Fall Into Reading: My October Plans

I have big plans for October.

And they all involve books.

Surprise, surprise.

Here are some new things I’m trying out:

Ghost Stories!

After reading NOS4A2 earlier this month, I realized how fun it can be to be scared by a book. In preparation for Halloween, I’ll be setting time aside in the evenings to read M.R. James’ Collected Ghost Stories aloud with my boyfriend. I’ve never heard of him, but apparently he’s the Poe of Eton. He wrote his stories to read to his friends on Christmas Eve– presumably they were all busy grading midterm papers on Halloween.

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Portrait of (a very skeptical- looking) M.R. James by Sir Gerald Kelly (found here)

A quick perusal of the stories looks like they have a lot of “old chaps” and “needn’t troubles,” so Boyfriend and I may end up doing ridiculously bad British accents until we crack up instead of being properly scared. Either way, it’ll be fun!

Raking Up Piles…of TBR Books

Instead of raking leaves, I’m going to rake up some of my TBR. When I moved into my new apartment this spring, I set aside one shelf for TBR books. This is what it currently looks like:

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Let me be clear: this is not the extent of the books I haven’t read. These are just the ones who have made it where they belong. There are plenty of stragglers on the nightstand and in little spires in the living room. Some of the books not pictured include: The Three-Body ProblemArabella of Mars, and Ancillary Justice (these are the ones I can see from my spot at my desk– all fantasy/sci-fi, weirdly enough). This also doesn’t include library books and ebooks . . .

The jaunty little “New Arrivals” card belies a deep and unsettling truth: some of these arrivals are no longer new. In October, I’d like to read only what’s in my TBR pile (except for my Book Of The Month pick, of course). I’m especially excited about Utopia is Creepy, since I have a love-hate relationship with Nicholas Carr. I taught his essay, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” in my composition class (on “reading in the digital age”) last year. I think Carr is the most well-reasoned of the academics raising the alarm about the internet’s effect on our reading skills. Even if I don’t frequently agree with his larger points, I find that his points make me consider my own position more deeply.

It’s going to be hard to hold off on all those new fall releases, but I’m looking forward to all the books I already have!

Participate in Litsy’s October Photo Challenge

Litsy (a social media app for readers) has been an obsession of mine for the past six weeks or so. I’m not much of a social media user, since I feel silly talking about daily minutia (note that I really enjoy reading about other people’s though, heh.) But Litsy is structured entirely around books. Here’s a sample post:

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Note how each post has to be categorized by a book title (in this case, Dept. of Speculation, another book on my TBR list…). That helps keep everything book-related, even if people do talk about things in their lives besides books. Plus, everyone is amazingly friendly and positive and nerdy– I love it so much.

Normally, I’m a social media lurker, but I’ve found myself wanting to post on Litsy and talking with other users about what they’re reading, what they’ve loved, what’s confused them, etc. I’ve gotten a ton of recommendations from other users– in fact, that collection of ghost stories I mentioned up above came recommended by a Litsy user.

One way that people connect on the app is through RealLifeReading‘s monthly photo challenges.

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Each day, users photograph a book from their collection that fits the daily category. I love seeing how creative people are with their choices, so I’m going to try to participate this month.

I already have my “Most Anticipated Read” picked out for Day 1: Upstream, by Mary Oliver. Oliver is a (pretty famous, although it’s hard to say which poets are famous outside of the poetry world) poet known for her love of nature and contemplative tone. Though her poems aren’t always my favorite, I love how precise her observations are, and so when I read her first sentence, I knew these essays on her life in nature and literature would be joining that gigantic TBR pile (although not this month, thanks to that new-book embargo I’ve placed on myself):

“In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.”

Yes, please! Teach me, Mary Oliver!

 

Phew! I think that’s more than enough change for one month.

P.S. If you want to join Litsy, please do– and then come find me! I’m LectricSheep.

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