2014 Challenges, 2014 Reading, Bout of Books

Bout of Books 10: Master Post

20140510-185109(Scroll down for daily updates.)

Reading list:
Below is the list of books that I’ll be choosing from this week. I doubt that I’ll get through all of them, especially as some (Frye, Woolf) are pretty dense. I hope to complete at least three books this week, including the first two listed and also The Demon-Haunted World which I started a month or so ago but had to sideline while finishing up the semester. If I get more than that accomplished, then great!


boutofbooks For the Pleasure of His Company, Charles Warren Stoddard
Imre: A Memorandum, Edward Prime-Stevenson
Anatomy of Criticism, Northrop Frye
The Long Walk, Stephen King
To a God Unknown, John Steinbeck
Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism, Steven J. Venturino


• Read at least two books for my summer course (titles 1 & 2 above)
• Join some of the Twitter chats
• Visit other participants, including host blogs (competitions & such)


Pages read: 90
Books finished: None
Titles experienced: 2- For the Pleasure of His Company and The Demon-Haunted World

Pages read: 276
Books finished: 1 – For the Pleasure of His Company
Titles experienced: 3- For the Pleasure of His Company, The Demon-Haunted World, and The Book Thief

Pages read: 280
Books finished: None
Titles experienced: The Book Thief

Pages read: 149
Books finished: 1 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Titles experienced: 2- The Book Thief and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Pages read: 60
Books finished: None
Titles experienced: Rebecca

Pages read: 0
Books finished: None
Titles experienced: None…. bad, Adam. 😦

Pages read: 291
Books finished: None
Titles experienced: Rebecca by Daphne du Maruier and Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

Total pages read: 997
Total books finished: 2 – The Book Thief and For the Pleasure of His Company
All titles experienced: 5 – The Book Thief, For the Pleasure of His Company, Rebecca, Salem’s Lot, and The Demon-Haunted World.

*Note: I borrowed the general format for this post from Heather at Between the Covers.

2014 Challenges, 2014 Reading, Bout of Books

Bout of Books: I’m In!

Hello,  Readers!

Bout of BooksThe semester is winding down (one week to go!) and I am very much looking forward to spending more time with you all very soon.  I will be teaching and taking one course this summer, so there will still be plenty going on for me out there in the “Real World,” but I think I’ll manage to get much more accomplished here on the blog, too.


That being said, I’m taking this opportunity to sign-up for Bout of Books, for the very first time!  The event takes place during the first week of summer break — a perfect time to celebrate a little “freedom” by reading a whole bunch of pleasure/just for fun books that I’ve had to put on hold for months and months. Woo!

I should also note – Austen In August will be back this year!  I plan to post the sign-ups and guest contributor forms sometime in early June, so be on the lookout for that. 🙂

Here are the details for Bout of Books:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week-long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team.

While this list is in no way official, here are some of the books I’m thinking of reading during “The Big Bout”:

  • Anatomy of Criticism by Northrop Frye
  • The Long Walk by Stephen King
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
  • To a God Unknown by John Steinbeck

So, is anyone else participating this year?  Any thoughts from past participants on how to organize your time, posts, etc.?  If you are planning to participate, what books are you looking forward to reading?

2014 Challenges, 2014 Reading, Classics, Classics Club, Read-a-thon, Reading Event

Classics Club Readathon #ccreadathon

ccreadathon2Today, I’m participating in the Classic Club’s second annual Classics Readathon.  I plan to return to this post throughout the next 24-hours and make updates (as I feel like it), and also to update it at the end of the 24-hours, which would be 8am Sunday morning, for me.  I’ll give a note on my progress, take a look at how many total pages I read, where I stand in each my books, etc.  Very exciting!

Here’s our kick-off prompt and my responses:

  1. Name and Blog:  I’m Adam of Roof Beam Reader!
  2. Snacks and Beverages of Choice: Uh, see above. Mostly chocolate.
  3. Where are you reading from today? Chicago, Illinois, USA!
  4. What are your goals for the Readathon?:  I hope to make a good dent in the three chunkster books I’m reading this month. I doubt I’ll finish any of them, but I want to get at least 100 pages of each knocked out. If I do that, maybe I’ll try to plow through one short book, just to knock something off my list early in the year. :)
  5. What book(s) are you planning on reading?:  Ulysses by James Joyce; Walt Whitman’s America by David S. Reynolds; and The Complete Poems by Walt Whitman.  Each of these is 600-900 pages, so, yeah, I won’t finish them, but I think I can definitely make some good progress.
  6. Are you excited?: Uhm, yeah!  I’m going to post a readathon journal entry on my blog sometime today with my starting point for each book, and then some updates throughout the day, as well as a final page count/ending point for each book – that way I can accurately track just how much reading I did, how far I got with each book, etc.  I’m just going to update that one post throughout the day, though, so that my readers don’t get spammed all day long with multiple posts.  Good luck to you all!

Update 1: 8:30pm local time (Central US). 

Although I have taken quite a few breaks, today, to exercise, shower, eat, and run out for some errands (we are expecting 10+ inches of snow and temperatures nearly 20 degrees below zero in the next few days), I think I’m making some good strides.

