Friday, October 03, 2008

“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” - Tom Landry

I've read 298 books since I began this blog in 2006, 150 of which were read that first year (I still have no idea how I did that). Each year, I've set a goal, and I usually achieve it.

After picking up Blood Meridian, I read five pages, then thought, "I know this story." Checked the archives - sure enough, I read it in 2006. I started Going After Cacciato. Same thing. I've read broadly and deeply and now it is time to make a change.

My experience with reading new authors has been invigorating, but often one of the books will reference something in the past that interests me and I have to ignore the impulse to explore deeper. After all, there are books in the "fridge" and on my desk and the library is calling to tell me more have come in. Now that my time is heart-wrenchingly limited, I've decided to bump up my 2009 goal to an early October start.

I'm going to play a game called connect-the-dots. Remember those pages from kindergarten? You could see what the figure would end up being (a sailboat or the letter B), but you still dragged your pencil from 1 to 2 to 3. If I read a book that references another book, I'm going to read that other book. If I read a book that is amazing, I'm going to go straight to the author's other titles. If my pencil hits the last number in the dot connection, I'll tell you and start from scratch.

You won't be able to see what I'm about to read because *I* don't know what I'm about to read. I just want to see how long I can stretch things out; for example, the Man Booker prize nominees. That was a fun ride.

This may drive me crazy. I love getting stacks of books from the library or knowing that I have something to clutch after turning the last page of another novel. But, in the same way, it's an adventure. The naked reader, stripped of all expectations other than the book in my hand and what it may whisper into my consciousness.


Lezlie said...

This will be fun to watch! Good luck! I can't wait to see where it leads!


Anonymous said...

Think of all the books you read before 2006. No wonder you are hitting the end of the road.

This is an interesting idea, kind of a six degrees of separation thing. Knowing you, you'll find a way to connect something you read to almost anything.


Lisa said...

That is a great plan, I can't wait to see how it works out.

Carol Dean said...

What an exhilarating approach to reading! You're in for a bumpy (but no doubt fun!) ride, mi amiga ;)

Kristin Dodge said...

Thanks Lezlie, MH, Lisa, and Carol Dean. "Bumpy" may not be how I would describe it... more like walking off a cliff. ;-)

I just remember reading "Half of a Yellow Sun," and one of the characters reads "A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave." Hmm, I thought, I haven't read that in years. Then, there was a reference to "The Prince." Soon after, I read that Machiavelli wrote this book to gain favor with the Medici family, connecting all of these books to my Medici interests (and Rushdie's "The Enchantress of Florence").

Confusing? Yes. Fascinating, as a scholar? Yes. Terrifying? Oh, yes.

I see many blockades in the future, but I also see several fun connect-the-dots possibilities. At least I'm a chica who loves a challenge.

Stefania said...

I also do connect the dots a lot! But now I'm reading very slowly because I've started to work...

Kristina said...

That sounds like a great a treasure hunt. I'll be sure to watch!!