new year stuff

Another holiday I don’t really do is New Year’s Eve, aside from giddily counting how many books I read in the last calendar year. This time last year, I charged myself to read 40 books, and I wasn’t sure whether I would count books for school or not. I definitely didn’t need to count school stuff, or stuff I read for REDI, which was kind of like school, or for my study abroad, which was just a different institution, but still school. So the final number of pleasure books was 89, six of which were re-reads. I’d say that’s pretty kickass, because I read a ton of books for school, too. So, since I won’t even be in school until the fall at the earliest, I’m going to go for 150 books in 2011. I read all the time at work and on the bus and all, so I should be able to manage it.

When I think of how much I wasted time watching crappy TV shows and being on Facebook, I think I probably could have read 110 books last year. At least. I watched a lot of television on the Internet. It’s rather sad. But at least now I don’t have to feel bad about it, because with all that “Say Yes to the Dress” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” there were also eight books of poetry (not counting all the poetry for class), 11 books of non-fiction, and a lot of fiction for kids, teens, and adults. I guess my idea of being lazy is at least not as lazy as I thought.

Now back to reading The Sun and organizing my iPod.

too many books

I’m moving on Saturday. Then I decided to go to Lake Tahoe on Sunday. So I need to be almost finished moving on Saturday, and then I’ll have about four days of work and moving to finish when I get back, before I leave for Georgia and my old lease runs out.

This wouldn’t be a problem, but I have a lot of crap. I’m a very material person, not because I particularly love shopping and labels or anything, but because I can’t bear to part with books or essays I wrote in English in seventh grade or 3D glasses or a keychain or anything. It’s very bad. I also have a limited amount of boxes. I just packed up all the books I own, textbooks aside. Eight boxes of books. I now have three cardboard boxes left for the rest of my stuff.

I managed to decide to get rid of six books that are not worth having on my shelf. This is really huge for me.

These boxes are going to be impossibly heavy. Then, I’m going to throw them on the floor of my new bedroom, hope that at least three of my four bookshelves fit in my bedroom along with my bed, desk, dresser, nightstand, record player, record table, and possibly my piano. Then I will return to my soon-to-be-former house and pack up clothing, toiletries, kitchen things, tchotchkes, and other stuff. AKA I am going to have to get rid of a lot of stuff and learn to live small. Bleccch.

But G-d, moving sucks so much. Always avoid it.

those things with lots of pieces of paper bound together…

This is somewhat embarrassing.

I just counted the unread books in my room, like ones I own but have not yet picked up, and if I counted correctly, it’s about 57.

In my defense, I own many, many, many more books than that, so it’s not like I haven’t read anything. I just don’t read enough to keep up with my habit of buying books or with my habit of wanting to read books. I’m trying to catch up with classics that I never read, but I’m also trying to keep abreast of what’s going on in contemporary literature, both in YA (I try really hard to believe in the genre, though it’s hard, and I think calling it a genre is sort of stupid) and adult fiction. And then I also try to keep up with authors I like by reading more of their books, which is a sort of bad thing to do when you’re trying to read a lot of stuff. It sucks to find an author you like and can’t get enough of. :-p Then, the other thing I try and do is increase my exposure to different types of writing to work on my craft. So I need to read more short stories, because I’m terrible at those, and I like to read poetry, but it takes really long to finish just one book and feel like you’ve gotten anything significant out of it.

As if that number above isn’t bad enough, my to-read list (you can click on that link on the right that says “my bookshelf”) totals 182*. And it only gets higher every time I finish a book.

This semester burned me out so much, I can no longer remember how to just kick back with a book and read for a really long period of time. And I don’t remember how long it takes me to finish one. But I’m going to venture a guess, and I’m going to challenge myself to finish at least 30 books this summer. I have an abridged list taken from the 57 and the 182 of the ones most important to me to read now rather than later. This includes books that are being made into movies (Youth In Revolt), books by people I know and/or who have taught me in writing workshops (Not A Matter of Love, The Narrow Road Into the Interior), books that were gifts (La Hojarasca), classics/famous books (Oliver Twist, Balthazar, de Sade’s Justine), and books by Tucsonans (Sleeping With Schubert, History Lesson for Girls). So it’s a quite daunting task, but I’m excited. I will take books with me everywhere: to the science class I have to take starting on Monday, to Uruguay, to haircuts, to work, to the rec center, to my parents’ house. Reading has to be the main event for the summer, trumping friends and movies and mooning about boys who don’t like me back. It will even take precedence over writing, I think, just a little. There’s only so much honing of a craft you can do if you don’t read, and I am so, so behind in my reading. I’ve missed it so much.

I’ll take some book recommendations, if you have them, but please look and see if they’re already on my list, and only make them if they’re going to change my life. If you know me well, you know that very small, random things can change my life, but still. Recommendations with a grain of salt. And be advised that I may not be able to get to them for a long time, but they’ll go on my goodreads, and since the Internet never dies, I’ll never forget that I’m going to read them.

I’ll be blogging about my reading. And my travels. Please read. Or tell someone else to. I get lonely when I don’t feel encouraged. :-p

This starts now. Because as of about an hour and a half ago, this semester left my hands. Done. Time for grades.

*And then I remembered my Amazon wishlist, and I added all the books there to my to-read list as well. 200. Hooray!

yo voy, voy, voy

How exhausting. Orbitz decided not to work correctly, so I got charged $5000 for one ticket, and while calling to deal with that, I ended up canceling all the tickets and the lady found me a flight to Montevideo for only $926. Pretty sweet.

So yes, I am going to Uruguay! Paris is no more. It wasn’t worth sitting around on a wait list, not knowing whether I’d definitely have something to do this summer, so I’m doing something that costs a hell of a lot cheaper. And it’ll be really, really good for me to be a tad bit out of my comfort zone, practicing my Spanish, and doing something a bit more off the beaten track. There will always be opportunities to go to Europe. But this will be great. I gave myself two weeks of travel time afterwards, for possibly a day or two in Antarctica (!), and then some South American bus riding up to Iguazu Falls (if you’ve seen the fourth Indiana Jones movie, those would be those endless and terrifying waterfalls from the movie). Everyone says stay in Argentina and Paraguay when you go there, because the Argentinian side of the falls is nicer, plus you need a visa to get into Brazil, so lucky for me, the visa I used when I went to Brazil four years ago is a five-year visa, so it’s still valid! Shweet. Sometimes parents are useful, because they’re the ones who remembered that, not me.

So hooray! South American traveling. Spanish speaking. Meeting Jewish people in Uruguay. Long weekend in Buenos Aires where I actually have a small branch of the Jewish side of my family living. Awesome? Yes.