Today I finished reading Nicholas Nickleby, which I started reading so long ago that I don’t remember exactly when I started it, but just have a vague notion that it was around the middle of the year last year, and so I must have been reading this epic tome for about eight months, give or take a few weeks.

To be fair, it was certainly not the only book I was reading in that time – there were several Book Club books scattered throughout, and attempts to re-read The Hobbit as well as re-read Sabriel (both of which are favourites from my adolescence) – not to mention interception of my time by other pursuits, most notably Farsi and piano.

But Nicholas Nickleby is finished now – all 777 pages of it – and, because it is as masterfully written as any Charles Dickens classic, I thoroughly enjoyed it (despite what the 8-month reading of it would suggest).

[If you choose to read on, be warned there are some very minor spoilers.] Continue reading

sleep study

I was originally planning to do monthly recaps on the progress of my never-ending quest to fix my sleep, but I’ve come across an interesting revelation in the first couple of weeks, which I thought was worth noting here.

Previously, I had mentioned that I was going to try to do some reading and some Farsi (Persian) study every day, and that this goal is likely to hinder my goal of sleeping earlier. Maybe it’s still early days and too soon to make any conclusive judgement about this, but I’m finding that it actually tends to have the opposite effect. Continue reading

measure and manage

Ahh, here we are again, at the tail end of another year.

As tempting as it is to look ahead, keep going, and ignore everything that’s happened these last twelve months, there’s a voice in my head that’s piped up with “Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”, so I guess we’ll look back before we turn and keep going.

Of course, I do this constantly anyway. “Ruminate” is probably in my top 100 favourite words. (That’s just a rough estimate because I don’t think it would make the cut for top 10, and even top 50 could be a bit tricky to figure out. Besides, there are a lot of words out there, and a lot that I like.)

Another wise saying that I’ve been mulling over recently is the one that goes something along the lines of “stupidity is trying to achieve a different result by repeating the same process” (I know that’s very much paraphrased and reworded, but I can’t be bothered looking up the original. Well, ok, I will, but only so that I can credit the original genius who came up with it…) Continue reading

The Handmaid’s Tale

My book club’s November book is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Despite being what I would consider “average length” for a novel, it took me less than two weeks to read, which says something of how easy it was to read, and how much of a page-turner it was (and also how much time I purposely dedicated to reading it because I was afraid I wasn’t going to finish it before the book club meeting…)

I’d seen ads for the TV series before — ages ago — and I’d heard of the book, so I must have had some basic idea of what it was about, but, realistically, I went into it not knowing much more than whatever brief description was given in the blurb. For anyone likewise unfamiliar with the story, it’s basically a dystopian sci-fi novel in which certain women are chosen as “handmaids” for rich, high-status couples. The whole purpose of these handmaids is to produce offspring for the couple they have been assigned to. Continue reading

the sleeper awakes

I’ve just finished reading When the Sleeper Awakes by H.G. Wells. It’s the first story I’ve read by Wells, and I actually probably wouldn’t have read it had it not been a book club pick.

The unfortunate thing is that it was actually the October book, and I missed that meet-up because I had to travel interstate for a funeral (hence last week’s haiku). Knowing I would not be attending the meet-up kind of put the book on the back-burner, but now that I’ve really got to get started on this month’s book, I made an effort to get it finished this week-end (it’s one of the few ways I’m really stubborn — I cannot leave a book half-finished). Continue reading

a literary numbers lessons

Time to rewind to the end of July. This is the post I would have written last week had I had the time.

On the last Saturday of July, I went to my first book club meeting. It makes it sound incredibly formal to call it a “meeting” but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to call it. It was actually very casual: we (a group of about nine people plus dog) sat around a big table eating pizza while chatting about the club’s book of the month.

I’d wanted to find and join book clubs before, but since I’m not a very fast reader, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up, and would end up skipping a lot of meetings, or just giving up. The other reason I never joined one was because I was worried about getting “stuck” reading book club selections, and never having time for the books I really wanted to read.

Yet it’s always such a joy to meet other bookish people, and to have other readers to talk to about bookish things. Literary past-times tend to slip out of people’s lives once they leave school, so it’s been hard to find other bookish people (with similar tastes). Continue reading