Monday, December 12, 2005

One Hundredth Book

I’ve been keeping a book journal this year for the first time ever. Last night, I logged the title of my 99th book read so far this year. Suddenly, the choice of what to read next took on undue significance. Surely my 100th book of the year should be something special? This is silly for a number of reasons, not least of which the fact that I’ve got four or five half-read books lying around and chances are that one of those will end up being the 100th book finished rather than something new that I start today.

Still, despite being a generally logical person, I’m a bit superstitious about numbers. For example, when I draw up a grocery list, if it has thirteen items on it, I’ll take one off or add another one. I can’t help but feel that my 100th read of the year should be a worthy book. The trick is being able to gauge in advance whether a book will be a worthy one.

What should I opt for? John Banville’s The Sea which I have been so eagerly anticipating? Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad or Jeanette Winterson’s The Weight both of which I’m even keener to check out after reading Caroline Alexander’s assessment of them in the NYTBR this weekend? Gutted, a first book of poems by Evie Christie whose reading at her launch last week blew me away? Ted Bishop’s Riding with Rilke: Reflections on Motorcyles and Books the description of which is sufficiently intriguing that I suspect it will be one of my best non-fiction reads this year, if I manage to read it this year?

In the end, I think it will be Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This is the selection for a virtual book club proposed by Quillhill and joined by Ella, Stefanie, Susan, Sylvia, and Maryann, and no doubt others like me who have been slow to announce their participation. The date to post about the book is fast approaching (December 18th) so I'd better get started. And I suspect that I can’t go wrong with this one as my 100th book. Though if I really want the numbers to align, perhaps it ought to have been One Hundred Years of Solitude


Ella said...

I had a similar experience with reading my 100th Modern Library book - it took forever to choose. Finally I went with Maugham's "Of Human Bondage". Superstitions poke up in the weirdest places, don't they? Also, I like the purple look - very chic.

sfp said...

Well, I posted yesterday, but where is it? Perhaps I pushed the preview button instead? Hard to tell when everything's just a row of boxes. . .

I've reached 100 only twice--the first time I read Sylvia Townsend Warner's Lolly Willowes and the second time Ron Hansen's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, just because they were what I happened to have on hand.

It'd be so cool to do 100 Years as your 100th, but would that leave you time to read Chronicle by the weekend?

jon faith said...

As you can gather from my own blog, it was only 63 actually completed this year, though is abundent time, given the holiday break, to reach 70. The prism of my own abject vanity has considered a series of essentailly novellas which could allow that total to near 90 though I fear my respect for Solzhenitsyn and Vollmann will disallow such possibility. cheers

Razovsky said...

Or you could have gone with Jim Smith's poetry collection One Hundred Most Frightening Things.