Big Fat Book Readalong, Week 2

falling behind bagAlternate Title: In which I confess my Week of No BFB reading. 

Sadly, despite ostensibly being on spring break, I managed to read not one word of The Betrothed. I had planned to, but I anticipated having reading time in the second half of the week and so did other things in the first part. Hah. My four-day trip turned out to be much more energy- and time-intensive than I expected, and as a result I didn’t even crack open the book. It sat on the table next to my bed, waiting patiently for me, but I never showed up.

That’s the thing about Big Fat Books, and why we often don’t finish them or even start them. They require a commitment of time and energy, and sometimes you find that you have one but not the other (and sometimes you have neither).

I’m not giving up, though, and that’s why I allotted the entire month to read rather than assuming I could polish it off in a week or two. I have a packed schedule for the next two weeks, but unlike the last few days I should be getting normal sleep at night, and interesting reading should provide the right kind of complement to the research paper I have to finish. Compared to quantitative analysis of violent conflicts, the 17thC travails of Lorenzo and Lucia sound eminently readable, if not downright giddy.

I know that Ros also had a mostly non-BFB week, so I feel less alone. If you had a good week, let us know in the comments, and if you didn’t, join Ros and me on the catch-up bench!

[Bag available at Zazzle.]

14 thoughts on “Big Fat Book Readalong, Week 2

  1. I suspect I’ll be falling behind this week. Hub won’t be available to share the parenting load very much, I just finished an utterly exhausting review, and I have another due on Saturday. All I want to do is curl up on the couch with Penny Jordan.

  2. I’m behind. I took not putting pressure on myself too seriously! I’m engrossed by The Goldfinch when I pick it up, but I’ve been picking up other things most of the time. (I hit 20% last night). I’m hoping this will be a good catch-up week. I am grading-free this week. My kids are on spring break, which means I’m not commuting by car and get a bit more reading time (although this morning I gazed blankly out the train window, so we’ll see how that goes).

    • Read on the train home! *fistpump* Seriously, though, The Goldfinch is not dense or difficult and is often a suspenseful page-turner. It doesn’t have multiple story-lines that take concentration to follow. It’s just fat. I feel embarrassed to be reading it so slowly.

      • I don’t think you should feel embarrassed. Yeah, it’s not a hard read from a technical standpoint but it does have an impact on the emotions. Sometimes I have to pace myself with books like this one.

  3. I’m behind, too, since March is half over and I’m not halfway into Lionheart. If not for the BFB readalong, I know I’d have let the whole enterprise slide, but I’m kind of enjoying the “discipline” of having publicly (in a corner of the internet, anyway) said I would read this book this month, so I’m plugging away.

    A romance between two secondary characters has been introduced — one of them Richard’s Welsh cousin Morgan, traveling on Crusade in the royal entourage and apparently known to be somewhat of a rake. I am interested to see the word “rake” used in the medieval setting. I am trying to figure out if the romance is becoming my crutch to keep going, or if it really is the most emotionally compelling part of the book so far. At this point Morgan and Mariam are the most interesting characters and just had a fascinating conversation about living as “other” under English rule, at English and English-ally courts (he’s Welsh of course, and she is half Muslim (Saracen) and the illegitimate daughter of the king of Sicily). There’s still a LOT of history, and stopping & starting my reading is very difficult because there are so many armies and characters all milling about Southern Europe waiting for spring when they can take ship for the Holy Land. Confusing! I know some of the history but I keep having to re-read sections every time I pick it up. So it’s slow going, but I’m still hoping to get to that point where Penman sucks me in and I am in love with her storytelling and her “emotional vortex” (that’s from one of the blurbs on the back of the book!).

  4. It feels freeing to admit my failure with Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. Life is just way too short and my time is just way too precious to spend it on that 800 page book. Officially stopped on page 80. For others who were curious about the book, sorry. May you have better luck than I if you should decide to read it.

  5. I’m maybe 20 or 25%. I’m pleased with my progress – I was at 10% last week.

    I’m mostly reading it on my commute. It’s good and interesting but it’s definitely not immersive – I feel disloyal to Mandela for saying this, but he’s kind of a dry narrator. And I also find myself distancing myself emotionally because I know things will get worse before they get better.

  6. I’m 27% of the way through The Goldfinch. I posted a progress report in last week’s thread only a couple of days ago, and i haven’t read much in it since.The plot has moved into the second of it’s five parts and I’m afraid for the narrator.

  7. I have got a couple of long-ish train journeys this weekend, so I’m hoping to catch up a bit then. And most of my extra-busy things will be over by the weekend too, so I should have more time next week. I’m still hopeful of finishing by the end of the month, but I’m okay if it takes some of April too.

  8. Ugh. I’ve not started my book. I also signed up for a March fitness challenge and haven’t started that. Apparently, March was great for signing up for challenges and terrible for actually doing them.

  9. Today I discovered that having a deadline puts my Big Fat Book on the list of psychologically acceptable procrastinators! (Is that a word?) So instead of what I really should be doing, I got up to 40%. :-) It’s filling in a lot of holes in my knowledge of history.

    • There is an excellent theory of Structured Procrastination. The best way to get something done is to have something else you REALLY don’t want to do, so that you can do the first thing as an act of procrastination against doing the second thing. The trick is to find something you REALLY, REALLY don’t want to do, and magically everything else that needs to be done will happen. This is the only way I get housework done.

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