I Will Raise Her Statue in Pure Gold…

Juliet's StatueThat whiles Verona by that name is known, / There shall be no figure at such rate be set / As that of true and faithful Juliet.—Montague, Romeo and Juliet Act V, Scene iii.

I’m still reading Anne Fortier’s Juliet, and I have to say the action is really picking up. I don’t review books until I finish them, but here’s a preview: go ahead and read this one, especially if you are a fan of Romeo and Juliet. You know, I asked not to teach ninth grade this year because I thought I was tired of this play, but I’m not, and now I kind of wish I were teaching it. I am, however, having an excellent time with Macbeth. Anyway, Juliet has been a great read so far, and I’m over halfway through it with no idea how it will resolve. Plus, I really want to go to Italy.

On the other hand, I am not enjoying Jamaica Inn as much. I can’t get into it. I think I need to give it a little longer, especially given how much I enjoyed Rebecca, but so far, I’m not too interested in the characters. I’m hoping to have a little more time to read over the holidays. I’m still five books short of my goal of 40 books, which seemed completely obtainable a couple of months ago.

Is anyone else going to do the Shakespeare Challenge? And have you signed up for my challenge yet?

photo credit: Tomato Geezer

NaNoWriMo Participant

Reading (and NaNoWriMo) Update: October 31, 2010

NaNoWriMo ParticipantI’m participating in NaNoWriMo. I decided to just buckle down and make a decision. It should be interesting, as I really have no idea what I’ll be writing about. I have jotted down a few ideas for potential plots, but I haven’t committed to any yet. You can follow my progress here at my NaNo profile, or keep visiting me here to check my status meter.

I began reading The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson just in time for Halloween. I already love her descriptions and think I will continue to enjoy the book. I also had a change to begin listening to Jamaica Inn in the car yesterday. Du Maurier sure does write a good creep in Uncle Joss, doesn’t she?

Right now we’re putting the finishing touches on Halloween costumes. Maggie will be a black cat, and Dylan will be Harry Potter (again). However, since we only have the glasses and the wand, he’s going to be Harry on the run in Deathly Hallows rather than Hogwarts Harry.

And for Halloween, a fun poll:

[poll id=”2″]

Happy Halloween, everyone!

jack o lanterns
photo credit: St0rmz

Reading Update: October 24, 2010

flareAll the maple trees around here are beautiful shades of red and orange. Fall is my favorite season.

I think I am pretty much done with the R.I.P. Challenge. I gave up on Wuthering Bites, and I don’t see how I’ll finish Jamaica Inn when I haven’t even started it. However, I did read four books, which is two more than I thought I could, so I still met the challenge of Peril the First—for the first time ever!

I am still reading How the Irish Saved Civilization. If I have one complaint, it’s that I like books divided up into more chapters. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish a chapter, and the chapters in this book (at least some of them) are looooonng, which makes me feel less like I’m getting anywhere.

I am also going to begin Anne Fortier’s novel Juliet. Romeo and Juliet is fun to teach, and this will be the first year I have taught high school that I haven’t taught the play because it’s the first year I haven’t taught ninth grade. I love the play, but I needed a break. Instead, I will be starting Macbeth pretty soon. That one is great fun to teach.

I am looking for some good steampunk book suggestions that I can read for the Steampunk Challenge. I already plan to read The Dream of Perpetual Motion, and a friend in the know recommended Leviathan. If you have read any good ones, please share.

What are you reading?

photo credit: Aunt Owwee

Reading Update: October 10, 2010

Stone Cross Draculas Castle - Bran Castle Transylvania Romania

It’s 10/10/10! Such dates only occur about nine times each millennium, according to my friend Roger’s research.

I found the image above on Flickr. It’s a cross outside Bran Castle in Transylvania—Dracula’s castle. I’m still reading and very much enjoying Syrie James’s Dracula, My Love. I read Dracula last year (read my review here) as part of the R.I.P. Challenge, although I didn’t finish it in time to count it (November 8). And now I’m reading Dracula paraliterature for this year’s challenge! One of the things I wondered about was whether Stoker’s choice to tell the story in an epistolary fashion would have altered if he’d chosen a character from whose point of view to tell it. I like James’s choice of Mina Harker. The novel has been great so far! I haven’t caught any departures from Stoker’s novel aside from the ways in which point of view always alters the story. Syrie James’s Dracula is much more seductive—more like our current school of thought on vampires (Lestat, Louis de Pointe du Lac, Edward Cullen, and the like) than Nosferatu. I do enjoy how James turns Professor Van Helsing into something of an ass. That’s fun.

Aside from Syrie James’s take on Dracula, I haven’t read much. I have been enormously busy at work and grad school. It’s not that I don’t have time to read—I do—it’s just that with all the extra work, the time I do have is often at the end of the day when I’m tired.

I still haven’t started Jamaica Inn. If I don’t start that one soon, there’s no way I can count it toward the R.I.P. Challenge, although when I finish Dracula, My Love, I will have completed four books, so anything else I read is gravy.