I’ve read 150 pages of Ulysses, putting me 50 pages beyond my goal mark for that book, and leaving me with just 3 episodes left to complete the entire book!  Thrilled about that.  Also, I read 100 pages of Leaves of Grass, hitting my goal with that one, too.  So, I just need to try to read 100 pages of Walt Whitman’s America and I will have successfully achieved what I set out to do with this readathon.  Hope I don’t fall asleep or give up!  My eyes are pretty tired (and my brain is rather mushy after 150 pages of Ulysses, let’s be honest).

Update 2: Midnight

I only managed to get through one chapter of Walt Whitman’s America.  Distracted by too many other things! But I did a lot of reading today, especially with Ulysses, so I’m good with that.  Here’s my favorite excerpt from today’s reading:

From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently,but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.
I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.

I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.

All seems beautiful to me,
I can repeat over to men and women You have done such good to me I would do the same to you,
I will recruit for myself and you as I go,
I will scatter myself among men and women as I go,
I will toss a new gladness and roughness among them,
Whoever denies me it shall not trouble me,
Whoever accepts me he or she shall be blessed and shall bless me.

–Walt Whitman (from “Song of the Open Road”)


Book 1: Walt Whitman’s America by David S. Reynolds

Starting Page: 81 of 704

Ending Page: 111

Total Pages Read: 30

Book 2: The Complete Poems by Walt Whitman

Starting Page: 125 of 912

Ending Page: 245 of 912

Total Pages Read: 120

Book 3: Ulysses by James Joyce

Starting Page: 350 of 657

Ending Page: 501 of 657

Total Pages Read: 151

So, even though I didn’t read 100 pages from each of my books, I still read 301 total pages – which, I think, is a success! Yay!

2014 Reading, Independent Education Project, Themed Reading

2014 Themed Reading

free owl reading poster

So, I’ve decided that, in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for certain topics that I have always been interested in or curious about, I am going to arrange my reading in 2014 into themes/categories.  I am selecting 12 themes and will spend one month on each.  In that month, I will focus on selected readings for that topic – some months may have just 2 or 3 books, depending on the complexity of the topic and the length/density of the works, whereas other months may have 4 or 5 books planned.

Of course, I will still be doing other reading as well – reading for my own classes, reading whatever interesting books happen to pop-up throughout the year, reading whatever is on my shelf that calls to me, etc.  If I read, say, 3 books per theme throughout the year, that’s still just 36 books in the year, and I tend to read about 70.  So, plenty of room to still do other things!

This is just my effort to dig deeper into the things I’ve really always been curious about but feel that I don’t know as much about, or at the level I would like to know about it.   Once I have the calendar completed, I will create a page here on the blog specifically devoted to it.  For now, here is what is starting to take shape:

January: Walt Whitman

Reading: The Complete Poems by Walt Whitman

Supplemental: Walt Whitman’s America: A Cultural Biography by David S. Reynolds

February: John Steinbeck

Readings: To a God Unknown by John Steinbeck

Readings: Steinbeck: A Life in Letters by John Steinbeck

March: Literary Theory

Reading: Beginning Theory by Peter Barry

Reading: The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition by M.H. Abrams

Reading: Mythologies by Roland Barthes

Reading: An Introduction to Literature, Criticism, and Theory by Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle

April: History

Reading: Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis

Reading: The Crisis of the European Mind by Paul Hazard

Reading: Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff

Reading: The Defining Moment by Jonathan Alter

May: Science

Reading: A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Reading: Cosmos by Carl Sagan

Reading: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

June: On Reading and Writing

Reading: How to Read a Book by Mortimer Jerome Adler

Reading: On Writing by Stephen King

Reading: Willa Cather on Writing: Critical Studies on Writing as an Art by Willa Cather

July: The French Revolution

Reading: The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction by William Doyle

Reading: The French Revolution: A History by Thomas Carlyle

Reading: A Place of Greater Safety by Hillary Mantel

Reading: Ninety-Three by Victor Hugo

August: Philosophy

Reading: Poetics by Aristotle

Reading: The Republic by Plato

Reading: Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

Reading: Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction by Edward Craig

September: International Literature

Reading: China?

Reading: South America?

Reading: Middle Eastern?

Reading: African?

October: LGBT Studies (Literature/History)

Reading: The Absolutist by John Boyne

Reading: Annabel by Kathleen Winter

Reading: The Essential Gay Mystics by Andrew Harvey

Reading: Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America by Christopher Bram

November: Romanticism (American & European)

American: Walden by Henry David Thoreau

American: Pierre; or, The Ambiguities by Herman Melville

European: Blake’s Poetry and Designs by William Blake

European: A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe

Supplemental: Romanticism: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Ferber

December: Religion

Reading: Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard

Reading: Confessions by Saint Augustine of Hippo

Reading: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Reading: Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction by Damien Keown

Reading: Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction by Thomas Dixon

If you would like to join me in pursuing these themes (any or all of them) throughout the year, please feel free!  You do not need to read the exact same works as I do – in fact, it could be fun to interact with folks who are reading different texts within the same theme.

Also, if you have thoughts about or suggestions for any of these categories, let me know!  This is a work in progress up until the start of the new year. 🙂