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This Post Is About Books 


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Early in 2006, I read that That Rabbit Girl was attempting to read 50 books in a year:
I've only started keeping track of my reading habits the past two years, and in 2004 and 2005 my final year-end books counts were 39 and 41, respectively. Fifty books will be a serious challenge.
I decided to try out the 50 book thing too.

I started keeping a list of books I read in 1996 when I completed 14 books. The inspiration came from a women's magazine article. The writer explained how keeping a "read" list gave her a sense of accomplishment. She'd been adding books to the list for three or four years, and each title carried some memory. That novel followed the break-up with boyfriend #34, this one spanned twelve visits to the dentist, while another represented mom's chemotherapy.

My list, rather than a memory aid for past emotions, serves to goad me into reading more and, more importantly, reading better. I look back and cringe that I wasted time with Steven Langhorne Clemens' Tokyo Pink Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Tokyo’s Sexy Pleasure Spots – What, Where, & How Much! in 2000 or that I can't remember a single idea from Pasolini on Pasolini: Interviews with Oswald Stack or Samuel Y. Edgerton, Jr.'s Pictures and Punishment: Art and Criminal Prosecution during the Florentine Renaissance, both of which I read in 1997. I still can't belive I made it through Michael Herr's Dispatches in 2001.

But the numbers are a big thing. In 1999, I managed to finish only eight books. In 2003 (an unfortunate year), I muddled through eleven books, a lot of them cheats like graphic and children's novels. I look with pride at 2001 and 2002, both also unfortunate years yet with 31 and 33 respectively to demonstrate that those years weren't a complete waste.

Fifty books in a year seemed like a good goal for 2006. In 2005, I got through 26 books: fifty meant I merely had to read four books a month instead of two.

Luckily, I discovered that books on tape go along splashingly with my overdrawn commute. Thus I slipped into 2007 with a glorious 56 books under my belt.

So. I decided I was close enough in 2006 to reaching 60, that that was where I set the bar for this year.

And here I am, the end of the first half of the year, and I am only at 26. Not even halfway.

Part of the problem is that I have taken to daydreaming during my commutes. I end up at work in the morning, not really sure that it was I who drove all that way. Books on tape disrupt my dream time, so I returned Umberto Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana back to the library.

I do have a plan.

It came to me in Rome. Insatiable for knowledge of more ancient Roman atrocities (and rather bored with the Julius Caesar chapter in Suetonius), I vowed to re-read all the Asterix books when I got home. And for good measure, I would re-read all the Tintin comics too.

In 2002, I borrowed and read nearly all the Tintin books. I fought off nine-year-olds at the public library to snag every single last copy. I scoured the floors and under shelves for any misplaced copies and mercilessly put holds on other kids' copies. I braved desiccated kid snot smeared into the creases and ignored unusual stains.

It's been five years and it's that time again.

This time, however, I will read all the Asterixes and Tintins in chronological published order.

More for myself, here's a list of the books in the order I shall attempt to tackle them:

1. Asterix the Gaul (1961)
2. Asterix and the Golden Sickle (1962) (own it, in English)
3. Asterix and the Goths (1963) (own it, in Romanian)
4. Asterix the Gladiator (1964)
5. Asterix and the Banquet (1965)
6. Asterix and Cleopatra (1965)
7. Asterix and the Big Fight (1966) (own it, in Romanian)
8. Asterix in Britain (1966)
9. Asterix and the Normans (1966)
10. Asterix the Legionary (1967)
11. Asterix and the Chieftain's Shield (1968)
12. Asterix at the Olympic Games (1968) (own it, in English)
13. Asterix and the Cauldron (1969)
14. Asterix in Spain (1969)
15. Asterix and the Roman Agent (1970)
16. Asterix in Switzerland (1970)
17. The Mansions of the Gods (1971)
18. Asterix and the Laurel Wreath (1972)
19. Asterix and the Soothsayer (1972)
20. Asterix in Corsica (1973)
21. Asterix and Caesar's Gift (1974)
22. Asterix and the Great Crossing (1975)
23. Obelix and Co. (1976)
24. Asterix in Belgium (1979)

And maybe I'll even go as far as to read the Uderzo-only Asterixes, depending on how much they live up to their bad reputation:

25. Asterix and the Great Divide (1980)
26. Asterix and the Black Gold (1981)
27. Asterix and Son (1983)
28. Asterix and the Magic Carpet (1987)
29. Asterix and the Secret Weapon (1991)
30. Asterix and Obelix All at Sea (1996)
31. Asterix and the Actress (2001)
32. Asterix and the Class Act (2003)
33. Asterix and the Falling Sky (2005)

As for the Tintins, other than first two, I think my local library will have all of them.

1. Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (1929–1930)
2. Tintin in the Congo (1930–1931)
3. Tintin in America (1931–1932)
4. Cigars of the Pharaoh (1932–1934) (own it, in English)
5. The Blue Lotus (1934–1935)
6. The Broken Ear (1935–1937)
7. The Black Island (1937–1938)
8. King Ottokar's Sceptre (1938–1939)
9. The Crab with the Golden Claws (1940–1941) (own it, in English)
10. The Shooting Star (1941–1942)
11. The Secret of the Unicorn (1942–1943) (own it, in English)
12. Red Rackham's Treasure (1943–1944)
13. The Seven Crystal Balls (1943–1948)
14. Prisoners of the Sun (1946–1949)
15. Land of Black Gold (1948–1950) (own it, in English)
16. Destination Moon (1950–1953)
17. Explorers on the Moon (1950–1954)
18. The Calculus Affair (1954–1956)
19. The Red Sea Sharks (1958)
20. Tintin in Tibet (1960)
21. The Castafiore Emerald (1963)
22. Flight 714 (1968)
23. Tintin and the Picaros (1976)
24. Tintin and Alph-Art (1986)

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Comments:
Snort.

If you lived closer I'd loan you my Tintins. They're in French though.
 
Woah. There's several more Tintin books listed there than I new existed!!! I thought the series ended at "picaros."

Gotta get me to a bookstore that stocks them all...
 
I can read French, Rurality!

Justin, I don't know about Alpha-Art. It was on the news a few years ago, but I thought it was an unfinished book.

Anyhow, I went to the library last night and no luck finding either the first Asterix or the first Tintin on my list. Other people have them borrowed, it seems. But the library does have Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, which I have never read, so yay.

But the Asterixes are all the new ones - I hope the kids didn't mangle the "classical" ones.
 
I should drag them out myself actually... to try to keep up the French, of course. Which has gone terribly, terribly downhill. (And was really never that great in the first place.) I thought I had all of them but I didn't realize there were so many... now you've made me want to check!
 
Rurality: I just noticed that you commented here - do you have all the Tintins? I didn't know so many people in North America like Tintin...at least none that discussed Tintin in public.
 
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