The OF Blog: Beginning a new reading project

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Beginning a new reading project

I have been busy the past three weekends, boxing up roughly 1500 books, magazines, literary journals, and CDs and moving them into a new shed that a cousin of mine built for this purpose.  It was interesting to have certain memories well up inside me in response to reading the spines of several of these books, but that perhaps is a post for another time (besides, after receiving half a foot of snow Friday, I have no desire to walk outside to take photos of the bins where these are now stored).

It is nice to have plenty of space now in my bedroom for doing exercise, but even more important, I have a much better reading space as a result.  I still have a little over 1000 books shelved there, divided almost equally between English and non-English language bookcases.  Two of my larger bookcases house my collection of Library of America volumes (nearly 160 out of 273 volumes to date) and after re-arranging them to form a sort of reading room space, I found myself reflecting last night on how I have only read maybe 1/5 of them in their entirety.

So I made a semi-resolution to read more of them this year and to write reviews of them, but after spending several minutes staring at them, trying to decide where to begin, I finally decided it would be easiest to just begin at #1 and read them in publication order.  Therefore, I began reading Herman Melville's volume of his three earliest novels (Typee; Omoo; Mardi) this afternoon, with reviews to follow (hopefully) over the next couple of days.

If I maintain this, I hope to put a serious dent into the unread volumes, and if I write reviews of individual novels/collections or of the volumes as a whole, then perhaps I'll be able to contribute something of value for others to read.  I hope to have enough reviews written by the end of the year to justify collecting them (and the ones I reviewed in previous years) into a separate blog devoted to collating these Library of America reviews.  Shall be interesting to see which writings move me and which move me to yawn.  I fear my reading squirrels, after nearly a year off, may be grumbling at having to emerge from their semi-hibernation in such a fashion.

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