I like this keeping track of books. In October I read fifteen; a few plane trips this month (and a glut of Terry Pratchett) has meant I’ve read a few more. This isn’t all I’ve started, but all I’ve finished, which is why Dante’s Paradiso isn’t on here, since I didn’t quite finish reading it. I don’t count the ones that are slow goers in the month I start them, nor am I counting unfinished books unless the excerpts were a-purpose. Books with asterisks I’ve read before; books with two asterisks I’ve read before and taught on this month.
*Guards! Guards! Terry Pratchett.
*Men at Arms. Terry Pratchett.
*Jingo. Terry Pratchett.
*The Fifth Elephant. Terry Pratchett.
— You can see what I was reading instead of finishing Paradise! This is one of the loose sub-series within Pratchett’s Discworld books, in this case focussing on the Night Watch. Terry Pratchett is one of those surprising authors who has actually improved mightily by writing thirty-odd books. If you haven’t read his work before, do not start at the beginning, but at some point after Mort. Guards! Guards! is a pretty good place to begin, actually. You could also try Going Postal.
*The Third Peacock. Robert Farrar Capon. The source of one of my categories; I’ll explain more about this later.
*Escape from the Antarctic. Ernest Shackleton. One of the best travel stories out there. I’m not sure what my favourite part is, except perhaps that Shackleton’s men (left behind on Elephant Island near Antarctica, with winter was coming on, while Shackleton and five others set off across eight hundred miles of open ocean in a twenty-foot boat using dead reckoning to South Georgia, whereupon they then had to cross the uncharted land to get to a whaling station, and then find a ship that could handle the pack ice in order to get back to Elephant Island) were all still alive and ready to go when he eventually got there, and got on board the relief ship within an hour. A testament to Shackleton and to his second-in-command, Wilde.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Annie Dillard. Brilliant. I want to re-read this and then write about it.
Like Shaking Hands with God. Kurt Vonnegut and Lee Stringer. A conversation on writing that makes me want to read Stringer’s book (Vonnegut I find a little weird).
**Oration on the Dignity of Man. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola.
Letters of a Woman Homesteader. Elinore Pruitt Stewart. Pretty much what the title says. My favourite part of this was when she worried that her daughter was growing up without imagination because she had toys that looked like recognisable objects.
Acquired Tastes. Peter Mayle. About expensive luxuries and whether they’re worth it. Verdict: yes on the handmade shoes, private jet, no on the servants.
**The Prince. Machiavelli.
*Murder Must Advertise. Dorothy L. Sayers.
**Utopia. Thomas More.
The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals. Ed. Gail Damerow.
*Night Watch. Terry Pratchett.
–It was at this point I discovered that the new Terry Pratchett was another Night Watch story. My reading that series was simply being in tune with the universe, not a planned re-reading of it before the new book. These (plus Thud, below) are all the Night Watch books apart from Feet of Clay, which I appear to have left in PEI.
**Freedom of a Christian. Luther.
*Thud. Terry Pratchett.
“So What Are You Going to Do With That?” Finding Careers Outside Academia. Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius.
**And excerpts from: Don Quixote, Cervantes; The Life of Teresa of Avila, by Herself, Teresa of Avila; Essays, Montaigne; Quodlibetal Questions and On the Powers of Emperors and Popes, William of Ockham; Summa Theologica, Aquinas; and various Renaissance artists on Renaissance art.
Apart from The Backyard Homestead, which was a library book, and “So What Are You Going to Do With That?”, which was borrowed from a friend, all these are mine. And I read four new-to-me ones, part of my ongoing attempts to read all of the books I own. These are not ones that have been sitting on my shelf for years, but all acquired this fall, but I’m working on that. The tendency to re-read books prevents me from branching out at times.
What have you been reading this month?