Friday, October 18, 2013

Jenny's End of Year Reading Plan


 In a fit of masochism, I've decided to go right into another World War II book. It's called The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944-1945 by Ian Kershaw.

I bought this a few years ago after reading a review of it in the New York Times. I'm generally interested in World War II, of course, but I'm also coming up on the Anne Frank unit. So it's a good time to get that knowledge into my head. Also, Kershaw is a renown WWII scholar, and he wrote the definitive biography of Hitler. One appeal of this book was being able to read Kershaw's work without having to read a thousand pages about Hitler.

Can we both agree that life's too short to read a thousand pages about Hitler? 

I'm a little afraid I won't find it as compelling as I'd like. The premise of The End is that it explores why the Nazis didn't surrender, and instead fought through the last year of the war, knowing full well they couldn't win. I think I was interested in that idea from a psychological perspective, what was it about the German people that kept them fighting? However, I'm about 90 or so pages in, and it seems to be more from a military perspective. So, honestly, I'm not enjoying it too much so far. 

That leaves me with four novels, of which I need to choose two to get through the challenge. I have a feeling I'll read Purple Hibiscus, which is by the author of Americanah. It's her first novel, a coming of age story. I've heard good things about it. My guess is I'll choose Lark and Termite as the other. Ceremony just seems daunting in its language at this point, but maybe I'll be wrong. Either way, I feel like I can make it.



  1. Ha. I just thought this morning, "Oh, I should make a 'final countdown' post tonight for the end of this year." And then... here's yours! (Not surprising, right?)

    I am also kind of slogging through my current book (Little,Big). Everything about it *should* be appealing to me (weird story, interesting characters, etc.) but when I sit down to read, I find myself getting quickly distracted. I thought the other day, "Oh, crap. Maybe aBooks have ruined my attention span for the printed word!" Buuuut... I just finished a pBook a few weeks ago that I totally burned through (in fact, it's why I neglected to start a new TBR book in September!) So I don't think it's that. It's just... I don't know. Not engrossing. I've read some other reviews that say it "takes awhile" to get into it, but I'm halfway through... shouldn't I be "into it" by now? I don't hate it, but I don't really find myself anxious to pick it up every day and find out what's going on, which is a kind of a bummer. Oh, well. I'm pressing on. I've started reading it while riding the bike, so, you know... that's dedicated time where I have to read. Heh.

    > Can we both agree that life's too short to
    > read a thousand pages about Hitler?

    Yes. Yes, we can.

  2. I guess there's a reason some of these books have been sitting on the pile, hmmm.

  3. Is that true? We leave these books on the pile because we know/fear they are going to suck? No!

    Okay... let's see! Of the 8 books I have read this year from my TBR pile, I have really enjoyed 5, been "eh" on 1, and actively disliked 2. The jury is still out on the book I am reading now (although I actually cannot find it today, which *might* be a bad sign...) (Meanwhile... seriously? I was reading it *yesterday* -- how can it already be lost today?!)

    Looking back...

    Last year (2012), I pretty much liked all of my books (although The Mermaid Chair was a little goofy.) (I still like it, though!)

    And in 2011, Tess was a bit of a slog (although I have thought a lot about that book since reading it, so I'm glad that I did -- Since I read that book, the concept of "slut shaming" has become far more mainstream in American popular culture. The ultimate slut shaming? This babe's rape caused her husband to leave her because she was "defiled" and after she killed her rapist, she was put to death for his murder. What the ever loving F?! Tess = the poster child for Slut Shaming.) But the only book I truly did not like that year was this piece of douchebaggery -- worth going back and reading that post for two reasons: 1. It happened in October and you did not like your October book that year either... perhaps it's an October thing? (Sorry, Jenny's Birthday Month!) aaaand... 2.Our comments on that post are *hilarious.* I just laughed out loud reading them. Ha!

    Based on that, I'm going to say that books that sit on the pile are just unfortunately placed -- for one reason or another, other books push them to the back of the bookshelf. Of my remaining 3 books this year (post on that coming next), only one of them really feels like "medicine." But you know I struggle with non-fiction and I think that book is actually used as a *textbook*. Sooo... yeah. 2013 might end up being a rough one.