The Race to 50?

So another year is winding down and I’m again stuck trying to complete my goal of 50 new books in a year… and/or 20,000 pages. Well, unless the last book is a multi-volume encyclopedia, 20,000 pages isn’t happening. Here’s where we stand on books.

39) Lennon & McCartney: Together Alone by John Blaney. This is a critical evaluation of the solo careers of the two most famous Beatles. Blaney isn’t always dead on, but his analysis is usually pretty good. He does lose me a bit when he gets into how “Tug of War” was released in a special edition with a yellow ring around the outside rim of the B side sticker, but only in Columbia and with serial numbers ending in 4. For an overview of the solo careers, it isn’t bad at all. Blaney tends to heap praise on Lennon and gripe about early McCartney, but he cuts him a wide berth on things like his classical music (yawn). Worth reading, but only if you’re a fairly serious fan. 304 pages.

40) William Faulkner: Lives & Legacies by Carolyn Porter. An excellent biography and critical sketch of the life and works of my favorite American novelist. Porter does a good job of diving deep enough into Faulkner’s life and works to extract a meaningful portrait of both, without bogging down in overly academic jargon. Very readable and quite good. 224 pages.

41) Our Endangered Values by Jimmy Carter. In 224 pages, Carter takes on what it means to be a Democrat and a born-again Christian. As I share these characteristics, I wanted the former President’s explanation and clarification. Both are well delivered. It’s not a book for policy wonks as much as for regular people. This one falls into the essential category for me.

42) The Office and Philosophy by Jeremy Wisnewski. This is a volume of essays concerning various philosophical issues and the television show “The Office”. As a series of essays, they can be uneven, but occasionally very interesting and/or though provoking. About 2/3 of the essays deal with the American edition of the show, but the writing was solid enough that I could usually follow even the essays on the British version. If you’re a fan of “The Office” and philosophy, then it’s certainly worth a browse. 328 pages.

43) Greetings From E Street by Robert Santelli. This is one of those memorabilia books with tear out copies of famous documents, photos, etc, in this case in regard to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Santelli’s text is a bare-bones history of the Jersey scene and the King of same. 98 pages.

44) Don’t Quit Your Day Job by Sonny Brewer. Brewer edits a collection of essays of Southern writers on the jobs they left behind. Sometimes poignant, sometimes hysterical, but almost invariable interesting, this book was a pleasant surprise. 272 pages.

45) American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham. A fat biography of President Jackson that ultimately disappoints. Meacham does a mediocre job of telling us just what it all meant. Jackson was a fascinating multi-faceted individual, but one who would be better served by more analysis and less fact recounting. 512 pages.

Books in progress: five more (with a total of about 1.1 books finished among them)

So there we are. 3 1/2 days to go. Due to my first fragmentary book (book 1 was just finished in 2010, but was mostly read in 2009, ergo it counts as .2 books) and the ones I’m currently reading, the total count is:
45.3 books
Approximately 15,000 pages (14,660 on books finished)

Can I read 4.7 books in 3 1/2 days? Probably not. I will keep trying and see if I can make it interesting. I do have Friday off, so if I could get to say 48 by then, a Friday reading marathon could ensue.
Can I read 5,000 pages in 3 1/2 days? No. Not a chance. Finishing the five books I’m working on entails about another 1400 pages.

I will continue to post, particularly if I continue to make some sort of substantial progress.


2 Responses to “The Race to 50?”

  1. tifferne Says:

    45.3 books in 2010 is still a hugh amount of reading… I just blogged yesterday about the number of books on my Nook that I have read in 2010 and the number was 35 and I am always reading… LOL I do like the idea though about setting a goal for the number of books you read in a year… I may have to try that my self..

    I wish you luck with the 3 1/2 days you have left. And will check back to see how your progress is going. But even if you stay at 45.3 that just think that you are averaging one book every eight days… Thats awesome in my book!!


  2. eljoe1235 Says:

    Thanks for the moral support, Tiffany. I’m still reading and haven’t give up hope, although between work stuff, home stuff, and baby stuff, my eyes start closing in on each other a lot faster than they used to.

    Good luck with your 2011 project! Branching out is good, but sometimes tough. I’ve tried to vary mine aside from music and sports, which are my two big recreational interests. Whenever I do finish with the 2010 reading, I’ll see how successful I was…

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