The first slump of the project hit this week. There were precious few times I felt like sitting still long enough to read a measurable amount. This is in part incredibly good news – it’s been awhile since I had such a good pain-free stretch, and it makes me feel better about my own future. As for the books? I never expected this to be a perfect endeavor! I read when I felt like reading and let it go at that. Oh sure, it’s a bit infuriating to see my average drop – but I promised myself at the start of this I would not hide inside my books this year. If the project slows down due to life, that’s not failing.
This week I read Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o‘s prison memoir, Wrestling with the Devil. This was the book I started and then set aside last week, because the subject matter was a bit too heavy alongside the rest of a hard week. This week I decided to push through, knowing that only reading the easy books is a cop-out.
I purchased this book after seeing wa Thiong’o speak at the LA Times Book Fest last year. Embarassingly, I have to admit I was unfamiliar with him and his work before this, but I was so blown away by the part of his story we heard in the session that I snapped up the only book they were selling on site to read more.
Thiong’o is a novelist from Kenya, imprisoned for political reasons in the 1970s. While there, he wrote a novel on toilet paper – a fact I was so blown away with when I heard it that I immediately questioned almost everything I knew about life and dedication. Apparently it was not the wispy-thin rolls we’re accustomed to thinking about, but actual sheets bound in a small stack – but there is nothing that will stop me from being mightily impressed by this feat of bravery and resourcefulness. I plan to read this work (Devil on the Cross) in the future — and hopefully more of Thiong’o’s work as well. I’d like to learn more. As it was, reading the memoir, I often found myself struggling because I am so unfamiliar with the names and events he was living through. For this reason, I’m not really reviewing or rating the book. I have no expertise or position to do so.
I did not pick up War & Peace this week. I’ve considered reading it straight through until I’m done, but it’s too big to carry around with me and too fragile to read during a bubble bath, and I just don’t think I’d get through it very fast regardless. Hopefully I’ll chew off a bit more this coming week.
And while not directly related to the reading project in and of itself, I’ve recently hopped on the KonMari bandwagon and began putting the method into practice in my home. I completed clothes last weekend and now it’s on to books. I currently have every book I own stacked up on my floor, and once I’m done updating the blog here, it’s time to start deciding which spark joy! I may decide to remove a book or two from this reading list. When I made the list, I just tallied up everything on the shelves I knew I’d never read. Now I’m kind of wondering if everything is really worth the time. Either way, I already know I’ll be setting some books I’ve already read loose into the world. In the past I’ve redonated a lot of used books back to the library I bought them at, but I haven’t made a purge in a long time.
I was actually surprised my books didn’t create a bigger pile. When I took all my clothes out, I thought I didn’t really have many – and ended up piling a huge stack on my bed and realizing.. oh, wow. So I expected a huge pile of books only to realize it was pretty manageable. Having a fabulous library within walking distance has meant I haven’t bought many books in the past few years. That seems to have served me well.
Check back here next weekend to see how my KonMari books adventure turns out!
Stats, Week 7 (change from last week)
Books completed (total): 6 (+1)
Books to go: 54 (-1)
Pages read (total): 2280 (+226)
Pages to go: 20478 (-226)
Pages per day: 49.57 (-3.1)
Pages per day to complete entire goal by end of year: 64.19 (+0.68)