September Reading Plans: Atwood, King, Cronin, Díaz, Butler, and Shakespeare

Posted September 1, 2012 by Heather in Read-alongs / 16 Comments

I don’t usually write a “reading plans” post, but I thought it would be nice to highlight the awesome book clubs and read-alongs that I take part in every month. Rather than write a post for each one individually, I’m going to start writing one post at the beginning of every month that acknowledges them all.

Project Read All Of Atwood

I’m still going strong on Dog Ear Discs‘ “Project Read All Of Atwood.” This month’s book is Life Before Man, which was originally published in 1979. Here is the book’s synopsis from Amazon:

Imprisoned by walls of their own construction, here are three people, each in midlife, in midcrisis, forced to make choices–after the rules have changed. Elizabeth, with her controlled sensuality, her suppressed rage, is married to the wrong man. She has just lost her latest lover to suicide. Nate, her gentle, indecisive husband, is planning to leave her for Lesje, a perennial innocent who prefers dinosaurs to men. Hanging over them all is the ghost of Elizabeth’s dead lover…and the dizzying threat of three lives careening inevitably toward the same climax.

The EPIC Dark Tower Read-a-Long

This next read-along is one that I am super excited about. It runs from this month until July 2013.

Click for more info

I am not a huge fan of Stephen King’s horror novels (I’m not a huge fan of horror in general), but his Dark Tower series is my all-time favorite series. I am in love with Roland Deschain. This read-along is being hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict on her Stephen King Challenge blog. We’re reading a book a month, including his newest addition to the series, and the schedule for each book will go up at the beginning of each month. This month’s schedule for The Gunslinger is up now, so if you’d like to join us, click on the image above to be taken to her blog for more information. Synopsis of The Gunslinger from Amazon:

Eerie, dreamlike, set in a world that is weirdly related to our own, The Gunslinger introduces Roland Deschain of Gilead, of In-World that was, as he pursues his enigmatic antagonist to the mountains that separate the desert from the Western Sea. Roland is a solitary figure, perhaps accursed, who with a strange singlemindedness traverses an exhausted, almost timeless landscape. The people he encounters are left behind, or worse—left dead. At a way station, however, he meets Jake, a boy from a particular time (1977) and a particular place (New York City), and soon the two are joined—khefka, and ka-tet. The mountains lie before them. So does the man in black and, somewhere far beyond…the Dark Tower.

#TuesBookTalk

#TuesBookTalk is also hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict, and starting September 12th we will be reading Justin Cronin’s The Passage. Because the book is a big one, we will be reading this through October with the first discussion taking place on Twitter on September 25th. The reading schedule will be posted in our Goodreads group as the read-along gets closer, so if you’re interested in joining us, you can click on the #TuesBookTalk link above to be taken to the Goodreads group for more information. Discussions take place every Tuesday night at 9:30pm ET using the #TuesBookTalk hashtag, but if you can’t join us on Twitter, Michelle posts discussion questions in the Goodreads group so people can chat there, as well. Synopsis of The Passage from Amazon:

An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

#1book140

Coriolanus, by William Shakespeare#1book140 is an international Twitter book club created by Jeff Howe and hosted by The Atlantic. We also have an unofficial website–1Blog140–that a few of the regular bookies put together in order to give us a space to talk about the books using more than 140 characters. Every month we come to an agreement about what kind of book to read, we take nominations for books that fit within that category, and then we vote from a short list using a poll posted on The Atlantic‘s website. This month we nominated books in two categories–auto/biographies and Shakespeare–and although the voting is still going on (until Tuesday at 5pm ET), it looks like we’ll be reading two of  Shakespeare’s plays–Hamlet and Coriolanus. If you’re interested in joining us now or in the future, check out both The Atlantic‘s official #1book140 page and our unofficial 1Blog140 website by clicking their respective links above.

Hamlet is about a guy (Hamlet) whose father is a king, which king has been murdered before the book starts. Then some stuff happens and Hamlet goes kind of insane. It’s a good play–one of my favorites from Shakespeare. Coriolanus is a tragedy based on the life of famed Roman leader Caius Marcius Coriolanus, and will be a first-time read for me.

