On this (day after the) unofficial last day of summer, I’m making a last-ditch effort to memorialize the final part of my summer reading effort. I’m already on the verge of forgetting everything I loved and despised about these books, because I just started my first semester of vet school. It’s only the beginning of my second week, but my routine–and frankly, my entire lifestyle–has been upset. I’m glad for it, because this is the kind of upset that’s going to change me for the better, but it does mean that my priorities have shifted. Oh, the time I once devoted to reading! Where has it gone?! In reality, it’s only been one week, but a week ago feels like a lifetime ago.
The Remains of the Day has been recommended to me over and over again. Finally, when I saw it at my favorite used book store, I picked it up and shelved it. Somehow, the book never made it to the top of my reading list, though. Despite my affinity for Downton Abbey and all manner of British period pieces, it seemed too blatantly Anglophilic for me. I don’t enjoy reading just anything written about British people, but I do appreciate that uniquely British pairing of scathing humor with unnatural, almost illogical, stoicism. That’s why I enjoy Evelyn Waugh’s books, for example, or the lovely gem that is William Boyd’s Any Human Heart—one of my favorite reads of the year. In more ways than I had expected, Kazuo Ishiguro’s book was different from my usual fare.
In an effort to make time for one of my favorite activities, I’ve challenged myself to read 50 books in 2016. I’m keeping track of my progress on Goodreads, and sneakily picking up recommendations from my friends’ shelves, too. Before the start of my summer break, I had read 37 books. Thanks to a few languid afternoons with a porch cocktail in hand, I’m now at 40. I hope to meet my goal by the end of the summer, and maybe even increase my goal for the rest of the year. I have no idea what my first semester in vet school will do to my free time, though, so maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
“She had always wanted words, she loved them, grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape. Whereas I thought words bent emotions like sticks in water.”
It’s been about two months since I first opened “The English Patient.” In a masterstroke of stupidity, I picked up the book during final exam week of the fall quarter. Needless to say, I did much more reading than studying that week. Usually, I get the feeling of not being able to put a book down because the plot is exceptionally compelling, and drives me forward. This experience was different. “The English Patient” does have a compelling plot, but it accumulates slowly. Read more