Isn’t the R.I.P. Challenge is the best way to spend October every year? September never really feels like fall in Georgia, but starting the R.I.P. Challenge gets me into the spirit, so to speak. However, by October, when our leaves are changing and temperatures are falling, reading creepy books feel great. Thanks so much Carl for hosting it every year and always making it such a highlight in terms of reading experiences.

Some of my blogging peers are talking about the big readathon this weekend. I can’t participate in that kind of thing during the school year, or I will be dead come Monday. And I can’t be dead and teach teenagers how to appreciate Geoffrey Chaucer and Arthur Miller. However, I really want to try one over the summer. Anyone know of one? Or do we just need to throw that shindig ourselves?

In other completely unrelated news, I got a haircut (click to embiggen, as Wil Wheaton always says):

Dana's New Haircut

photo credit: VSELLIS

Booking Through Thursday: Current Reading

Lost in Literature

This week’s Booking Through Thursday asks readers what they’re currently reading and what they think of it. I posted a reading update just a few days ago, and nothing has really changed since my update. I’m still reading The Heretic’s Daughter, The House of Seven Gables, and Great Expectations. I haven’t started Jamaica Inn on audio yet.

However, I will say that while I find The Heretic’s Daughter interesting in its historical detail, and even a good and fair account of the Salem witch trials (at least the part of the book which I’ve read), it’s not grabbing me, and I am not itching to pick it up. I think it’s suffering unfairly from my just having finished The Hunger Games trilogy. That kind of action and edge-of-your-seat reading is rare—after all, the novels have rightly become a publishing phenomenon for that reason. I think I always knew The House of Seven Gables would be a slower read for me, and it’s not suffering from any discrepancy regarding my expectations.

What I’m more interested in talking about is the fact that I’m reading three or four books at the same time. I didn’t used to be the kind of person who could do that, or I suppose I should say I didn’t *think* I could, so I didn’t attempt it. However, I have discovered the ability to juggle several books at once in the last couple of years. It depends on the way I read. I usually have one book going in DailyLit, which is very slow going with just a five-minute portion of the book each day; however, I have managed to read five books in the last couple of years in this way, and I think at least three of them, I never would have finished had I tried to read them any other way. I usually try to have an audio book going, too. Aside from that, I’ve discovered I can read two other books either in print or on my Kindle. But four seems to be my max, and I can only read four if two are in some format aside from print/e-book.

It turns out NPR’s Talk of the Nation recently ran a story about folks who read more than one book at a time. The story calls them polyreaders. Interestingly, the story mentions that some folks frown on reading more than one book at a time. I found that curious because I have never met anyone who frowned on the practice. Have you? It seems a strange thing to be disdainful about!

What do you do? Do you read one book at a time or several at once? Why?

photo credit: truds09

Reading Update: September 20, 2010

On the platform, reading

Friday was my birthday, and my parents usually send me a book gift card. The last few years, it’s been an Amazon card because I can get books shipped for free. An added bonus this year is that I can buy books for my Kindle instead. I haven’t spent all of it, but here is my haul to date:

I have been wanting a NKJV Bible for some time, and reviewers gave high marks to this study Bible. I think I will like having the annotations, and the NKJV is my favorite translation. Passion is the story of the Romantic poets Byron, Shelley, and Keats told through the point of view of the women who loved them. That sounds absolutely fascinating to me. From Slave Ship to Freedom Road is a children’s book by Julius Lester. The artwork is superb, and it tells the story of slavery like no other book I’ve read. I have actually used it with my students before and since I’m teaching American literature again, I decided to pick it up. Dracula, My Love is a new novel by Syrie James, whose previous work I have really enjoyed. As a bonus, I can read Dracula, My Love for the R.I.P. Challenge if I finish The Heretic’s Daughter and have time for more books—and I don’t see why I shouldn’t, as it’s not even October, and I’m nearly halfway finished with that book.

Wuthering BitesI’ve started Jamaica Inn on audio, or rather I will when I catch up on my podcasts. That book, too, can be counted as an R.I.P. Challenge book, and then I will have four, which means I can move up a level in commitment. Of course, my department chair also gave me Wuthering Bites, the latest mashup novel in the tradition of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and Jane Slayre. Heathcliff is supposed to be a vampire, which makes a lot of sense if you think about it. OK, I admit it looks good. We’ll have to see if my sense of humor can handle mocking my favorite book.

This week is the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, and as I work in a Jewish school, I have a half day on Wednesday and no school Thursday and Friday. I am excited to have some time to read. The first draft of my portfolio for grad school is finished, so I am not anticipating a ton of grad school work to impede my enjoyment of half a week off. I plan to spend the time reading.

Amazon sent me my replacement Kindle, I’ve sent the broken one back, and the new one is already up and running and loaded with good reads. What are you reading?

photo credit: Mo Riza