Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Well, today marks the first anniversary of this project.  I've covered about eight hundred years, although obviously not equally.  At the time I started, I assumed I'd get a full-time job in the next few months, but nothing turned out the way I imagined.  (For one thing, I had to move again a few months ago, although at least I didn't have to pack as many books as I did last Fall.)  Now I'm going to school part-time and working part-time, but I still read as much as I can.  I don't know how much longer the project will take, but even if you figure a minimum of a year a month, I'll be done in another three years.

The project itself has gone about the way I figured.  Although I gave myself a range of F- to A+ for grades, so far it's been F+ to A-, which I guess makes sense.  There are very few thoroughly rotten or absolutely perfect books, or even books that come close.  This is not to say we might not still hit those highs and lows but I have more doubts about it than I did a year ago.

One thing that shifted was rule #4 about chronology.  As I said in my introduction, "If it's a collection of writings (essays, short stories, novels), then I will read each piece in the year it's from if clearly indicated, unless the editing is significant enough in itself to go with the year the collection was published."  As with P. G. Wodehouse and Anne Tyler, treating the novels separately hasn't been a problem, because they still seem like discrete units to me, even when bound together.  But with short stories and essays, I gradually stopped parceling them out.  It was quite easy to do this with Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen, because I didn't have much else to read in their era, but by the time I got to Gore Vidal in the '50s and '60s, I had a lot of works by other people.  Also, Vidal commented on some of his pieces, so I went with the date of the collection.

Ironically, this has resulted in Charlotte Perkins Gilman, whose works that I read range from 1890 to 1916, having amazing stats.  (I mean amazing compared to other posts on this blog, not to other blogs.)  "My Poor Aunt" has 58 reads, and "Mrs. Beazley's Deeds" and "Mrs. Elder's Idea" 18 each.  (Wuthering Heights comes in second, with 20, which is more understandable.)  Are people that desperate for brief online reviews of Gilman?  Who's reading these-- students, feminists, people who like aunts?

Whoever is reading my posts, and why, I appreciate it.  This blog is mostly for my own amusement, but the stats are part of the amusement.  Although I don't know how much of my book collection we'll cover this second year, perhaps the remainder, maybe just into the books of my early adulthood, I promise you there will continue to be the sublime and the ridiculous, and a lot of stuff in between.


  1. A bit belatedly, happy anniversary! This is quite a project, and I'm glad you're still at it!

  2. Better belated than never! I'm glad you're still checking in. It's funny, I think about all that's ahead of me, more than all I've done.