So June is almost over, and this is the time when I start planning my reading for the next three months. One of the most immediate things I’m excited to be a part of is Orange July, an effort to get lots of people around the year to read Orange Prize list books. There is a group on Facebook discussing the books they choose. And you can read a range of reviews of Orange Prize books on the Orange Prize Project site. My plan is to read at least 3 Orange Prize winners or shortlist books. The books currently on my shelves that are Orange Prize books are: Larry’s Party, On Beauty, Fingersmith, Pardise, The Lacuna, Home, The Road Home, The Inheritance of Loss, Alias Grace, Small Island, and Bel Canto. If you have any recommendations for me, post them and I will be happy to benefit from your wisdom.
Around the World and 666 (six books, six countries, six continents): I’m actually ahead on my reading for both of these challenges for the year. Of the 36 books to read for 666, I have 9 to go: one for Asia, two for Africa, and all of South America. My goal is to finish these up by the end of September. I think of this challenge as my General Education curriculum–it ensures that in my Around the World Challenge, I have a healthy distribution of countries, rather than just bulking up on a single region. And I think of finishing it at the end of third quarter in a similar way. If I finish these books by the end of my junior year, I can play for my senior year. Of course, I may still load up on more from these regions that quarter; I just won’t feel like I have to. In addition to the 9 for the 666 challenge, I’m aiming for another 4 from other countries to keep up the pace for Around the world. Assuming I finish my Portugal read tonight, which is pretty likely, since it is fun and short, I will finish June 33 books into my 52. With the additional 13 from July to September, I will have only 6 more countries to go during “senior year.” That way I will feel free to go nuts with books from countries I get fixated on for that last stretch. I tend to love British Commonwealth books: Great Britain, India, Canada, so those will probably figure prominently after September, but who knows. I also have gotten really hooked on Fuentes and Calvino and Saramago, so there could be a lot of Mexico, Cuba/Italy, and Portugal in the mix too.
The 1001 lists: I have just learned that (ACK!) there is a new edition coming out this year. I guess I can fervently hope that I have already read everything they add. But somehow I doubt I’ll get that lucky. Which means I can expect to fall behind in that arena the moment the book comes out in October. So between now and then, I had better do my best with the three versions of the list already out there. Unfortunately, as I have added cool lists to my reading goals, I have slipped a little behind on my reading for this one this year (again, praying some of what I have read this year gets added and I magically jump ahead in October). I am currently one book off pace to read 52 of these this year. I’ve started Moll Flanders, but there is no way I will finish it tonight. So the goal for July to September is to catch up on list books, and be at 39 by the end of the quarter. Should be doable if some of the books I read for the other challenges are also on the 1001 lists. I’ll definitely read the Goodreads monthly selections from this list and finish up Moll Flanders, the June assignment.
Nobel and Pulitzer: I’m going to stick to reading the monthly selections from the Goodreads groups on these. July in the Nobel group is Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter which will help me check off Peru, but it’s not a 1001 selection (at least not right now). The July Pulitzer read is The Hours which is no help geography-wise but IS (fanfare) on the list.
I’ve also recently joined the Great Africa Reads group which reads through African countries A-Z and also does contemporary fiction group reads. I’m going to try to keep up with them, to the extent that they are doing fiction, and so long as I can get access to a copy of the book they are reading without paying an arm and leg. The current fiction book is Petals of Blood, which should arrive at my house any minute and will cover me for Kenya, while also checking off another 1001 book. I loved the author’s book that I read last year for my 666 challenge, Devil on the Cross, so I’m eager to dig my teeth into this one.
This will be fun, but it’s a little daunting. If you are keeping score, here’s a little checklist I can use to update as I go:
- Orange July 1 2 3
- Around the World: Africa: 1, 2 Asia 1 South America 1 2 3 4 5 6 Other countries 1 2 3 4
- 1001 Books 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
- Nobel: July Aug Sept
- Pulitzer: July Aug Sept
- Great Africa Reads: July Aug Sept