Sunday Salon: Making it Count

First off, I hope my U.S. readers had a good holiday weekend. I had two Thanksgiving meals. One was the day before Thanksgiving; my brother’s friend invited a bunch of people to his house for a vegan meal. I’m pretty sure everyone except the vegan host, his vegan brother, and his vegan ex-girlfriend were meat eaters (aside from me, a vegetarian). I was a little wary of the tofurkey, because the last–and only–time I tried to make it, it came out disgusting. Clearly I lack tofurkey cooking skills: almost everyone, myself included, thought it was great. I was actually pretty excited: in the 11 years I’ve been a vegetarian, this is the first holiday meal where I’ve actually been able to eat every single thing presented to me!

Unfortunately, my meal on Thanksgiving wasn’t so great. We went to my cousins’ house, and while I’m sure the food was fantastic for the carnivores, it was slim pickings for a vegetarian: I ate gravy-less mashed potatoes, corn, and a couple of rolls. My brother and I had stayed up all night making pumpkin cookies, so I also inhaled quite a few of those. I made up for my sad little meal later in the day by ordering a large veggie lover’s pizza, so all was well by the end of the day.

My sister and I also braved the crowds for Black Friday; believe it or not, Kohl’s was packed. We were both in need of work clothes, and I had a 15% off coupon, so we decided to give the midnight opening a shot. This was the first (and quite possibly the last) Black Friday for both of us–our minds were blown by the sight of people lined up around Target and Best Buy. Seriously, you could not have paid me to set foot in there. Two and a half hours later (most of which was spent in line for the register), I emerged not with a pile of work clothes, but with two pillows and a set of beer glasses. My subconscious had spoken its desires loud and clear. 😉

Anyway. On to the real subject of my post: so many books, so little time!

Two years ago, I spent my December (okay, lets face it: the last couple days of December) in a mad dash to finish the last 300 or so pages of Infinite Jest–I did NOT want to start the new year looking at that book! Last year, I found myself reading a lot more than usual in December and was determined to finish a total of 75 books by the end of the year; I knew I wanted to read The Grapes of Wrath, and I knew I wanted my last book of the year to be Junot Diaz’s Drown, but (as per usual) I selected the rest of my books pretty haphazardly.

This year, I know I’ll easily hit my goal of 100 books–I’m already at 95(!)–but this year I’m being more selective about what to read in December. I know I want to read another Steinbeck (East of Eden), and I know I want to finish the year with a reread of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I fully intend to squeeze Tayari Jones’s Silver Sparrow, Michael Chabon’s The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke somewhere in there. There are several ARCs I’d like to read before the year ends, and I plan to read Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, the last selection for this year’s Feminist Classics project.

Sometimes I feel like I want to read everything at once!

And yet, all of a sudden I also feel the pressure to MAKE IT COUNT: I want to cross a bunch of books off my TBR list, and I want them to all blow me away…and all of this has to happen in December.  With the exception of a few new releases, I usually select what to read based on a variety of factors including–but not limited to–the author, the cover in relation to my mood, eenie meenie miney moe, blogger recommendations,  and good ol’ serendipity. My sudden obsession with Making It Count is ridiculous because I’ve had a pretty good year with books, and all the books I enjoyed in January “count” no less than the books I’ll enjoy in December. There’s just something about a year coming to a close that makes you want to tie up loose ends and go out with a bang, you know?

…or am I the only one with these sudden December urges?

The Sunday Salon.com

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3 comments

  1. Melissa

    Oh, you’re definitely not the only one with the “Make It Count” December urges! I’m the same exact way … for reasons that I can’t quite figure out either. As you said, it’s not like the books read back in January count for any less.

    Glad you enjoyed the Tofurky. We’re vegetarians too, and I cooked ours in the crockpot this year. Turned out pretty good!

  2. amymckie

    This is kind of funny actually, your obsession with December. I guess it’s good to think back on a year and remember it best – as you are most likely to remember the last books right? I think it’s a good goal and I hope you get all your great books in! I have been finding myself reading more books that I wanted to, but subconsciously. Must think on this topic more myself, I may be doing the same thing!

  3. Alison

    “Sometimes I feel like I want to read everything at once!”

    OMG this is so me. I am most definitely a bibliophile, and thus I buy books far far faster than I can read them. I already have about 30 on my shelves that are as-yet-unread but over the past holiday weekend, what with the sales and whatnot, I bought….12 more.

    (I should note, I also probably have at least another…hell, 75? 100? unread books in storage, some of which have been in said storage for years. My already-set New Year’s resolution is to go through all of my boxes in the storage locker and figure out a damn way to pack all the unread books into my tiny bedroom. (Earlier this year I had to move in with my parents in a small apartment, so the space for my stuff is limited to my, shall we say, “cozy” room.))

    So anyway….yeah, now I have even more books and some currently in a UPS truck somewhere, and many of them are ones I’ve been really looking forward to reading…and I totally wish I could somehow read like 8 books simultaneously. Not as in “read some from this book one day, some from this book the next” etc…but like, all exactly at the same time! Haha…obviously not possible. To be honest, I really prefer to only be reading one book at a time, due to some slight attention issues. Plus, I pretty much always am too eager to find out WHAT HAPPENS NEXT in a book to leave it for another until I’m done.

    BTW, right now I am reading Caramelo based on your high praise for it, and am really loving it!

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