Well, I think I have my readathon pile set - not because I've improved it, too much, but mostly because I've just realized that I'm not capable of being better than I am. But, thanks to some of my dear people especially Ms Reid and my dearest wife, who've helped me at least get it to a slightly better state. At this point, here's what I've got:
Henry IV parts I and II, by William Shakespeare
I read Richard II recently and actually found it confusing, but these are the next two, and I have an audio book for them, and since I usually do the cooking, and may end up running an errand or two, I figure I'd just as well have a few audio books lined up. I have these two from Librivox right now, and will listen to them when I need to listen. If they become stunningly captivating, I'll read them in my heavy, ugly edition of Shakespeare.
Elizabeth Gaskell: a Habit of Stories, by Jenny Uglow
I have developed an affection for Ms Gaskell after reading North and South, Cranford, and Life of Charlotte Bronte. I'm reading Wives and Daughters right now, as well, and am loving it. And, I have these vague interesting tidbits about her life that make me want to read her biography. Well, this one is a doozy, at 600 some odd pages, and is supposed to be very good. I guess it's longer than I should be reading at Read-a-thon, so it might wait, but if I end up feeling too miserable after some of my other selections,a nd want to read an old friend's biography, I'll pick this one up. Besides, I'm going to read it for the Gaskell Classics Circuit.
Persepolis and Persepolis II by Marjane Satrapi
A graphic novel about a girl growing up in Iran, then France, then back again. I honestly know very little about it except that it is supposed to be very good, and that it apparently has lovely art in it. I didn't have it on my list, but I heard I should have some graphic novels on tap, and Amanda suggested this one.
Silence by Heldris of Cornwall
Silence is an epic romantic poem from the Middle Ages, discovered at the beginning of the last century by accident, literally just stuck in a box in someone's attic (wish I had THAT kind of attic!). The story is about a woman, named Silence, which is fascinating all in itself, who is raised as a boy because her father wants to keep their property within the family (and of course, women can't inherit property). She then undregoes arguments with the allegorical characters of 'Nature' and 'Nurture' who try to convince her, respectively, to begin living as a woman or continue to live as a man. Fasc-i-na-ting!
The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath
I've read Sylvia Plath, but only things here and there. I'd like to read the whole collected poems. Sylvia and I use to be very close, but I took advantage of her intentions for too long, and drove her off from me for a long time. I don't expect her to come back to me, despite my real and honest love for her, but I need ot offer her the chance at some point...
Finnegan's Wake and the Skeleton Key to Finnegan's Wake
Well, I'm in the middle of these, and I have to admit, there's this intensely stupid part of me that thinks it would be fun to read one of the five books in the middle of the night. It is a book written in the form of a dream after all. I know, tell me how stupid I am...
Ash by Malinda Lo
Okay, after the less than glowing review from Saint Nymeth of the Immaculately Wonderful Taste, I'm a little nervous about this one. Which is a shame, because it sounds so beautiful. This is the sort of plot I would dream on a very lovely night. If I were that clever.
The Gardens of Emily Dickinson by Judith Farr
A nonfiction book describing all the gardens of Emily's life: her flowerbeds, her hothouse garden, the imaginary Garden of Eden in her poetry, etc. Writing that out, I'm suddenly acutely aware of what a complete loser I am for thinking this sounds wonderful. Oh well...
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
I'm actually just going to read the first of the three novels - if I don't read it during the Readathon, I'll read it in the week after, because I'm really excited about the big readalong on this book :).
Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier
While I love Rebecca (hurrah for Amanda finally reading it!), and love Daphne herself, I have to admit, I'm not sure if I'm going to pick this one up. I'm not in the spine-tingling gothic mood lately. So, we'll see. I put it in there, on Amanda's suggestion, because it really is the sort of book that will keep you unnaturally awake, I'm sure...
How the Other HAlf Lives by Jacob Riis
One of the world's first works of photojournalism, Jacob Riis, a crime reporter, travelled around the slums and tenements of New York City to document what life was like for the poverty, in unemotional, honest prose, and heart-wrenchingly frank photographs. After some of the other muckracker books I've read this year, I'm really looking forward to this one, and again, it has lots of pictures, which I suppose may help in the wee hours. Right?
Affinity by Sarah Waters
Yay! Sarah Waters! Hurrah!
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
A seminal book exploring the mind of a real murderer as a real human being - not a mindless monster or a tragic hero, just a person, with all the ambiguities that entails. I've actually never read anything by Mr. Capote, despite finding him endearingly creepy in 'Murder by Death'.
