Book Polygamy: Days Four and Five

Book Polygamy Recaps:

Notice anything about my Goodreads’ “Read” page???

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That’s right!  I’ve been able to finish two books (As You Wish and Haunted) over the last day-ish.  To be fair, Haunted was my “Sweatpants” choice and, while it was technically my “Nonfiction” title, As You Wish was another quick, easy-read.

I gave books a 4-out-of-5-star review, but for two very different reasons.

download As soon as I was able to put Haunted and the film “Fight Club,” based upon the book by the same name, together as having been written by the same author, I wondered if I would be able to enjoy this novel.  What I appreciated was the sophistication that Palahniuk exhibited despite the vile topics that were covered in Haunted.  I could almost seamlessly interchange “Fight Club” into that sentence, and my sentiments would be adequately represented.  As someone who can appreciate writing style over content, I don’t know that I could bring myself to want to read more by Palahniuk just because the subject matter in his stories (and I’m assuming Fight Club would be justifiably included simply based on the film adaptation) push me to my utter limits of deciding if it’s art or if it’s just gross.  Because I can see the mastery of the English language and plot development, I gave Haunted a high rating, but I think we will leave this relationship on a high note and wish each other all the best in the future.

516Fd4+DlsL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_In almost the complete opposite manner, the memoir written by actor Cary Elwes about the creation of the film, “The Princess Bride,” appeals to audiences because of the quiet joy and memories of having watched one of cinema’s most beloved movies.  It’s a sweet book, and the stories shared by the man in black parallel the storybook (literally) element of watching “The Princess Bride.”  There aren’t any salacious anecdotes or scathing reveals about divas or prima donnas on-set, and quite honestly, it’s easily forgivable that there is very little conflict in this reflective text.  Even if you’ve only seen the film once (shame on you – go get a digital copy right now!), you will appreciate the stories and reflections of this quick-read.

So what is next?

I am going to be replacing Haunted with Longbourn by Jo Baker – (via Goodreads) If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them.
 
In this irresistibly imagined below stairs answer to Pride and Prejudice,the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen’s classic—into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars—and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully realized world that is wholly her own.

Additionally, I will replace As You Wish, my nonfiction title with Ross Matthews’ memoir, Man Up! Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence.  As the school year is creeping up on me, I will be intermittently adding in assorted essays from the AP textbook.  I can’t think of two more parallel topics, but that’s why I’m so well-rounded.

 

Book Polygamy: Day One

 

Yesterday I wrote about my desire to be able to read more, dive deeper into my to-read list.

Serendipitously, I found a republished article from BOOKRIOT on just that topic: book polygamy.  I decided to try Swapna Krishna’s approach to juggling 4-6 books at one time a try.  I chose my five books and started reading yesterday.  Here is my updated progress from Goodreads:Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 4.32.34 AM

Day One Review:

  • To be fair, I had already started reading A Game of Thrones earlier in the week, and I read pages 272-419 yesterday.  Even though GoT technically and naturally falls into the “Chunkster” category, it has quickly become one that I could transition up to “Sweatpants.”
  • My current “Sweatpants” book, Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk,  was a great selection.  While his subject matter tends to be very disturbing, Palahniuk’s writing style draws you in like a swimming pool’s sump pump.
  • I found myself wanting to read more of Haunted, and I know that there aren’t so many hard and fast rules to reading more than one book, but because I am experimenting with transitioning between titles, I forced myself to stop and pick up As You Wish by Cary Elwes.  This is my nonfiction choice, and I’ve been wanting to read it for quite some time, especially because of my affinity for the film, “The Princess Bride.”  I chose well because the subject of the memoir is keeping my attention, not necessarily the writing style.
  • I haven’t cracked the covers of my Literary Fiction choice, “The Canterbury Tales,” or my “Other” selection for my book club, The Dinner.  The truth is, I’ve read both of these books, and I know that I will get around to it.  I’m not worried.

So right now,  I am knees-deep in two books (Haunted and As You Wish) and 60% of the way through A Game of Thrones.  Everything is feeling fine with my pacing after adding in two more books.  I don’t know how comfortable I can get with this, however, because I am on summer vacation and have the time to devote to reading this much in one sitting.  I anticipate that my reading rate will slow down as soon as the school year begins, which may mean that I read one book per day, then rotate to the next title the next day.

Trying Out Book Polygamy

Trust me, it’s not as tawdry as it sounds.

I was leaving Books-a-Million last week, newest book club selection in-hand, along with a promise to read a second book by the next time we met, and a verbal commitment to start reading the series, “A Song of Fire and Ice.”  I calculated in my head that there was over 1,000 pages that I had to read in about twenty-one days.  I’m not a fast reader, nor am I able to read for lengths of time before succumbing to drowsiness.  I know I’m reading, but I’m still a poor showing as an English teacher.  Excluding rereads for my assigned books, I maybe can get through ten new titles a year.  What I’ve never tried to do was read multiple books at the same time.  That’s when an old article, newly reposted, from Book Riot sparked my interest.

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How I Became a Book Polygamist by Swapna Krishna

In a nutshell, organization is key and develop a system that works for you.  Here’s how Swapna reads between four-to-six books at a time:

1.  Choose a book that is easy to read and get into.  For me, I’ll call these my “Sweatpants” books.  This doesn’t mean that it isn’t meaningful or good.  It means that you are able to easily fall into it, reading and reflecting on small increments at a time.

2.  To feed your soul and capture the literary beauty of novels, choose a classic: an Atwood, a Bronte, a dead/white/male.  You know, something that would have been assigned in college.  Reading 50ish pages at a time is a hefty enough bite to allow the mind to savor and analyze.

3.  In keeping with expanding the mind, considering new perspectives, toss in a nonfiction to keep you well-rounded and informed.  Biographies, books of essays, or memoirs definitely counts in this genre.  Again, 50 pages isn’t asking too much.

4.  Finally, something she calls a “Chunkster. 100 pages of a 400+ page novel.”  This where she really got me: A Game of Thrones!

Additionally, there are audiobooks and reading something on an e-reader.  For me, I’ve never been good at paying attention to books-on-tape, but I can listen the hell out of a podcast.  Almost all of my reading is done on an e-reader, so that doesn’t really support me going into a 6th layer of bringing in new knowledge.

So here’s the plan:

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  • Literary Fiction: “The Canterbury Tales” (I’ve read it before, but I’ve got to start rereading for the fall semester that’s coming up)

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I’ve read The Dinner before, and here is my review.

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