I thought I would pop in with an update on some of the books I selected from my shelves for 2017. Of the twelve books pictured in the stack, I’ve read five of the books so far, and I’m working on The Wild Places now. As we’re at the midpoint in the year, I think I’ve made decent progress- usually by now I’m sidetracked with some new books or recommendations. I still have a number of classics to tackle, and there are a few books I want to read over the next month that are not on the list (and have yet to be acquired), but I’m planning on picking them up soon. I am easily distracted with new books or newly discovered books. 😀
I hit an annual used book sale last month and ended up with some great finds. Unfortunately, I don’t have any great pictures as I’ve already shelved all of the books, but I’ve included a list below. I’m starting to add to my Classics collection – and really want to focus on the Classics in the coming months. I scored some great poetry books as well.
Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck (I’ve read, but would like to read again at some point)
Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf
East of Eden, Steinbeck
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain (I’ve already read this one, but found an older Signet Classics edition)
Pickwick Papers, Dickens
The Good Earth, Buck,
The House of Mirth, Wharton (I’ve read one as well)
Flight Behavior, Kingsolver
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, Shaffer and Barrows
I’m a little behind in my reading goal of 50 books for the year, but getting close to the halfway mark. I have a huge stack of books from the library (why do they all seem to be available at the same time?!), so I hope to make more progress this month. I have a couple of books I’m reading at the same time – a mix of non-fiction and fiction and really need to get back to reading some poetry as well!
Well, April was not a great reading month for me. Between being sick and getting side-tracked on a few things, I didn’t make much of a dent this month. However, I am actually making some good progress on reading some of the books I picked out for 2017 (more to come on this). I enjoyed reading To The Bright Edge of the World as it was full of outdoor adventures and exploration of new territories – it inspired me to get out in nature more often! I’m also in the midst of reading The Art Forger and I’m really enjoying learning more about the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston.
In honor of National Poetry Month, I had a stack of poetry books I hoped to read this month. Unfortunately, I ended up getting side-lined with the flu, so reading progress came to a screeching halt for a couple of weeks. I read Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne. I enjoyed reading the letters and poetry, especially after watching the movie Bright Star a few years ago. I really didn’t know much about John Keats before the movie, outside of some his more famous poems, and for whatever reason, that movie really struck a chord with me. Perhaps because he was so young when he passed away, struggling to make his poetry known to the world. Perhaps it was the love story. I digress, but it helped me rediscover John Keats and his poetry.
Here a few poetry books I have set out on my reading table and hope to tackle over the next month or so (for belated National Poetry Month!) 😀
I’ve noticed that my attention span seems to be decreasing. Even when I’m reading a book, I can’t help but keep my phone nearby “just in case” I get an important text message, e-mail, etc. Let’s be real – I don’t have anything that urgent I need to check on where I can’t set aside a solid half hour or more to immerse myself in a book. However, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve really lost focus lately – even with a good book!
I’m not going to point my finger at technology, as I am definitely a user and consumer of technology and love many of its efficiencies and benefits. However, if I take a step back, I wonder whether I always need to be “connected” and whether I am really more efficient when I am multi-tasking and checking e-mail, listening to a podcast, and bouncing back and forth with text messages at the same time. Probably not… It got me thinking about single-taking versus multi-tasking. It seems like there quite a few thoughts and articles on this topic as of late, and I keep hearing the benefits of taking time to single-task, which creates more mindfulness and awareness.
In a society where we are “on” 24×7, I think it really becomes challenging and more of an effort to single-task and focus on one thing. Given my recent lack of focus, I am going to challenge myself to single-tasking and try to be more present and “in the moment” which each thing I do, whether it be the mundane like folding laundry to the more important things like a chat over coffee with a friend, or when escaping in a good book. Anyone else out there encountering similar challenges?
March ended up being a good reading month – I am now 26% complete towards my goal of 50 books. 😀 I finished Mansfield Park, which I thought was a charming book. The School of Night brought back memories of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I also enjoyed A Moveable Feast, especially after reading The Paris Wife and Hemingway’s Girl. I think in honor of spring, I might try to read a few nature books next month, along some poetry since April is National Poetry Month.
So far, so good in terms of my reading progress – 14% of the way towards my goal of 50 books. I completed two non-fiction books this month, and I’m about halfway through Mansfield Park and also working on some poetry. I think this is the maximum amount of books I can juggle at one time!
In my effort to organize some of my reading interests, I’ve created a list of books I would like to read that are in my “Nature and Science” category. After recently reading Upstream by Mary Oliver, it inspired me to explore more books about nature. I would love to hear your thoughts on the list below – especially if you’ve read any of the books on the list.
Meditations of John Muir: Nature’s Temple
Kissed by a Fox by Priscilla Stuckey
The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane
The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane
Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane
The Whale by Philip Hoare
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
Tulipomania by Mike Dash
The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
The Map that Changed the World by Simon Winchester
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature by Kathleen Dean Moore