. Perhaps I don’t respond well to multicultural literature. Perhaps I don’t give a crap about Diego Rivera. Perhaps I found the narrator so utterly featureless that I…well, for whatever reason, the thought of reading the entirety of its 500 pages was just beyond the pale. So I said, to heck with it. I’ve got a whole stack of books here I’m dying to read, why should I waste my reading time on a book I’m not enjoying?
It helped that after a very productive week in which I read two different books in one evening each, plus I have another one 2/3 read that I could have finished in a few hours, I’m ahead of the game. I’m up to 35 books read and I’m ahead of schedule, so I felt I could afford the time I wasted on The Lacuna to be nonproductive. Sorry, Barbara. Not this time.
I’m also eyeballing the Philip Roth aspect of my 2011 book project. While I am doing very well for my 100 book goal, I’m a tad behind in my Roth goal. I’m only on my 7th of his books, roughly 1/4 of the way through his 29-book output, so unless I step it way up, I won’t make it.
My project has always been twofold: to read 100 books in 2011, and to read every book Roth ever wrote. I’m considering divorcing those two goals. I will still read 100 books this year and I will still read every book of Roth’s in order, but perhaps I don’t need to read all Roth’s books in 2011. I could stretch that aspect of the project into next year as well. It would give me more longevity on the name of this blog, that’s for sure!