The Numbers – explained

The numbers are in! Thanks to a severe omission of several chapters from Book Lust To Go I had to add 89 additional titles to the Challenge list, bringing my total number of books left to read to 4,809. While I am irritated by this new number, 4809 is a much better number than what I had been originally anticipating. I guessed 4,840. In order to remain positive, I will try not to fixate on the fact I thought I had 4,726 to go. I will put THAT number out of my head. I will. So. Moving forward, what this means is I will be even stricter about the “fun” stuff I read on the side. I will become pickier about the “outside” books. If you weren’t recommended by Pearl, forget about it. Wait. I’m a liar. I will still review Early Reviews for LibraryThing. I am loyal to the Thing. But being stricter with the rules also means I will give up on Challenge books more easily. Does it pain me to say that? No, strangely enough, in a way I’m relieved. It pained me more to struggle through a book I had no real interest in reading in the first place. Like that history of the atomic bomb…I found myself really reading only the even pages and skipping the odd. I would do that with any book I was particularly bored with. Hey – it worked. I got the gist of the plot and didn’t feel like I missed all that much. But, from here on out, if I don’t like a book within 25 pages I’m moving on. I don’t want Kisa reading to me on my death bed just so I can finish this challenge. So, on the plus side of these new “rules”, by not wasting a ton of time with the boring books, this means I will get to the books I am really looking forward to reading that much faster.

As penance for screwing up my numbers I am going to start a countdown on my blog. “I have read X number of books to date.”

Another confession – I honestly don’t believe Pearl read every book she recommended, either.

Now Read This II

Pearl, Nancy. Now Read This II: a guide to Mainstream Fiction, 1990 – 2001. Greenwood village, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 2002.

Now Read This II is set up much like Now Read This I and why shouldn’t it be? The first one was a success. Like the first Now Read This the second is broken up into four different sections: setting, story, characters and language. The wealth of information about each title is still there: title, author, publisher, date of publication, brief abstract, second appeal, subject list, other recommendations, Oprah selection, good for book groups, and whether or not is was a prize winner. Like the first NRT I am intrigued by the titles and wish I could add them to my challenge.

Reason read: This is the second half of the Now Read This series

Author fact: I’m sure this is news to no one. Nancy Pearl has her own action figure, complete with shushing capabilities.

Book trivia: I particularly liked the section on how to hold a book group discussion.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter acknowledgments (p xi).

Now Read This

Pearl, Nancy. Now Read this: a Guide to Mainstream Fiction, 1978 – 1998. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 1999.

Reason read: November is the anniversary month of the Book Challenge. I’m reading Now Read This to celebrate that endeavor.

If I wasn’t already trying to read over 5,500 books I would attempt to read every book indexed in Now Read This. Here’s the thing about this guide (to Mainstream Fiction, 1978 – 1998), it’s not just a huge list of “you-oughtta-know” this author or this book. Pearl makes each recommended book inviting and, dare I say, intriguing. There is almost too much information to digest with each recommendation. Let’s start with the basics. Now Read This is broken out into four different chapters corresponding to four different appealing aspects of a book: setting, story, characters & language. Setting: if where the story takes place is important to the overall context of the plot, it is mentioned in this section. Story: if the plot is the main draw ,and not character development, for example, it is mentioned here. Characters: if the characters are people who move you in some way, are people you want to meet in real life, or stick in the memory banks long after the book is finished, the title is mentioned in this chapter. Language: if the language of the book is striking or moving, it is mentioned here. All entries have the following information. First the obvious: Author, title, publisher, date published, number of pages, and brief abstract of plot. Additional information includes the second appeal of the book. For example, a book with great characters can also have a key setting crucial to the story. Pearl also includes subject headings (now called tags in this day and age). Subjects can include what award the book has won, if it’s a first novel for the author, etc. You get the picture. Even more information includes whether or not Oprah chose it as a book for her club, (weird), and whether or not it would be a good for a general book club. Finally, the entry closes with a list of other books to try.

Author fact: Pearl went on to write a second guide to mainstream fiction that covers fiction from 1999 to 2001. I’ll be reading this one as well.

Book trivia: “More than 40 students received graduate school credit for reading” (p xi). Where was I when this book was being compiled?

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the acknowledgements (p xiv).

Book Lust To Go and Other Lusts

Pearl, Nancy. Book Lust To Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers. Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2010.

This was a gift from my sister; a very evil gift. Wait. I have to clarify – it was an unintended evil gift. She didn’t know it would wreak havoc with my life with books. I enjoy this kind of havoc. Really, I do. I am a glutton for punishment, to be sure.
But, back to reviewing Book Lust to Go. At first blush, Book Lust to Go appears to be better organized and with less mistakes in the index than the other Lust books. Just to give you a frame of reference I counted 60 books that were mentioned in the text of Book Lust but not included in the index. Eleven authors were missed in the same fashion.  27 Poems were missed in the index. Lastly, there were over 40 other miscellaneous mistakes (misspelled author names,  incorrect page numbers and so on and so forth) and this is just Book Lust. I haven’t counted the mistakes in More Book Lust. Book Lust To Go doesn’t have those problems…yet. To be fair I haven’t read the index yet. I’ll get to that eventually.
Another difference is there is less meandering. What do I mean by that? Basically, most of the books mentioned in a particular chapter are actually relevant to the chapter. In other Book Lust books there are quite a few “off topic” selections; books that have nothing to do with the chapter but mentioned anyway. I saw those mentions as filler. As with the other Lust books there is a fair amount of redundancy as well. Of the 540 books I have read so far 71 of them were mentioned in more than one Lust book and 69 titles received a double mention in the same book.
Two huge differences between BLTG and the other Lust books is the help Pearl receives with suggestions. Pearl admits she doesn’t travel and has asked other people for recommendations. How do I feel about this? Well, I always assumed Pearl read everything she recommends and knowing that isn’t the case is a little disappointing. The fact that it is blatantly obvious in BLTG is a letdown. The last difference I will mention is the interviews. None of the other Lust books have web interviews. I have yet to actually listen to one (too busy reading the book), but I will. This is something I am really excited about!