Why So Silent?

This project is going nodamnwhere.

According to Goodreads, in my plan to read 52 books this year, I’m ten books behind. This is because I have read zero books.

I’m still theoretically in the middle of City of God and Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. But I dropped out of #CivDei weeks ago, and as for the Mackay book, I’d just forgotten how badly you can hurt a fun thing by treating it as a duty. (I shouldn’t even complain: I knew, even intended, that the emotional atmosphere of this project would be one of crimped, arbitrary legalism and chafing self-resentment. Please don’t judge me for that; judging me is my job.)

All this was more or less to be expected; as I’ve said before, I’m not a reader. But at some point I’ve got to break out of this slump. Being behind, even well behind, is one thing – but if I never read anything, then why do I even have a blog?

Enter Svengoolie

No, really. I may be aliterate, but that doesn’t mean I’m cut off from all culture; every Saturday night I spend somewhere between four and nine consecutive hours watching genre shows on MeTV. This past Saturday, that included a presentation of the 1943 Phantom of the Opera.

It turned out to be a veritable compendium of things I know, love, or admire: Claude Rains! Opera! Technicolor! A guy sacrificing and sacrificing for somebody who doesn’t know he exists and being incredibly resigned about it! Fritz Leiber’s dad, also named Fritz Leiber (which confuses people)! Hummable music! And, of course, a small but appreciable quantity of Phantomy goodness!

This leads to the following sequence of events:

  • I experience a serious relapse of Phantom Phever.
  • I attempt a cure by redevouring the work of Anne Myers (plus a bit of Phantom Reviews, for yang).
  • Predictably enough, this only makes it worse.
  • I get it in my head that I want to read the Leroux novel, because I never have (not in its entirety).
  • I bitch and moan to myself because I can’t very well read a book I want to read until I’m done with the books I told everybody I was reading.
  • I realize how silly that sounds; I’m a fscking free agent and I can read whatever book I like.
  • So there.

(Reading outside books is not technically against The Rules, anyway; it just messes with pyatiletnii plan.)

Prolly won’t do an intro post or anything “official” like that, since it’s not actually part of the project, but I may write about it if I think of something to say.

Final Tweaks

So as I actually get into reading City of God, I realize how greatly I have overestimated my ability to read anything with any real speed. (I’m also a bit busy with classes – I’m taking Anatomy & Physiology; it’s frightening – so this is not purely a story of laziness and fail.)

Anyway, I’ve decided to stretch my three-year plan into five. This puts me at 53.2 books per year; if I read a straight 52 this year, I’ll still just have 53 or 54 to read for each of the other years. And I do mean to keep it to 52 – this is still Bible year. (At least I don’t have to tackle the dictionaries till later.)

Anyway, I hope that’s it for embarrassing news. As for happy news, my Christmas gift from Kid Sister has finally arrived.

Sara Bickley


Okay, so what I called the “final shape” of my library… well, isn’t. I have just received (and am, I confess, internally squeeeing about) a copy of Immemorial Silence that my uncle sent me. (Which, by the way, solves the mystery: Divine Enticement must have been from my grandma.) Apparently there was just a bartick of a shipping delay. Considering that he ordered it well before the end of the year, and the whole project’s just begun, and all that, I’d have to be awfully churlish not to stir it in. I’m told my sister has a Christmas present – possibly of the printed and bound variety – in the offing for me, too.

I have a planned procedure in place for books that people may (in ignorance or forgetfulness) give me in the future. But these, I guess, have snuck in just under the wire.

(On a personal note, I went to the grocery store today and didn’t stop by the book racks, and felt very tough and accomplished about that. I have to celebrate these small victories because, as you will – if you keep up with this blog – hear me repeat many, many times, I suck.)

This also means the number of books in the library no longer divides evenly by three. I’m going to keep 88 as my goal number for this year, though: that’s an insane enough challenge, on account of I have all those Bibles and dictionaries to get through.