Sunday, July 15, 2012

Intentions, Good

I don't know why this came to my mind today but remember how last year I said I was going to read a single chapter of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables every day? This was my plan, as announced in that post:
Somewhere on the internet, around the end of the year, I glampsed the fact that Les Misérables has 365 chapters. Oh ho, thought I.  There are also 365 days in earth's solar year. A person could read a chapter a day and, through the magic of compounded interest, read the whole novel in the course of 2011.  
Well how did that go, you ask? Did I turn over the last leaf on December 31 and sigh in contentment at the novel's rich tapestry of humanity?

No. I got bogged down sometime in March or April. Like, truly bogged down, because I was reading about the battle of Waterloo, where it rained so much that Napoleon's artillery got stuck in the mud. Bogged. The chapters on Waterloo went on approximately forever. Then I got behind and couldn't recoup and then I had my breast reconstruction surgery and the Navy SEALs took out Bin Laden and that all seemed like a chance to make a clean break.

The idea appealed to me because, by going a chapter a day, it seemed like you could sneakily read the whole long thing almost without noticing. And it's not likely that I will set aside lots of time to read this book on a more compressed schedule. Heck, I am kind of dawdling/stuck in the middle of that Fifty Shades book, and that is loaded with kinky sex. So whatever I am up to, it is not reading. (We'll have more to say about Fifty Shades, but so far I think that Christian Grey is just kind of a fussbudget. Not hot. And safe words? Please.)

Okay. So I just wanted to come back, however belatedly, and update you on the wreckage of my 365-day plan. Have you ever started something and intended to do it every day for a year? How did it go? It's July so, you know, time to start planning our 2013 resolutions. So chime in if you've contemplated or failed or succeeded at doing something daily. xoxo


13 comments:

jo said...

being the scrapping type I set out to make one album page a week. Well its week 28 & find myself making 2 or 3 a week every so often to catch up. I'm waning, my creativity doesnt flow like that & isnt keeping up with productivity. Whats stopping me apart from life is reading, lots of reading, dont get me started on 50 shades, I thought it was a bore...

Jess said...

I'm not liking the 50 shades idea... and honestly I think it's getting too much press. My seven year old saw something that only said "shades of grey" in relation to something else, and she said "that's a chapter book. A grownup chapter book. Too long for me, I like Magic Treehouse" Maybe you can push through? I've read Les Miserables, Gone with the Wind, and a bunch of other long books. You just have to be interested enough. I couldn't finish Anna Karenina.

Common Household Mom said...

Every day I contemplate cleaning my desk, and every day I fail miserably at it.

If you are going to fail at a daily task, reading Les Miserables is a good one to pick. If there ever was a book that should be abridged, this is it. Full of arcane commentary about French politics at that time, isn't it? Maybe you should try to fail at reading Moby Dick instead. At least there are no female characters getting all emotional.

Reading Rosie said...

I quit setting every day goals. Too much pressure and one less thing in my life to feel guilty about. Audio books downloaded to my iPod have helped me conquer long books. I listened to Atlas Shrugged (1500 pages, hours of audio)in February while sewing. Two birds ya know!

Elizabeth said...

I succeeded in not wasting a further minute of my time on those 50 shades books. Honestly, if I read how she "bit her lip" one more time, I thought I might bite my own lip -- off.

M said...

I cannot commit to thinking about devising a schedule to do anything in a methodical way.

My attention span for most activities runs somewhere in the neighborhood of two weeks----tops. I endorse a stumble-into-it-and-see-where-it-takes-you approach which greatly enhances the odds of serendipity.

To your credit, my sustained interest in reading your blog has well exceeded the two-week mark. ; )

Kate said...

Totally with you on Christian. BLEH. Not at all appealing to me. And those overwrought email exchanges? Double BLEH. I can not and have not ever made a 365 day commitment. Reminds me of Read All Day, only she had a book deal so a bit more pressure on her to read.

Holiday said...

Well, I loved Les Mis (the book) I like me a long, long, period drama, I guess. Perhaps you could re-invigorate your reading by having the upcoming movie as a reward? Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean? Yesssss! Keira Knightly as Anna Kerenina, though? Boo to that.

delaine said...

I read Les Mis many years ago ( pre kids) and loved it. I could not finish Anna Karenina. I lost the will. Now, have you ever read The Forsythe Saga? That's quite a big sprawling period novel.

Dancer said...

I have actually finished Anna Karenina (it was years ago - must have been a teenager at the time). These days, like Reading Rose, I do long books by audio book. As she says: two birds, you know... And that is how I "read" Les Miserables, and loved it! Another long book that I read as a teenager and am now revisiting via audio book is The Count of Monte Cristo.

puncturedbicycle said...

I have read Gone With the Wind something like two dozen times (swoon) but was completely defeated by The Brothers Karamazov virtually as soon as I began it, due to the unfamiliar names and maybe also my iron-clad problem reading books for school. My mind just refused to let it in and fortunately it was dropped from the reading list. (Nothing to do with me. I didn't have that kind of influence as a 16yo.)

And does it make me a pathetic name dropper to say that I know Mr and Mrs Shades of Grey and they are very funny, helpful, nice people?

I'm such a starf*cker.

Messy Mom said...

Well for me, the Bible. I have never successfully read the Bible in a year. I've tried many times, but I think there are a few chapters in the Old Testament that are about the battle of Waterloo as well. :)

Beth said...

I tried to take a picture a day for the blog sometime back, and I gave up around March. I think you do have to have some kind of profound motivation, whether it be a book deal or some kind of mental illness.

I read all 3 Fifty Shades books, but less as erotica and more as simple romance novels. They are terribly written, but so are all romance novels. The biting of the lip, agreed, BLEH, but my biggest nausea-inducer was her inner goddess. Good GRIEF.