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Amanda told me this is a really bad idea. She's probably right. Honestly, Ms Woolf has, in everything of herse I've read, been too smart for me. I read her and feel like I should probably quietly get out of the way so my betters can do whatever it is that needs to be done. But Orlando... I don't know. I've sort of mythologized the idea of it for reasons that I don't really understand. And there is something about sitting down with Ms Woolf late, late in the evening, when I'm tired and ready to throw myself into the book and do nothign else, that feels like maybe... I don't know. Sort of like people come together when they go through something very difficult together. I know that makes very little sense. Oh well.
Memoirs of a Beatnik by Diane di Prima
Diane di Prima wrote one of the only female perspectives on Beatnik culture, and I've NEVER READ IT. I feel great personal shame about this, and nightly flagellate myself with whips of uncooked spaghetti noodles as penance. We're running out of Spaghetti, and this just seems like such a nice 'immerse in me' novel...
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
I read this book in high school, and have not since. I'm told that means when I reread it I won't like it, because I'm older now. I've never read Franny or Raise High the Roofbeam, and I want to read them, so I want to reread this first, I guess we'll see what happens. On the bright side, I'm immature and selfish, so perhaps I HAVEN'T grown out of it yet...
Alright, that's it. I have the Complete Maus en route through the library, as well, and will add it to my list if it comes in time, on Ms Reid's suggestion.
The thing is, I don't want to feel yucky the whole time, and that's what happens if I eat sugar, and I don't want to feel like I need to drink the whole time or like my tongue has
been doused with hydrocholoric acid, and that's what happens when I eat too much salt. Which kind of narrows my options, I suppose.
Meals should be easy. Breakfast will be normal, just a bowl of cereal or something, and then lunch will be leftovers from whatever we eat the night before (that's the normal mode at Gignac House). Dinner, I'll be making some lasagna ahead of time, and I'll just throw it in the oven to heat up. Amanda tells me that last year she didn't eat a 'meal' per se in the night time, so probably I'll just get something trashy and frozen, like kolaches, to eat in the morning before throwing ourselves into bed.
Snackwise, I have some chamomile tea up in the pantry that I'll drink, and I think I'll get some blackberries and cream, and then, while I DEFINITELY need to spread them out over the day, I'm going to get a back of spice drops, because I LUV TEH SPAICE DROPPS. Otherwise, I'd like to make something ahead of time. Maybe some chocolate pudding for my lovely wife. Or mousse, that would be fun to make too.
I had two charities that I couldn't decide between, so, since I probably can't give enough to matter anyway, I will split my giving between the two in the hopes that at least all of my extremely wealthy readers will hear abotu the charities and be interested.
My first charity is Yele Haiti is a charity helping the poor of Haiti. It was founded by Wyclef Jean (yes, the one who was in the Fujis), who is a native Haitian, and maintains a strong local presence in Haiti, so it is generally very well regarded for doing the right thing with the right intentions, and is able to react quickly when there is a need - they reacted very quickly to the hurricanes in Haiti last year, for instance. For my Haitian friends, I'll do my page count gift - for every page I read, I'll be giving them 5 cents - and just FYI, I'm TOTALLY counting any page read of poetry or Finnegan's Wake double, which I think is probably fair. Haiti is a beautiful country with a rich and tragic history. It is the second oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere, but has had a long history of corruption, isolation, and racism from the Western world, largely because of a combination of racism, religious discrimination, and it's history as a nation of former slaves. Hopefully, my little sum will do something nice for someone there...
My second charity is the European Roma Rights Centre. While European nations have laws on the books protecting minorities and fighting against discrimination, when it comes to the Rroma these rules seem to be frequently ignored, particularly in Eastern Europe, where many of the Rroma live. Because the Rroma are crushingly poor and violently marginalized, this is a remarkably easy thing to get away with. The ERRC works to provide legal aid and resources to Rroma all across the European Union. These cases cover a broad spectrum of problems, from police brutality to immigration issues to hate speech. The Rroma, again, are a group with a rich and beautiful history and a terrible tradition of being terrifically mistreated, matched historically in Europe perhaps only by the Jews, with whom they share the sad distinction of losing a huge fraction of their population in the Holocaust. So, I'll be doing my book count gift to help the Rroma, hopefully a little bit. For each book I finish, I will give $5 to the ERRC.
THE SNEAKY, SNEAKY SECRETS
While I can't do as much for Amanda as I did last year, being as I'm READING in the readathon (sorry Manda :( ). I do have a FEW rotten tricks up my sleeve. Heh, heh, heh. And, for the rest of you, I believe Death and Baby Death will be making a few appearances throughout the day, and I'm trying to organize an itty-bitty-teeny-weeny giveaway, but nothing special, and I don't want to have a million visitors, so don't spread that around too much. BTW, Ms Trish, I know Death still owes you some puppets. Death and I are both extremely lazy and forgetful (thank goodness, on his part, I suppose). We will ship it, I promise... does Trish even read this blog? Hrm...