HuffPost Book Club

The HuffPost Book Club is hosted by the Huffington Post, and we discuss our voted-on books both on Twitter and on their website. This month we’re reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, and the discussion began on August 29th. By clicking on the HuffPo link above, you will be taken to the main page for Oscar Wao where you will find the reading schedule and the discussion that is taking place. You can also use the #hpbookclub hashtag to follow the discussion on Twitter. This book was published in 2007 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2008. It has been raved about by so many people and I’m really enjoying it so far. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister—dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fukú—a curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA. Encapsulating Dominican-American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere—and risk it all—in the name of love.

A More Diverse Universe Blog Tour

A More Diverse Universe blog tour buttonClick for more info and to sign up

Kindred, by Octavia ButlerDuring the week of September 23-29, Aarti of Booklust is hosting “A More Diverse Universe Blog Tour,” aimed at highlighting speculative fiction authors of color. During that week, Aarti is asking readers (with or without blogs) to read one book in the speculative fiction genre that has been written by a person of color, and then talk about it/review it somewhere on the internet–either on a blog, or Goodreads, or wherever readers have a space to write about the books they read. Sign-ups are open on her blog now, and I have decided to read Kindred by Octavia Butler. I have been meaning to start reading Octavia Butler’s books for a while now, and this gives me an excellent excuse to start sooner rather than later. Synopsis of Kindred from Amazon:

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stays grow longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.

So those are the books I will be reading for book clubs and read-alongs, along with whatever other books I choose to read just for myself. All of these groups are open to anyone who would like to join us, and we’d love to have you reading along. You will also find links to all of these reading groups in my sidebar, along with what we’re reading for the month, in case you decide to join us at a later date.

If you’re involved in any read-alongs that you’d like to highlight for other readers, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and let us know what you’re reading!

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  • Whoa – I don’t know how you do it! I can barely keep up with one book group that meets in person! I’ve heard great things about The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. A friend recommended it to me recently and it sounded like a good read.

    • Oscar Wao is amazing! And yes, I am with Geoff! So impressive you can keep up with such a rigorous reading schedule!

      I also love your commitment to read all of Atwood. I have a similar commitment to read all of Joan Didion, Kate Christensen and Zadie Smith.

      • Many of the books in the Atwood reading project will be re-reads for me, but she’s my favorite author so I jumped at the chance to read her books again. I also need to read all of Zadie Smith’s work–I have heard so much about her with her new book just being released, and I’ve never read anything by her.

    • Most of the groups aren’t too rigorous, and most of them have a reading schedule (which means maybe reading 50 pages of each book per week). But I’m surprised at myself, too. Haha!

      I do think you’d like Oscar Wao.

  • You’ve got a lot of reading to do! I have been interested in reading the Dark Tower series but I think I would rather do it on my own time, just because structured of a schedule over a long period of time doesn’t always work for me.

    Kindred is one of my all-time favorite books. I think you’ll really enjoy it! I also look forward to your thoughts on Oscar Wao – I’ve had that one on my TBR pile unread for awhile.

    • If I were reading the DT series for the first time, I would read it on my own, too. Since it’s a re-read for me, I think it’ll be fun to read it with a group and see what others think of it.

      I’m really looking forward to reading Kindred. I will be sure to tell you my thoughts on that and Oscar Wao.

  • Looking forward to hearing what you think of Díaz! I really need to read more of his stuff, especially after hearing him talk recently. And hooray for Kindred – such an excellent novel.

  • Wishing you the best of luck with your reads

  • Oscar Wao is so good. I wish I owned it – then I think it would be time for a reread soon. I’m considering joining the Dark Tower reread. I haven’t read it before and maybe a read along would be just what I need to get through it in a ‘short’ amount of time.

  • Do you know when the schedule will be up for The Passage? I have this on my TBR list/pile and am very likely going to participate.

    • The first discussion isn’t until September 25th, so I would imagine that it will be up about a week before that.

  • I think you are so amazing with everything you’re attempting to get done this month! Have you read The Passage before? It’s such a pageturner. I finished it in 24 hours and ended up with a huge book hangover. Enjoy your books.

    • This will be my first time reading The Passage, and I’m looking forward to it. Thanks!

  • I know it’s been said, but seriously – how do you keep up with all that?! Very, very impressive.

    • I don’t plan on doing this much next year–it can be a little intimidating, truthfully.

  • I definitely need to read more Stephen King. I always enjoy him, and I have a ton of his books (including first half of Dark Towers series, Under the Dome, and many others) on my shelves… but for some reason, I never really feel the desire to read him.