A quarter of the year has passed and I am a third of the way through my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I proposed to read 30 books this year, which I think is a manageable goal, and so far I’ve read 10 of the 30 books.
I’ve read The Element by Sir Ken Robinson, an insightful read; Jinx by Sage Blackwood, a fun one; Native Son by Richard Wright, which will leave you either seething or in deep contemplation; The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula Le Guin, an uneventful but thoughtful read; Mythology by Edith Hamilton, great for myth lovers and novices to the subject; I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing both by Nora Ephron and both filled with chuckles; The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, in which you will find great advice if you are patient; A Wizard of Earthsea also by Ursula Le Guin, a truly imaginative read; and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky, a totally un-put-down-able book. I was not bored by any of these titles, even when I read Dillard’s book. They were all eye-openers in their own ways and all offered insights and advice that I hope I can remember.
Out of this portion of books, my favorite is A Wizard of Earthsea. A Wizard of Earthsea is great because of the thought and creativity given to form the story. Le Guin is truly a great author. I can see why J.K. Rowling loves her stories. Le Guin takes her time building the world of Earthsea, mapping it out for us all while taking us through Ged Sparrowhawk’s life. There is much to learn in this story and words of advice that can be applied to life are sprinkled throughout. I especially like the afterword where Le Guin discusses her thought process in creating Ged and the world of Earthsea. It’s an enthralling read.
The least liked book is The Writing Life. I think I read it at the wrong time. In fact, I know I did. I wasn’t interested in knowing about the writing life. I was just trying to find a way to avoid writing and I did that by reading Dillard’s book. I was frustrated by the book because I had no patience to puzzle out what Dillard was trying to say. If she wasn’t straightforward in what she said, I would ignore it, which means I ignored a majority of the book. I constantly dozed off while reading it. I don’t think this is fair to Dillard so I will read her book again one day when I am interested in what she says about the writing life.
I think the best quote that I’ve pulled from the books is one taken from The Tombs of Atuan. It’s a reflection on the state of mind of the protagonist Tenar as she flees with Ged:
“She wept in pain because she was free…Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake…It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one.”
This is a powerful quote. Most people think that freedom is simply a physical thing. They don’t realize that the mind needs to be free as well and that a person must choose to be free to truly escape her bonds.
As for my Classics Club Reading Challenge, I’ve read one book for it so far: Richard Wright’s Native Son. It’s a great book and I’m considering revisiting Black Boy, Wright’s autobiography. I read a part of it while in high school but it wasn’t my book so I was unable to finish. I’ll get my own to read.
Well, I think I’ve set a good reading pace for myself – ten books every three months – I hope I can keep it up. I look forward to the next set of books, whatever they may be. I don’t like to plan what I will read since my mind constantly changes what it decides on. But whatever books they may be, I welcome its enjoyment, adventure, or boredom.