With the addition of The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventurers, and the Dawn of Empire by Susan Ronald, this morning my Goodreads To Read shelf reached 1,000 titles. Why does this feel so momentous to me? Besides the enormity of the number, I guess it’s amazing to me that there are [over] 1,000 books that I have taken an interest in; roughly 900 or so authors whose words and stories I want to read.
Well sh*t, 2017 is halfway over. Anyone else out there in their early-mid-or-late twenties starting to realize time starts moving way too quickly as you age? Oh, the humanity.
Anyway, as many bloggers I admire and follow have done, I am posting a little update on my [terrible] reading progress of the year. I don’t always bring my snark into my posts, so just know that if you hear any when you are reading to yourself (or out loud if that’s your thing), know that the snarkiness is quite lighthearted – and that I’m just feeling snarky today. Here we go.
I haven’t given a reading challenge update in a while, and since we’ve reached the seventh letter in my alphabetical #AtoZChallenge, G is for Goodreads.
There’s Something About The Mustard Seed Bookstore
Always trying to get as many errands done during the week as possible, as to ensure a more enjoyable and often carefree weekend, I recently found myself leaving the apartment to run errands on a Saturday. This perhaps had a lot to do with taking a vacation day the previous Wednesday, which threw an already busy week into a much more tightly scheduled timeline, leaving me little time and energy to get anything done after work. Anyway, this particular Saturday was cloudy, although warm, and after running said errands I couldn’t bring myself to spend the rest of the day cleaning or picking up the slack dropped during the week back at the apartment. So with a quick GPS reprogramming, I headed east on Route 1 towards a little town called Bath.
In the small, historic downtown I easily found on-street parking (score) and was delighted to see quite a few people walking up and down the sidewalk and into the handful of shops. Pausing at one or two display tables outside the storefronts, I made my way towards The Mustard Seed Bookstore, its yellow doors a cheerful, welcoming sight in the gloomy haze of the gray clouds above.
Inside, there was a group of people sitting at a table at the front talking and enjoying a pot of tea; two individuals were sitting at a table in the back of the store, pouring over notebooks and texts; a friendly employee asked if she could help me find anything, but I was just browsing so she told me to have fun and left me to peruse the shelves. You know you’re in the right place when the staff wishes you to have fun while book shopping.
The selection of classic literature is astounding at The Mustard Seed Bookstore. They are all newly published editions, but seeing them together on the shelves will charm you to the point of blacking out, gathering all of the books in your arms and taking them to counter to complete the purchase. Luckily for my wallet, the quiet chatter of the people at the table in the front prevented this process from going too far.
Many of the other titles include those from Maine authors, those about Maine, cook books, historical fiction and non-fiction, biography, mystery, as well as popular and prize-winning fiction. The title I selected is a 50th Anniversary Edition (originally published in 1958) of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. I believe I discovered this story through a New Yorker review or mention, and after reading the summary and some reviews on Goodreads I decided to make it part of my ever-growing To Be Read list. The back of the book describes it as: “encompassing at once the life of nature, human history, and the mysterious compulsions of the soul.” This is exactly what my ideal book encompasses.
After a cheerful chat with the woman behind the check-out counter (which sits below a large, lovely chalkboard with a list of teas you can order while you stay and read your book), I exited through the yellow doors and walked back out onto the sidewalk.
Not yet ready to go back to my apartment, I walked across the street to Café Crème, and after a little deliberation I ordered an “Almond Joyous” latte. The couches and chairs and cozy atmosphere were appealing, but I chose to stroll down the street outside and back to my car for the drive back home (the latte was delectable, by the way). I could only hope for every Saturday to be as sweet.
We are rounding the corner of the second week of March, and since the official start of spring is just two weeks away, I’ve decided to set goals that are about cleaning out clutter and focusing on organization since the beginning of the year has been a little hectic. These goals carry over to my Reading Challenge, as I’m setting out to read two books that have either been sitting in my bookshelf or have received many “renews” from the library. Adding books to my “Read” list is an official bookish spring cleaning activity.
For this month, I’m going to be reading two novels by authors towards whom my love has grown from childhood adoration to that of a somewhat-adult. The first, In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume, is the one I have renewed three times already from the library. It is time I finish it!
The second is Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, which I purchased shortly after it was published (along with the new edition of To Kill a Mockingbird) this past year, and it has sat beautifully on my bookshelf all this time. It will be with a slightly saddened heart that I read this novel, as the world lost Harper Lee just last month. However, it is lucky for us that she lives on through her writing, so I will not wait any longer to read it.
In addition to these, I will be starting to celebrate National Poetry Month one month early, with a couple of anthologies I acquired during college. I will be perfectly upfront about this: I am not a big poetry reader. I much prefer the directional prose and techniques employed in novels and short stories to the changing metres, iambic pentameters (I know this is only one of many types of poetic lines, it’s just fun to say), and sometimes just too overly abstract or dragged out stories and lessons. But I will admit I like some poetry, so I’m going to revisit two collections to see what I can discover. The first is W.H. Auden’s Selected Poems, selected by Edward Mendelson. You can see the edition I’m using in the photo to the left as well as on Goodreads. I’m also going to flip through American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century, which momentarily I cannot find the correct edition on Goodreads, but mine is a Library of America College Edition, so that may be why (I’ll add it to Goodreads).
So there you have it, my March Reading Challenge. I hope you join in my discussion of these titles at the end of the month, join me in reading them throughout this month, or offer advice/suggestions on what I should expect and what I should read next. I hope your March is productive, exciting, and refreshing as we say “goodbye” to winter and hello to spring! Happy reading!