I’ve arrived at another checkpoint in my 2017 reading challenge set by My Reader’s Block blogger Bev, the Mount TBR Challenge. You may remember that this involves reducing the mountain of unread books produced by tsundoku. My task was to achieve the summit of Mont Blanc, that is, to read 24 books from my to-be-read pile. That meant I had to have consumed twelve books by the end of June. Did I achieve this waymarked total?

Yes, but only just. After seven books in the first three months I managed to complete just another five previously unread titles:

Jane Austen: Emma
Joan Aiken: A Bundle of Nerves 
Michael Crichton: The Andromeda Strain
Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea

Not so impressive a book count but a reasonable spread across genres: one each of a classic, a collection of short stories, some science fiction, a fantasy and a modern classic. And I seem to have kept up a high tally of women writers, as I’d hoped.

If you’re remotely interested I keep a running total here: http://wp.me/P2oNj1-KL. I’ve been rather busy of late — repetiteur for HMS Pinafore rehearsals, piano accompanying for exams, playing keyboard for an orchestral concert, plus house improvements — so apologies for my posts resembling an endangered species!

Bev gave us prompt questions for Checkpoint #2 (here) so my responses are as follows:

1. I’m halfway up Mont Blanc, having consumed twelve books by the end of June, so on course for finally completing 24 tsundoku titles!

2A. Coincidentally, the last two books I read were linked by title, Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, though I didn’t plan it that way. Interesting to compare and contrast the two.

2B. I don’t read an awful lot of hard SF, so Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain (described as a ‘techno-thriller’) was a surprisingly pleasant change. Also, Steve Silberman is an author new to me; his NeuroTribes study of those on the autistic spectrum would not necessarily have been a draw for me except that I’ve recently self-diagnosed as autistic, so the topic was of huge personal interest to me.

2C. Joan Aiken’s short story collection A Bundle of Nerves has been on my shelves the longest, having acquired it sometime in the 1970s. I’m somewhat ashamed that it’s taken me so long to finally get round to reading all of it!

12 thoughts on “Halfway

  1. I’ve taken to ticking off a few ‘long-put-off’ books among my yearly reading. Last year I finally added Don Quixote and tristram Shandy alongside a varied selection of sports books, detective stories and current literature. This year I finally read the first of Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet alongside the third in the Molesworth series. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve got some hefty titles under your belt there, Simon! The Sterne is on my list, I might get there by — ooooh — 2020 by any luck! Might you share 2017’s long-put-off books planned for the second half of the year?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m going back to being a student in September so my reading list will be provided for me. In the meantime I’m having a second go at Crime and Punishment. Gave it up the first time because it was genuinely frightening me. The only book I’ve ever known do this.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re such a prolific yet thoughtful reader, I’m hard pushed to match your quality and quantity (not that I mean to compete!) — even with your reduced posting schedule you manage so much reflective writing too. Still, for us booklovers it’s about enjoyment, isn’t it, rather than arbitrary targets…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for checking in! A good collection of books read for the second quarter. Austen is always good (though Emma isn’t my favorite of hers) and I’ve enjoyed The Andromeda Strain twice now.
    Good luck with the second half of the climb.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Bev! I’m looking forward to Persuasion as so many bloggers rate it, though I have to say I also enjoyed Emma more than I was led to believe I would.

      I’m now already heading upwards towards the nearly visible summit…


  3. Austen, Aiken, and Gaiman are all favorites. Wide Sargasso Sea is one of the books I read in college that I actually have some recollection of, and I was just saying the other day that it entirely ruined Jane Eyre for me.

    Interesting mix of books, as you said.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear WSS ruined Jane Eyre for you, Wendy, I do hope it won’t be the same for me…

      Glad to see another Aiken aficianado (though should that be ‘aficianada’?) — and indeed Austen and Gaiman — as it’s high time for me to indulge in another reread from her collected works!


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